“Here, take this,” I said to Ferret handing him a 20 oz Coca-cola and a bag of beef jerky from the convenience store up the road.
“I fuckin’ want to die,” he said as he sat sulking behind the furniture warehouse.
A tear rolled down his cheek.
“You don’t want to die,” I said. “You just need a reason to live.”
“What did you do when you were homeless?” he asked, wiping the tear away.
“I sure as hell didn’t hang around where a lot of people are, like you do,” I replied. “People are bad news when you are homeless.”
“I don’t have a fuckin’ car, I don’t have a fuckin’ job,” he said, slurring his words. “I don’t have a fuckin’ life.”
“You have a fucking choice and that is far more than most people get,” I said, growing angry.
I didn’t have time for a drunken pity party today. I’ve shed a few tears in my beers, so to speak, and it was always a useless endeavor that never really made you feel better. Your emotions are heightened when drunk and you will say and do things you normally wouldn’t do.
“Come by the house and get yourself cleaned up and I will let you borrow a clean shirt and some pants,” I told him. “That way you can try for the job opening at the grocery store.”
“I’m not bagging groceries for chump change,” Ferret told me, adamantly.
“Fine,” I said as I began to walk home. “Fucking starve to death. See if I care.”
Deep down, I did care. More than Ferret would ever know, but males can’t show such affection without being labeled with the “homosexual” moniker. I’ve been in Ferret’s shoes and I‘ve cried in my beer many times. You know what scares me the most? I am a case of suds away from being right back where I started: Living in a tent in the woods and freezing my ass off as I drank and smoked myself into oblivion. At least, I didn’t constantly whine and bitch about it like this Homeless Guy while doing nothing to change my life.
Ferret’s one saving grace is that summer is on the way. I know all too well those cold winter mornings, homeless. My homelessness taught me to look at the change of the seasons in a completely different way. I’ve often reminisced about being homeless and prayed to my gods to once again be “set free” as I like to call it. If there is a god, I want to thank him for unanswered prayers and Ferret’s predicament pounds that home with a resounding jolt to my good senses.