Pawn Takes King Part 6

Donnie walked along the highway, pockets brimming with narcotics, and a head full of badness. He was homeless, but hadn't looked the part back then. His jeans were clean and without holes, as were his shirts. He crammed a large duffle bag full of clothes, and could easily pass for a student at the university. He found himself down at the pedestrian mall. He sat on the bench, buzzing from the line of Oxy he had snorted in the gas station bathroom closeby.
    Donny felt a moment's peace, sitting there in the cool shade of a tree at the ped mall. A section near the library had a decent playground for the kiddies to romp through. It made Donnie happy to see such carefree innocence. The kids were safe, while surrounded by in an unsecured world. The parents watched them from the benches around the perimeter of the equipment. Another area had a series of tiles with water fountains that shot out streams up to 6 feet in the air. Small children played around the jetting water, shivering and squealing as the cold hit their tiny bodies.
    But after awhile, Donnie was forced to think of what to do when the sun went down. He had always been a big fan of sleep, sometimes spending the whole day in bed. Now, he only wished he had that luxury. The Oxy dwelled in his system for a few more hours. Donny ate a small grilled cheese sandwich from one of the vendors there. As evening came, the young college kids came out and hit the bars. Donnie saw so many beautiful girls, but he knew the flirting games would amount to nothing without some cash to urge the women along. Girls expected to be looked after, as far as bar bills are concerned. Donnie was alone.
    A small contingent of homeless people were gathered in one section, near Washington street, which cut through the heart of downtown. Donnie didn't know for sure they were homeless, but call it an educated guess. Many of those people wore ragged clothes, and even more ragged expressions. Their glances spoke of hard lives, and lost dreams. Some slept on the benches, but Donnie didn't want to be associated with them. He did wind up sleeping on a bench, but it was at Rutherford Park, where no homeless people seemed to be around. Donnie had only a small blanket to cover himself. Luckily, it was still mid-summer, and the weather was in Donnie's favor. He rationalized again, about everything he had done. Without shelter to lay down in, it was much harder to convince himself his actions were justified.
    Donnie wished he was dead.

    The begging started soon after Donnie relocated to Iowa City. He had attempted a short stint of job searches, with little luck. When it came to questions about his work and education, Donnie clammed up. He had dropped out of college and quit his job, partially because of drugs, but mostly due to lack of money. The human resource people who interviewed Donnie were trained to look for nervous ticks, and certain stressful glances, both of which Donnie had in spades.  Donnie gave his number, which was a cell, but only had a week of service left. None of the interviewers requested a callback.
    Even if he did have a better experience history, there was so many people out of work competing for that one spot, Donny would still be overshadowed by someone better. The companies doing the hiring had all the leverage now. They could pick the most highly-qualified person for the lowest-paying job. God Bless America.
    Donnie went through the stolen drugs faster than he intended. He almost felt like a pharmacist, chopping pills in pieces and crushing them.  At first, he put a few extra milligrams into his line in order to keep chasing his high. Then it continued to the point where he needed it just to get back to normal. By then he was almost all out of pills. He couldn't regulate properly. Addicts usually cannot meter out their doses efficiently. They just take more, and more, and more.
    All of Donnie's clothes were dirty. He had no washing machine with which to clean them. Nor could he afford the measly few quarters to wash them at the laundromat. Having no further differences between him and the bums, Donnie approached the homeless section in the pedestrian mall.


Uploaded 09/27/2012
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