Beware of the homeless. The lurching leeching poor infect the streets and prey upon our children. They siphon our hard-earned tax dollars into their welfare hands. Spending food stamps like Monopoly money at the local diner – disdainful ungrateful sons of pushers and prostitutes. Smell sour like sun-dried ketchup and sweat as they ravage our garbage seeking empty cans to support their alcoholism. Inhuman. Freaks. They destroy our downtowns with their perverted and pervasive personalities. They must be decimated!
Like Leon the cart-pusher. The collector. He gathers scraps to carry on. Even the bridge of his greasy nose balances piled-high pairs of glasses separated by a square of paper towel (layering is in style!). Leon traverses town daily shoving that cart – or hoists a shiny black garbage bag over his shoulder. Sports gray-blue sweat shorts with a small hole over the ass that reveals a pink peek of commando flesh. On the hottest days of summer he wears his black winter jacket with the hood up and drawstring tied. He babbles aloud – but nobody listens (not even he) – about turquoise raccoon and Bethlehem and silver drupes, squidly balloon. Leon smiles and reveals his two moldy teeth, separated by grapefruit-pink gum. Santa won’t return those chompers. He carts around downtown between the shelter’s great breakfast, lunch and dinner specials (God Bless the Free Market!).
Then Dennis zips by in his motorized wheelchair and parks beside an unsuspecting girl. He twists and slips his quadriplegic hand into the back pocket of his seat. Grabbing the laminated sheet printed with information, he points to his name and then to himself with stuck-shut hands – a graphic introduction. The sheet is full of useful words. His family’s names and dates of birth. Yes. No. Thank You. The alphabet and zero through nine. He seeks out the innocent girls. Pulls up beside them and spells out his tragedy about the seventeen year-old drunk driver who put him in the chair and the lawyer-father who helped the kid escape a sentence. I was supposed to die three times, he points. He spells about his complicated birth and Vietnam. Poor-speller-story-telling Dennis can’t laugh anymore (on account of the accident). But he gets excited sometimes and releases a blood-curdling squeal from his open-mouthed grin that scares away most girls already terrified. Oh look! An anthill! The girls exclaim and sprint in an opposite direction.
Dejected Dennis wheels off defeated past John the ex-computer programmer. He used to earn a hundred thousand dollars a year. But he blew it all on fancy cars and the multiple mothers of his many children. Squats every Tuesday beside the hot dog girl in front of the Federal building. Tells her she’s got dreamy eyes he’d like to kiss. Charms passersby and wistfully recounts better days. His tired black eyes droop as he smirks and laughs. They call him Uncle John. He’ll hook any brother up. That’s his side job – an entrepreneurial pharmacist. His main avenue of income comes through the mail to compensate his service to the United States of America during ‘Nam.
He talks about the war with his buddy, Doug the white-collar criminal, a convicted felon who discusses gonzo journalism and public radio. Makes his money as a lab rat since he can’t get hired anyplace else. Lives with other vets in a house just outside of downtown. He’s a broken man with parts missing. Like his eyeteeth (whose absence becomes instantly apparent to those he engages in conversation) and a snippet of his left ear. He complains of PTSD and raves about the latest book he’s finished (as an avid reader and member of the public library). Shows off a dated photograph of his daughter. Looks with yearning eyes at the picture he still carries in his wallet of his ex.
Just look at them – the scum! We want nothing to do with them – herpetic sores on our pristine community. Pussy ooze. Avoid them at all costs for they are heart- and soulless creeps who want to eat your baby. Think twice before surrendering that quarter.
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