Life, From a Standing Position

It was just after 5:00 P.M., the homeless man found himself standing in the piss stench of a small, dark alley between two South Main Street buildings. One was a soup kitchen and the other was a shelter. There was another homeless man in the alley with his head pushed down and his pants pulled below his knees. It wasn’t the only place for him to defecate, but it was the place he chose.

The homeless man walked into the soup kitchen to find something to warm his stomach. There was the smell of soup and vomit in the air. He chose solely to concentrate on the soup smell. He watched the soup being dispensed from a chow line. As the various homeless people completed the line, some took seats at the tables while others continued to mill about.

The director led a roomful of people to the doorway and waited patiently as he finally got their attention. There was a strain in his voice when he told the group that there was no room at the shelter and that they needed to seek refuge from the cold somewhere else. He suggested a few of the local churches. The homeless man didn’t stand around to argue or gripe he headed out into the cold in search for those local churches. The temperature was going dip into the low teens, and he wanted no part of that.

After being turned away by several churches he stopped directly in front of an odd looking Church. He guessed that the structure was rather old, more then a hundred years. There were signs of weathering and hard use, but the church seemed structurally sound and well maintained.

He didn’t have to knock because a small wiry man in dark clothes stepped out wrapping his arms around himself for warmth.

“What is it my son?” asked the man as he fought back the bite of the cold.

“I seek a place to sleep,” replied the homeless man.

“We are full, but our sister church in Bridgeport has a few more spots,” he replied. “I can give you train fare and directions.”

The homeless man accepted the man’s generosity as he took the train fare and directions down to the South Norwalk train station.

He sat back trying to get comfortable on the old steel chair. There he noticed a young teenage girl crying near a small billboard sign. He stared for a few moments, but he turned away. Her crying sounded cold to his ears so he approached her and asked if there was something he could do to help.

She looked at him and noticed his condition.

He smiled.

“I’m stuck here in Norwalk and I need to get home. I live in Fairfield but I lost my money. If my mom and dad find out that I was out here visiting my boyfriend they’d kill me. I don’t know what to do. My boyfriend has no money, and I’m stuck here. They’re going to kill me!”

The homeless man reached into his dirty pockets and removed all the money that was given to him and handed it to the young teenage girl. “This should get you home.”

She blinked several times at the homeless man. She then took the money and quickly jumped on the next train that pulled in. There was no thank you, but none was needed for the homeless man as he walked away thinking about another way to get warm.

Then it hit him.

He could steal something from a store and get caught. They’ll put him in jail for a night or two, but it would beat the cold. More than any other season, winter held its own special horrors. The homeless man wanted no part of those horrors.

It was a hellacious night to be looking for shelter. He walked into the package store and quickly shuffled over to the expensive wines. There was an attendant with an attitude watching him. He knew that night for the homeless man was bad, but he also knew it was going to get worse.

The homeless man shoved a very expensive bottle of wine into his jacket and turned slowly away.

“Jesus freaking Christ,” said the attendant, as he picked up a baseball bat and walked over to the homeless man.

“I’m sorry,” said the homeless man. “I’ll wait for the police and go quietly.”

“Police?” The attendant took two steps back and swung the bat hitting the homeless man right in the face. “You’re in my house!”

The homeless man tried catching his breath as he fell to the floor. He tried to explain his logic to the attendant but only met a rain of blows from a baseball bat. His entire life just flashed in front of his eyes. For the next fifteen minutes he was thinking about his two best friends he had in high school.

Jenny Camacho, she wanted to tackle the world and be the best actor she could possibly be. She was shot and killed during a drug raid nine years ago.

David Barker, he wanted to join the armed services and protect the country. He did, he died in the middle-east by friendly fire.

The homeless man thought prison would be the end of the line for him. He was wrong. He was done in by an idiot attendant wielding an aluminum softball bat.

#

© 2012 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 34 comments

xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

A brutal narrative Frank, and one too likely to happen in our ever more violence- prone society. It is well written and riveting as ususal. Up & awesome!


