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  • Writer's pictureHenery X (long)

The Commission

A short story

Opportunities are never in short supply.-Henery X

The Commission

2023, Henery X ©

Bobby Walker was being led through the busy interior of the police department in downtown Detroit in handcuffs. The twenty-year-old African in America had never seen the inside of any place like this. He was of average height and build, and was dressed in casual attire. His clean-shaved, handsome face made him appear younger than he was.

Bobby painted graffiti on urban walls without permission, as he was never granted any. He had always been careful not to get caught, but his good fortunate had run its course.

“What’s his story, James?” A tall, heavyset officer said.

The officer escorting Bobby stopped to address his co-worker. “Believe it or not, Rick. This is, Tag…. You’re It.” James Carson carried a large Adidas backpack, which belonged to Bobby.

“Really!” Rick Morgan said. He raised an eyebrow as he eyed Bobby.

“Yes, Sir. It’s really him.”

Bobby looked up at the officer Morgan and flashed a brilliant smile.

“How do you know it’s him?”

“My partner and I caught him just as he was finishing signing his name.”

“Wow! We’ve always wanted to meet the person responsible for such amazing artwork.”

“Oh, yeah?” Bobby said cheerfully.

“Now, now. Don’t go getting your hopes up, young man. People still consider what you did and what you are doing as vandalism.”

“How so? I mean, the buildings are abandoned.”

“True. But they still belong to someone. And if you never received permission to do what you did, it’s vandalism.”

“That’s crazy.”

“No, young man. That’s the law. But between me, you, and Officer Carson here. Your skills are phenomenal. You should really think about doing this legitimately.”

“Thank you, Sir. Your suggestion sounds easy enough, but opportunities such as that don’t grow on trees.”

“Good day, gentlemen.” A tall, dark, handsome, well-dressed man said.

“Hello, Sir.” Officer Morgan and Carson said in unison.

“So, who do we have here, gentlemen?” The newcomer said.

“This is Bobby Walker, Sir.”

“Hello, Bobby. Mind if I call you Bobby?” the man flashed a winning smile.

“No, Sir.” Bobby said. He didn’t know who this man was, but he knew he was someone of importance.

“Excellent. So, why are you here, Bobby? Oh, and my name is Hennessy Ball, by the way.”

“Well, Mister Ball. They caught me beautifying an abandoned building not too far from here.”

“Is that right?”

“It is, Mister Ball.”

“So, are you any good? I mean, at beautifying other people’s property?”

“I’m the best, Mister Ball.” Bobby said with confidence.

“Alright now. Take the cuffs off of him, please. I want to speak with him in private.”

“Yes, Sir,” Officer James Morgan said.


Bobby and Hennessy were now in one of the three interrogation rooms present. They sat across from one another in chairs on either side of a metal table.

“So, who are you, Mister Ball?”

“I’m someone who cares about young men like yourself.”

“You mean young black men?”

“Yes. But not just young melanated men, but all young men who feel they don’t have options.”

“Why do you care?”

“I care, Bobby, because I know what it feels like to have someone care.”

“Please share, Mister Ball.”

“I was once running around the streets of Detroit like it was the thing to do. I was no stranger to the law, but thanks to my grandfather, I served no time. It was this same grandfather that helped me change my ways.”

“What happened, Mister Ball?” Bobby said enthusiastically.

“He told me that the road I was on would lead me to no good place. He said that if I wanted to keep living like I was, he was going to disassociate himself from me.”

“Wow! That seems extreme.”

“Sometimes extreme measures are necessary for a person to get the message, Bobby. For me, not having my grandfather being a part of my life wasn’t an option. So, I changed my ways. I joined the family business and now, I oversee the business my grandfather started, and that was passed down to me by my father.”

“And what business is that, Mister Ball?”

“Ball Realty, LLC. We own commercial and residential properties throughout the city of Detroit.”

“Does this include abandon properties as well, Mister Ball?”

“It does. So, yes, Bobby. You’ve more than likely beautified some of our properties,” both men chuckled.

“Question. Why are buildings that are abandoned not torn down?”

“Good question. I’ll give you two answers. The first, because the owner may be thinking of renovating. And the second, they may have plans of tearing it down but don’t know what they want to do with the space after the fact.”

“Thank you, Mister Ball. Now I have a newfound respect for abandoned buildings.”

“That’s great to know, Bobby. Hey, listen. I want to see some of your work up close and personal. If I love what I see, I want to hire you.”

“Really, Mister Ball!”

“Really, Bobby. But your payment will come as you being able to walk out of this place as if you were never here. Do we have a deal?” Hennessy reached his hand across the table.

“It’s a deal, Mister Ball,” Bobby shook Hennessy’s hand.

“Alrighty then. Let’s get out of here.”

“Hey, Mister Ball. Why were you here?”

“I was speaking with the Chief of Police. He’s a friend of the family. He wants to have some interior work done at the station, in particular his office.”

“I guess this was my lucky day, huh?”

“There’s no such thing as luck, Bobby. Everything happens for a specific reason. Our paths were destined to cross at the exact moment they did. We could have easily missed one another, as you would have been in central booking and I would have been walking out the door headed for home.”

Bobby had a blank expression on his face as he stared aimlessly at Hennessy. Hennessy knew the revelation would leave the young man thinking, which was the point of him sharing it.

To be continued tomorrow.

Blessings come as people, and our attitude will determine if they bless us or not.-Henery X

Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my offering. May all you deserve and desire flow abundantly into your life, as a river does into a sea.

Remember. I’m not here to convince you to believe. I’m here to offer you something else to consider.

Continue to be a lighthouse for all those who feel lost in the sea of life.

May we never lose our desire to outdo what we’ve already done.

Peace, Love, and the utmost Respect.

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