Happy New Year

He thought about it briefly; giving money to the beggar. He had nothing on him, but a debit card, as he tried to explain to the man. That’s OK, the beggar said, there’s a ATM right up here at this gas station. All I need is a ten spot and I’ll be alright, he pleaded.

There were thoughts going through his head. The man remembered when he was homeless; in Chicago, St. Louis, Joplin, New York, criss crossing America without a dime in his pocket; working odd jobs to make ends meet.

Alcohol was smelled on his breath. The beggar staggered around, saying just a ten spot. That’s all I need. The man hesitated then remembered it wasn’t up to him to decide where the money would be spent; a grocery, or, a liquor store.

He started walking, Come on, he said.

Yeah man a twenty would be good, the beggar bargained. The man looked up at his black face and said nothing.

They came to the gas station up the road, his glasses steamed over from the cold and mask on his face. The man wiped his glasses with his fingers making a greasy print. He could barely see the ATM. The beggar was happy to direct him.

The man entered his code and said yes to the fee on top of the twenty he pulled.

And out it dropped. He grabbed it and handed it to the beggar saying, Merry Christmas to you. Of which the beggar replied, Happy New Year.

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