Doug fucked things up with family members because he wasn’t really good at things. He was good at being homeless, but that was about it. He wasn’t good at being a brother or a son. He’d thought of being a father once, he’d even had the chance, but had let that go because his sister had talked him out of it. Judith had never been the most encouraging sister. Now she didn’t really need to worry about him. None of them did. Last he had heard Judith had made partners at wherever, and his parents were hitting off on another cruise. They loved cruises. When he had been a kid they had gone on one and left him in charge and he’d thrown a party and some how, he wasn’t exactly sure how, his mother’s antique snowing machine had been broken. This had seemed impossible at the time as the thing had been weighty wood and heavy steel, an artifact of when they had made things differently.
Doug looked in at the knitting store. He’d thought making his own hat and close would have been a lot more cost effective than buying them, but when he’d first gone in there, to The Wool Ball, he’d found the knitting needles, the yarn, everything so much more expensive than just buying something from the Fred Meyers down the street. This was his corner, now that Brooks had co opted the on ramp. He’d never been one for cardboard signs. He thought that was disingenuous. It made it so he didn’t have to talk to anyone. He simply had an old mug he sometimes used for coffee after asking the people at the starbucks to wash it out, and he would wave and smile and hold out the cup to cars as they stopped at the light.
In the first hour he got fifty sense. It was Sunday and still early, so church hadn’t got out yet. He’d never bought into that stuff himself. He’d stopped going with his folks when he was 11 or something. It began to rain, not large drops, just the small ones–nothing like in Wyoming.
“Hey,” a girl in a red Jetta was stopped. She was holding out a dollar.
“Thanks,” said Doug.
“You have a rain jacket?” she asked.
Doug looked at her, she had to be one of the college kids. One of the girls who did those walks of shames and he saw going into Caps Tavern every night, or maybe she wasn’t even old enough, he thought.
“I got this,” he said, tugging on his sweater. He’d gotten it from the Goodwill but he hadn’t paid for it. He’d just put it on and walkout.
“That’s not rainproof,” she said.
“It’s wool. It keeps you warm.”
“You don’t sound like a homeless person.”
There was a honk from behind her. The light had turned green. She sped off without another word. And Doug suspected she’d not think of him ever again.