Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OhhhÖ. (02/04/10)
TITLE: Seeing and Believing
By LINDA GERMAIN
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He had a deep and happy kind of chuckle that just made you feel good. Sometimes he‚Äôd have a joke for me; clean and corny, and for some reason‚Ä¶funny. It was refreshing to see this gentle giant conducting his simple business as if he knew something none of the rest of us knew. It‚Äôs like he had a secret that was pushing up from his heart straight to his smiling mouth.
A big sign hung a little crooked on the back wall next to a jar of beef jerky. It read, Golden Rule. I was perusing the headlines one morning when I heard a few smarty-pants youngsters question him with no small amount of ridicule.
‚ÄúHey Mr. Doobydoo, you mean whoever‚Äôs got the gold gets to make the rules?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNo, fellows,‚ÄĚ he replied with the patience of a saint, ‚ÄúIt means to treat other people the way you would like to be treated; to be honest in your dealings the way you want others to be; to give a helping hand‚Ä¶‚Äôcause some day you might need one yourself.‚ÄĚ
They guffawed and snickered and slung all kinds of sassy retorts. The apparent leader, a kid they called The Wolf, spoke for his band of misplaced and confused adolescent followers.
‚ÄúIn my neighborhood that Golden Rule stuff means get them before they get you.‚ÄĚ
There was a chorus of laughter as he strutted around trying to look tough while his shallow fan club made every attempt to copy his cocky behavior and philosophy. Meantime, Dooby‚Äôs enigmatic smile remained as he requested payment to cover an ill-concealed chewing gum heist by Little Mac, the smaller of the bunch.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôll be 95 cents, young man.‚ÄĚ
The child was close to tears.
‚ÄúI ain‚Äôt got that kind of dough.‚ÄĚ
Dooby did not yell or accuse. ‚ÄúOkay, you can work it off. Get your friends to help you sweep up a little and I‚Äôll throw in enough for everybody.‚ÄĚ
The Wolf answered for him.
‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt push no brooms, Mister. That‚Äôs woman‚Äôs work. Come on, men. Let‚Äôs blow this dump.‚ÄĚ
He sounded like a cross between The Fonz and Jimmy Cagney playing Bugsy somebody-or-other. As they tromped out, Little Mac reached up and laid three packs of gum on the counter. He walked away with his head down. Dooby called him back.
‚ÄúHey kid, come here for a second.‚ÄĚ
He held out his right hand and waited for the small one to respond. The sight of that boy‚Äôs tiny mitt clasped in that big paw was a picture worth a thousand words.
‚ÄúThank you, son. You‚Äôre all right.‚ÄĚ
The youngster sauntered off by himself, in no obvious hurry to catch up with his posse of hooligans-in-the-making. I knew something had clicked that would probably stay with him forever. It was in his face.
I put down the paper and pulled out a ten. Dooby reached toward his old cash register to give me change. I told him to keep it.
‚ÄúThanks pal. I‚Äôll tell Little Mac that somebody was watching his light bulb moment and bought him some spearmint.‚ÄĚ
I moved away soon after that but came back on business ten years later. I was curious to see my old friend. A nice looking young man at the counter asked if he could help me.
‚ÄúI wonder if a fellow named Dooby is still around?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĚHey, Mr. Jones,‚ÄĚ he yelled to a man in the back who wore dark glasses. ‚ÄúSomebody‚Äôs here to see you.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThanks Mac. Hurry or you‚Äôre gonna be late to class."
When he heard my voice he laughed in recognition.
‚ÄúHello stranger. You lost or something?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNo‚Ä¶just need to stop by every decade or so.‚ÄĚ
He spoke with unconcealed pride. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt Little Mac look good?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWhat happened to the rest of his wayward buddies?‚Äô‚Äô
He sighed. ‚ÄúSadly, most of ‚Äėem are in jail‚Ä¶or dead. Mac‚Äôs the only one who got it.‚ÄĚ
It took me a minute, but as I gazed over his head to the back wall and the old sign, I finally realized‚Ä¶Dooby Jones was anything but blind.
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