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 4 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

Riveting account- voted up etc Why does there have to be so much vioence?


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much X-man for visiting my life, from a standing position.. and you're so right? LOL and thank you caseworker for the visit bless you both :) Frank


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Frank, this is an awesome story with such a sad ending. I'm hoping this one isn't true.

If you lived here in Vegas; My, you would have a great amount of murderous stories to write. There's a minimum of one death here every day, Joyce.


duffsmom profile image

duffsmom 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

Such impact. You wield it like a sword. Grand read!!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks so much Joyce aka as Writer20 and Duffsmom for visiting my life, from a standing position bless you guys :)... wow Joyce alot of homicides huh?


justateacher profile image

justateacher 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

Great story...sad ending...too bad this story is all too real for far too many people...


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you justateacher for visiting my life from a standing position...:) bless you


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Very sad ending and here's to so many more for us both to share on here.

You are indeed a wonderful writer Frank and enjoy your day..

Eddy.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks eddy for stopping by :)


Moms-Secret profile image

Moms-Secret 4 years ago from Central Florida

Sold his soul for a bottle of wine... Many people would hear this and believe that I am judging the homeless man. I mean it for the attendant. Drinking is just a vice. Vices come and go but taking a life, especially over something meaningless and void of value, that is different.

Perception...


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

perhaps MOMs LOL thank you for sharing your thoughts bless you :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Another powerful hub from you Frank and here's to many more to come.

Eddy.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks again ...


Valleypoet 4 years ago

Frank...I missed this one buddy...As I read it I was thinking that karma was going to reward the homeless guy for his kind deed. I should have known better and remembered that it is Frank that I'm reading! To be beaten like he was is tragic enough, but for it to happen to someone who is as kind hearted as him, compounds the tragedy. Another gritty and (if you can pardon the pun) hard hitting drama. You never fail to shock...a great read my friend:-))


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Vallypoet you are so good for my ego.. bless you bro :)


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Another great read Frank. I thought his kindness may be rewarded in some way. And the attendant will likely get off lightly because he killed a homeless man whos life wasn't worth much. There is just no justice in this world.

BTW click click part two has just been published. Now I am going back to my packing and moving house. :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks Rosemay and gang for stopping by and thanks for the double click Ill check it out now :)


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Oh Frank. Reality makes me sick and I can just visualize this scenario happening. What a shame. You write these things like you have experienced them. I hope you never do my friend.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Another breath holder Frank...Didn't see that Aluminum softball bat coming. Not a Happy Ending, Sad, and very Realistic. Not a perfect world, and this poor homeless man found that out.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Hyphen and B. Malin for visiting my life, from a standing position


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Frank, I loved the surprise ending. Your characterization is wonderful. I was almost thinking this is going to be like O Henry's story but you took me by a surprise.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Vin for stopping by and visiting my life from a standing position


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Such a stark and severe story...and yet I am sure similar things have and do happen in our streets. I was hoping his kindness would be repaid, but then that would be the exception and not the rule in this hard world. Wonderfully written. Sharing. ~~Theresa


LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Wow, Frank!! I have to pull myself together before I rush out for the day, but I will be thinking of this the whole day!! The ending is just heartrending..... Voting up for a superb piece!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you so much PHDAST7 and good to see you Lathing hope all is well with you.. bless you both


LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Well, we survived Sandy!! How did you do? You are closer to the shoreline then us...... Hope all is well with you too! Take care, Frank.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks we did too lots of trees down and power outages.. but thank God we are up and about :) Bless you


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Such a wonderful story full of true to life people but such a sad ending. I have often thought that perhaps some people truly do seek the shelter of a jail on bitterly cold nights. Wonder what the statistics would be regarding that? You are quite the story teller! Up and awesome votes and I seldom use that word awesome...but it fits.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Peggy bless you :)


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Good stories from a talented writer with great imagination


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you DDE


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Jeeps; I guess that was an expensive bottle of wine, Sheeee. Well us 85ers got to give our buddies a push. I had no idea you had so many hubs. Will be back.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

85ers? LOL okay

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