Fiction with feeling.. My heart screamed.


Mike was sprawled out on the bench, a collapsed toilet paper box hid his head from the sun and those that passed by. I looked at him laying there his pants covered in vomit, frying like an egg on the sidewalk in the late morning sun. The empty vodka bottle he grasped with a death grip as his arm hung lifelessly over the side of the bench.

The stench that permeated the stagnant air was a mixture of vomit; body odor and shit made me want to gag. The only other time I recall my nose being so offended was when I made the mistake of taking a late morning walk down Fulton Street. Have you ever been to the fish market, after the fish guts, and waste have been rotting for several hours in the mid summer sun. I had to throw away my favorite shoes when I got home; there was no getting rid of that smell.

I wish I had a hose to spray mike down with and a bar of soap, I really wish I could have given him a place to stay that was equipped with a shower.

As I looked at him the Stoli bottle spoke to me, like a wine bottle with a message that had washed up on a beach. The message although unwritten told the same story. “SOS” I am lonely and alone, surrounded by the ocean, in Mike’s case it was an ocean of people that didn’t even see him.

My heart screamed, I wanted to help him somehow. I had spoken with him several times, he shared his story. His wife kicked him out a few years back; he couldn’t deal with his reality and had turned to crack cocaine. It provided a temporary relief and escape from the pressures of his job, his wife, his family and society that wanted him to fit their expectations.

I understood how he felt, I was going through a divorce hated my job and felt pressured to conform to the expectations of family and society. The 85 dollars left from my paycheck after the child support, taxes, and alimony were taken out of my check was not enough to pay rent on an apartment. The only reason I wasn’t sleeping on a bench next to Mike was I had a car. I also had a different attitude and I chose not to hit the bottle.

It was Wednesday one of the days I got to spend the evening with my children. I had left the shop I worked out of after learning there was no work for me that day. As a carpenter for a Union shop in NY work was sometimes spotty. I had been lucky for the greater part of twenty years working steady, times had changed.
No steady work meant even more arrears in my child support and less for me to live on. I was just a few dollars away from the bench next to Mike.

I reached in my pocket and took out the last of my cash a crumpled up five dollar bill and stuffed it in Mike’s empty hand. He fidgeted and dropped the bottle as he woke startled to have somebody touching him. The cardboard feel to the ground as he jumped up, he looked at me with bloodshot eyes and looked in his hand at the five. He smiled and said “thank you” before sitting up straight. I suggested he should get some breakfast and get moving before the morning police patrol arrived. Then I headed for the subway.
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An experiment and having some fun being creative as I prepare my contribution for this weeks Veterans writing group. A short story with a little punch, I have been working them over with my almost complete novel and thought they might enjoy something different.

What do you think? Certainly not what you expected is it? If nothing else I am becoming a better writer, thank you all for stopping by and for your much appreciated support. My next Novel may be a take off of this short story if it piques enough interest..lol

Namaste!

2 thoughts on “Fiction with feeling.. My heart screamed.

  1. Its great with a great story to tell my community is working on our homeless guy in tooele tajing hime to jjob training and has him in a room at a local hotel he can stay for 23 a night that we are donating to the hotel for him he is dressing nice and loving the change

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