Rising To The Top
One cannot go back in time and change their past. This LA Dodger would realize that soon enough. He had a rough start to life, but he managed to build a successful life for himself. Everyone who knew him thought that he was a new man who had forgotten all about his past.
He had risen to the top of LA faster than he would have thought possible and encountered many surprises along the way. But nothing compared to what he was about to face when he met a mysterious homeless man.
On Top Of The World
In 2021, Jimmy had the world in the palm of his hand. Born and raised in LA, this 22-year-old who had dedicated his whole life to baseball had managed to be a prospect for the first team of the LA Dodgers.
He was a loved and respected member of his community; he was also at the prime of his professional performance. Everyone in the city was expecting him to keep reaching higher and higher in his career. But things weren’t always so cheerful and full of glee for Jimmy.
A Traumatic Past
The truth, not known by many, was that Jimmy’s past had very little to do with his life as a baseball star. His upbringing hadn’t been a walk of roses: he was abandoned by his parents at the door of a LA orphanage.
He had all the chances to become just another statistic; nothing in his upbringing could have predicted what would happen to him in the future.
Growing up, he had never been told who his parents were and why they left him there. This had a big impact on Jimmy’s developing personality, and it’s fair to say that it shaped his life in an irreversible way.
But at a certain point in his childhood, things took a fortunate turn for Jimmy; however, it would just be temporary.
A Temporary Relief
Jimmy was lucky to be adopted by two foster parents residing in the town of Pomona, a few minutes away from Los Angeles.
It was a peaceful and loving home in which everyone got along. In a way, it was a haven for Jimmy’s so far unfortunate childhood. However, not everything was perfect either. The family had their own problems to face.
But Jimmy’s foster family, although loving beyond limits, was also very poor. At one point, they couldn’t even make ends meet to pay their landlord.
They were evicted and left homeless for a few months. It was then that Jimmy turned to something that, at that time, seemed to be the only thing that could help him get by.
The Discovery Of A Talent
It was then that Jimmy discovered his passion for baseball. This passion would accompany him for the rest of his life.
Even though his family couldn’t pay for a team membership, he spent his days playing baseball with other kids on the street. One of those days, his skills, physical prowess, and brazen character attracted the attention of a particular individual.
One Special Person
A well-known character from the neighborhood, who also scouted for one of the city’s amateur teams, was impressed by Jimmy’s talents. The kid seemed to be blessed with a genius intelligence for pitching.
One day, this man approached Jimmy after one of his street games. Right then and there, they had a talk that would change Jimmy’s life forever.
The scout introduced himself and asked Jimmy his name, how long he had been playing baseball, and whether he was playing for any club in the area.
Jimmy told him the truth: he had been playing on the street for just about a year. He had never played for any team, as his family couldn’t afford the joining fee.
Getting To Know Him
With a few more careful questions, the scouter tried to probe deeper into Jimmy’s life to know more about his background and current situation. Jimmy had no problem telling him everything.
He told him about how he was raised in an orphanage, adopted by a family, and then evicted from his house. He told him that he was now living with his foster parents in a homeless shelter.
The scout was moved by Jimmy’s story, as well as by his talent for baseball. Right then and there, he knew he had to do something for the kid.
Fortunately, he had a lot of contacts in many of the area’s clubs. So after praising his skills once again and wishing him a good day, he set his plan into motion.
Getting Things Moving
He pulled the right strings, made a few phone calls, and went out for lunch with a couple of people. Then, just a few weeks later, he went back to the same spot where he had seen Jimmy.
The kid was there; after he and his peers were done with their game, the scout walked up to Jimmy and told him the news: he had been admitted into one of the local clubs.
From that moment, Jimmy quickly rose from the ranks of the amateur teams to the professional leagues. The LA Dodgers stepped in and offered him to join the youth ranks of the team.
Jimmy accepted, started getting paid big bucks, and got himself and his family off the streets. Still, these were not the only things that fate had in its books for Jimmy.
Rags To Riches
It didn’t take long before he started being considered for the Dodgers’ first team. With that came fame and wealth. The young man’s lifestyle took a 180-degree turn,
Jimmy’s rise to stardom, from the streets of Pomona to the professional leagues, was faster than anything people had seen before. Sometimes, he had a hard time believing it himself.
Some nights, he had dreams about the days when he was in the old homeless shelter in Pomona with his foster family again. He used to wake up and, momentarily, be under the impression that the dream was actually his real life.
When this happened, for a few seconds, he thought that his baseball career and rise to the professional leagues had actually been a dream or a fantasy. Then, he remembered it wasn’t and felt ecstatic as he headed for training.
A Hidden Message
However, he felt like these dreams conveyed a hidden message. No matter how different Jimmy and his foster family’s life was now, he couldn’t forget the days he had to spend in the streets of Pomona and the homeless shelter.
