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YOU CAN TELL BY THE EYES



"You're just like Mother Winters at the orphanage," I told the man, as he began to choke me.

"Just give me those hot dogs and I'll turn you loose," he said.

I opened my hand and let the package of hot dogs fall to the ground. The man released me, grabbed the frozen package, and began to rip it open with his teeth. I stood watching as he tried to bite into the frozen meat.

"It's still like frozen. I just stole it a little while ago," I advised him.

The man paid me no mind. All his attention was focused on getting the food into his stomach.

As I turned and began to walk away, I heard him say, "Who is this Mothers Winters. Is that your Mother?"

I stopped dead in my tracks. I did not even turn around.

"No, I don't got no real mother."

"Then who is Mother Winters?"

"She's the matron at the orphanage where I live over on the Southside."

"Ain't no orphanages around no more," he blurted out, pushing his bushy eyebrows upward, almost to his hairline.

"There's one where I live."

"Come here, boy," he said. He held out several hot dogs.

Very carefully, I walked back over to where he was standing. I reached out and took two franks from his hand.

"You know, I might have killed you had you not given me this here food."

"I ain't never gonna kill nobody 'cause of food," I replied.

"You will if you get hungry enough." He gave me a very stern, hard look.

I just stood there shaking my head back and forth.

As I began to eat, the man watched my every bite. The faster I would eat, the faster the man would stuff the food in his mouth. It became apparent to me that he did not want to share any additional food.

"How old are you, boy?"

"Eleven," I answered.

" Let me tell you something. When you get food, you had best keep it hid, and hid very well. Find yourself a hole and climb in deep. Eat all you can and then get gone."

I stood there staring at him for the longest time. My eyes never left his face. I wanted to see if I thought that he would really kill somebody.

His movements were slow and jerky. He reminded me of a cat that I had seen run over by an old black car just a week before. His butt was all mashed on the road, but he was still alive. I tried to help him but he was really mean and I could tell by his eyes that he wanted to kill me. I saw that same look in this man's eyes.

I chewed, swallowed the last of the cold hot dog, and began to walk away.

"See you tomorrow, kid," yelled the man, as he laughed aloud.

I kept walking and never looked back. I was just too scared.



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