Who are the homeless?  Why do I care?  Should I care?  Can I help?  Should I help?  Do they want help or just money?  Is giving them money good?...or bad?

Questions?...Questions?...Questions?...always questions. 

What are the answers?  Where are the answers?  Are there any answers?

Do they have the answers, any answers?

I know I don't have the answers, only the questions.

I pulled in the parking place by the rear door of my business.  A tall shaggy haired, unshaven man was sitting by my door as if he were waiting for me, but I knew he wasn't.  I had seen him around the business park for the last couple of years.  I had even given him a few odd jobs.

He used the door knob to help pull his tall, thin frame into a standing position.
I asked him a stupid question.  "Are you homeless?"  It was a stupid question because we both knew he was homeless.  It was a stupid question because it embarrassed him

I have found out that the question, "Are you homeless?", creates a defensive and fearful attitude.

His answer was defensive.  "I work for the businesses around here."

His brown eyes darted as if he was looking for a place to run.

"Can I ask you some questions?" I stuttered.

He grabbed his bicycle with three plastic bags filled with his belongings tied in various places, a guitar case hanging on the handle bars and a flat tire. He started to walk a way but decided to stop and tell me about an invention of his.  He knew his invention would make him rich but he couldn't tell anyone about it because they would steal it from him.

When he started talking and saw that I was listening, he didn't want to stop. 

He was going to be rich and give all the money to his children.  He had a son that was a great baseball player.  His son could pitch left or right handed with a hundred mile an hour fast ball.  If his son wanted to play basketball he would be better than Kobe but he chose not to play basketball.  He chose to sing. His son had someone who was going to produce his songs.  They just needed to agree on the money side of the deal.

I listened and tried to ask some questions, but my feeble attempts to find out about the man with the bicycle only was landed on deaf ears.  He had an audience and wasn't about to give up the stage.  He went on and on about his son and his invention.

When I tried to find out anything about his invention, he only talked about the people that had tried to steal it.

I finally had to excuse myself and open my business.

Did I learn anything?

Only that this man lived in world of day dreams.  Maybe the world of the homeless is really a "Walter Mitty" world.

Are they caught in a vortex of dreams, spinning in an endless eddy of despair?


I did learn something.  I learned that I need to find a better of way asking my questions.

Next..."Three men in the rain...and the pizza"


JTS said...

I think your encounter with this gentleman serves to emphasize how complicated this issue is, not just a matter of food, shelter, and jobs, but so many other issues entertwined. We know there are no easy answers, but I'm hoping your series will help promote understanding and at least initate some real dialog about what can be done. Great post!

Connie Wolf said...

Loved your "inner dialogue" in this
piece, your voice really came through. I suspect this man is delusional but the question is, did he become homeless because he was delusional or did he become delusional because he is homeless?
This is going to be a great series, keep it up!

About Me

My photo
So Cal, United States
I am an apprentice writer of short stories and I also attempt a little poetry.