Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Beggar













The Beggar


I had been working twenty years in the same office
when I found I was short of change. Someone had
bought donuts, and we were all to pitch in. I asked
a coworker for fifty cents. He immediately gave it
to me. I looked at the money in my hands, rubbing
my thumb over the Queen’s heads. It made me think
of the days coming into the office. The stacks of
paperwork I shifted from my desk to my manager’s
desk. “I am taking an indefinite leave," I said to
my secretary. I began taking off my tie and jacket.
A group of people circled me around the glass
entrance. A woman in a pencil skirt hugged me.
My manager said I was making a grave mistake. 
gave my red sports car away to an intern in a blue
cardigan. I told her it was due for a tire rotation.
I headed outside and walked to a busy intersection.
I undid the first three buttons of my shirt, took off
my socks and shoes. I rolled up my sleeves, sat
against a light post. Another man was holding up
a cardboard sign that said, Homeless. Need money
for food. He said “Buzz off, this is my corner”. I told
him he could have the keys to my house. He did
a double-take and then said, “Really?” I told him
it was a brick one and half story on a nice little
cul-de-sac in the suburbs of the city. I gave him
my office business card and told him to report
to my manager. That a job had just opened up.
“You might wish to shave and shower first.
There are fresh clothes in a bedroom closet.”
He had tears in his eyes when he shook my hand.
He asked how could he ever repay me. “Can
I have your sign?” I asked. He handed it to me
before walking away. That was weeks ago. Most
passersby do not pay the least attention to my sign.
I eat very poorly. My hair has grown unruly.
This is my corner. Believe me, I will defend it. 

By Chris Banks 

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