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The Box of Redemption (standard:drama, 4301 words)
Author: Tim CallawayAdded: Aug 01 2002Views/Reads: 2934/1779Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Justin Blake, a troubled teenager is saved by the help of an older blind man. A tender, touching, heart rending tale of hope for the future by consideration from a significant, compassionate adult.

A Box of Redemption 

A short story by Tim Callaway. 

Many of us at some point in our lives have been helped by another
person, to rescue us from peril, or impending emotional disaster. Often 
this help comes from the most unlikely sources and from people whom we 
hardly know. This is a story about such a life experience. 

Justin Blake was a 13-year-old boy growing up in the university city of
Oxford, the only son of Marjory Blake, a single, hardworking mother. 
His whole life had been one of disruption, peer rejection, disinterest 
and utter loneliness. From starting school he had been labelled as a 
disruptive pupil. Justin would call out in class, ignore the teacher 
and inflict a variety of injuries on his fellow pupils through his own 
frustration and temper. On one particular occasion, causing him to be 
permanently excluded from his infant school, he repeatedly hit another 
boy in the playground for no apparent reason. As a dinner lady came to 
restrain him, he delivered a swift, yet powerful blow, to her stomach. 
The result was a swift transfer to another school but the problem just 
followed him like a bad and offensive odour. 

By the age of 13 his mother had almost given up on him. She dreaded any
phone call during the day as they usually reported to her of another 
incident of Justin's violence, disobedience and disruption. Justin 
could neither read nor write and he had devised singular and advanced 
avoidance strategies to hide his secret from the world. His favoured 
method was total avoidance and he regularly truanted from school 
without his mother's knowledge. The teachers used to breathe a sigh of 
relief when he was absent and the curriculum could be delivered without 

As a small family the Blakes struggled to survive. During the month of
May 1999 they were served notice to leave their small one bed roomed 
flat for rent arrears. Marjory Blake was not sure what to do next. She 
tried to negotiate with the landlord but he just dismissed her pleading 
with loathing. They had to subsequently move into a small bed-sit, one 
covered with damp and various life forms colonising the wall space. The 
place was disgusting sharing its fragrance of decay eagerly with the 
new occupants but it was all that Mrs Blake could afford. Justin made a 
conscious decision to spend his waking hours out of this room when ever 

Justin used to deliver newspapers on a daily basis covering some
twenty-five streets in the northern district of Oxford. It was during a 
routine newspaper delivery round that he met Mr Martin Down by fate's 
own hand. 

Justin was walking up to the front door of 25, Amesbury Close and he
noticed that the battered, blue, oak door was slightly ajar. Justin, 
ever the opportunist, pushed the door open to see if anyone was at 
home. If the property were vacant he would have to relieve the owner of 
various small, yet valuable objects for his own financial gain. This 
would not be the first time that he had enjoyed such an opportunistic 
moment. As Justin stuck his head cautiously around the door he saw a 
man of pensionable age sitting on a chair in the hallway. He was 
motionless and frail. 

"Who's that?" asked the old man clutching his walking stick for personal

"It's me, Justin Blake. I deliver your newspapers," responded Justin
using his most posh voice to impress his client. 

"You will find that my letter box is in full working order. I suggest
that you use it young man!" directed Martin Down. 

"Sure thing. But first, you owe me 5.50 for your newspapers. Can you
pay me now?" asked Justin trying to remain polite until he had what he 
wanted. (This is regrettably a singular feature of most adolescents 

"There's a 10 note on the table there in front of you. Help yourself
but remember to give me the change and count it out for me." 

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