Secret Veteran

I was sweeping the sidewalk in front of the store and I could see a beggar on the other side of the street. He was crumpled up by a garbage can, wearing a military jacket, his wrinkled hand extended, asking for money. He looked like he was in Iraq the first time round, he had PTSD written all over the bloodshot whites of his eyes and his head was trembling. Or maybe it was meth and alcohol. People were walking past, some of them giving him some coin, but most just busy trying to avoid his gaze.

I thought about how many of them had actually been to the war. The suited ones? Not likely. The rough Jersey boys? Maybe one of them. The stout construction builder types? Maybe. The slim young college type wearing glasses? I doubt that, but maybe he was the secret veteran.

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