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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2239557
A hobo assesses his situation
Sweat beads up on my forehead as I muscle my shopping cart across potholes and frost heaves in the road. Some of the other street people hang around the WalMart parking lot and watch for a cart that has four good wheels, and they grab it as soon as the shopper drives away. But I'm too honest. And I pay the price by rattling my bones and straining my muscles, pushing this old piece of junk that somebody left out by the dumpster.

In a way, I'm kind of proud of my old piece of junk. I painted over the “Walmart” name with a spray can of yellow that some kid must've dropped. And I decorated the cart around the top with a broken jump rope I found in somebody's trash. And I mounted a brass table lamp onto the baby basket, or whatever it is they call the little shelf in the rear that folds up. Got no way to plug it in, and it probably doesn't work anyway, so I used the cord to tie it on.

I can't say this is how I wanted to live my life, but nobody's perfect, and I'm probably farther from perfect than a lot of them. Not enough education, too much drinking – you know, all the usual stuff. But here I am, and all I can do is try to make the best of it. So if you happen to see a grubby-looking guy, looking like he's over sixty but I'm really only forty-something, pushing a cart with a lamp on it, don't pity him. He appreciates your concern, but he's doing okay for a bum, and that's more than I can say for a lot of people.
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