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Street Hustles
Jason Racz,, Mar 01, 2004

I've become number 906 in UN (Upper bunk dorm N), UNlucky 13 shoved into a corner, the last of 26. Fitting. My brothers are a mixed and sorted bunch. There are the dogs sent to the doghouse by the ones they call their bitches. There are the misplaced souls looking for a home. There are the travelers, and once in a while, you see the ones. The ones who have led a hard and desolate life.

They aren't allowed in when they have been taken in by the poison of the devil. But even when they�re sober they reek of booze and death. They pile them into a room of their own. You can spot them out from afar. Their beaten and misshapen faces hang low, filthy. There are showers here but none of them seem to be able to wash the dirt of the grave from their faces. If they even bother to try at all.

We are all woken at 12 every night for a bed check. I ask myself, would the man these clowns claim to work for kick those out who didn't have a valid bed ticket? They walk around, pen and clipboard held in hands wrapped in latex. It�s not hard to see them as Gestapo. I think of my corpse-like brothers down the hall. Of how their rotten existence is like that of the lepers of biblical times. I wonder, when was the last time a person gave them a gentle touch of the hand? I think of how the only caress they receive is a kick in the side from a demonic store owner to move them along in the morning, ripping them away from the solitary embrace of a 3-sided entryway they used as shelter. How the only reason they�re here in the mission tonight is because they just sobered up in the drunk tank. I wonder how they got so low trying to be high. Was it the father who beat them, that drove them to this? Or perhaps the absence of love in their lives? That void we all feel sometimes, but much bigger here, being falsely filled by every drained bottle. The worst thought is of how this worshipper of the man who held lepers in open, bare hands dares not touch them even when wrapped in latex.

I fall to sleep and find myself caught in the world of lost love and the confusion of visiting friends crossed over long ago. I awake to a "SHUT THE @#$% UP!" I don't know if it 's directed at me for crazy sleep talk. Or if it�s for the man in the opposite corner that snores like a banshee. I fall back to sleep and awake to yet another carnivore breakfast. Thank goddess for bread and Nikki vitamins.

I head to "Workforce" for another day. A flip of a nickel told me to go. I get work helping a regular user of the company. This job is different then most. I'm helping his fianc� and his daughter move from their condo. Ashamed, I throw enough out into a huge special-order dumpster to furnish a house or two. Most of the trash is Christmas crap. I run with that in my over-active mind until I get sidetracked by beauty, lost in flirtation. They tell me to take anything I could use.

I end up doubling my pay after a trip to the pawn shop. I also stumbled across about a hundred dollars in oil paints. It's one of many signs. After my last letter, I ran into a native guy while I sat perplexed with all my art supplies spread in front of me. He told me to make something nice. Something for his daughter. He gave me five dollars and said, �Here. If I see you again, I see you again. If not, oh well. Just remember her name is DESTINY.� As he said it I saw it as a tag, on that post in that vision I had.

It is all so crazy here in hell. Angels are never where you think and when you clear your head of the material world�s distractions you find hope in the oddest of places, in the strangest of moments.

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User comments

John Nziramasanga   May 18, 2004 12:35:04  
keep the hope alive

DinyBruszkowski   Mar 31, 2004 13:53:01  
very good Jay keep up the good work nice to read you take care of your self you can do it

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