NOTE: This short story is a part of my challenge to write an ongoing collection of stories based on photos I come across. You can see the collection of photos HERE.
These are quick and short stories, not polished or fully edited, partly for you to enjoy and partly for me to see if I can really do this…and for how long!
This story is called: For the Kids.
Can you hear me?
Nod your head if you can hear me.
I want you to understand why I did what I did. I want to explain ‘cause I want you to know I’m not really a bad guy, at least didn’t wanna be.
It’s because of the kids.
There’s Robbie. He’s the oldest. He’s five. A good kid. Wants to grow up to be like his dad; or what he thinks his dad is like anyway. He’s really good at puzzles. And playin’ catch.
Then there’s Susie. She just turned four. Carla, that’s my wife, she wanted a little girl so we didn’t wait. Susie is already smarter than her brother; is already readin’ and rememberin’ everything she reads. She wants to be a schoolteacher when she grows up.
Can you still hear me?
Ok, I wanted to make sure. It’s important I explain this.
Jessie is two, two and a half really. She tries to follow the older kids around, but she’s got somethin’ wrong with her leg. The doc said he could fix it with some kinda brace when I get the money together. But she doesn’t let it slow her down. She’s my little fighter.
And there’s Lizzie. She’s the little one. Just started walkin’ really good. She’s gonna be smart like Susie. Lizzie was a surprise. It was already really tough with the three of them. I mean, I really tried, but when people find out you got a past it’s hard to get them to give you another chance.
I mean, I hadn’t really done anything big, you know?
You still hear me?
I hadn’t done nothin’ big, just little stuff back when I was a kid, you know. Never hurt nobody or nothin’ like that, I mean. But people think I was a lot worse than I was, and that’s been the problem. I had a good job. Just enough to take care of the five of us before Lizzie came. When she got here I started lookin’ for somethin’ better; somethin’ that paid a bit more, ya know? I just wasn’t makin’ enough to feed ‘em all. I mean, they didn’t eat a lot, but still, they’re kids, ya know?
It’s been over a year now I’ve been lookin’. Every time I find somethin’ good they hear about my past and that’s the end of it. I try to explain but they just don’t wanna listen, they don’t believe nothin’ I say, they figure I’m just playin’ ‘em.
My wife, Carla, she tried to find somethin’, but she has to stay home with the kids cause we can’t pay nobody to take care of ‘em and we got no family around.
I really want you to understand that I’m not a bad guy, no matter what people say. I just wanna take care of my kids. Just put some clean clothes on ‘em for once. You know that Lizzie is wearin’ the same shirt that Robbie wore? That was five years ago. And I just wanna give ‘em food. Nothin’ fancy, just something more than beans. That’s all I want. It’s not for me. It’s for the kids.
Nod if you understand.
I wanted you to know I didn’t do this because I’m a bad guy. I did it for the kids. I need the money. If you hadn’t tried to fight me when I pulled you in the alley I just woulda’ taken it and let you go. But then you started shoutin’ and I had to make you stop. I want you to know I’m sorry. I just wanted you to understand. I didn’t do it for me, or because I’m just rotten inside.