FROM DELORES

On my way into a local thrift store, I passed by a homeless man. I’m not one to automatically jump to conclusions, but it was obvious. A shopping cart laden with aluminum cans was parked beside him. On his lap sat an overstuffed duffle bag and backpack. His sign read, “Hungry…please help.” I nodded to the man while passing by, feeling a little guilty. I used to give all panhandlers a buck or two but stopped when the local newspaper editorialist and my neighbor called me an enabler.

As I browsed through shelves of books, I caught a glimpse of the manager. Her normal cheery face displayed a scowl.

“What’s wrong?”

She clinched her fists. “Someone broke out one of the windows. Probably some kid.” She paced. “Thankfully, nothing was missing, but our damn security camera got hit. The repair guy can’t even get here until tomorrow.”

“I’m so sorry.”

She shrugged. “Happens.”

While continuing to browse, I noticed the homeless man had strolled in. He sat drinking a cup of coffee. Then, a guy pulled up in a brand new jet black convertible Mercedes. There’s only two reasons a guy drives to a thrift store in a new Mercedes; to get an inflated tax write off or to be an asshole. Since it wasn’t Dec. 31 and he wasn’t carrying anything, I figured it to be the latter.

“Anything good?” He asked.

I faked a smile. “There’s always something good. Just gotta look.”

He nodded, then gazed over at the homeless man. “Wasn’t it freezing last night?”

My jaw dropped.

“Not really,” the homeless man said.

“Well I thought it was cold as hell. Took the old broad out for dinner and we could barely finish our steaks.” He rubbed his stomach. “As I drove home, the Cristal still tingled on my tongue. I know you’ve never had it, but trust me. It’s great.”

The homeless man nodded.

“Anyway, on the way home it got so chilly, the old lady made me pull over and put the top up. It was cold man….brrrrrr.” He exaggerated a shivering motion. “You really look like you need a good steak, and a bath. Tell you what, here’s a buck. Why don’t you go buy yourself one of those lottery tickets?”

The homeless man nodded thank you and grinned. Then he refilled his coffee, continuing to browse through a magazine.

I was supposed to meet my husband for lunch in the café next store, so headed out. About ten minutes later, my husband showed up.

After kissing me hello, he pointed out the window. “Guy got a flat in his new Benz.”

“That sucks.”

As we ate, Mr. Mercedes stood aside his car, shouting at everyone in sight. We tried our best to ignore his ramblings. As we walked to our vehicle, the jackass screamed into his phone.

“What do you mean? I’ve got *** to do.” He paced back and forth in front of his bumper. Then he clicked off his phone, and asked my husband for a light.

“That sucks, buddy,” my husband said, reaching for his lighter.

“Some mother****er slashed two of my tires, and the goddamn tow truck can’t get here for two ****ing hours.”

“That’s awful,” I said, shaking my head. “And too bad the security camera is broken. Doesn’t seem likely they’ll ever catch the mother****er.”

CRITIQUE

>Didn't believe it, not for a second. Most rich I know try to stay away from places with homeless people. If they HAVE to go where there are homeless, they do their best to ignore them and get away from them as quickly as possible, unless they're doing some kind of charity work, because they don't want pestered or worse (like slashed tires). For a rich guy to actually TAUNT a homeless guy...it's just not going to happen unless he knows the homeless guy personally and hates him for some reason, but some random homeless guy? Not happening.

If you could write it like the rich guy knows and hates the homeless guy, maybe a former business partner or someone who cheated with the rich guy's wife or something like that, and then had a run of bad luck, I might believe it.