Time for coffee

Image copyright: Jean L Hays

Image copyright: Jean L Hays

He jerked awake. Blanket around shoulders, three layers of cardboard on pavement, dog on string.
Ignoring the fizzing behind his eyeballs (he would die like this, he knew) he studied the sign. Route 66.
He knew there was a song there; activated memory cells.
He tapped his left foot, “Way down South, in Birmingham/I mean South, in Alabam’.” Frowned, knew it was wrong.
A dollar found its way into his polystyrene cup. “Thank you, sir. Generous.”
The words came to him, “… take the highway that is the best.” He laughed.
Time, he thought, for a coffee. He was alive.

This for Rochelle Wishoff-Fields’ 100 word challenge. And a happy new year to all the Fictioneers.

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48 Responses to Time for coffee

  1. Well, at least he’s not given in to depression yet and is still clinging to life, poor man. It’s a shame some people still have to live like that. Your great description, Patrick, took me to the scene. Well done. — Suzanne

  2. Michael B. Fishman says:

    You left me wanting more which is a good thing. I wish you had another 100 words to tell us more about the man.

  3. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Patrick, The despair of homelessness has got to be one of the worst feelings of life. No where to go and can’t got back (usually). The story you wrote is wonderful and you did the subject justice! Nan 🙂

  4. Sadly, he knows where he is going. So sad…but nicely done.

  5. Very interesting and sad story. But inspiring too: “He was alive,” at least. Thanks, Patrick.

  6. rgayer55 says:

    A nice little snapshot of a moment in this man’s life. Things could be better, or a whole lot worse. I’m seen several homeless men with dogs. I’m sure the companionship brings them lots of comfort. Nice piece, Patrick. Smooth flow and easy read. Well done.

  7. plaridel says:

    a positive attitude and having a dog will eventually help him get off the streets. nice story.

  8. Alice Audrey says:

    It’s going to take more than a coffee to rescue him. But then, on the street he’s doing good to remember any of the song.

  9. Lovely depiction of a moment in the man’s life. Maybe for the homeless, forgetting is survival. The pain of remembering what they had lost or what had driven them to the street would be too much to bear. It’s nice that something good managed to filter through his barrier and make him feel alive. Music can have so much power

  10. pattisj says:

    Well-written tale of a man and his dog–and life on the street.
    Happy New Year to you, Patrick.

  11. You had me at “dog on string.” Nailed it, oh yes.

  12. Interesting dialogue of a homeless man, not much different really than any other.

  13. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Patrick,

    Down and out, you learn to appreciate the finer things in life. A drink, food, perhaps companionship, but most of all, a roof over your head and a dry place to sleep. Your story is still fizzing in my brain. Well done.



  14. Margaret says:

    Great character – I like his optimism. And I’m glad he’s got a dog on a string. That’d make all the difference. All is not lost while you’ve got a dog. Lovely story – sad but not too sad.

  15. This makes me cold and sad – beautifully painted. Well done.

  16. I can’t say I would like his living situation, but I like his attitude towards life, and coffee. 🙂 Nice story.

  17. I too loved the images you painted for us. I could feel the sadness of this situation and his relief of still being alive. Sadly, close to the truth.

  18. Well written tale, darling (no apostrophe in its, by the way) and some really good phrases here. Loved how you used his inability to remember the right song — it hammered home the clouded nature of his mind.

    • Damn that apostrophe – so badly behaved at times. Thank you for pointing it out so gently. When it comes to this sort of thing I’m a pedant and am inclined to draw blood at times

  19. Sandra says:

    ‘the fizzing behind his eyeballs’ is such a graphic phrase. Well done Patrick, loved this.

  20. Patrick, your story hit a chord with me as I was thinking just a short while ago about the homeless out in the terrible cold we’re having right now. Your story is uncomfortably vivid and realistic.


  21. AnElephant agrees that rock n roll is always the answer.
    Cool tale.

  22. Perhaps if he carried on singing he might earn a few more dollars. That line in brackets is wonderfully awful.

  23. Dear Patrick,

    It’s always time for coffee. 😉 You painted quite a picture for us here. Sadly, it’s a familiar one. Well written.



  24. I think Coffee is better for him than what he had the day before.. maybe he’ll remember the whole text.. love the imagery you paint here.

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