Figuring Out Life on the Streets
Mickey had seen a lot of crap in the four days he had been living on the streets, but nothing quite like this. Peeking around the corner of the dumpster he was hiding behind, Mickey watched as the smaller man fell down on the ground with the force of the other’s blows. The smaller man let out a groan as he curled into a ball, trying to protect his face.
Mickey watched for a few more seconds before huddling back behind the dumpster, unable to watch anymore. He pulled his jacket back up around his body, as if trying to stop the chill that cut through his soul.
There was so much violence out here. Mickey had no idea that all of this was going on. Prostitution, drug deals, bounty hunters, gang violence. All of it was so blatant, so in your face. Like tonight. Mickey was just trying to get some sleep when the sounds of this fight broke out down the street. He suspected it was a gang dispute, considering the distinctive tattoos on both of their exposed arms.
Mickey stayed huddled in his little spot of land, waiting for the sounds of the fight to end. It seemed like forever, but finally it did. Mickey tried to get smaller as he heard footsteps coming towards him. The large man walked right by him, blood clearly visible on his knuckles even in the low light.
Once Mickey was certain he was gone, he crawled out from behind his dumpster. He was a little scared the man would come back, but he felt compelled to check on the victim.
Despite a lack of medical training, it didn’t take Mickey long to figure out that the smaller man was dead. At first Mickey couldn’t understand how someone could die from a fist fight, but then he saw a small pool of blood pouring out of the man. Since he didn’t hear a gunshot, he figured it must have been a knife.
Knowing that there was nothing he could do, Mickey went back to his spot, tears starting to form. He hated this. Hated it so much. There was so much pain and violence out here and there was nothing he could do to prevent it. Hell, he couldn’t even protect himself.
As he huddled up in a small ball, Mickey wished for the millionth time that his parents hadn’t kicked him out. He was only seventeen. He had no business being out on the street.
Slowly, the tears started to dry as Mickey ran out of energy to cry. He had cried so much over the last few days, thinking about everything he had lost and the despair of this new life.
Just as he was about ready to fall into an uneasy sleep, he heard sounds coming down from the other end of the alley. Peeking around the corner, he saw a few other men standing around the dead man. One of the taller ones pulled a gun out of the back of his pants and cocked it. Yeah, he was right. Gang violence.
Mickey huddled back in the corner and tried to ignore what was going on down the street. Tomorrow he would get up and leave this place. There was just too much violence here. Maybe soon he would find a place where he could feel safe enough to sleep through a whole night. He hoped so at least; he was getting very tired. Tired of everything. Of the running, the violence, the pain. But there was nothing he could do. He had to keep fighting and hope that one day things would get better.