“Hello new Pro-Life Union Movement volunteers! Welcome to the Queens Orphanage! My name is Alice and I am the Volunteer Coordinator you will be working with today.”
Alice stood in front of a big brick building in the middle of Queens, New York. Yes, New York. The new volunteers smiled and were eager to help out. There were five in total.
“I will show you around the Orphanage and introduce you to the children. We’ll then get you started. There’s plenty to do here thanks to groups like you!” Alice cheerfully delivered.
“Great!” said the volunteers as they followed Alice indoors.
An old man off the street approached the group holding out a small paper cup. He wore an old, raggedy army jacket. “Change?” he repeated with a staggered voice.
“Get out of here!” ordered one of the volunteers before they moved along inside, “Get a job! What do we owe you?” Glaring at the old man, the last volunteer entered the building where Alice was waiting in the lobby.
“This is the lobby. You will check in here when you come to volunteer. This is also where new children are dropped off to become a part of our big happy home!” chimed Alice. “We are getting a new addition as we speak!”
The volunteers followed Alice’s gaze to the side of the room. A rough, tired looking man was taking a crying child through a doorway that led to a staircase. A woman sat in a chair, her hands covering her face. After a moment she got up, with her hands still covering her face, and quickly left the building. The new volunteers could still hear her low sobs that slowly dissipated.
“Yes! A new life added to our amazing family. Wonderful!” piped Alice. “Let us continue.” Alice led the group to the back of the ground floor. The room was dusty, the light was pale and flickering. An lady who looked like a aging ham roast sat behind a computer that must have been from the 90s.
“Our office here is where most of the day to day operations of the Orphanage are take care of. The work done here is what allows us to survive and keep these happy kids housed, fed, and loved. Isn’t that right Mary Ann?” A low gruff came from the aging ham roast. “Ha, of course.” said Alice in a knowingly cheerful manner.
“Now, let’s go see the kids.” Alice led the volunteer group up the second floor. The stairs were dingy and cold. Alice pulled open the door to the second floor, which appeared to stick for a moment. The door let out a horrid groan before Alice led the group inside.
“Here on the second floor is the play area. All the children can come here and play, during their designated play time.” The play area consisted of a rug area in one corner and another area of hardwood flooring. The whole space was abundantly bare. The rug looked raggy and stained, a dark reddish-brown. A few toys that must have been lifted from a doctor’s waiting room decades ago by their appearance were scattered across the floor. They were rusted and worn. The play area was anything but playful; it was rather squalid and depressing.
“All the children love their playtime; it keeps them active and healthy. You’ll help monitor the kids during playtime during some of your volunteer sessions.” said Alice, standing on what appeared to be a bloodstain. “Well, let’s go meet the kids you’ll be helping with!” She checked the bottom of her shoes on the way out of the play area.
Alice led the group of volunteers back into the dingy stairwell and onward to the third floor.
When the group arrived on the third floor, they entered into a hallway. Down the hallway, doors lined either side. A sour smell was in the air. A faint sobbing could be heard.
“The first room here has some of our younger residents.” Alice walked up to the door and knocked three times, “Benjamin! James! It’s Miss Alice. I have some visitors here who would like to meet you!”
Alice opened the door, it had a terrible squeak to it. Inside was a small room with a bunk bed on one side and two wooden desks on the other. The air was musty. The single light dimly glowed. A boy sat on the lower bunk. His head cocked slightly forward, he flicked a playing card along his fingers. On the dim light, a body swung slowly back and forth.
“Oh no, not another one,” Alice whispered underneath her breath. She quickly shut the door, and big smile grew across her face as her eyes remained wide open. “One moment please people. Alex!” she screamed down the hallway.
The man from earlier who carried the child away came running down the hallway. He looked as if he was the humanization of depression. “What is it Alice?” Alex said with a heavy sigh.
“We have another incident in here,” she said softly but earnestly, “Please take care of it.
Another very audible sigh came from Alex. “Alright,” he said, going into the room.
“Ok! Well, haha, there are always things to keep us on our toes here at the Orphanage! Hard to manage all these lovely children! You’ll experience some of these little nuances yourself! Let’s continue.” said Alice cheerfully but now a little fazed. The group continued down the hallway.
“Ok, let’s go in here,” Alice said, stopping at a door a little farther down the hallway. She knocked on the door.
“Carrie! Cynthia! We have some new volunteers from the Pro-Life Union Movement who would like to meet you!” Alice opened the door. The room inside was as dingy as the last one. The two girls were laying in their respective beds. They slowly rose up with gloomy looks across their faces.
“So girls, can you say a little something about living here with our big, happy, wonderful family?” asked Alice overtly cheerful.
The two girls stared at the group with cold gazes for a few uncomfortable seconds before the girl on the lower bunk spoke up. Her voice was monotone with both a heat and coolness to it.
“Life is just wonderful. This dirty, decaying, overcrowded building is just a dream to live in. To be a home for all these discarded kids. The meals are edible, which is incredible. The rats and bed bugs make for great pets. At least Miss Alice is nice. Although thanks to people like you, there is never a shortage of newcomers to bask in this shithole.”
“Oh kids, they’re such a riot.” Alice quickly said as she closed the door on the two girls. She whispered to the group, “Humor is very important here as well. Keeps things light.”
“Well, that’s about it for now. Let’s go back downstairs and see what your assignments will be for your first day.” Alice said, still creepily cheerful.
The group followed Alice back downstairs into the office. They gathered around a table where Alice began explaining their volunteer assignments. The news was on a nearby television.
“Hey, look what’s on the news.” said one of the volunteers pointing at the t.v.
The newscaster was reporting on a story where a group of Pro-Life people beat a woman to death who had gotten an abortion.
“Wow,” said another one of the volunteers, “I can’t believe it. That’s horrific.”
“I know, right?” another responded, “She had an abortion? That slut had it coming.” The rest of the volunteers nodded in agreement.
After their assignments where dealt out, Alice showed the volunteers out. They left in a cheerful mood, excited to be so helpful and appreciated. They walked past a dead homeless man on their way out.