2 Chapter 1
"Blackjack," The old man shouted successfully.
He picked up his luck-gained cash, stuffed them in the back pocket of his torn, work-worn trousers and walk off with a proud attitude. The winner walks off with the hard-earned cash of the ones left behind. All those left behind feel the pain of losing this cash.
I was one of them, after working for a year, it seems like keeping any more than a dollar is difficult. The rest of the men and I, who lost their hard work, can only watch the meter-long beard swaying as he marched away. The other men and I could only watch but could do no more.
Some men left because they couldn't take in the jealousy and hopelessness anymore. Some men stayed because they wanted to see their hard-earnt dollars until the final moment.
Mad with resent, I left with the first batch of men.
The street was covered in dust, along with wet mud from the afternoon rain. It was planted on the ground, completely forgotten. The buildings were covered with the final feelings of the happy men just before the crash.
I slowly walked across the windows of the old street shops, homes, schools and offices. They were originally a view of hope for the future. Now, however, they only reflect the image of a dreaming, hopeless man.
I walked for who knows how long until I finally reached the edge of the godforsaken city. I waited at the lonely bus stop and look back at the graveyard known as New York City.
It took an hour for the bus to arrive, it was an old, windowless piece of junk that moves on wheels. It doesn't matter, it'll probably cost a fortune to afford.
"Ah, James, you again?" The driver talked down to me, he was wearing his usual navy blue British royale guard style top. Despite looking as if he can afford something, the shirt was just a bluff to cover the poor man underneath, he probably stole the shirt from an old shop somewhere last year. "How many dollars did'ya lose this time?"
"Shut up, you don't get to talk to me like your any better," I replied.
"'Kay, hurry up or I'll leave ya behind," The driver replied.
Sitting on the bus was as cold and lonely as it usually is, however, it is still better than walking about 5 miles on foot.
I sat on the deserted, rusty vehicle and thought to myself: in a world that is only filled with anger, hate, jealousy and loneliness, do I have to right to have a friend?
The drive took almost an hour, that's about as fast a vehicle pulled out of a junkyard can be. I walked across the muddy floor of the small farm until I reached my bunkhouse.
The building was another wooden, poorly made house, just like all other buildings during these years. The house itself is made completely of maple. A plank of lazily cut wood on top of another, all the way until it reaches somewhere around 8 feet, then on top of that wooden box was a triangular shape made with the same style. Most planks are covered in moss, a small percentage of those moss-covered planks were partly snapped, so much so that if you touched it, you will instantly receive splinters. Small square holes were cut into 3 sides of the wooden construction, these - according to the boss - were meant to be windows. On the side which did not get a small hole, got a bigger one leading to the bottom of the wall. For each of those four holes, a wooden plank is put in their place, these were meant to be the door and curtains.
I opened the wooden plank known as a door and entered. The time is about midnight, so everyone else is probably asleep. I crawled onto another flat plank of wood that was meant to be a bed. I pulled the thin sheet of cloth on top of my curled up body and tried my best to fall asleep.
By now, that's probably impossible.
I looked around the dusty room and saw the poor state God has left us with.
The inside of the already mentioned bunkhouse was even worse than the outside.
The walls were just like the outside, planks of maple on top of each other, however, the inside proved that this wasn't just an abandoned cabin, but an inhabited house for a group of near-homeless men. There were two bunk beds in total, that is four planks of wood for four people to sleep on. For every two planks of wood was a weak staircase, it looks so weak, that we made sure that the heavier man slept on the bottom. This is, of course, a normal thing for anyone to do, except, we were all so thin we didn't know who was heavier. The inside area of the triangular build known as a roof is a spider's nest, so much so that if we point a torch towards the roof, the light would reflect down due to the web. Within the actual room, existed only five true pieces of furniture: four chairs and a single table. They are called "true" because they can be recognised as furniture. Sitting on the table is an overused deck of cards, the were both old and hard to separate, but not one of us cared - it was the only source of entertainment in the bunkhouse.
All of us in the bunkhouse has the same job, home and life as each other. We lived each day to save at least a single dollar for a week. However, in my opinion, the most important thing that bounds all us Americans together now is the same dream.
The dream has certainly changed a lot since its debut, but we all still shared it. A dream where we all get to own a piece of land, watch the sunrise each day with a successful smile on their face, eating three meals a day and finally resting upon a soft, warm bed.
It was what connected everyone in the entire world.
