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The Hobo

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Bob’s eyes watered from the fetid stench of the dump. It was the smell of decaying flesh- food a day over the expiration date thrown into the trash can, rotting and being picked away by the birds and maggots that infested the junk. Mix that with the reek of sulfur and who-knows-what-else, and you might understand a tenth of what made Bob’s nose want to resign. However, he shut it out as he rummaged through the mound of broken TVs, scraps, and other luxuries that were somehow considered “trash.”

Bob was on a mission. The winter was creeping closer, and in New York City, the blizzards would kill him if he only had his pathetic cardboard box to live in. In fact, he should probably look for another one, but large, intact boxes were hard to find these days. His home was held together by some Scotch tape he had managed to scavenge, but its thin, papery walls offered no protection from the pounding gusts of wind battering his box to shreds, as he had learned last year.

Bob realized he was digressing from his task, and reminded himself to focus. What he was after was a large, fluffy blanket, just like the one his grandma could knit. However, those easy days were far in the past. Bob pushed his long, graying hair out of his eyes, which were scrutinizing the pile for any source of comfort. The sun was dropping like a kid’s grade after they failed the exam, so he better start moving. Mindlessly stroking his long, tangled beard, Bob suddenly froze.

No. It couldn’t be. Why the heck would anyone toss out a pair of perfectly good Nikes? Whatever. Bob had better things to do than to ponder the extravagance of even the average Joe. Bob’s gnarled hand swooped down to pluck the gleaming black-and-red shoes out of the trash, which stuck out like a gold nugget in the muck. He admired the fine workmanship; he couldn’t see a stray thread. Bob hadn’t been near shoes for years, so his feet had already become adjusted to the ground, rough and jaded to even the sharp stab of a badly-paved road. As he slipped the shoes on, he marveled at the soft interior caressing his feet. Feeling certain that Bob had exhausted his daily luck, he gathered up his measly pickings in one arm, including some gum and an empty pitcher.

Bob jauntily strolled back to his home. He had moved it so it was conveniently located right next to the Salvation Army and McDonalds, so he could steal money from those sucked in by the ringing of the bells to buy a Big Mac. It was also half a mile from the dump, or as he preferred to call it, the Pile of Treasures Not Yet Found.

As he returned, he was greeted by the usual honks and furious stares as he almost skipped in front of annoyed New Yorkers, eager to get home from work. But he didn’t care; gingerly placing his measly pickings along with the rest of his possessions, he curled up to relax.





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