Old Friends, New Conversations

The well-dressed man was walking down the street when the homeless man asked:

“Excuse me, sir. Spare some change?”

The well-dressed man stopped casually and reached into his pocket. He fished out a tidy wad of notes and selected one of them. A twenty. All the time, he was looking straight at the homeless man. The homeless man was looking at the money.

“Thank you, sir. God bless you,” the response was between cheerful and tired.

“You don’t recognize me, do you?” the well-dressed man asked.

The homeless man raised his blood-shot, murky eyes and looked as is he was trying to remember how to use them on people. Finally, a flicker of recognition.

“Oh, it’s you! How are you doing man? Look at you! You must be doing well for yourself. How long has it been since Detroit?”

“Three years. I’m off the streets for the past two,” said the well-dressed man with no hint of pride.

“So wow. Yeah,” said the homeless man without enthusiasm, “Maybe I’ll get lucky one day as well.”

“No you won’t. Among all the misery and squalor, you know it’s a good life. I know I was unhappy, but at the same time, I was happy when we lived off other people. When we were free.”

The homeless man blinked hard, he looked surprised, but it might have been his general expression. It was hard to tell with him. “So why did you give it up then?”

“I was tired of ugly women that smelled like shit,” replied the well-dressed man.

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