by W.P. Gerace
A young disgusted man with his current situation finds hope after a heroic act.
W. P. Gerace
Sammy had another lousy day at his job at the local grocery store in his hometown of Phoenix. Nearly twenty-five years old going on twenty-six in a few short months, this job was to be just a filler or placeholder position till he finished up his college degree in Journalism so he could get a career in the competitive news industry and maybe be one of those snazzily dressed reporters making the big bucks. But as with everything else in his life, bad luck loomed over him like an ominous dark cloud that never seemed to let up. A few months ago, the scholarship he won from playing basketball had run out of funds. Now he was stuck in this dead-end job and city with nowhere to advance until he found a way to pay for college.
Milling around the aisles, he wanted to be somewhere other than today. It was his girlfriend Nikki's birthday, and she was turning twenty-one. They were going to have food and games and all sorts of fun. Instead, he was here pushing a small wobbly cart and putting the returned items back up. At the end of the aisle stood Mrs. Murphy in her dark dress and beady little sable eyes, just as he remembered her from fifth grade. Smiling at him in that sinister look of hers, he tried to maintain his manners with her. Then she opened her mouth and spewed her negativity.
"Hi, Sammy. How are you, honey? "So phony her words of concern, when she was using it as a hook to attack, was nauseating him already.
"Hi, there, Mrs. Murphy. I am okay. How are you?" Sammy asked.
"I am okay. I heard that you lost the scholarship to Phoenix University. Too bad, I am sure you would have made a fine reporter. Oh well, what can one say? "Her dark eyes just stared at him as if he was some diseased person sickened him.
Just as he opened his mouth and was about to finally tell her what he thought of her prune face and fake silver hair wig, Mr. Hart, the Store Manager, came over the loudspeaker in an unusually monotone pitch. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an approaching storm hitting the valley. They are predicting heavy rain. Please be careful as you leave the store. As if Mr. Hart's words predicted everything, the skies outside became quite dark, especially over the South Mountain. The clouds looked like streaks of black ink looming over the area. The sturdy maple oaks that had been part of this store since he could remember started to sway violently back and forth as the gusty winds barreled in from the Western sky.
The rain came down at a frightening steadfast pace. Roars of thunder shook the store as streaks of intense lightning lit up the black sky like a July Fourth fireworks show. Spiraling down, the winds circulated in a circular motion taking the clouds with them. It appeared as a twister in the works. Swirling about along the surface, taking trees, cars, and anything else in its sight, was horrifying to watch. The skies opened up and let out their fury on the city of Phoenix. The outside quickly became a mini river as the streets flooded and were soon up to the store's main entrance doors.
Sammy had lived here all his life and never recalled seeing a storm like this. The lights flickered as he watched this magnificent storm, and more frightening thunder crashed across the sky. Another lightning bolt zipped across the street and zoomed in on Mr. Hart's navy blue Truck setting off its alarm. Cactus Road, the main road in front of Phoenix Fresh Foods where Sammy worked, could now be labeled Cactus River. There was a woman trapped in her car. She had a child with her. He could see her petrified face and her child crying for help. The waters were rushing up against the surface of her tiny grey car. Another few minutes and they would be quickly washed away.
Bolting down the aisle and out into the sea that used to be the street, despite Mr. Hart's pleas to stop along with others, Sammy ran out to the woman in her car. Her dark hair was glued to her face from the pelting raindrops. Jumping on the hood of another truck that was way taller than the woman's, he yelled for them to take his hand. The woman cried and said she was afraid. Sammy could see the fear in her eyes. There was little time. The winds roared, and rain continued to pour, making the conditions dangerous, if not life-threatening.
"Trust me, please! Grab my hand!" Sammy yelled.
Grabbing his hand, she lifted herself out of her vehicle and onto where Sammy was as the Truck he was on swayed back and forth against the beating winds. Reaching out to her little girl, he grabbed her and brought her over. Luckily the Truck they were on was directly on the sidewalk. The Truck was about to be washed away. Sammy could feel its exterior bobbing back and forth as it was forced to move. Yelling at both the woman and her child, telling them they would jump off on the count of three. Just as all three jumped off and at the store entrance, the woman's car and the Truck reeled down the street.
Inside the store, everyone cheered him on as if he were famous. Mr. Hart came down in his jeans and a white t-shirt saying he would see what they could do about that scholarship. Sammy smiled. Not only did he save two lives, but he maybe get his dreams back.