Hope Was Not For Sale

There was two empty egg cartons on the table along with other debris. Empty beer bottles, a Juicy Fruit wrapper, papers with numbers on them, recipes, reading glasses, and a Romper Room clown head on a stick. To the side was an empty box that read, Del Monte Gold.

Jackets, coats, and clothes were thrown over chairs. A ripped Bulls’ tee-shirt with the logo on it laid on the counter along with empty milk jugs, orange juice bottles, banana peels. A broken cookie jar shaped like an old butter churn was there too. Yesterday’s newspapers laid loosely.

The place looked like it had been abandoned. Doors had shit streaks on them. Old wooden floors were warped. Windows were broken. People came and went throughout the night. Staying inside all day until dark again. The sun melted them.

A sign on the door said, condemned. Junkies and crackheads paid no attention. Neither did people in the neighborhood. Mrs. Johnson sat across the street eyeing the place with binoculars. Kids would ride bicycles past and pick up pace just a bit. Old men sat at the corner bar and watched Vanna spin the wheel. Never did they discuss the community’s eye sore.

It’s just how things went on Chicago’s southwest side. Away from Bridgeport. Miles from Canaryville. And, a drive from Hyde Park, on the southwest side, people had given up. The murder rate escalated. Drug dealers on every corner. Homes in disrepair. The cost of human life was cheap.

The six o’clock news would report stories of homicides, car jacking, a cop shot on duty. That would take up five minutes of their broadcasts. Then it was onto weather and sports, advertisements. But, hope was not for sale.

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