In a world where God has turned his back on, the only thing left for us is hope.
We would dream every night, the same peaceful dream, we could be sleeping on a hard, wooden board; the cold, silent street or even the deep, lonely woods. We would still be dreaming the same dream.
I lied on my ill-fitting bed and wondered if I could walk into that dream this late at night. The answer is probably not. After loosing in a game of blackjack, sitting on a cold bus and lying on my hard wooden board, falling asleep would be a dream in itself.
Without warning, someone knocked on my door. It was probably the boss asking a handyman like me to fix a stove for him. I got off my bed and opened the board known as a door.
However, to my surprise, it wasn't the boss, but the stable boy. He wore a self-knitted shirt and a large pair of old trousers - they were so big that the boy had to tie them on with a rope. The boy was probably the poorest out of all of us, along with only getting half the pay and double the work, he was also only fourteen years of age.
"Watch'ya doin' here boy?" I asked the kid.
"The boss asked me to f-f-find you," he answered fearfully.
"What for?" I asked the kid again with a tinge of impatience.
"He told me to get you to fix his stove!" He rapidly answered.
"Well, tell me that first!" I shot back at him. "Tell 'im I'll be right there, now hurry along will'ya"
The boy quickly ran towards the room owned by the boss. I still wonder what has gotten him so scared? Well, I guess that answer wasn't that unexpected though.
I lazily walked towards the shed we hold all our equipment. The shed was in about the same condition as the bunkhouses, or possibly even worse. The outside design was about the same, however, the shed itself was about a month older than the bunkhouses, and was cared by no one. If there was a strong gust of wind, I think the shed would certainly become history.
The shed didn't have any windows, it didn't even have a door, just a large hole. I carefully walked into the fragile building and took no more than the equipment essential for fixing that flimsy stove. I carefully walked away from the build, everybody who entered that shed did the same. All because of the fear of breaking the thing.
I rested for a moment and pulled all of the equipment towards the kitchen.
Once I reached the place, I instantly started. The boss was a scary man, if he saw me resting, I would certainly lose half of this month's pay.
Fixing the stove took less than an hour, the thing breaks way too often and every time it does break, I'm in charge of fixing the damn thing. When you have to fix the same thing multiple times in a single month, it would not only get boring but also overwhelmingly easy.
Just as I was about to leave the only warm room in the area, I found myself facing the large figure known as the boss.
"Hey, James," He called out as I tried to sneakily crawl away.
"Yes, sir!" I hastily replied.
"Words going around you decided to sneak out for the hundredth time to the city." He eyed me suspiciously. "Lemme guess, you decided to gamble more money into your pocket but ended up losing all this month's pay!"
I looked at him worriedly, at this farm, gambling was forbidden. This is probably because of the boss. The man hated where his money would be going if we gambled every penny away. This was what he claimed, but it is probably actually because he needed us to pay for equipment and food once in a while when he needed it.
I just stared at him speechless.
"Answer the damn question already!" He shouted at me in rage.
"Fine, I did and ended up losing all this month's pay," I said, attempting to avoid eye contact.
"Just as I expected of a loner like you," The boss answered. "Then you're gonna ask, 'whatcha gonna doing about it', ain't ya?"
"Guess I can't hide anything from you, can I?" I replied, expecting the worst outcome.
"Well, that's next months pay gone!" The boss shouted back enraged, you can't blame him, I've already escaped from the farm many, many times. "If the same damned thing happens again you're god damn fired!"
You can't blame me for it either, the usual pay I get is so small that I doubt getting a pay cut is possible. I'm just scared of his second statement. The farm is my only source of money, If I left, I would probably die within a week.
"I'm sorry, sir!" I quickly replied.
"Ya better be!" He answered back. "Now head back to your bunkhouse and never let me hear that same story again!"
I dashed back to the wooden box known as a bunkhouse and lied back in my wooden board which was named 'bed'. After being threatened by my boss with nothing in defence, I sincerely doubt I would be able to enter the dream tonight. I looked straight up at the wooden planks above me and looked again at the horrible environment I was left in after the disaster known as the crash.
I lied on the cold, hard plank and thought to myself: in a world with hate, sadness and fear, where every human being holds fear in their hearts against another; where earning and keeping above a dollar was almost impossible. Is achieving the dream or even making a friend possible. Is it better for me to attempt at the dream alone or would that be virtually impossible?
I lied there thinking to myself until I somehow sailed towards the land of dreams.