The Company – 5

I was patrolling my park, assessing the contents within my favourite trashcans, shrouded with the expectation that in one of them I would find my lunch. In more cases than not, something would end up appearing. And today was a happy day. In this occasion my booty consisted of the remains of a half-eaten, homemade pastrami sandwich in a crisp baguette. Wrapped in aluminum foil, spotless for a change. A finding to smile and revel in.

I sat down with dignity on a bench, next to an old man that was dozing in a very rustic fashion, with his legs wide open, his hair a mess resembling a dead and flattened rat, his head tipped to one side and a whitish dribble sliding from his mouth.

The bench was at the summit of a path that descended in both directions to a lower extension of lawn scattered with parterres and lined in the distance  by a barrier of various species of trees. Very calming, overarching views. I took a tremendous bite of the sandwich. Delicious, moist, and satisfying. The pastrami melted in my mouth like cream cheese, fusing and dancing with the stretchy bread.

I looked at the old man again. Unshaven, ragged clothes. The atmosphere around him was as pungent as mine. And, similarly to me, he exuded the bitter smell of a old man. A vagabond without a doubt, but judging by his foolishness he was a novice, and most likely he hadn’t been in the streets for more than a week. No experimented vagabond would have exposed himself so blatantly and in such wretched state during the central hours of the day, showcasing his condition in such an obvious way while disregarding any sense of alertness, certainly the best combination of behaviors if the sought outcome was for a brainless member of the police that happened to be strolling around the park to packet him and send him like a sausage to the closest penitentiary.

I decided to finish my sandwich as quickly as possible, before my amiability  demanded that I should wake up that old man, in all probability starving if he was half as inept as I thought he was, and offer him a portion of my delicacy. The thing is that sometimes one needs to be selfish, because selfishness is a good ally of the forlorn, especially those with recently acquired pastrami sandwiches.

So it is that only after having taking care of the last crumbs that had collected on my lap, did I wake up the old man applying to his side a well directed jab with my elbow. CrazyEye was disposed to educate him, to offer him the best vagabond pieces of advice that there are. Given that he was starting at such an advanced age, the old man required an immediate and accelerated education in all the basic precepts. No matter how much of a lout he seemed to be, lounging on the bench like a slug with the stupid face of one that is waiting for death, for better or worse he now belonged to the guild. CrazyEye couldn’t abandon the old fart, do nothing and thus allow that strangers would jail him and transform him in dog food.

Maybe I could, on second thought. Maybe all the assaults that could happen to him and his death were indifferent to me, but it boiled down to not wasting the pleasure of snatching his body right from the hungry mouths of the policing officials. Maybe something else. Maybe it was even simpler than that, and I just wanted some entertainment as a dessert following a memorable salami sandwich.

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