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|The Box of Redemption (standard:drama, 4301 words)|
|Author: Tim Callaway||Added: Aug 01 2002||Views/Reads: 2129/1261||Story 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 disruption. 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 possible. 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 protection. "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 œ5.50 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 nowadays!) "There's a œ10 note on the table there in front of you. Help yourself but remember to give me the change and count it out for me." Click here to read the rest of this story (437 more lines)
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