Forsooth! Does thine eyes deceive me? For yonder lies the all mighty coffeehouse. Starbucks, yea, Starbucks with its sapidity of arabica beans tempting thy nostrils by its essence of overpriced lattes. I must trot-trot-trot feet the many leagues to whimper against translucent panes for such nectar pledged to mortal men.
My hand comes up and connects with one cheek as I snap myself away from such loftiness. The caffeine deficiency. The devil drug’s siren call had me in a strong grasp, but no longer! I shall continue down this stretch of gray pavement while little tempted by the tomfoolery others engage in as the people take sips on grande cups and answer emails on their laptops. I know that I must appear untrendy to them. Yet I also know that I am beyond them in the midst of an unspoken future trend: a coffee-free life. Although I must humbly admit that this in no new trend since in the yesterdays too often forgotten there was a time when our lives were not dependent on such brewed mayhem. So, in essence, I am reviving a trend. For the newest trend is the oldest trend and the forthcoming trend will be the raved trend forgotten that it was a past trend.
I strut along the sidewalk with cheeks turning a bright rouge shade. Nearby, a runaway dog spots me as his nose sniffs a mound of . . . something. Misshapen is the mass resting at doggy paws as the roaming mutt debates if he has found a tasty snack. A long pink escapes his mouth and takes the tiniest of licks. The mass moves, filled with a little life as it emits a foul aroma into the pristine air. Bundles of cloth flash a face.
"Arrgh! Away you, disruptive beast. Let me have my sleep. Nay, better yet, let me dispose of full innards so that I may reach the nirvana dwelling within the most lucid havens behind dark eyelids." The homeless man stands and waddles his way toward the street. The dark storm gutter awaits him. A silvery bit of metal flashes on his clothes. Then yellow water streams downward as the dog yelps when misted by the wind’s spray.
My eyes gaze with disbelief at the bum, his audacity in front of fair damsels causing trembling faces to turn from his sight. But no. I do not turn. I look over his shoulder into the opposing alley. There, a dark man in a dark hood holding a bright farm tool walks into view. The dark man stares at the homeless man, his stark face glistening in a shine of eagerness. Such overbearing finality hangs over the dark man. The miasma settles on the flowerpot on a nearby windowsill as petals shrivel into brown dust.
The dark man glances around, and I spy something taped to his apparel. It is a sticker with a name written with a black-felt marker. An introduction to the people before he whisks their lives away with but a swing of his scythe cutting souls down like wheat.
HELLO! MY NAME IS GRIM!
I stare at Death who just recently left from his therapy sessions.
Before I can fathom his appearance, a wail of sirens abuses the air. A speeding car turns onto the street, flashes of greenbacks blowing from out the windows, as the robbers aim their popguns toward a black-and-white police cruiser.
The two cars approach the spot where the bum is still relieving his bowels of backed-up fluid. However, what catches my attention is not the bum who shivers at the speeding car as it blows by, nor is it on the cop car with its police officer hanging his head out the window as his gun takes aim with the rookie’s tongue sticking out in concentration, nor the little dog sniffing for anything edible to eat. Mr. Grim keeps my focus.
A toothy smile flashes upon the dark man’s face. Time slows, or is it just my comprehension lagging, as the cars move in stop action frames until the bum stands between them. It is at this point when the scythe raises into the air. The dark man glances about making sure none of his counselors are watching. I hear myself shout.
"NO, MR. GRIM REAPER! LAY DOWN YOUR DEVIL STICK. REMEMBER THE THERAPY SESSIONS. JUST SAY NO TO THE DRUG-HIGH OF IMPULSION."
Yet my words have no register in a mind set in his addiction. A bright streak slices through the air. I see the bum’s back arch as if cut by the force of the swing across the street while another bullet explosion sounds in the air.
Time moves on at its regular pace. The dark man is gone, vanished from the alley entrance. The speeding cars are gone, turning at the next street corner. The only beings remaining are I, the dog, and the bum now lying in the gutter.
I rush forward and pull him into arms. A gentle smile dots his face as he gazes at me. His lips tremble open as speech hoovers about us.
"Sweet lass. Do forgive this impertinent man for causing such a blush on cheeks when exposing my manhood to your virgin eyes. It was a cheap thrill I did not want to pay the ticket for by asking you to date this soiled person in your arms. And do please give my apologies to the mutt. Never did I know the strong breeze would change direction when I released my wellspring. Yet let him take heart that I have watered his fleas well."
Eyes close as the bum takes one final breath. He is motionless in my arms as the dog comes over and sniffs the mass, perhaps debating if it is all right now to take a nibble. A bright collar surrounds the pooch’s throat while the swinging ID tag flashes his name. Yorick.
I hug the bum close as a sniffle lines my nose. I implore to the staring dog, "Alas, poor Yorick. I did not know him well."