Under Foot

No Standing” was all the sign read.

Yet there he stood erect as a sign post and with the shape of a pear under a drop cloth ripped coat. Cars whipped past him along the street making the tears in his over sized coat flap like gills. His face was a look of ultimate joy as though he were enjoying a belly laugh.

“What’s he doing?” Potsy asked the group.

Mary shook her brunette head as the four walked along. “Homeless shithead lunatic. What the fuck does it matter?”

The four walked along the other side of the street from where the coat flapper grinned and giggled at the traffic. They had enjoyed an evening at the theatre and were mid-trek back to find where Bill’s Jaguar was parked.

“Maybe we should help him,” Potsy slowed his walk.

Tammy, his blonde Barbie date for the evening slipped her arm into his. “There’s plenty closer than we are. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

Potsy shrugged and got back up to speed. He could hear the loud laughter of the homeless man now.

The homeless man lifted his arms and his laugh turned into a cheer. He took his first step out into the street.

“Shit,” Bill said. “He’s going after 72 virgins.”

The two women laughed and Potsy tensed already having envisioned the outcome.

The homeless man’s laughter and life ended with two more steps as he stepped past a truck.

All four gasped as the number fifty-two bus hit the homeless man with an audible squelch and sent him flying towards them.

The homeless body skipped across the pavement three times like a flat stone on the water. Vehicle brakes out screamed the people watching the body continued moving. The body finally came to rest in front of the group of hip twenty-somethings; a rag doll laying in front of their suits and part dresses.

“Fuck me!” Mary screamed.

Bill, ever the sarcasmist answered, “Here’s hoping.” He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her face to his shoulders.

Tammy made a few gagging sounds as tears tracked the mascara from her eyes.

Potsy’s trench coat dragged along the ground as he crouched down to the body.

The homeless man still laughed but more a croak now than anything.

“Sir?” Potsy asked. “Can I help you, sir?”

Tammy grabbed Potsy’s shoulder in a weak attempt to pull him away from the body. When that did not work she turned to Bill and took his other shoulder.

The homeless man stopped laughing. His newly toothless and bloodied smile whispered, “I’m Carl.”

Potsy shrugged his trench coat off and lay it over top of him. “I’m Potsy. Can I help you, Carl?”

Carl’s eyes shifted back to where he had started. “Did they see me?”

“Who?” Potsy looked back over across the street.

The building itself was Union Station that took up all of Front Street between Bay and Yonge. At the far east corner of the building was a group of people in less than pristine clothing. They all stood and watched the scene with great interest.

“Carl? Did they make you do this?”

Carl laughed and it quickly morphed into a cough and blood came out onto his potato sack brown shirt. “No, but they want it.”

Potsy looked down at him. “Want what?”

“Fuck, Potsy, leave him be the cops will be here soon,” Bill said, though his voice suggested he was in no hurry as he enjoyed the woman on each shoulder clawing at him.

Carl croaked up at him. “Breast pocket of my shirt.”

Potsy found the pocket and pulled out a thick silver chain. The chain, itself, was nondescript. However, it went through a glass ring that was about two inches in diameter. The ring sparkled in the street lights. “What the fuck is this, Carl?”

Carl took one last breath before saying, “It’s yours now.”

“That’s crystal,” Tammy said, having pulled her head away from Bill. “That’s fucking huge.”

“Carl?” Potsy urged. “What is it? What is mine?”

Carl’s body offered no further voice, nor even breath. The grin was still there. Bloodied and torn, Carl had died a happy man.

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