Kind of playing with stereotypes…
“No no no. Wait. Stop. Don’t give him any of your hard earned money. That’s yours. You did the work for it.”
The beggar shifted slightly but showed o sign that he heard or was the least bit affected by sudden outburst from my friend. He continued to shake his cup.
Then he cleared his throat. And when I say cleared, I mean with what came out, I was surprised he had even been able to breath.
Sean took one sideways step away from the man sitting at the curbside, and at the same time tried to pull me by my shoulders along with him. But since I stayed planted on the spot, he managed to twist my coat shoulders in such a way that my body looked deformed. A hunchback. A monster with bumpy shoulders. No, just a guy trying to give away some change.
I bent down to the man, who was cross-legged and humming to himself. I noticed his trimmed beard. His hair was neatly cut over his ears. And the thing that struck me the most is the way he was smiling – not in that, I’ve endured so much in my life an I’m just smiling because it can’t get any shittier than this – it was more of a satisfied just took a dip in the resistance pool one.
He heard the two quarters and said, “Thank you,” in such a kind way that I can’t remember anyone ever sounding as honest as he sounded.
Sean merely scoffed into his fist behind me and went over behind a wall. I could hear his evening’s inebriation pouring down into a puddle at his feet.
“Sorry, my friend’s such a jerk. And now he’s pissing on your home.”
“My home?” His face crinkled up and his eyes got real small as he examined me, and then glanced at the offending wall. “Oh, I don’t live there.”
“Yeah, sure. I figured that. But the streets. I mean. It must irk you when someone just pees all over the sheets. It’s like, if I went home and found someone peeing on my living room floor.”
“I take your point, young man, but I live neither on this street. Nor any other street.”
I saw that this was a pointless direction of discourse. This homeless man was obviously delusional. So I tried to follow a different tactic.
“Where do you sleep? I mean. At night?”
This time his eyes widened, like he wasn’t full sure I was sane in asking such a question. “Sleep? At night? Is this some kind of trick question? Are you from Bridget’s attorneys? Where I sleep at night is no longer any of her damn business since she moved out. Besides, she already got everything I can give her.”
I didn’t want to embarrass the man…