Short Story: “The Prince of Maryland Parkway”

The Prince of Maryland Parkway

Fox Kirby is a hard working man from the hard working state of California. Inside that hard working state are many hard working cities, but inside the hard working city of San Francisco lies the very hard working community of San Mateo. San Mateo has the second highest population of educated people in the country, and this is where our anti-hero resides. Fox has worked very hard to complete high school with a 2.0 grade point average, which is literally average. He also worked very hard to complete two years of community college with a 2.0 GPA, again very average. When unsure of what to major in one of his instructors said to him, “If you wanna make money, accounting is the way to go. There’s a lot of money in accounting”. At that point Fox didn’t have any direction so he chose accounting. He then worked very hard for four more years earning a masters in accounting, passing a 2.0, again very average. Fox is a man of routine. He works nine to five Monday through Friday, he gets paid on the 15th and the 30th of every month. He goes to bed at 10pm every night and wakes up at 7:45 every morning, even when he’s off. He only has one necktie and he wears it everyday. He has the same breakfast, eats the same lunch, and eventually wolfs down the same dinner every night. He takes the same route to work everyday; he stops at the intersection of Maryland parkway and Tropicana, which just happens to be the longest red light in that area, nicknamed the “long light”. He arrives at work at 8:45 every morning. He sits at his desk crunching numbers, filing documents, and helping rich scoundrels weasel their way around paying taxes, everyday! After seven years of this routine, our anti-hero has grown weary. One Thursday morning Fox didn’t wake up at 7:45. Instead he woke up at 8:15, and decided to skip breakfast. Instead of wearing his famous necktie, he decides to go casual. As he approaches the infamous long light he notices something he has never seen in this community, a panhandler at the corner of Maryland Parkway. This is strange because in this community you almost never see people begging for money. Fox pulls his black Lexus next to the panhandler, his rather large sign reads, “Anything will help. Thank you and God bless”. And at the bottom right corner of the sign reads. “% Of BMWs that give… 5”. The long light finally turns green at Fox presses on to work. The next morning Fox again wakes up at 8:15, it’s Friday so his enthusiasm is very low. He skips breakfast and goes with the casual look once again, no necktie. He approaches the long light and he sees the same beggar from yesterday holding a large that reads, “Anything will help. Thank you and God bless”. And at the bottom corner of the sign reads, “% Of Mustangs that give…0”. This man now intrigues Fox, he contemplates giving the man some spare change as he takes a long look at him. The beggar is a thin, middle-aged man with a large beard. The sign he holds has such elegant penmanship. After thinking hard about giving the beggar money, the light turns green and he presses on to work. On Saturday morning Fox sleeps in to almost 10am. He gets up to brew some coffee and wrecks his brain about this beggar. After all Fox has lived in this community and not once did he ever see a person begging for money, and he has seen this man twice now. “What’s his deal?” He says to himself. Fox is so intrigued by this man that he

