I went to Dunkin Donuts and met a homeless man. I see this man in my town all the time. He’s always walking with his guitar case and a bunch of plastic bags and shoeboxes filled with stuff. Tonight was frigid. Any remnants of water on the street were frozen solid, and even the moisture in my cheeks froze into tiny icy particles. As soon as the homeless man walked inside, the Dunkin Donuts worker told him to sit in the corner and keep his stuff to himself, not to take anything out because he doesn’t want a mess. The homeless man then started talking to three Hispanic men sitting together. They had a stack of scratch off lottery tickets and they were scratching away.
The homeless man said, “You guys still scratchin? You guys just scratch all day. It’s like an itch that won’t go away. You never get tired of scratchin. You don’t even like girls anymore! You just need to scratch off!”
Then he sat down next to me and started talking. He offered to show us his art. He opened his shoebox and unrolled the thick cardstock papers old with age.
He showed us one piece that looked like it was supposed to be impressionist. “You see those red marks? Don’t those look like Satan? I didn’t mean for them to be Satan. They just turned out like that.”
He kept glancing up towards the back of the store to make sure the manager wasn’t looking.
The manager came over.
“I told you, you cannot take anything out. I don’t want anything messed up.”
As the manager turned his back, the homeless man retorted, “He wants to call the police on me. He want me to be escorted out. He thinks I’m a bad influence. For showing art. He likes this art on the wall because this is real art. and my art isn’t. He wouldn’t appreciate it if I put my art over his art.”
We just smiled and nodded.
He put away his art, then told us that he had original paintings worth a few thousand dollars. Of course the thought ran through my head, Why don’t you sell them?
“You almost have red hair.”
My friend nodded. “Yeah.”
“I used to have red hair, but now it’s gray.”
My friend nodded again in agreement. “Yeah, my hair was redder but now it’s brown.”
“There used to be this fantastic program on television about this redhead. She lived in novascotia and was sent to live with her aunt”
“Ohh Anne of Green Gables?” my friend and I said at the same time.
“Yeah, that’s the one. Fantastic programming They don’t do stuff like that anymore. Now they have mediocre talent. We gotta keep mediocre talent around, so that we can keep this world mediocre.”
Our grins widened.
“Be grateful for the Democratic party because not a school was built with the tax cuts. The republicans are running down the economy. You’d think with their yachts they would want clean water. But you know, not a single sewage plant has been built with the tax cuts. Thank God the younger generation is starting to catch on though.”
By this time we were chuckling.