Harbour Secrets

With thanks to our gentle and diplomatic Friday Fictioneers host Rochelle Wisoff–Fields, and to Fatima Fakier Deria for this week’s photo prompt. It was HARD but I actually told the tale in 100 words.

My computer is for some reason uncooperative, but at Rochelle’s blog you can click on the “Frog” and read the stories other bloggers have posted in response to this photo.

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

“I wonder how many ships down there are running drugs?”

Andy turned to the senior manager standing by the window. “What makes you…. Oh, hey. I’m sorry, Marv.”

Marv nodded and turned to go, icy anger replacing his usual grin. Exiting the office he suddenly slammed his fist into the door-frame.

The junior clerk looked up, shocked.

“Last week police found Marv’s grandson and fiancee dead in his apartment,” Andy explained. “That new street drug…the one cops are warning about…”

The clerk swore softly. A few minutes later he headed for the toilet…and flushed six white tablets.

Want to Change Your Life?

Someone involved in handing out Christian literature received permission from the owner to put a tract rack in a small store. A few moments later he looked back and saw one of the employees pull out one of the tracts and start reading it.

He spun around and blurted out, “Don’t read that! Unless you want to change your life.”

The employee, stunned for a moment, answered, “Doesn’t everyone want to change their life?”

Do you want to change your life?

Looking at the history of our world, the goal of change has always been improvement. It may not pan out, but that’s almost always our aim. What improvements do you wish you could see in your life?

When Jesus walked by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:2-9) he saw a man lying there and he basically asked this fellow the same question: “Wilt thou be made whole?” Do you want to change your life or are you happy just lying here watching the world go by and visiting with your cronies? Jesus’ concept of change involved this cripple getting up and walking away from this place, disposing of that grubby old bedroll and rejoining the human race. Getting a job; working every day; making payments on a home.

He could have made shekels rain down from Heaven on the poor unfortunate, but Jesus’ help didn’t involve a cash handout.

If Jesus Christ walked by your house today and you glimpsed him as he was passing, would you run out and talk to him, knowing he’s in the business of miracles? What miracle would you ask for? To win the Lottery? A happy home? A physical healing?

If he sat down with you and talked about changing your life, what would you say about the things you feel need to change? What would He say? Do you already know some things He’d point out? What if He held out to you a package that contained enough power to make this change? Would you take it?

What answer would you and I give today if Jesus asked us, “Wilt thou be made whole?” I’ve been pondering that question for myself. How would I define “change”? In what ways would I qualify or limit the word “whole”? How willing am I for change that would involve giving up certain things?

One day I was talking with a neighbor who was very grieved about her smoking habit. She had already lamented to me at an earlier time, “ This thing has got my life. I’m never free.”

Well, this day I suggested, “I believe God can work a miracle for you and take away your desire to smoke; I know He’s done this for others. Would you be happy if He did? Shall you and I kneel down right now and ask Him to do that for you?”

For whatever reason, she declined my offer.

The Devil’s Dog

PART B

Back in the car again, the boy couldn’t believe he’d actually gotten away with it. He handed the roll of money over to the driver. “Never again,” he grumbled, remembering the terrified face of the young girl at the till. A pretty girl, too; he could have liked her – if they’d only met under more decent circumstances.

The driver laughed. “Why quit, now that you’ve got some practice? We’re going to need more gas, you know.”

The boy looked him square in the eye and vowed, “Never again.”

They skimped for awhile and managed from paycheck to paycheck for the next several months, but one Tuesday evening, after an especially long weekend ride, the car ran out of gas again. The boy cringed when he heard the motor start to sputter. What would his friend suggest now?

The car came to a complete stop and they sat in silence for about ten minutes. Crusher sat up in the back seat and started to rumble in the boy’s ear.

Then his friend pointed to an apartment building. “See that old dame waiting at the bus stop there? She just cashed her pension check and she’s carrying most of her money in her purse. She’s heading downtown to buy groceries, but if you’re quick, you can borrow a bunch of twenties from her before the bus comes.”

“Borrow? She doesn’t look like the type to led a few hundred bucks to a complete stranger.”

“What’s wrong with you, kid?” The driver sounded really annoyed. All right then, take.” Then he changed to a smoother tone. “Like Robin Hood, you know. The government gives those old folks a great pension – and most of them have half a million squirrelled away in the bank from selling their house or farm. They can share a little with us.”

The boy watched the old lady for a moment. She didn’t dress like she had half a million in the bank. In fact she looked very average – maybe a lot like his own grandmother. “It can’t do that. It would be like robbing my Granny,” he exclaimed.

“So go ask your granny for a couple grand.”

The boy sighed. “She wouldn’t give it to me. She doesn’t think I should be in this car with you.”

“Then go ask that old lady. You don’t even need a gun here. Just take this.” The man handed him a hunting knife with a wicked blade.

“And what if I won’t? You know, we’ve had some great times but I’m starting to not like your company. Maybe I should just get out and walk from now on.”

“Yeah, kid.  Maybe you should just try that for awhile – see how far you get.” His sinister laugh echoed in the car.

The boy took the knife and stuck it in his pocket, but still hesitated. Cruncher was slobbering on his ear now, so he shot out of the car and slammed the door behind him. He’d had enough of this guy and his dog.

He started to walk down the sidewalk, but the heat hit him like the wind from a passing semi. He almost fainted, being so used to the car’s air-conditioned environment. The wind blew dirt in his face and stung his eyes. Before long everything looked gray and dismal. He’d forgotten what the real world looked like. Folks glanced in his direction and seemed to frown. They stepped aside as he passed; no one had a smile or kind word for a hoodlum like him.

Then his stomach started to heave and he knew he needed to get back into that car. Whatever it took. Far off he saw the bus heading his way – it would soon be at this stop – so he clutched the knife handle in his pocket and ran toward the old lady.

Her face registered sheer terror when she saw the knife, but she hung onto the purse straps and begged him not to rob her. This cash was all she had to pay her rent, to buy month’s food. He hardened his heart to her loss and yanked the purse out of her hands.

As he ran back to the car he could see the driver smirking and a feeling of disgust washed over him. He opened the door of the car, threw himself down onto the seat and tossed the purse at the driver. Then he rubbed his hand over his face to wipe away the tears that were washing the grit down his cheeks.

“I’ll work more,” he said. “I never want to go through that again.” He shook his head, but the old lady’s pleas kept re-echoing in his ears.

“Aw, kid. You’re so soft. It’s just an old lady. Don’t worry about her. She’ll get lots of help from the community.” He opened the purse and pulled out the wallet. “Nice haul. We can go some great new places with this.”

Then he reached over and patted the boy’s shoulder. “I’m glad you decided to come back. I was about to send Cruncher to fetch you.”

To be continued…