Jimmy felt like those recurrent dreams were the universe’s voice, trying to tell him something: not to forget where he came from. So he decided to do something.
Having made it to the top from the bottom, Jimmy decided to organize a benefit event for the city’s homeless, as he and his foster parents had lived amongst them at one time themselves.
There was an abandoned warehouse in the city in which a number of the homeless people in LA lived. He decided to make the warehouse people the main guests of the event. But Jimmy was informed that among those who lived in the warehouse was a certain peculiar individual.
A Mystery Man
Word got to Jimmy that among the warehouse people lived a man named Markus. Markus was known to be an old homeless man who sold his own paintings on the streets of Los Angeles.
His art was unconventional, and some even found it eerie; it had an unnerving yet almost hypnotizing energy to it; still, it had captivated plenty of people.
His enigmatic paintings and a solid clientele had allowed Markus to make decent money and become a well-known individual. He was one of the wealthiest members of LA’s homeless community.
Some even said that he made enough money to get out off the streets, rent a studio apartment, and make a decent living as an artist. However, he kept living in that warehouse. But why?
No One Knew
Little was known about Markus’ motives or about his personal life in general. His past was a mystery as well.
Despite all his wealth and prominence in the homeless community, no one had ever tried to rob him of his possessions. Everyone respected and revered him. His figure had acquired a legendary character that made him the subject of plenty of rumors and stories.
The Man Without A Past
Some said that Markus used to be a millionaire who had fallen into disgrace. Others believed him to be a convicted thug on the run. He might even be a bankrupt member of some European nobility or a fugitive war criminal.
Such a controversial figure made some people in Jimmy’s environment iffy about contacting Markus for the benefit event. However, Jimmy didn’t see any reason to be afraid.
Jimmy thought that these kinds of rumors were rarely to be taken seriously. After all, no one could say a bad word about Markus. He may be an introverted and enigmatic character, sure, but that didn’t mean he would be potentially dangerous. Or that’s what he thought.
So, taking a liking to Markus’ art, Jimmy decided to try to collaborate with him and sell some of his paintings at the benefit event. So he reached out to him and waited for a response.
Markus agreed. However, after the negotiations with Jimmy’s representatives, he wasn’t expected at the event. The man had a well-known elusive personality, and he was found by some to be an uncanny character.
Besides, he hadn’t expressed any interest in attending the event; the conversation he had with Jimmy’s representatives was only about his paintings. But he changed his mind at the last minute without letting anyone know about it.
The Big Day
When the big day came, Jimmy was running late for his own party. He wasn’t aware that Markus was heading to the party at the same time either. Jimmy arrived at the venue right at the peak of the event.
Guests were having fun, and Markus’ paintings were selling like cupcakes. Jimmy was glad to see this. But after shaking hands with some people, he locked eyes with someone.
Markus Was There
He recognized Markus standing in front of a dazzled audience. Markus looked back and stared at him. Looking into Markus’ eyes, studying his facial features and his expression, Jimmy suddenly realized something.
Suddenly, Jimmy was stricken by a tremendous feeling of astonishment and familiarity. For a few seconds, he kept staring at him, paralyzed. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He knew that man.
He Recognized Him
He suddenly realized who Markus was. Markus was no other than his first coach: the first man who had devoted himself to feeding Jimmy’s passion and offered him his guidance when he was just a street kid.
He was the man to whom Jimmy owed his rapid rise to success. Markus had observed it for a distance; however, things hadn’t gone so well for him.
A History Of Loss
Markus had fallen into disgrace. He had lost his job, girlfriend, and home. He had stopped coaching baseball. He ended up on the street and took painting as his newfound passion. Traumatized, he refused to give details about his past to any of his homeless fellows.
At first, Markus didn’t recognize Jimmy. But after a short conversation, he clearly remembered their past together. The student and the master, both teary-eyed, embraced in a hug. It was then that Jimmy asked Markus one question.
Jimmy asked Markus if he would like to get back into baseball coaching. Jimmy’s position granted him a lot of contacts that would make it easier for Markus to get a coaching position in a professional team and leave the streets.
However, Markus, still with tears in his eyes, refused Jimmy’s proposal.
Markus Declines The Offer
Markus argued that he was happy with his street life. He was passionate about art, loved his warehouse fellows, and wasn’t interested in money and success.
He just asked one thing from Jimmy: that he remain true to his word and use the money raised by the event to make the lives of the Los Angeles homeless a little better.
A Happy Ending
And that was exactly what happened. The benefit event was a success, and Markus made a lot of money with the paintings that he shared with his people from the warehouse.
Jimmy donated all the funds raised by the event to improve the conditions of the commune and help other homeless people in Los Angeles. And Markus kept devoting himself to his art, just like he wanted.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.