Sunday, December 9, 2007

On the Street

For most of the night, he sat quietly, watching each breath as it froze in the cold. He was bundled pretty good against the slow death of winter, but knew all too well that the best coat could only save you for so long. The one he had on wasn't too bad, it'd lasted him through many of these winters, and tonight he had it stuffed with newspaper, the best free insulator out there, the great untapped resource.

He wore cheap nylon gloves that were melted between the first two fingers of his right hand, the problem with burning his cigarettes to the very last drag. He looked back to the square brick building he was huddled beneath, probably just another office building. It meant he'd have to clear out sometime before six, if he didn't want to get run off.

Damn, it's cold. He shook his head at the thought--it's not doing you any good to complain about it--and gathered his coat around him. Sleep wasn't going to come easy tonight--Heh, like it ever does.

He used to have a pretty decent gig, unloading trucks at the market for whoever needed help, getting a few bucks each time, but nowadays they got a bunch of young kids doing it, most of them couldn't even be more than 17 years old, throwing freight, like he used to. But as bad as he hated his life, the newspaper and the melted gloves and the cold, it was better than his other choice, and he wasn't about to stoop like those bums on the corners.

Ah, who're you kidding? True, he thought about it, sometimes, about how easy it would be to play off of people's pity, getting a few bucks from the bankers passing by, but he couldn't get himself to ever do it--the looks on the people's faces when they shoved dollar bills into those grimy hands--he couldn't do it. He focused his attention now on the other figures around. About a dozen people like himself, blending in with the brick and concrete like they've been doing it their whole lives. Every year there were more and more of them, until it seemed like now the homeless took up the majority of the city.

Yeah, yeah...there's time to worry about that later, just focus on tonight, it's gonna be a cold one. In a life like his, the seasons come and go, fortune smiles one day and scorns him the next, and the days and nights will march on, but sadly, in the midst of this changing world, his bleak situation is the only constant that he can be assured of. This last thought filled his mind as he closed his eyes, and fell into a restless sleep.

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