Miles and I had a strange bond: I was a conscientious objector and he was a Special Forces guy. He took some shrapnel in Vietnam and walked with a limp. After the war, Miles became a wandering man for years on end, spending time in homeless shelters up and down the East Coast.
“You’re trespassing. This is private property, plus you can’t sleep outside in this city.” The bespectacled cop writes out a ticket and hands it to Hank. “We’ll escort you downstairs.” Once back down on the street, the other cop says, “You’re free to go, but next time it’ll be the county jail.”
He’s engrossed in Walden and the memorable quote from Thoreau: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
He had been a professor of classics at a small southern college before the nightmare frame-up and 10 years on prison. A model inmate, he received an early release, but not early enough to attend the funeral of his only son, Isiah, an innocent bystander killed in a crossfire of gang violence.
The men in gray uniforms arrived and restrained the errant man. One of them jabbed him in the neck with a hypodermic needle and pushed the plunger home. The violator immediately went pale and rigid. The two men roughly threw the now deceased violator into the back of their truck and drove away.
The streets were alien to me. I was defenseless. Cops and security guards hassled me for just being in a particular area or store and minding my own business. And when night descended, I was scared out of my wits sleeping in doorways. I became guarded and hyper-alert.
He opened his desk drawer. Next to his medals, he fingered the black-and-white photo of Molly and mutely kissed it. He treasured the photo more than the medals. Tears were slowly rolling down his cheeks and for the first time in his life he did not try to keep them back.
Mitch suffered the double whammy of a pink slip and divorce from a red-haired beauty half his age. After months of depression and passivity, he arrived in the Golden State and wound up sleeping on the cold concrete of Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco.
The Greek Couple— Fiction by George Wynn
When Tito came back home to Boston, where his father and mother were dead, he’d always screw up. Nostalgia for his parents drove him to the bottle. He was persona non grata with his two married sisters on the South Shore.
/—/Turn and Burn— Fiction by Joan Clair
“You need to think of it as a business,” one of the property managers said. “It’s not about his humanity or yours, even though, of course, none of us likes to put anyone out on the street.”