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Middle School Fiction - 1st Place

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Middle School Fiction - First Place
Simple Acts
Austin Fomby

The streets of New York are constantly bustling with activity. Everybody’s rushing to get to where they are going; not bothering to stop and take the time to realize what is going on around them.

A woman carrying a bundle of groceries, straining to keep them up, was walking down the street that mourning. A tall man in a suit, frantically talking into a cell phone, bumped into her, and didn’t even notice that he had made her drop all of her food in the grocery bags.

The woman looks back at the man, hoping he will stop and help her, but no help is forthcoming. The woman then looks for help from any passing stranger. Again, none stops to help.

She sighs and starts to pick up the groceries herself, and then she saw me walking out of the alleyway towards her. At first she looks afraid. I wasn’t surprised. My ratty clothes, stained with the colors of the city, and unshaved face have scared many people away from me. She didn’t run when she realized that I was there to help.

She smiled warmly as I helped he pick up her food. There was no conversation between us until we finished picking up the food. We didn’t need to talk; the noise of the city provided a sort of background music to the task.

When we had finished, she asked me a question.

“What is your name?”

“I don’t have a name.” I responded

“Don’t be silly everyone has a name!”

“I don’t ma’am.”

“Well…” She was confused now. “Your parents gave you a name right?”

I smiled a sad smile and told her no. They never did.

She put her head down like a dog might do when it has done something out of line.

“I do fine without a name, I have no need for one,” I said. “My life has no need for a name.”

She thought for a moment.

“How would you like to come over for dinner tonight?” she asked me.

“No, I can’t.” I said

“It’s the least I can do for your help here.” She said gesturing to the ground where the food just lay.

When she saw I wasn’t responding she added “Besides, we wouldn’t be eating much of a dinner without your help. It’s only right that you will get to eat some of it too.”

“Ok, fine.” I said

“Good.” She said smiling.

We walked on for a small while until she suddenly stopped in front of a store. The sign atop the doorway read Kohl’s.

“You need some clothes.” She said walking into the store, leaving me no choice but to follow her.

She later told me that I could have anything that I wanted. After minutes of walking through the expensive clothes I told her I was ready to check out. I put my items on the table and the woman gasped. All I had put on the table was a black sweatshirt, a pair of grey Nikes, and some jeans.

“Is this all you want?” She asked me, clearly somewhat shocked.

“That is all.”

She looked at me, and an understanding passed between us. She then proceeded to check out.

Later that evening, she took me to her house for dinner. When she opens the door she yells to her husband “Honey! We have a visitor!”

The look on her husband face when he saw me was indescribable. It was neither confusion, nor curiosity… he was just… observant. The man was not prejudice in any way. He saw me and simply asked for my name.

I told him the same I had told his wife.

“This man stopped to help me when nobody else would,” The woman explained to her husband. “Simple acts of kindness like that should be rewarded with kindness in return.” She said with a warm smile.

“We’re going to name this kind man.” Her husband said. He then called upstairs “Thomas! Come say hi to our guest!”

From upstairs, came a small boy. He was skinny, comparable to me, but the thing that shocked me the most… was his bald head.

“Hi,” he said in almost a whisper “What’s your name?”

“I don’t have one Thomas.”

Thomas looked confused.

“Do you want to give me a name? You seem like the one for the job.”

Thomas smiled and nodded his head eagerly.

“After dinner you can.” His mother said smiling. “I’m starving.”

And with that we went into the kitchen to eat.

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