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Falling Though Space (youngsters:drama, 3454 words)
Author: Joe E.Added: Aug 12 2003Views/Reads: 4476/2553Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Falling Though Space is an allegory in which Jackie dreams that he is being held captive by the King of the Underworld and sees the action through his father's eyes for most of the dream.

"Falling Through Space" 

We are being held captive by the King of the Underworld. We have free
run of the grounds, but we can never leave. My uncle, Joey, and I sit 
at a small kitchen table in the corner of a large dining area on the 
second floor of the King's castle. I'm wondering how we got here and 
what will happen next. The King and four of his guard enter. He and his 
flunkies are dressed in black space uniforms. After giving uncle Joey 
and I the once over, the King turns on his heels and walks out. One of 
the guards comes forward, removes his helmet, and explains that we will 
be put to death as soon as the King returns from his journey around the 
Earth. Although my grandmother is not in the room, I assume that the 
sentence applies to her also. 

Sometimes in the dream, I know I'm dreaming, and sometimes I don't. It's
a really weird dream. Sometimes I'm myself, but mostly I'm my dad. And 
when I'm my dad, I see everything though his eyes. I mean, like Uncle 
Joey is my brother, and my grandpa is my dad, just as if I were not 
myself, but him. I told you it's a weird dream. 

Pacing up and down, I try to come up with some plan for escape. I'm my
dad, now. “We could dress in disguise and sneak off before he returns," 
I tell my brother. He bends to brush a speck of lint from his blue 
gabardine slacks and answers,  “No...  No...  That won't work. We don't 
know where to go." 

"We could break a table leg, jump the guards, take their guns...." 

"No...  no....  They'd shot us down like dogs." 

I focus on his forty seven year old pale puffy face, his straight black
hair oiled down in an old fashion style that my father use to wear. 
Shaking my head in anger and disgust, I tell him, "Do you realize 
what's gonna happen? He's gonna kill us when they get back." 

"There's nothing we can do," my brother explains. 

An unarmed guard enters and begins serving our evening meal. I catch
Joey's eye and make a slight motion with my head that we should jump 
him. His long black eye lashes flutter as he looks down at a scuffmark 
on his brown dress shoes 

We gotta do something, I keep telling myself wondering how my brother
can be so stupid.... 

I remember that it was Joey who led us through the cellar doors to the
1940's world outside our first floor North Philadelphia apartment. 
Across the trolley tracks, I followed him to the drug store on 13th 
where we bought penny candy and watched the older kids play pinball. A 
block's walk in the other direction led to the yellow enamel painted 
American Store on Camac and jelly doughnuts, or Mrs. Smith's pies. 
Soon, we were traveling down Berks pass the shoemaker's shop, the 
watermelon man's, and the icehouse, all the way to the railroad yard on 
Sixth Street. 

By the time we started school, we were exploring the streets of
Philadelphia from one end to the other. Walking north on the safe wide 
streets of Broad, pass the Blue Bird movie house, beyond the armory 
with the big brown trucks, and out along the houses with marble steps 
and wide porches we'd go as far as Hunting Park Avenue. I remember, 
once we tried to hitch a ride home on 12th Street. A man stopped his 
car and told us how dangerous that was. He gave us a nickel each and 
told us to take the trolley car. Of course, we waited until he was well 
out of sight before we ducked into a corner candy store. 

By this time, we had learned that there were certain streets we had to
avoid. It wasn't safe to go down 13th between Columbia and Berks. We 
got stopped there twice by the same three black kids who made us turn 
out our pockets to show we had no money. The alley behind Temple 
University wasn't safe either. The coloreds ran in gangs through there. 
It was white kids on Camac who hassled us and made us cross it off our 

South on Broad, we'd play on the sidewalk campus of Temple University.
In the winter, we'd duck inside, sometimes, for a quick ride on the 

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