Hunger

April 16, 2009
By
Each day was starting to become hotter than the next. It was the summer of 1998 down South. It was deep into it, hot and muggy.
He was out on the streets of Cartersville, Georgia when I met him. He was an older man. He seemed to be about sixty. He had long graying hair and a shaggy beard. It was obvious he was homeless, and to a trained eye, such as I have, he was drunk. He wasn’t wearing any shoes (as I later found out, he traded them for whiskey).
His name was Bob McCloskey and when I stopped my truck at the light, he tried to bum a dollar off me. Knowing a storm was predicted, possibly severe; I got into Good Samaritan mode and convinced him to cross the street over to Joe’s Diner. I told him to order whatever he wanted and we got to talking.
His story was a sad one which he had no problem sharing. He probably hadn’t talked to anyone in years. I told him, he’d probably die of either heat stroke or get blown away in the summer storm, and he said to me, “I probably will.” He informed me he did have a tent, however, which he shared with his brother, in a more country part of town, a mile off. When I asked him why when his food came, he didn’t eat it, he confessed he was on a mostly “liquid diet” and hadn’t had anything solid for three days. I knew for sure, then, he was an alcoholic, so I asked him outright if he was. The man was honest. He said, “I cannot lie; I am.”
At that point, I noticed him start to tremor a bit. They call it “the shakes”. He had a hard time holding his glass of cola.
He also rejected my offer to shelter him that evening, despite the increasingly virulent storm warnings. I think he needed another drink. There are many types of hunger. Some don’t involve food.





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