Half his head is shaven. The middle part is green and the right side
bright orange. He is clean, very clean. His red jeans are ripped, to show
his boxer shorts
. His torn T-shirt is white and clean. Lots of piercings;
huge earlobe holes, like some African tribesman. Have not seen that since
He is talking to a crying old Native man. I see him going to the coffee
counter and returning with a coffee and a bun and giving it to the Native
man. That was the last I saw of him that day.
Two weeks later he wandered into the kitchen while Sue and I were trying
to figure out how to feed about 80 people on 30 eggs and 72 buns. First we
decided the staff would not eat that day, so no worries as to sticking to
my diet plan. Someone brought in a hot apple strudel, six inches by
twelve. We looked at it and just laughed.
He stood in the doorway as we boiled the eggs - very small eggs, not meant
for sale and therefore donated to the shelter. He got in my way as I was
peeling the eggs. Suddenly he found himself with a spoon and knife in his
hand. "Cut the eggs right through the middle and scoop out the egg, dump
it in the green bowl" The old lady, me, had spoken.
He looked at me funny and went to work. One of the guys ran out
and got a jar of Mayo. In no time at all, we had egg salad on the buns and
got the kid to bring out the trays to the hungry.
When all the buns were gone and the apple strudel still on the counter,
the kid got busy. He ran to the back freezer and came back with – two half full pails, chocolate and strawberry.
It was just the two of us in the kitchen. He found the styrofoam soup bowls and had the
plastic spoons. We divided the strudel in some 60 pieces and added two
kinds of ice cream. When he carried the first tray out, he was greeted
with a shout of "DESERT!" Sue came back and took the second tray.
Again it was just the two of us working together. When everything was
gone, he suddenly said: "The way I live I have about 10 to 15 years to
live." "So do I,” I informed him dryly. He glanced up at me with a stunned
look on his face.
"I had fun," he said. "Got drunk everyday, that's why I am here. Community
service. Can't wait to get back to drinking."
"First time?" I asked him.
"No, the second and the last time," he said.
I agreed and told him that the third time would probably be jail and even
He asked, "Well did you have a fun life?"
"Sure did and no splitting headache in the morning. Besides that I can
even remember the fun I had." I asked him if he’d ever played in a band,
by motorbike or traveled all over the world. I told him that
I completely understood that going to a bar and spending the evening
drinking and then staggering around with a splitting headache was, of
course, much more fun. But at least I had fun for more years than he had
We cleaned the kitchen, no longer talking. Before he left, he told me he
had six more hours to serve and probably would not see me again. I agreed
with him and told him I realized that it would be jail for him. He left
but came back a little while later. "Look,” he said, “if I ever want to be
told off, can I look you up?”
"Sure, be glad to,” I replied. We grinned and shook hands! So now there is
another kid in my prayers and I do not even know his name.