THE PIPE

THE PIPE

A Story by Betty Hermelee
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poverty

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THE PIPE

 

 

This is the story of a poor town in the wastelands of Alabama. It is also the story of Helen Witten. She was a single mom who raised seven kids on her own. She didn’t make ends meet by working in a chicken processing plant nearby; twelve-hour shift, six days a week. The kids pretty much took care of themselves. But the town was small and neighbors helped out neighbors. The only thing was, there was no toilet in their house, nor in any of the houses in her neighborhood.

 

So, Helen rigged up a straight pipe that went right into the stream which was part of their drinking water. Helen, and most of her neighbors did this, because the town wouldn’t pay to install a sewage system. And for Helen to purchase one would cost $15,000. Consequently, people in the town got sick. The doctor who lived outside town where those folks had a sewage system, said hook worm was a problem, as was stunted child development. But these townspeople had no money, no choice. All of them believed that the town should have paid for the sewage system, but thus far nothing had come to fruition.

 

Until one day. A middle age biker came riding through town on his travels. He was taking the back roads and stumbled upon Bacon, Alabama. He drove slowly as he looked carefully at the poverty of this neighborhood. And, to his surprise he noticed Helen sitting on her stoop. They chatted for a while. One could see Helen’s face becoming angry.

 

Helen didn’t think much of their conversation, so she lived like she always did.

 

On a bright spring day, a man in a red convertible drove by the neighborhood. He had been told about the sewage problem. He knocked on her door. In a split second, the man handed her a check for an undetermined amount of money.

 

Helen ran through the neighborhood like a little girl with an ice cream cone and a balloon

Screaming “We got it, we got it!”

 

THE END

 

 

 

 

© 2021 Betty Hermelee


Author's Note

Betty Hermelee
based on reality!

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Reviews

Too few today know or care about their fellow man. Jacob Marley stated that Mankind should have been his business. I wonder how long the the chains on our wealthy men are today? Sorry. Left over Christmas thoughts. Well written, food for thought.

Posted 4 Months Ago


Betty Hermelee

4 Months Ago

and too few care about poverty, so prevalent in our own country... Thank you for your review.
.. read more
M. J. Smith

4 Months Ago

I am no stranger to poverty. "Gold and silver have I none. But such as I have give I freely." Saint .. read more
Who was the biker and what made Helen so angry when she talked with him? Then, a man shows up in a red convertible and hands her a check? Who was he and how did he know to give the money to Helen? He was probably right to do so because the town may have used it for something else. I would love to know more about those two people! We don’t think that people could live like that in America.

Posted 4 Months Ago


This comment has been deleted by the poster.
Betty Hermelee

4 Months Ago

Thank you for stopping by and reviewing my flash fiction...which is based on true facts... The biker.. read more
Suzanne Sonderleigh

4 Months Ago

Goodness. We don’t know how good we have it until we hear these stories. I’m glad to hear the .. read more
An interesting story but I had little sympathy for the characters. I've never heard of anyone putting raw sewage into a clean stream. Why would anyone do anything so stupid? I was raised in poverty with no running water. We had a well drilled when I was 9 or ten. Before that we carried all our water from a spring that was at the headwaters of a creek about a quarter mile from our house. We dug a new outhouse hole every year, 6 feet deep by five feet long by three feet wide into soft rock and then covered the old one with dirt and stones from our gardens. Then we simply rocked the outhouse and "walked" it over to its new hole. Then you chink in the holes around the foundation and you're set. Not taking care of your water supply and being unsanitary with your refuse is beyond poverty, it's stupidity. Even an animal doesn't crap where it intends to sleep. It sounds more like these folks were too lazy or too ignorant (maybe both) not to take the same precaution. But "poor" doesn't translate into "stupid". I've seen many a person living on next to nothing with plenty of good sense and ingenious mechanisms to make life easier. Just an observation.

Posted 5 Months Ago


Betty Hermelee

5 Months Ago

There is no dignity in dumping sewage....I'm so sorry for your past life Fabian...it must have been .. read more
Fabian G. Franklin

5 Months Ago

It wasn't a hardship really. It was just life. We didn't know any other. Most of us survived. But so.. read more
Betty Hermelee

5 Months Ago

And you as well!😊🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄
This is a sweet story with a great ending. As a kid, I decided to see what was upstream from our favorite swimming hole, and had traveled less than a mile when I saw the sewage pipes draining into the creek. (It didn't stop us from swimming in it) I can relate to Helen, too, for having bad tasting, unclean water to drink and bath in. Life ain't easy for po folks, so a little help is always appreciated. Hey... that looks like my first girlfriend's house!

Posted 5 Months Ago


Betty Hermelee

5 Months Ago

Thanks foe the review Sam, those poor folks have it rough! Happy holidays!
Best
B.

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Added on December 20, 2021
Last Updated on December 20, 2021

Author

Betty Hermelee
Betty Hermelee

Black Mountain, NC



About
My love of poetry results from my love of art. As a painter I am able to express myself on a canvas. As a poet my words come from my heart, my moods, sometimes sad, mostly upbeat. I like to use vivid .. more..

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