does something bold. He decides to drive over to the corner of Maryland Parkway and approach the beggar. As he approaches the corner he sees the man holding a sign that again reads, “Anything will help. Thank you and God bless”. And at the bottom corner of this sign reads, “% Of Lexus’s that give… 10”. Fox pulls into the parking lot, and approaches the beggar. “Excuse me sir, I know this sounds crazy but can I take you to lunch? There’s some questions I would like to ask you, if you don’t mind” Fox said to the beggar. The beggar nods his head yes and grabs his bag. The two sit at a diner that’s located in the same parking lot. “Order whatever you like it’s on me,” Fox said. “Thank you” the beggar said. The waitress comes by to take their orders before shuffling off to another table. “So what’s your name?” said Fox. “Eli” said the beggar. “Do you have a last name?” “No,” Said Eli. “How come?” Said Fox. “Because I don’t have a family.” “So what’s your story?” Said Fox. “I used to work as a telemarketer, but I couldn’t make quota so they let me go. Soon after I lost my wife, apartment and car”. “So where do you live now?” said Fox. “A few miles east of here is an abandoned trailer park, it’s kind of a shanty town for us.” The waitress brings the two their food with a smile. “So what’s your daily routine?” Fox asked. “Well I arrive at my favorite post here on Maryland Parkway at about 8:30 to catch the morning rush. I usually stick to the sidewalks because the cops will give you a ticket if you’re in the street begging, I’ve gotten tons of tickets that have eventually turned into warrants”. “What happens if you’re arrested?” Fox asked. “ I’ll sit in jail a few days before seeing the judge. I always plead not guilty and I’m released back to the streets in no time.” Eli says. “Do you make any money out there?” Said Fox. “I do ok, I can about $25 an hour out there which is more than most beggars make, I guess it’s my attitude because I’m never aggressive, if they don’t wanna give it’s ok.” “Oh.” Said Fox, now very intrigued. “I never forget a giver. Just this morning a red GMC pulled up, rolled down its tinted passenger window and a lady gave me a dollar bill, I told her thank you and God bless, she answered back with a smile Then seconds later a white jeep Cherokee pulls up and offers me some change. I take the $2.38 from the giver and thank him before returning to the sidewalk. I receive money from people driving all kinds of cars from fiat 500s to Nissans, the only cars that never and I mean NEVER give money are people in Mustangs.” Do you ever talk to the people?” Said Fox. “I preform a quiet parade up and down Maryland Parkway. I sometimes get people yelling get a job at me so I changed my sign to, need money. Can you give me a job? When that didn’t work I changed my sign back. When someone makes eye contact with me I focus on him or her while holding my sign a bit higher, hoping they’ll give. If they ignore me and just focus ahead, I just continue my walk up and down the sidewalk.” Said Eli. Fox is eating but he’s also at a complete loss of words. “What’s the most anyone has given you?” Said Fox “One day a couple of nice young men in a green Ford gave me a $100, a bong, and a small bag of weed”. Fox and Eli share a good laugh. “I have good days and bad days but I usually make enough for food and water, and that’s really all I need. Said Eli. “What else do you do?” Fox asked. “Well I’ve been trying to do some good in my life, so I’ve been working a few extra hours lately so I can save some extra money.” Eli said. “For what? Said Fox. “Every morning a little girl gives me an ice cold bottle of water while her and her mother wait for the bus. The two are very nice and every morning the little girl has a department store catalog with her opened to a page of princess fairy dresses. She

has one circled in red that she’s always talking about but her mother doesn’t have the money to get it for her. But I want too I think she deserves it.” “How much is the dress?” said Fox. “$50. I plan to have the money to buy it for her in no time.” Said Eli. Fox finishes his food and asks his final question. “Are you happy?” “I am. Being homeless isn’t as bad as people think it is. I have everything I truly need and no worries what so ever, and I get by on the generosity of others. And now I get to help others out too. I couldn’t ask for more.” Said Eli. Fox nods his head with a look of despair. “Are you happy?” Eli asked. “Honestly no. I do the same thing day in and out and I’ve been working this soul-draining job for almost a decade, helping rich fat cats cut corners to save and make even more money! I honestly don’t think I can endure another day at that hellhole of a firm. To sum it all up I guess I just feel unfulfilled and bored with life.” Said Fox. Eli nods his head as to say “I feel your pain brother.” Eli wipes his mouth with a napkin before giving his last words to Fox, “You know what to do, just follow your karma compass”. “What is that?” Said Fox. Eli points to his heart. He then thanks Fox for the meal before exiting the diner and returning to his stage on Maryland Parkway. Fox heads back home and spends the rest of Saturday evening and all day Sunday thinking hard about his future. He pulls a stationary pad from his drawer and writes his official letter of resignation. On Monday morning he wakes up at 7:45, eats breakfast, and flaunts his one famous necktie. He grabs his letter of resignation and hits the door. He pulls up to the long light at Maryland Parkway and sees Eli center stage with his trademark sign. Eli nods at Fox. Fox rolls down his passenger window and flags down Eli. He walks up to his window and Fox gives him $500 and thanks him for his words of inspiration. Eli thanks Fox, takes the generous offering, and says to him, “I never forget a giver”.

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