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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

Simple Life

by Michael Pratt

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a piece of a longer writing project. You can view the entire project here: Simple Life

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Michael Pratt on December 1, 2008
"This is a fiction story with a surprise at the end."

The Stranger

“There is nothing like breakfast in the morning!” Darin thought as he finished up getting dressed.

He kissed his wife good bye and headed out the door. Darin was your average white collar, upper class worker that loved his job, the ideal American dream. Darin got in to his brand new 2008 Cadillac Escalade pulled out of the driveway and headed to his favorite coffee and sandwich shop before heading off to work.

Darin walked in and ordered his usual, a bagel with ham, egg and cream cheese and a mocha latte. He grabbed today’s newspaper and sat down next to the window so he could watch other people pass by. Sipping on his coffee he read the latest headlines on the front page news and took a bite of his bagel then something caught the corner of his eye. Looking up he noticed a homeless person standing at the window staring at him. Their eyes met and he waved him over.

The man was about 6 foot and he wore tattered old clothes that were soiled. He looked as if he had not had a shower in several weeks. As the stranger walked in, people stopped to stare wondering if he was going to come asking for money. The employee behind the counter stopped at the register and went and got the manager of the store letting them know. The stranger approached Darin.

“Have a seat.” Darin said.

The stranger sat down just as the manager came up.

“I am very sorry sir. But you will have to leave.” The manager demanded.

“What do you mean? I was the one that called him in to sit with me. As a matter of fact can you bring another one of my usuals please?” Darin replied bluntly.

“Oh, well okay then.” The manager turned back to get his order.

Darin and the stranger made small talk as they waited for the order to be delivered. Darin asked why the man was homeless. The stranger explained how he was a veteran of Iraqi Freedom and how he left his family of 4 to go and serve his country got injured there and came back to a divorce and the loss of everything including his job and home and ended up on the streets. He had been on the streets for the past year and half eating out of garbage cans and at times was able to receive a warm meal, shower and a bed from the local homeless shelter. He said that the only thing he has to ease the pain was his crack addiction and how it takes himself away from the stresses of life.

Darin heard his story; He was taken back to the reality of how he was so blessed with a job, food on the table and a wonderful family. Darin called his secretary at work and told him he would be late and asked the stranger if he wanted a job at his firm not even wondering if he had the experience or not. The stranger’s eyes lit up as tears started to roll down his cheeks. He nodded.

“Let’s go.” Darin said with a warm smile.

Darin put the man up in his home got him a shower and some fresh clothes to wear. Darin even got him hooked up rehab to get him help with his drug habit. The man ended up excelling through his job and becoming a lead manager, married and became very successful.

The man to this day goes to the exact same place for breakfast and brings strangers in and helps them get back on their feet as Darin did with him many years ago. His name? Jimmy Stewart.

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