By Prospero Pulma, Jr.
“Leave the fruit of your spiritual catastrophe under this spotlight.” Emily frowned from reading the sign beside the red gate. Fruit of my spiritual catastrophe? She looked down at the basket in her arms. She had one too many and Scott was irresistible one night nine months ago. Her eyes returned to the sign. “Ring thrice and leave. Your burden is now our blessing.”
She touched the inside of the basket with her lips before lowering it to the ground right under the sign and spotlight. She pressed the doorbell once. Ring thrice, and you’ll have a college diploma, career, travels.
She glanced at the basket through eyes clouded by tears. Without thinking, she grabbed its handle. Run with the basket, and you’ll have supermarket jobs, a trailer. She pulled back her hand and pushed a finger against the doorbell. She began humming to drown out the sound emanating from the basket and pushed the doorbell again.
“Young lady, leave your burden to us,” a grandmotherly voice spoke over the intercom.
Emily turned to the voice. The metallic body of an intercom shimmered on the concrete post to her left. Sensing someone watching her, she looked up. “What the ”
“The camera is for the lawyers,” the woman spoke.
Emily took out her smartphone and set its video camera on recording mode. Well, this is for me. Holding her mobile high, she knelt beside the basket and planted a kiss on its cargo. She focused the device on the container for about a minute before panning it to the gate, the sign, the spotlight, the intercom, the security camera.
Emily spoke aloud for the woman and her smartphone camera. “You will find good people?”
“People who see your burden as their blessing,” the woman replied.
“I’m just in…” she sniffled, “a bad place now.”
“Hey!” A man hollered from a 1980 pickup truck.
Emily scooped a pink rattle from the basket before sprinting to the truck. She plopped down on the passenger seat. She took her bag and buried the rattle between her clothes.
Scott spoke her from the driver’s seat. “How’s the litter under the spotlight?”
Emily gasped and looked up at Scott. Seeing his sneering face, she stuffed her smartphone into her bag and laid it flat on the rear seat. With the rattle and video recording safe, she slammed her fist into his nose.