Month: August 2004

A Walled-in Life

“Sir, you have to go.”

The middle aged man stirred on the bench outside the drug store.

“Go? Go where?” he asked.

“Home, sir. You can’t stay here,” the man said firmly, but trying to be kind. He carried no gun or night stick; the red SECURITY tag was enough.

“I can’t. I have no place to go.”

The security guard looked at him compassionately and said, “Sir, I can get you some help. What’s your name?”

“Martin.”

“That’s your last name?”

Martin nodded.

“Okay, Mr. Martin. Where are you from?”

“I live here.”

“That’s what we’ve figured out,” the security guard said, now joined by two others. “But you can’t live here.”

“But you’re 24/7?”

“Yeah, but you can’t stay here around the clock.”

“But you have everything I need, everything I want. Why would I go any place else?”

The security guards looked at one another, a bit perplexed.

Martin continued, “Food, bathrooms, clothing, entertainment.”

“That’s right,” the security guard tried to interject, “but . . .”.

Martin rambled, “I thought you wanted me here all the time. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do.”

Martin began to get jittery. “I don’t know where else to go. You give me everything, even friends. The guy who hands me the cart when I come in. He’s my friend.”

“Okay,” the security guard said, seeing an opportunity. “When you come in and meet your friend, where are you coming from?”

“The parking lot.”

“Yes, but before that. Where do you come from before you get to the parking lot?”

“I don’t understand,” Martin said, shaking his head.

“Look, … Read the rest