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Main : Love : Kindness

Little Dwarf, The
  by: Roger Dean Kiser, Sr., Source Unknown

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I was sixteen years old when I completed my Army basic training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and decided to take my leave in Jacksonville, Florida, where I had been raised in a orphanage, before being sent to Fort Wainwright, located in Fairbanks Alaska.

As I arrived at the Trailways bus station, I noted the many prostitutes and bums standing around on the street, which was not unusual to me. Some of them I had seen hundreds of times because I myself had lived on these same streets for several years before being placed into the Army by juvenile a court order. I guess I came back to the streets of Jacksonville to show everyone living on the street that I had finally become somebody. I threw my duffle bag over my shoulder and started walking towards Forsythe Street.

Since I had no family, I decided to see if I could find someone that I knew from the times when I had lived on the street. I continued to walk to Forsythe. About that time several sailors walking behind me started making joke about my uniform. I quickly turned into a coffee shop and ordered a soda. After I was sure that they had gone, I decided to go back outside and tell these burley looking navy guys just where to get off. But to my surprise, I must have scared them off because they were no where to be found.

I continued to walk down towards town and decided to stop in at a Army/Navy surplus store. I emerged about a half an hour later with almost every medal known to man-kind, not to mention my white spats and my white pistol-belt. I was one sharp looking dude.

I finally reached Forsythe Street. I was walking by the Florida Theatre when I noticed those same three navy guys giving this dwarf guy, on a mechanics board. They had pushed him off the side walk and were laughing at him. As I passed, I could see that the little dwarf had no legs and his hands did not have many fingers and what was there was calloused from pushing himself around by his hands.

I had seen this little man many times before, when I lived on the street, but I had never spoken to him because he looked to scary to me. I did not have enough nerve to say anything to the sailors so I just walked on by. The further I got from them the more I hurt inside.

Finally I could not take it any more so I turned around and headed back towards them. The sailors were already crossing the street when I arrived. I noticed that they had jammed a single dollar bill in the little dwarf's mouth. I stood before him, looking down, and did not know what to say. I reached out into the street and got his mechanics chair and helped him get back onto it. I told him that I would buy him something to eat if he was hungry.

He told me that he was, so I took out my wallet and handed him a twenty dollar bill. That was a lot of money for me because I only received $68.00 a month in army pay. As I turned to leave he yelled at me to stop, I turned around and he asked me if he could buy me dinner.

We ordered 10 hamburgers a piece, and a fry. We talked for about an hour and I told him that I had been raised in an orphanage on the Southside. He told me that he also did not have any parents and that he had lived in an institution for about ten years. After we had eaten our meal I paid for his hamburgers so that he could save his $20.00.

Then he asked me to wait while he went to get something important. About 30 minutes later he finally returned and handed me a large envelope and asked me not to open it until he was gone. I shook his deformed hand and then watched as the little man rolled himself, with his hands, back down the street towards the Florida Theatre. I folded the envelope and stuck it in my back pocket and left the restaurant.

As I stepped out into the street there they were. These same three burley looking sailors, who immediately started shoving me around and finally pushed me against the glass window. Just about that time, several military policemen drove up and asked what was going on. The three sailors just walked away laughing. The MPs got out of their vehicle, walked around me several times and then one of them asked me, "Just what damn service are you in?" "The French Foreign Legion", yelled one of the three sailors. They laughed and continued walking off.

I was handcuffed and taken to the Naval Air Station at Mayport where I was stripped of my metals, white pistol-belt and white spats, then locked in a small cell. Several hours later I was told that my leave had been cancelled and I was immediately taken to the Jacksonville International Airport and placed aboard a flight to Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

I sat in my airline seat when I happened to remember the envelope that the little dwarf guy had given me. I opened it and found ten one-hundred-dollar bills, a note and a page from a magazine.

The note read "I said I would take you out to dinner". On the dirty old wrinkled magazine page was a large picture of a man and a woman, standing next to a fancy six horse drawn carriage, behind them stood a castle. The headline read "Scottish Royalty Dies, deformed infant found and placed into institution". At the bottom of the magazine page was written, "A large steak would be nice. That's what I eat everyday, my friend".

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