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Hopeful Encounter

.. rs is ever going to turn this around. It’s all downhill from here”, Phil sobbed. He then took a long pull on his mug. Bill was surprised at the weakness that Phil just demonstrated.

He looked at Phil sympathetically, “Phil, what you say is true, we have polluted our world extensively. But there is still hope. We can turn this around. As a parent I should be more concerned than you, because I have my childrens future to worry about. If we try hard, we’ll pull through, I’m sure of this. But we have to Fight and fight hard.

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We may not do it this generation or even the next, but our children and our childrens children will carry on. We’ll manage!” Phil looked to Stevens in shock. That was the biggest piece of crap he had heard in his whole lifetime. Yet what Bill said got him thinking. Could there really be hope? Phil did not know.

Bill was a father of two children, he believes that they will have a future, how can he be so optimistic? Maybe it was’nt as bad as he thought it was, yet it was’nt as easy as bill said it would it either. But what chance does the world have by thinking negatively, and doing nothing but complain and grumble about the past. Instead of inaction, why not contribute and help. Instead of making the problem worse than it already is. Nothing is to be gained by negatively, a whole world could be lost. Think of a brighter future, and pitch in, the world can be saved.

After contemplating this, he changed his outlook, from bleak to hopefull. He met Bill’s gaze with a determined look, “You may be right, but in my point of view it may very well go the other way. People might be too greedy to care about the world, even if it meets destruction.” “I agree”, Bill replied, thoughfully. “But we have to always have a positive attitude.” Phil nodded, happy that Stevens accepted, only if to a small extent, his opinion. “Yes”, he repeated, “A positive attitude.” Phil still had his doubts. Big corporations that had so much to lose by employing costly pollution reduction techniques might be reluctant to cooperate.

Ignorant individuals who thinks “oh the other guy will do it” will make efforts, futile. If you don’t start participating, who will? All you can do is set an example, and hope that others will follow your lead. This and more, Bill had taught him. Both men sat there for a few more minutes sipping their drinks. Soon Bill stood up and prepared to leave, He said goodbye to Phil.

Phil Anderson held up his hand, “Wait which way are you headed?” Stevens reversed the question, “Which way are you going?” “Just up the road to Bay Street”, Phil replied. “What a coincidence, I’m going the same way too”, Bill exclaimed. “Just wait I’ll come with you, give me a sec to finsh this off.” Phil gulped down the remaining contents of ginies in his mug. His friends Tom, Ray and Wil urged him to stay a while longer, for another round of drinks. But Phil politely declined.

They usually go home together. There’s safety in numbers. Especially at hard times like these, where robbers and thieves roaming the streets is commonplace. Tonight, Phil wanted to accompany his new friend. After a quick goodbye to his buddies, Phil rose and joined Bill, they opened the doors of the Charelton and headed out to the streets. Phil felt a certain bond towards Bill, he inspired hope and confidence. Phil hadn’t felt this certain of himself for so long that he forgot how great it felt.

He knew that this would be a start of a good friendship. “So tell me more about yourself and your kids, what do you do to help the environment?”, Phil wanted to know. Bill did not answer, he seemed to be preoccuppied with some other thoughts. “Are you all right?” ,Phil asked. “Oh, sorry I was just thinking about something.” “What?”, the Pharmacist inquired. “How to rob you!”, came Bill’s reply. Phil looked to Stevens in shocked disbelief, he then noticed the smile that was playing acoss Bill’s face, and realized it was a joke.

Phil laughed long and hard, he hasn’t felt this good in a while. They walked down a few more blocks and were approaching the run down part of town. “This place always gives me the creeps, it really helps that your with me.” “Yeah.. right.”, Bill said. They were walking down a particullary dark alleyway when Bill suddenly stopped. He looked around to make sure nobody was around.

Phil, puzzled asked, “Something wrong Bill?” “Nothing”, came the answer, “everything is just fine.” Bill suddenly grabbed the scruff of Phil’s shirt and pushed him against the wall. “Bill what are you doing?”, Phil cried out, frightened and confused. “What does it look like I’m doing you fat bastard!”, Bill snapped sarcastically. Now, where’s your wallet?”, the thief demanded. “Bill I don’t get it? Why are you doing this?”, Phil croaked weakly, even more confused now. “Why am I doing this? Are you that stupid? To survive in this polluted dump!” Phil shook his head, struggling in vain to break free of Bill’s grasp. “What about all the things you said about the world being a better place?”, Phil asked desperately.

“What about your family, your kids?” “You actually believed all that bull. I just told you whatever it took to get you out of that bar and get you here. So I can do this!” Phil saw coldness in Bill, his expression, distant and unfeeling. The Bill he had met at the Charleton was no more. Replaced by a cold and calculated thief.

“You really meant what you said in the bar, I can tell! You really did! It’s true, we’ll survive! You can’t be like this. I know there’s good in Bill Stevens!” Phil sputtered. “That’s not true and you know it, and you believed it! You were a fool to have me trick you!” “Listen Bill, everyone can change, you made me believe. I was wrong to simply complain and do nothing when I could help save the world. If we all pitch in, as you said, it can really work!” Phil pleaded with the thief, trying to make him see reason.

Bill hesitates for a moment and his expression softened, revealling desperation and guilt. But then in seconds, the mask of coldness returned. Bill fixed Phil with a hard stare, then reached into Phil’s pocket. “This is my life, what I do, I can’t change now. It’s too late!”, Bill said, as if it was any consolation to Phil. “It’s never too late!”, Phil cried, “Bill, just hear me out!” Bill snorted and gave Phil a swift and strong blow to the abdomen, dropping him to the pavement like a ton of bricks.

Doing that, Bill ran off and disappeared into the night. Leaving a crumpled, pathetic form, lying in the dirty deserted alleyway. The pitter patter of rain drops soon bombarded the city. Sulphurous clouds released pounding sheets acid rain. Though this downpour did not cool the city in any way.

Steam from the gutters still erupted with unrelented pressure. As the stinging pelts continued their assault on nature. The lake outside the borders of the city was filled with more bodies of helpless victims, that slowly suffered, because of man. The moon was still not seen, nor will it be, anytime in the future, as dark swirling clouds obscured the sky. IN the alley, the rain fell down upon Phil as he sat peniless and hopeless in a puddle. The acidic rain burned through Phil’s coat, gradually eroding away the fabric.

Footsteps headed towards Phil in urgent haste. “Phil, what happened? Are you all right?”, Tom called out. Phil’s buddies in the Charleton had just finished their drinks and were just heading home. Tom, who spotted Phil hunched on the pavement and quickly came to see what was wrong. Ray and Wil followed not too far behind but elected to keep silent.

Depressed and angry, Phil simply wanted to be alone right now, “Get out of here! Go away! Leave me alone”, he shouted in between tears. Tom flinched at the harshness of Phil’s tone. He glanced one more time at his friend and walked away. Wil and Ray not knowing what to do followed Tom’s example and granted Phil’s request for privacy. Cold and numb, Phil put his hands into his pockets in a pitifull attempt to stay warm.

After losing all his money, he was even more depressed than ever. Reaching deeper into his pocket, Phil felt a rectangular leather object, then smiled. Once again, Phil Anderson, felt hope.

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