The Minstrel

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51


Jonathan felt brain dead as he sat in his office. Three o’clock, the electric grandfather clock bonged, and no work done. He had three cases that he was supposed to research and he hadn’t even touched them. He was acting secretary and sounding board for all of Russell Frawley’s irate clients, witnesses, etc. This was the second time in a week that he had to cover for Frawley. A drunk day, Frawley explained to him when he called Jonathan’s house at six in the morning to inform him that he wouldn’t be coming to work. The man was unbelievable. Not only did he have the nerve to harass his employees at home, but he was proud of being a lush. He wished he could go home and be with Ashley and Raven, but it wasn’t meant to be yet. It was three o’five now.

He saw a newspaper. Ignoring the ringing phone, Jonathan picked up the paper, scanning the headlines to lose himself in a world that wasn’t in his head. Fare hikes in mass transit, two suspected in armed robbery, a woman remembers her murdered daughter on the fourth anniversary of her killing. Everything in the paper seemed related to death and misery. Jonathan sighed, wondering what it was about human nature that craved so much death and destruction that it got so much more attention than the many good and kind things that were in the world if you only looked He’d love to write a story about Raven, but the press would never publish it unless someone kidnapped her. She wasn’t a good enough story just as she was. Innocence never seemed to be.

He stumbled across an article on page four. The residents of a hamlet outside of Bronxville were convening about the situation of The Singing Hobo, or the Minstrel, some called him. Their economy was being affected by his presence. Just the very idea of a homeless man walking the streets was making people who would normally browse the stores as a pastime stay locked up in their homes. Some residents reported that their children were having nightmares because they thought they saw this bad man at the window. And the police were doing nothing about it. The article cited a Cadillac windshield mysteriously smashed in and aluminum cans missing from recycling boxes. The man was trespassing. He should be arrested. Meaning, this man is not like us. Remove him.

He really hadn’t done anything wrong, mind you, at least not yet. “Not yet” were the operative words. With people like him, it was only a matter of time, you see, said the interviewees, who varied in ages from forty-two to seventy-five, both male and female. After all, how did he eat? He certainly didn’t work if he were a street man. He probably robbed people. The ladies had been admonished by town officials to keep their pocketbooks close to them at all times and not to travel alone, if at all possible. There was a Citizens’ Concerns Committee number to call if any suspicious activities were cited. This committee were planning to build a blockade around the houses in the form of a big fancy wall, read the article. If they couldn’t keep the undesirables from walking their streets, at least they could protect their hard-earned homes from him. They weren’t going to let their town go the way others did. The hobos weren’t going to destroy their little community, a committee spokesperson named Dr. Michelle Johnson-Frawley said.

Jonathan stared at the name. Johnson-Frawley. He knew that woman was related to his boss in some way. He wasn’t sure how, but he knew she was. He’d heard Russell Frawley mention that name more than once. Knowing he worked for someone related to a person who thought like that made Jonathan feel sick. He felt like a co-conspirator in her prejudice, because he knew Frawley would think the same way as she did. Jonathan itched to leave this place forever. If he didn’t have a family to support, he would have.

Three-fifty. He would leave in an hour. The ticking of the clock hands reverberated like a bomb in his head.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51