Pleading On Fifth

Jerry walked quickly past the homeless man facing the building doorway on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. As he passed, he couldn’t help looking at the puddle of piss growing into a small pond in the vestibule’s depressed elevation. Jerry never gave to bums. Hmm… he thought, “I haven’t used that word in years. Probably haven’t heard it since Dad moved down to Florida.”

Jerry had enough of the city too.  He couldn’t stand the crowds, the filth, that God awful stench of urine everywhere. If he didn’t have to worry about debts and child support payments he’d be selling used cars in some small town in the middle of the desert. Jerry, like any salesman, enjoyed a good rube and according to Pops, the United States between the Mississippi and Colorado rivers was a ripe hunting ground for the quick buck. Jerry actually had no idea if this was true or not but it made sense. That’s why his stockbroker buddies targeted Midwestern professionals. A fool and his money are soon parted.

Jerry went into the Starbucks on the corner. He quickly left, it was too hot and crowded.  Jerry then stopped into one of those independently owned, generic breakfast & lunch places. You know, the kind with seating but no table service; kind of like an upscale Korean grocery. It was empty. He thought about the long line at Starbucks.

He tried to talk to the owners of these places all the time. The staff barely spoke English and the manager never seemed to be around. Jerry felt that if he had the money to open up a place like that, or was at least given one to run, he would be able to get those Starbucks lines. To his mind it was simple; stop skimping on the coffee and pastries, raise the prices a little, not much but enough, and watch the business grow.

Ha! Jerry laughed at himself in the Starbucks bathroom mirror. It was twenty years later. Actually it was today. His beard could use a trim, his clothes smelled like an open sewer and he couldn’t remember if it had been one month or two since his last hot shower. After leaving the Starbucks bathroom he looked at the clock: 5PM. Time to start on the evening commuters. His stockbroker buddies. Jerry laughed; it was 5PM and he had nothing to lose.

Photo Credit: Alex Alper via Brooklyn Ink

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Filed under Everyday People, Fiction

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