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Pots slowly rose from his hiding spot behind the bush. He didn’t really know his ‘real’ name, and he didn’t know his ‘real’ birthday. He didn’t care, though. He may be homeless, but he had an identity. He called himself Potty, Pots for short. He didn’t know his real birthday, but he said it was March 2nd, simply because it was his favorite day of the year. And for good reason. For all sixteen years of his life (he thought he was sixteen, though wasn’t sure), it had never once rained on his birthday. It might’ve when he was a baby, but as far as Pots was concerned, he was never an infant. He had no memories of being a baby, so logically; he could never have been one.

Pots found a half drank bottle of pop on the ground near him, so he unscrewed the top of the Pepsi and took a large gulp. The flavor was still sweet, but the drink was grossly decarbonized. He forced him to swallow the liquid already in his mouth, but didn’t take another gulp. He threw it onto the dusty ground. From Pots’ perspective, there was no such thing as littering. There was simply giving away. Some people throw something onto the ground, and other people pick the thing up and put it in the trash. It was the natural cycle. Pots wasn’t littering, he was simply partaking in the cycle.

After Pots kicked the pop bottle next to the old, empty, rusted dumpster, he got out and walked far away from his hiding place. Truth be told, it wasn’t even a hiding place. It was where he lived. Nobody came in the alley where he lived anymore, so he didn’t have any danger of being attacked or kidnapped. Nobody ever filled the dumpster or even checked in it, so that was where Pots slept and stored his food. Pots was satisfied, though not completely, with his life. He didn’t technically have a job, but every winter he would walk a few miles to a neighboring suburb and find some old lady to shovel her driveway. Old ladies paid well. Old men and young ladies, not so much, but if you could find an old lady, you hit the jackpot. Sadly, Pots was finding that old ladies were becoming increasingly rare as the recent batch was dying out and the incoming group was finding living in a retirement home was more comfortable. So, as luck would have it, Pots was making less and less money. He blamed it on the economy. He didn’t actually know what an ‘economy’ was, but the last time he had bought a hot chocolate from Starbucks, he heard some people talk about the economy and they sounded smart. They always blamed the economy for all the problems and hated Obama (whatever that was). So, Pots picked up a few words from the people. Whenever something bad happened, it was the economy’s fault, and anyone who Pots didn’t like he called an ‘Obama’.

As Pots slowly walked out of the alley, he tried to remember how to get to the suburbs he normally went too. Take a left at the traffic light, then a right at the next traffic light, follow the highway until you reach the third overpass and then turn right and follow The Trail.

Pots was always afraid The Trail would be gone when he went back to it a year later. All The Trail was was a path made by sticks laid end to end for a few miles. Pots had made it himself, but he always felt that some flood would wash the path away and with it, the hope of reaching the suburb.

That was Pots’ worst nightmare. If the path was gone, he couldn’t find the neighborhood, if the neighborhood was gone, he couldn’t get money, if he didn’t have money, he couldn’t get food, if he didn’t get food, he would die. Pots knew that if he couldn’t buy food he could steal it, but he didn’t like stealing. For some odd reason, Pots felt bad when he took something that didn’t belong to him. He didn’t know why, though.

As he made a left turn at the traffic light, he caught the sound of a siren. It was the police. Pots took off running. Pots knew that he didn’t have anything to hide, but he remembered the words of his brother: The police don’t care if you did anything wrong. The more people they take away, the more they get paid. They get five hundred dollars for every person they take away.

Pots loved his brother. His brother always helped Pots snow-shovel, and his brother helped lay down The Trail. But Pots’ brother was taken away by the police one day, never to be seen again. So Pots now hated the police, and feared the people just as much as he hated them. As he ran from the police, Pots refused to look back. He had once heard from one of his street-brothers (that’s what Pots called them), that if you looked into a police-man’s eyes, you would turn into stone. Pots once heard a story of something called a Medusa, but all he knew was she could turn people into stone and had snakes for hair.

Once Pots found the police car wasn’t behind him anymore, he started walking once more. He put his finger into his blue jeans and felt his money. He only had twenty-three dollars left. His winter profit from last year had died out quicker than he expected. Usually he had about one hundred superfluous dollars when he walked to the suburbs, but now he only had twenty-three. Pots blamed it on the economy.

Three hours later, Pots reached the part of the highway where The Trail was. He looked around, but his line of sticks was nowhere in sight. The weather had finally destroyed Pots’ lifeline, his one way of making enough money to survive. Pots resisted crying out in anger, since one of his street-brothers told him police would take you away if you screamed at all. Instead of screaming, Pots started crying. He thought he was going to die. He put his hand in his pocket again, fingering his twenty-three dollars, probably the last money he would ever posses.

Pots turned around, preparing to walk back down the highway and to his home. He looked at his watch, a two-dollar plastic bracelet with SpongeBob in the background. Pots had gotten the watch on his twelfth birthday from his brother. Pots had no idea what the smiling yellow box-thingy was in the back, but Pots didn’t care. It was a watch. That’s all that mattered.

According to his timepiece, Pots calculated he would be home at around nine o’clock at night. That was bad. Pots once heard someone say the police would take you away if you were walking in the dark, and nobody would even notice you were missing until the next morning, and by then, you would probably already be dead, in prison, or shipped off to some island. Pots knew he couldn’t return home at night. He would be taken away.

As Pots debated what to do, he still continued walking back home next to the highway, hoping that by some miracle the distance had shortened or time was going slower or something. Improbably, yes. Impossible, perhaps. But Pots’ brother had once said that “miracles happen.” This was the one thing Pots disagreed with his brother on. Miracles don’t happen. Everything was the result of something else. Miracles are spontaneous, so, therefore, it would be impossible for them to exist if nothing caused them. It was simple logic.

Even with disbelieving, Pots still walked toward home, clinging to the hope his belief was wrong. He looked at his watch once more. The second hand had stopped moving. Pots laughed. Miracles do happen! Time had stopped! Cars were still moving, so they were probably time traveling too. But time had stopped! He could probably make it to his home after all!

Pots broke out into a jog. Miracles happen! It was true. So now, Pots jogged as quickly as he could, for fear that time might ‘start moving’ again. And so, for the next few hours, Pots jogged with a spring in his step, always looking back at his watch to make sure time hadn’t started up again.

The Sun fell from view, and the moon was lifted into the sky. The stars were soon revealed, yet Pots noticed none of these things. Time had stopped moving, as far as Pots knew, and he continued jogging home until he reached the rusted dumpster. He climbed inside, closed the lid, and went to sleep so he would have the energy for finding a new neighborhood and laying a new trail.

Amidst the poverty and toils of his life, Pots was completely satisfied. Time had stopped for him. He may only have twenty-three dollars, a SpongeBob watch, and the clothes on his back, but time had stopped. For him. It was enough to make Pots feel important.




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KatsKThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm:
I like it a lot.This is really interesting and clever. Good job! 
 
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