ACT V: Scene II
THE FAMILY OF BUMS
(After a while, they did not bother to look anymore.)
Home was a cardboard box split open and spread out over the sidewalk of East Ninth Street. In the summer, it wasn't so bad. Sure it got hot, but all you had to do was lay out on your piece of the box and relax. People, they weren't too bad. It was your place, they knew it. They didn't intrude. Hell, they didn't even look at you. You'd get some newcomers, they give you a look. You see them coming first and you expect it. But they never looked straight at you. And after a couple of weeks, they did not even bother to look anymore.
The chicks, you holler things at 'em, they never look twice. They walk real fast and keep going.
Debbie walked up East Ninth Street. Today was a good day for ice cream at Steve's Ice Cream Parlor. She could sit on the bench and gaze out the big glass windows at all the people walking by. Once she had been sitting in Steve's Ice Cream Parlor, delighting in a triple chocolate cone, when she spotted a group of young men walking toward the windows. They stopped and pointed. Beside her was a student, munching his ice cream and reading a book. His comrades outside walked with purpose to the window. He didn't look up. One of them knocked on the glass. He jumped. He looked up and they all laughed silently outside the glass.
She approached the cardboard box. There was Uncle So-and-So, standing on his one leg. He was probably a Viet Nam vet with plenty of war stories to tell. There was the scrawny woman with the awful, scratchy voice she liked to imitate when she allowed herself the chance to be silly. Not with Lori, that was for sure.
There was a stranger with them today, a woman.
"Aunt Mabel come to visit from Harlem," she jokingly told Lori later.
MORE BUMS TO COME
All his worldy possessions were stuffed into a grocery cart.
Not a shirt on his back, not a penny to his name, just a shopping cart for a bed, Debbie thought to herself. He was so small and pathetic, sitting atop his little bed, stuffed with rags and overflowing.