Human Moment

Image via Flickr by Karim Corban

Image via Flickr by Karim Corban

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: The man was resting.

The man was resting. Or, I hoped he was resting, not dead. He lay on a park bench, waterproof hood pulled over his eyes. His arms were crossed over his chest with hands tucked into his armpits, and his navy blue parka was polka dotted with darker stains. The air smelled of spilled vodka and old vomit. This was not going to be pretty.

“Sir?” I shook the man’s shoulder. He didn’t stir, but I did catch a slight rise and fall to his chest. I let out a short breath. At least he was definitely alive.

“Sir?” I shook him again, a little harder this time.

He groaned and blinked sleep-crusted eyes. “What do you want, boy?”

“I need you to get off this bench.”

“Why?”

His voice was gravelly, but not angry. That was good. The last man I’d roused tried to stab me. He might have succeeded too, if he wasn’t so hung over that he’d vomited when he lunged to his feet.

“It’s 5:30 AM. The park is opening in half an hour.” Which meant all the homeless needed to be cleared out before young, upwardly-mobile mothers with strollers descended upon the park in droves. Getting in their morning exercise, spending some quality time with their babies, and sending a few important emails.

I would know. I used to be married to one of them.

The man grunted, pulled himself to seated, and ran a dirty hand over salt and pepper stubble. “You have a dollar?”

I smiled. “Better. It’s the end of my shift. Come on, I’ll buy you breakfast.”

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