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The Orphanage
by Gary Ritter 
04/28/14
Not For Sale
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A slight wind raised dust devils in the bare play yard.  On its solitary tree a lonely swing hung from the branches.  Under the West African equatorial sun the young woman trudged through the gate and to the open door of the orphanage.  Pregnant, the two year old in tow, she couldn’t help but sob at the deception.  Looking back she saw her husband, who had put her up to this, hiding behind a nearby building motioning her onward.

 The orphanage director appeared and held out her arms for the child.  He clung to the legs of the young woman.  “You are sure you want to do this, Frances?”

 She placed her hand on her stomach.  “The AIDS.  I will lose this one, too.”

 “We’ll take good care of him.”

 Frances nodded, shoved the toddler toward the other woman and fled, the sounds of her cries echoing across the parched land.

 The director took the struggling child inside and handed him to a worker.  “Clean him up.”  She reached for her cell phone.

 An hour later a black SUV drove up, a large man in sunglasses at the wheel.  Behind the closed door of the director’s office the man pulled out a wad of bills.  “You do good work.  Keep them coming.”

 The child was sleeping when the man placed him in the anxious arms of the woman in the woman in the back seat of the car.  She wept.

 The next day the orphanage director gave a small amount of the money she’d received to Frances.  “If you have any more friends looking to unload their kids, let me know,” she said.

 Emboldened at their success Frances’ husband grabbed the bills and grinned.  “We will send many your way.”



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