Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Write about a Time You took a Chance or Didn't

I got off the Trailways bus in Boston on a cool March day. I was a young man in my early 20s and I was off to the big city for a day of adventure and intrigue, which most likely would end with me going to see a moving and catching the 6 o'clock bus back to Dover, New Hampshire. I walked a block and was about to cross the street when I saw him. He was a young African American man and he was carried a small, neatly wrapped package. He wore a dark hooded sweatshirt and he cradled the brown package in his right hand like a football. As I waited to cross the street I saw the young man approach a plastic garbage can, lift the lid and carefully insert the package, drop the lid and then quietly walk away.
Well, I thought. I wonder what that was all about, and I began to cross the street. Thats when the movie began in my mind. The package was obviously 10,000 dollars of cash, neatly wrapped in brown paper. It was for some drug deal. I had witnessed the payoff. Soon someone else would stop by that garbage can and pick up the loot. Unless, some stranger from New Hampshire, grabbed the cash and ran away with it. I imagined myself lifting the lid to the garbage can, grabbing the brown package and racing up the street with it like a defensive back who had just intercepted a pass and was heading for the opposite end zone. I would find the nearest subway, and catch a train to the other end of town. I would open the package in a public bathroom stall and stash all the money in my backpack. Then I would head home to New Hampshire, a rich man.

This was the movie in my mind, and when I crossed the street I could feel myself edging towards the garbage barrel. I walked by it once, turned around and walked by it again. Finally,I summoned the courage to open the lid . As I reached for the handle, and began lifting the lid,I had the strange feeling that someone was looking at me. That's when I saw the Black Lincoln town car parked across the street and the driver peering at me through his dark sunglasses. Suddenly, the movie began re-writing itself in my mind, but this time it started in the 3rd act--the chase scene. I could hear the tires screech on the Lincoln as I snatched the package and raced up the street. I could see myself sprinting into the brick walled alleyway with the chain link fence and me struggling to climb as the headlights bore down on me and the gun shots whizzed around me. In other words, my mind was awash with movie cliches. I opted for reality.

I put the lid back down and walked away.

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