The dust storm ferociously swept through the city of Vagabond, sweeping up pebbles, taking down branches, palm leaves, lifting up grocery bags, and basically anything light enough not withstanding.
Victor Satie walked towards the kitchen window to peek outside.
From the window he saw vast amounts of dust coming towards from a distance. The dusty wind covered the day sky, dimming the sunlight. The trees swayed back and forth, dust and pebbles hit the windowpanes and sounded like birds pecking at the glass, a shoe was pushed across the street, people ran for shelter, struggling against the wind as cars speeded by on the road. The wind was powerful; he marveled at the sight.
The turbulence from without shook the house from time to time.
Victor had been sitting at the dinning room table procrastinating, watching videos on the internet, on his MacBook. He was beginning to feel fatigued and craved a cigarette, but had smoked his last one hours ago. He put the computer to sleep, put both elbows on the desk and began to rub the temples of his head, a headache was beginning to set in: nicotine depravation was causing it.
“My head is throbbing,” he said in a low forceful voice. Fiona, his cat jumped on his lap, “meeeeow,” she said. He rubbed her belly and then gently put her down.
He got up, pushed the desk chair in, grabbed the car keys, headed to the car, then drove to Lindsey’s, the liquor store down the street, to buy a pack of cigs.
As he arrived at Lindsey’s, he spotted “the homeless pirate,” as he called him. The homeless pirate was a destitute man on a wheelchair that spent most of his days posted next to the soda machine outside of Lindsey’s. He seemed to be past midlife, had no teeth, wore tattered dirty clothes, had scruffy hair, a patchy beard, and an eye patch over his left eye. He held a tin can in his hand. The tin had some change in it, and the homeless pirate rattled it as people walked past him. He held a sign: “homeless veteran, hungry, anything helps, thank you. God bless.”
Victor avoided making eye contact with him each time he went to Lindsey’s; he walked directly towards the store door. The homeless pirate stared at him as he approached the entrance.
“Excuse me sir,” he said in a hoarse voice, “can you spare some change?” The tin can rattled.
“No,” responded Victor without turning to look at him.
“Can you spare a cigarette?” he asked.
“On the way out,” said Victor, turning to look at him. He empathized with him in this regard: the headache intensified.
“God bless you sir,” the pirate responded, “have a nice day,” as he pulled out a bottle of cheap vodka from the side pocket of his plait coat and took a swig. He continued to rattle the tin can.
“Is that old man giving you any issues Victor?” asked Thomas, Lindsey’s, the store owner’s son, as Victor approached the counter.
“No, he just asked for a cigarette, that’s all,” he responded.
“Oh, okay, it’s because several people have complained about him, but look at him, poor pitiful creature. I mean, I know it’s bad for business, but I just don’t have the heart, yah know?” Said Thomas.
“Yes, I know,” said Victor.
“What should I do Victor. I’d like your advice?” asked Thomas sounding concerned.
Thomas had a big heart, just like his father, and had been running the store’s business since his father died in a fatal car crash three years ago.
“Take him home with you, shower him and go drop him off at the homeless shelter across town,” said Victor.
“Why don’t you do it?” retorted Thomas.
“He is not bothering me,” responded Victor.
“Screw it, I’ll just call the police if things get out of hand, for now, a few complaints is nothing, some people can be very insensitive. I don’t want those people as customer anyways. Good riddance to them, the pirate is a staple of this store, he has been there since before my father past, and in some weird way, he reminds me of him” he replied. “So, what can I get for you Vic?”
“I’ll take a pack of cigarettes. You know my brand Tommy-boy,” said Victor as he reached to grab his wallet from the back pocket. “And, let me get a bottle of vodka, the one old pirate drinks.”
“That will be fifteen-buckaroos Vic.” said Thomas with a grim on his face.
Victor pulled out a five and a ten and handed them over to Thomas, then headed out the store.
“You’re a good man,” said Thomas ad Victor stepped out the door.
“I know Tommy-boy,” responded Victor with a slight smile and a melancholic look on his face.
Outside, the homeless pirate waited on his wheelchair. Victor walked towards him with the bottle of Vodka in hand. The homeless pirate straightened up as Victor approached.
“Here, take this,” said Victor to the homeless pirate as he handed over several cigarettes and the bottle of cheap vodka. “Enjoy it old man and don’t get used to it.”
“Thank you,” said the pirate in a monotonous hoarse voice, “God bless.”
Victor turned around and walked towards his car.
He began to think, “Poor man, what keeps him going? Why doesn’t he just call it quits? Does he even feel anymore? Why does he choose to continue to live? Is it the vodka? What drives him to continue living in such a state?” He stopped thinking, turned the ignition on, stepped on the breaks, put the car in reverse, and headed home. He had work to do.
Victor was usually energetic and self-motivated but not today. He felt lethargic; it was going to be a long day.
He was working on the first chapter of his novel: “The Love Which Never Came,” was the title. It was about a very successful man, Jasper Golding, an oil barren from Milwaukee, who lived a very fulfilling life, yet never managed to find true love. He died alone, and single–though he had many sexual escapades during his time.
Victor got home, walked to the porch, and lit up a smoke. He began to feel the stress lift with each puff. Grey clouds lifted towards the sky.
“These will be the end of me,” he thought, “and that vodka will be the end of the homeless pirate,” holding the lit cigarette before his eyes.