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No place to poop 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Like my shadow he followed me onto the bus, babbling to himself and standing closer than socially acceptable for a bus not even half full. He seemed to stare at atoms in the air, as if counting the electrons zipping around his head. Globs of dead skin, glue or dried snot clustered his hair, and a twitch involving the entire right side of his face caused him to freeze up every ten seconds or so.

As the bus growled away he continued mumbling, punctuating his words by poking the air as if popping invisible bubbles with the tips of his fingers. Then he seemed to snap out of it and, straightening his spine while turning his head in the manner of an English lord, he addressed a young girl on his opposite side, saying in English, “Hello mademoiselle, how are you today?”

He held out his hand and though the girl smiled and said, “Fine, thanks,” she shook her head, refusing to take his hand, perhaps fearing contamination or a skin disease. As if resting on a ledge, his hand stayed in the air, and then his jaw jutted out like the drop bucket of a slot machine as he slipped back into the realm of his insanity.

While exiting the bus at the next stop, I saw a wrinkled, old man hunched against the window of a bookstore. His soiled jacket was a crumpled heap on the ground at his feet. His jeans had never known a washing, and a grizzled beard and red marks spotted his cheeks. Speaking into his fist as if into a microphone, he was reporting the flow of traffic and the physical characteristics of the passersby. He was the village idiot mangled by time and torn asunder.

Starting down the street, I saw a third one. His mouth was pressed together in a way that made it difficult to say whether the top or bottom lip was visible. He was slouched over his caved-in chest, wearing a shirt that was mere strips of cloth. With shoes clinging to his feet by a miracle, he walked with a limp, the toes of his right foot angling ninety degrees to the left. A white film covered one eye, and the eyebrow of the same looked like it had been gouged off by a hyena, a vulture, or perhaps in a knife-fight. He clawed the air while walking, and his chin drooped as if hooked by a wire tied to his belt buckle. People moved out of his way, avoiding him as if he was an infectious disease.

That was today, Shaw, hours ago, and you know what? I can’t help but wonder where these people poop, and how they find food? Meanwhile, what does it say about society that they are there? That few people help them? I know what you’re thinking = I could have helped, right, and why didn’t I? To be honest, I was on my way to work. After all, I have rent to pay, and bills. I need to make money. If I don’t, I’ll end up like those guys, blinded by my own eyebrows, lost in the gray matter of my mind, buried in a beard. But then again, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Perhaps those guys are smarter than they seem, you know, geniuses in disguise. Because who really knows how it works, or what any of this is about? And if you think about it, no place to poop also means no rent and no bills and, well, no sweat.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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