Times are Tough
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Seth hadn’t always been homeless. As a matter of fact, at one point in time he made a pretty decent living as a human resource manager and lived in nice house in a nice, safe neighborhood. He had nice furniture, a brand new Ford Mustang that he loved, and pretty much anything that he wanted (within reason). He was always careful with his money so his bank account was never empty (he made sure to have at least $1,000 in it at all times). Of course all of that changed when the online bill pay company that he worked for went tits up and he lost his job.

Initially he wasn’t too worried about being unemployed and didn’t think that he would have much trouble finding a new job fairly quickly. He had a Masters in human resources as well as a ton of general clerical experience so he was certain that there were countless companies out there who would hire him in a heartbeat. What he didn’t realize though, was that due to the horrible state of the economy that jobs in his field were few and far between, especially in the area where he lived where you pretty much had to know (or blow) someone in upper management in order to get hired on.

He sent out a slew of sparkling resumes and cover letters that bragged about his experience and accomplishments to all the businesses in town that he could think of but never heard anything back from a single one of them. He scoured want ads and Internet job sites obsessively, and while he landed a few interviews he never once got a call back from anyone offering him a position. After several months of trying to get by on his meager unemployment checks he got desperate and started applying for everything and anything as long as it meant that he would have some additional money coming in that would help him pay his mortgage, his car payment, and all of his other monthly expenses.
He started getting more interviews, mostly for jobs that only paid minimum wage or a few dollars more but no matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t seem to get hired on for any of them. The main reason seemed to be that the people responsible for hiring others at these companies thought that he was overqualified due to his education and past work experience (which made no sense to him since he had always been told that someone with a college degree had a better chance of finding a job than those who didn’t). He knew that he’d pretty much hit rock bottom when he couldn’t even get hired as a dishwasher at a local Italian restaurant (he couldn’t help but wonder how the hell someone could be overqualified to wash dishes) and someone who used to work under him at the bill pay company was selected for the position instead.

Once his unemployment benefits eventually ran out and he was still without steady employment he had to rely on his credit cards in order to survive. It wasn’t long before he maxed each and every one of them out buying necessary items such as food and paying bills, and before he knew it he found himself $26,000 in credit card debt. Up until the phone company disconnected his landline because he could no longer pay his bill he was bombarded day and night with collection calls from angry creditors wanting their money and making random threats against him. The only good thing about losing his house a few weeks later was the fact that he didn’t have to dread the sight of the mail carrier walking up his sidewalk to deliver several pounds of overdue bills, shut off notices, and letters from various creditors threatening to sue him due to nonpayment to him each and every day.
Being homeless was terrible of course, and Seth thought about killing himself each and every day. He spent his days digging through dumpsters looking for half-eaten slices of pizza and cheeseburgers left behind by others. When he wasn’t doing that he passed the time by begging for spare change from the people who walked past him on their way to work who always gave him a look of disdain and pity (some of them even told him to go get a job, which never failed to make him laugh). To him a good day consisted of finding a fish sandwich someone had thrown away that hadn’t gone bad or wasn’t covered with flies or other insects. A great day was coming across an unopened can of beans just a few days past its expiration date (though it was a real bitch to open since he didn’t have a can opener and had to improvise by using a rock or just slamming it on the ground as hard as he could).

One cold December morning right before Christmas he discovered that his favorite dumpster that was behind a pretty decent little Mom and Pop’s diner had been removed. In its place was a nice new one that featured a picture of the town’s mayor on it with the slogan “No One Goes Hungry on My Watch!” under it. He’d heard somewhere that the mayor was doing his best to help the homeless people in town and had many plans in the works (including opening a couple of new homeless shelters and soup kitchens) to make sure that the unfortunate souls who lived on the streets were taken care of until they got back on their feet. In addition to feeding them and giving them a place to stay so they wouldn’t starve or freeze to death at the end of some dark alley he was also in the process of creating a job placement center that would provide job training and actual jobs to those down on their luck free of charge. His overall goal was to get rid of all homeless people by the spring, and while it was admirable that he thought he could pull it off by then he had many naysayers in the community who felt otherwise (Seth being one of them).

Seth’s stomach started growling so he walked toward the dumpster in hopes of finding a discarded country fried steak or a couple of picked over baked chicken breasts that had been on the buffet a little too long and were no longer appealing to the paying customers. Without warning the dumpster popped open when he got closer to it and a pair of steel cables (that reminded him of Dr. Octopus’ tentacles) shot out of it, wrapping around his legs. He screamed for help as the cables retracted and started pulling him toward the dumpster but either no one heard him or (most likely) didn’t want to help him because he was just some bum who didn’t mean anything to anyone. He tried to grab onto something as the cables continued to drag him but only succeeded in breaking most of his fingernails as he clawed desperately at the asphalt.

It wasn’t until he was inches away from the dumpster that he saw the spinning gears inside of it waiting for him. Just before his legs were pulled inside and painfully crushed by the gears did he realize what the mayor really meant when he said that he was going to get rid of all the homeless people by spring. As the gears mauled his chest and head he couldn’t help but smile despite the agony because he knew that all of his problems were finally over and deep down he appreciated the mayor’s method of ensuring no one would be homeless and hungry in town during his time in office.
The lid of the dumpster slammed shut and the gears inside continued spinning until there was nothing left of Seth except for a couple of pounds of mangled meat and bones. Several hours later the old man that ran the diner sent his mentally handicapped son out to collect the remains from the dumpster. He returned to the kitchen with what was left of Seth in a garbage bag and his mother seasoned and cooked the remains into a meatloaf that she served to the diner’s hungry patrons later that night.
The mayor’s new dumpsters were placed behind every restaurant, diner, and store in town, and before long there weren’t any homeless people to be found anywhere. They mayor was praised for reaching his goal months in advance and as a result he received a special award at a dinner ceremony. While he gave his speech thanking the community for his award the townspeople couldn’t help but notice how good the roast beef that was served at the event tasted.




One Response so far.

  1. nice story…i didnt see that one coming.

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