Monday, September 21, 2009

A Dishonest-honest Beggar

Well here's a story for you-Roughly four years ago, I was in a southern college town in North Carolina, on the main drag, waiting for someone. (By the way, if you don't know, main drags in small southern towns consist of liberal coffee shops that play jazz, a pizza shop, and a kitchy greeting card shop.)
A man approaches me; "Hey mister."
"Hello." I respond. I am not used to being called Mister. Usually people call me Squire, or Your Eminence, so naturally I am a bit put off.
" I need a little help." (Here it comes.) "Well its like this. My wife is mean. She's just a mean tramp. We were driving from Raleigh to High Point, and she started yelling at me for no reason! She often does this. Hey do you have another cigarette?....thanks!" (He lights, takes a puff and continues.) "So shes yelling at me and I get a bit angry. She kicks me out of the car and drives off. Well, about a minute later the car breaks down. Did I mention we need to get to Charlotte it pick up the kids? My mother is sick man. We have to get to Charlotte to get on an airplane to fly to Chicago to pay mother's hospital bill. All I need is five bucks. I work hard. But I just can't seem to make it."
"Sorry bud. I ain't got cash."
He is crestfallen. "Oh OK well, god bless you and you have a blessed day." I then go into the book store to look at the fancy glossy magazines, hoping he will go away. When I exit the store, the same man, looking very sheepish returns to me.
"Hey man. I'm sorry to bother you again. I just feel bad. All of that was bullshit." (REALLY??!!?!?) "I am a coke addict and I really did try to quit but I'm hurtin and I needed a fix. I just wanted to get wasted to make this pain go away temporarily. I'm sorry I lied. It was dishonest." He walks away.
I think to my self, how did he expect to use five bucks to pay for marriage counseling, a new transmission, gas to High Point for no apparent reason, then gas to Charlotte, not to mention money for the kids after school snacks, how many kids are there? How much of that five bucks is left for 4 packs of Ho-hos and Jungle juice? Then he needs to pay for airport long term parking, tickets for I assume his wife him and their 4 fat kids to fly to Chicago, a taxi to a hotel, a hotel, his mothers discharge fees and her out standing medical bills? Then a flight back for 7?????!?!?!? and gas back to Raleigh? For FIVE BUCKS? WHAT IS THIS 1894? BEER!! AHA! That makes so much more sense.
"Hey dude!" He stops and turns. "Here's three bucks. That's enough for at least one forty. Have a blast and thanks for your honesty."
A look of elation takes over his face as if Buddha himself invited this vagrant into his garden of riches.
"Oh thank you! Thank you Mister!" I give him a stern look. " I'm sorry, I mean," he bows low, "Your Eminence." He turns and skips off the the University Quick stop, filled with the hope that only a large glass container of Old Milwaukee can bestow. I have done my part.