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Faces and races blur as the current of businessmen sweeps by like a raging river of souls. The sidewalks overflow and spill tourists out into the gutters. A man slouches against the cold, hard wall of JP's Bar, an empty change jar resting by his left foot. His thin jacket is no match for the cold and his crooked hat exposes shiny, red ears. He holds a beaten up guitar, plays “Creep” by Radiohead. The mob moves past, a haze of adrenaline, oblivious to his scratchy voice.


“You float like a feather in a beautiful world,” the man croons.


A child stops to drop a quarter into the man's change jar.


“No,” his mother scolds, pulling his hand back. “You never give money to street trash. You'll just encourage them.”

The young boy drops the change back into his pocket and they disappear back into the crowd. He skips on the hard pavement and leaps over the jagged cracks. He doesn't look back and forgets the incident as soon as he rounds the corner and arrives at school.


“I wish I was special…you're so f***ing special.”

A proud businessman looks on in disgust. He holds a shiny briefcase and wears a neatly pressed suit. He looks very important and distinguished.

“If you want me to believe that you're not going to use my hard-earned cash to buy booze, don't sit right outside of a bar.”

The businessman strides on, confident, as if he has changed the world for the better by sharing his wisdom. He hails a cab quickly, despite the rush of traffic, demands that the driver hurry to his office building. He disappears in a cloud of noxious black smoke. He can't be late; he is getting a promotion today.

“But I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo.”

A young couple holding hands wrinkle their noses as they pass.

“He smells terrible,” the girl whispers loudly. “He's never going to get anywhere with body odor like that.”

“I know babe,” the boy responds more loudly than necessary. “Someone should give him some cologne; that always solves the problem.”

The two walk on. They are on their way to a nice dinner downtown to celebrate their three month and two week anniversary. Her high heels click loudly on the sidewalk and she stomps little weeds peeking out through the cracks as she strides. She will order the most expensive item on the menu to show him that she's worth it. He will pay for it and not say a word, hoping that she will stay with him for his money.

“What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here…”

An attractive woman passes the man. She walks alone and shifts her eyes nervously as she hurries past him. She pulls out her cell phone and calls someone, pretending to be too occupied to notice him and his guitar. She dances around puddles of mud on the sidewalk to avoid getting dirty.

“Sorry to call you so early, Becky, but there was a homeless man that was fully undressing me with his eyes and I just had to look busy, you know? Men…what pigs. They're all the same.”

She will spend the night at a bar, getting hit on by countless drunks, and will end up sleeping with at least half of them by the end of the month.

“I want you to notice when I'm not around.”

A college student with headphones in his ears doesn't even pause to listen to the song. He is too busy drowning out the world with his own music. He stares at his feet and ignores the rushing traffic and the busyness of the city around him. He is skipping class; he's in no hurry.

“Running out again…running out…run…run…run…”

A family of five walks by on their way to see a movie.

“Sorry, I don't have any money on me,” the father explains apologetically as he hurries his children past the man. A few blocks down he will pull out a wallet and proceed to buy movie tickets, popcorn, and drinks for everyone. The littlest child will cry when she doesn't get to pick out a piece of candy as well.

“Whatever makes you happy, whatever you want.”

A minister walks by and shakes his head in disappointment at the man and his guitar. He accidentally crushes a worm as he stops to lecture.

“May God have mercy on you, my child. There is a reason for everything and one day you will find Jesus and be saved.”

He will later give a sermon on the importance of giving to the poor and caring for the sick and needy. He won't remember his hypocrisy; he is above it.

“You're so f***ing special; I wish I was special.”

A group of tourists snaps photographs of the man as they race by.

“Now I know we're really in The City; there are homeless creeps everywhere! I wonder where the hobos with the funny signs are?”

The group will continuously take pictures of the other sights they find interesting around the city and go back to their warm hotels at night. The photographer will use Photoshop to place a funny sign over the homeless man's guitar to make the picture more presentable and interesting for his friends.

“What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here…I don't belong here.”

A week later he will freeze to death. No one will notice. The man leaning against the bar is just a creep, after all. Who would go to his funeral anyway?



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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

redeemed_love said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Wow. I...don't know what to say. It's amazing! The way you weaved the song in with the story, how you described the ways people 'ignore' the homeless...it's awesome.

Keep it up!! 

 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:58 am
Wow, this is really, really good. The stories about each of the people who passed the homeless man were superb. Great job!
 
thewritersdesk said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:29 am
  I love how you give details of each person passing by, and your diction is great. Please check out my fiction story,"A Word of Advice". 
 
mimirocks124 said...
Aug. 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm
whoa! this is so gud! i love how the homeless man is portrayed and how no one is nice to him. truly great job!
 
Blue4 said...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm
Wonderful job, so creative, simply terrific! Your story seems to share an element with a poem I wrote resently, I too, wrote it about a destitute man... Amazing story Could you please read some of my work, rate and tell me what you think?
 
KayleeRae said...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm
Wowee, I love that song, first of all. And the way you wove it into the piece was so poetic. Way to take reality and make it into a story, standing ovation to you!
 
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