An Important Decision: A Short Story
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An Important Decision: A Short Story

A short realistic fiction narrative about moral values.

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An Important Decision: A Short Story

As a man restocks more of the Contadina canned tomato sauce, while humming to the song "You Made Me Love You" by Al Jolson, he ponders an important decision. On this chilly, Saturday morning in Chicago, Steve Nolaki was working diligently. Suddenly he notices John Williams. In his striped trousers, a morning coat, and a starched white shirt, he viciously grabs some whiskey off the shelf. Steve becomes certain that he has a drinking problem, but what he didn't know was just how bad it was. Just then, a girl, that must have been at most twelve years old, comes over to Steve carrying a loaf of bread in her hands. Her hair is in two messy braids with her hair half out of them and in her face, and her skin is deathly pale making her look almost ghostly. Despite her having one bruised eye that is a nasty purple—yellowish color, a bloody cut lip that looked deep, and grungy clothes she still had an aura of innocence about her. Young and innocent, she has on an extremely ratty long sleeve shirt with buttons down the middle, black dusty boots, and a flimsy ripped skirt. While Steve is so lost in his thoughts, another worker, holding a newspaper in his left hand, comes to stand beside him and look at the scene unfold as well causing him to jump violently.

"That's the fourth time this week he has stopped here to purchase more whiskey. I hear that he's been abusing his wife and a couple of times his daughter as well. How could he ever hurt a woman, let alone a child!" whispers the other worker.

"That poor family," is all Steve manages to say.

"According to some rumors, alcohol could be banned here in the United States very soon," he replies.

"How is that possible?" Steve asks.

"Fortunately, many groups of women, like the Women's Christianity Temperance Union and the General Federation of Women's Clubs, have been trying to successfully ban alcohol because of how it's destroying their families from their husbands continuously coming home drunk," the worker exclaims.

"Oh, yeah I heard about them," Steve assets. Meanwhile, he starts to think about the two groups of women. I remember reading about Women's Christianity Temperance Union, he thinks. Interestedly, their goal wasn't originally to help get prohibition enforced but instead was to help children. However, since so many families have one parent as an alcoholic they are now trying to ban alcohol to help the kids. They are concerned about how destructive alcohol is becoming and the problems it's causing.

"I hope they achieve their goal. It's true that alcohol causes a lot of problems," the worker states. He's right, I thought, with so many people using alcohol excessively it's causing many children to feel neglected, lack of communication within the family, and making it harder to be able to maintain a budget. But then again maybe instead of people drinking less, they'll drink more if alcohol is ban because it would be "more fun." Nah, that many people wouldn't break the law. "Look at this article in this newspaper," the worker exclaims bringing Steve back to reality. The newspaper states, "Having disposed of suffrage, the General Federation of Women's Clubs is going to make "Prohibition" their battle cry, and Miss Vlda Newsom, Columbus, Ind., will be one of the leaders of the temperance movement. We must get rid of the liquor traffic, and with the vote, we can do it. Miss Newsom told the biennial convention and 4000 clubwomen applauded the declaration."

"If these women are as determined as they sound, maybe alcohol will not only be banned soon but forever," intones Steve.

"I agree. Well, my shift ends now so I'm going to start heading home. I'll see you tomorrow. Have a good night," replies the worker.

"See you soon," Steve shouts. Despite Steve thinking that both John and his daughter had already left, he then hears the girl ask, "Can we please buy some bread, Dad, as long as we're here?"

"No, I'm not going to waste my money on that," John spats.

"Please daddy, I'm so hungry," she pleads with him.

"I said no! Now shut up you worthless piece of shit!" he screams. As John yells, Steve notices how the girl takes a step back from her father and puts her arms around herself in a defensive position. Until now Steve Nolaki didn't know that the rumors were true. Except now he has learned the truth. John Williams was abusing his own daughter and it looked like not feeding her as well. The poor girl was the victim of child abuse Steve thinks. Unlike before, Steve was soon brought out of these thoughts by hearing the girl get slapped sharply. Stunned by hearing this, he quickly whips his head around to see John roughly grab the girl's hair and quietly spats in her face "I told you to shut up!" and throws her onto the cold, hard ground. By now the frightened girl is shaking with fear.

"Now get up, we're checking out and heading home," John says with a wicked smile. The girl bravely gets up to follow her father already walking away, however, as her father walks away, Steve sees her briskly take the loaf of bread and hide it in her baggy shirt. Within seconds of this occurring Steve was in deep distraught with what he should do. Throughout his life, he had always been the loyal one who always obeyed the rules no matter what. To this date, he had never broken one, and he knew that letting someone steal something was definitely a rule breaker. Confused and desperate, the man ponders an upcoming decision that could alter the life of an innocent girl. He was debating if he should allow the girl to steal that bread, go to her privately away from her father so he wouldn't have another reason to abuse her, or possibly pay for the loaf of bread himself.

As a man restocks more of the Contadina canned tomato sauce, while humming to the song "You Made Me Love You" by Al Jolson, he ponders an important decision.

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