The Minstrel

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The minstrel was walking to work. A man picked him up at the corner where the workers were and took him to his farm every day. The minstrel got food, a shower, a clean room when he worked late, and some newer clothes. The minstrel considered himself lucky. The farmer said when the harvest was over, the minstrel could stay and do handyman work. The farmer said that the minstrel was the best worker he ever found. The minstrel thanked the Lord for his admonishment of hard work, for he was being rewarded. Life was good indeed.

All the workers needed a place to live. They did not speak the language of this land, just like the minstrel. He was grateful that he could speak to the farmer, that he understood. When the farmer picked him up, he expressed his concern for his fellow men, how they had nowhere to live. They couldn’t afford most rent. Money they made went to food and the rest went to families abroad. The minstrel envied them. He wished that he had a family to support, still. But he just had himself to worry about, which really was easier. These men went to sleep cold every night because their commitment to their families made them do so.

This is what he told the farmer one day when he picked the minstrel up in his truck. So the farmer drove to a building, a great big building. There were boards on the windows. The farmer said that the building had been abandoned because the landlords were drug smugglers, and that they had set fire to the building just before the government confiscated it. Now the government had forgotten about it, so here it stood, alone and unused. The minstrel and farmer got out and looked over the building. If you climbed the fire escape, you could get into the building on the fourth floor. The fire had apparently only damaged the first three. The foundation on the fourth floor seemed to be solid, and there was plenty of light with all the windows. At least the minstrel’s friends could be warm at night, the farmer said.

So the next time he saw the workers, he told them of the good news, about this home for them. Excitedly, they followed him to the building, where they promptly went and moved their few belongings in. A home, finally. They could be dry at night, and they would be off their streets. And they had good jobs where they made more money in one month than they did in a whole year back home. The workers were very grateful indeed.

The minstrel would go and visit them. The farmer let him take some of the harvest to his friends, so he would give them food and buy them matches and paper so they could stay warm at night. His friends had found a metal garbage can which they used as a fireplace. They would sit around the fire and the minstrel would teach them the songs that he taught Raulita. The minstrel was happy with his new friends. He felt like he truly found a home.

One rainy night though, while they were singing together, two men with flashlights raided their home. They wore blue suits and held gold badges. They took the vegetables that were in the home. They were ready to grab the minstrel and his friends. The minstrel was enraged at this attack. A feeling of deja vous swept over him, and in his venom, he began to hiss at the suits jumping and stomping all about them. He told them off in Spanish, purposely foaming right in their faces. The blue suits were young, younger than even what Raulita would be now. They were scared by the crazy man’s tactics. Seeing an opportunity, the minstrel’s friends formed a circle around the blue suits. The minstrel could see panic in their eyes. Feeling victorious, the minstrel looked the one holding the vegetables straight in the eye, and put his hands out gesturing to the food. The terrified man dropped them in his arms like they were a bomb ready to go off. Then the minstrel gestured towards the makeshift entrance. The men scrambled in that direction, and the circle made room for them to leave, and watched as they disappeared, their footsteps fading on the escape as they got further and further away.

The minstrel and his friends celebrated that night. They sang and feasted on the goodness that the Lord provided. That night they were safe, and they were warm, and they were dry. They were grateful indeed.

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