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.”

“I am.”

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.



I must wait. I must hurry. I need to shop shop shop. I must wait. I must hurry. I need to drive drive drive. This is the time of year to be thankful for what we have, followed by the day where we go buy everything we wish we would have had the day before. We drive like maniacs, honk our horns. We swear at each other under our breath for being stupid. For not driving correctly. For not steering our carts correctly. For buy all of the things that everyone else wanted because you got there first. Lets take a moment to just say, Fuck you shoppers. I exist outside of my retail job. I exist beyond the walls of corpocracy. I’m a human being the same as yourself. So treat me as such. I am here to make your day better. I am here to find for you what you can’t find for yourself, even though it’s only one line over. I’m here to make your day easier. And what do you do? You complain because we don’t have the right brand of popcorn. You smash a jar of jam on the floor. I’m sure it was an accident, but you don’t tell anyone. You simply go on your way. You leave your carts in the middle of the aisle. You leave your carts in the middle of a parking spot. There is no hope for those who leave their carts in the middle of parking spots. It would have taken an extra 20 seconds to make my life easier, while spending my day trying to make your life easier, but you rather treat me with the respect you’d treat a dog. When you pull your car out of the spot, you don’t look before you reverse. If someone is walking behind you they will simply be ran over. If a car was passing, there would be a nice dent in both your cars. If I am walking behind you I better get out of the way–the customer is always right. If I’m walking in front of you. You honk like I am deliberately trying thwart your efforts to buy a Xbox One or PS4. Because when the found fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence they added some small print: . . . life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, And either an Xbox One or a PS4, take your pick. No I don’t think that was what the founding fathers had in mind. But you treat the system that way. You treat it as though it was there to serve only you. Fuck you, buddy, learn how to drive, you scream at another shopper, all that holiday cheers just rising to the surface. People do seem to be more creative around this time. Instead of sitting in front of their TVs they buy gingerbread house kits. Because making a gingerbread house has always been a difficult piece of art to conceptualize. But the flashing lights and the holiday cheer bring out the best in you.

Bring out the best in all of us.

Happy Holidays.