Saturday, February 18, 2012


I live and work in a very large city and over the years I have stopped paying attention to all the human drama around me. When I first moved here I was shocked to see the homeless defecating in the street, or a prostitute peddling her ass down the boulevard. But now I find myself walking with my head down, avoiding the world around me.

Every day I walk the same route to and from the bus stop, and every day I see the same man begging for change. This man sticks out from the crowd of unfortunate street dwellers though, as he always has his old, gray dog with him. It is some kind of ratty german shepherd mix with milky eyes and missing teeth. The man sits at the same street corner ever day with a sign that says "I can take care of myself, but need $1.84 for a can of dog food. God bless."

From what I can tell he begs for enough money to feed his dog everyday, then scavenges for his own meal. This little daily demonstration of humanity really touched me, the way this homeless man had too much pride to beg for himself but gladly did so to make sure his dog didn't go hungry. I couldn't help but respect this man that placed his commitment to his dog above all else, even his own comfort and livelihood.

So I started buying extra cans of dog food to bring to the man every so often. He was always very gracious, and even offered to give me the change he had gathered so far in return. Once a week for the last two years I was giving this man some dog food, and I have to admit, it had been making me feel much better about myself. But there was something bothering me. The old man seemed to be getting noticeably heavier while the dog remained emaciated and sickly. For some reason I became obsessed with the idea that the beggar was letting the dog wither away on scraps and eating the dog food himself. It might seem crazy, but this idea really bothered me for some time and was keeping me up at night.

I decided to get tot the bottom of it, so I began spying on the man. I would give him some dog food and pretend to go to work, then secretly follow him. But each time he would gather his belongings and shuffle off to a plywood shanty that he remained in for the rest of the day. But I had a plan to figure it out once and for all, and quickly put it to action.

The following week I prepared a special arsenic-laced batch of dog food and graciously gave it the way I had been for some time. I'll be damned if the next day that dog wasn't in the exact spot that the old beggar sat in for the last several years. I guess that bastard had been swindling me from the beginning.


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