The Other Night


I try to keep my posts all-ages friendly but sometimes, that’s simply not possible.

The other night, I was inside a convenience store buying some sparkling water when I witnessed the most interesting interaction between what appeared to be two homeless males. If I had to judge, I would say one was nearly old enough to drink and new to the streets while the other was not so new to the streets and likely in his later thirties. They were in line before me, buying some beer.

The pudgy older one was purchasing the beer with cash while the skinny younger one grabbed a lighter called “The Torch” and flicked it on. His eyes lit up in awe as he exclaimed with a goofy smile, “I’ve got to have this.”

The older one stared at his friend and said, “No you don’t. You said you were gonna quit that shit. Smoke pot or something but don’t smoke crack.”

The younger one, who seemed to be on some drug already, grabbed the older one’s face and smiled into his eyes. “I love you,” he said and gave him a bear hug.

The older one hugged him back but didn’t give in. “Put it down. You don’t need it.”

Despite the pleading, the younger one took out a few crumpled dollar bills from his short jeans pocket and paid the cashier the three dollars it cost.

As they exited, I heard the older one still saying the younger one didn’t need any torch lighter. He said, “Come on, let’s just go drink our beer and forget about that shit.”

It was my turn at the register. I paid for my water and left.

The homeless guys were outside the store, doing something with their bicycles. I could hear them talk as I walked to the corner to cross the street.

The older one was more serious now. “Do you want to sell you ass? That’s what’s gonna happen if you keep smoking that crack shit.”

The younger one said nothing but had an odd smile on his face.

The older one continued, “I love ya, man, but I don’t want AIDS squirted up your ass. I’m serious. Stop! Smoking! Crack!” He was practically yelling at this point.

The light changed and I continued on, no longer able to make out their conversation.

I’ve been thinking about these two for about a week now.

While it was disturbing to see a young adult on the streets suffering from what appeared to be a crack addiction, it was quite beautiful watching his friend, a fellow homeless man, trying to talk him out of it and get him off it. I hope he succeeds.




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