August 12, 2011
The brief story of Al C. O’Hol :
What keeps you warm in the winter, puts you to sleep, protects you from germs, and takes all your money?
I. An unfinished wooden bench sits on a small plot of grass, which is surrounded by green trees. Those green trees are surrounded by concrete: sidewalks and buildings. The surrounding buildings have more floors than can be counted on fingers and toes. Inside of these buildings are people with money, people who sleep on beds and pay for bathrooms, and kitchens, and carpet.
Monday through Friday, a man in a pinstriped suit sits on this bench with a cup of overpriced coffee. He looks down at his left ring finger and wonders why there is in fact, no ring. He pulls a small flask out of his coat pocket, unscrews the top and pours a substantial amount into his Styrofoam cup. Monday through Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm, his cell phone rings and he answers. Inside of his wallet are cards with a picture of himself plastered across the façade, money to buy things such as overpriced coffee, and nothing else. When his thirty-minute break is over, he gets up and walks back toward the tall concrete buildings.
II. Mondays and Fridays pass and the temperature drops, still the unfinished wooden bench sits on the small plot of what is now, ice-covered shards of grass. Bare trees and tall buildings surround it. Inside of these buildings are people with money, people who sleep on beds and pay for bathrooms, and kitchens, and carpet. The bench is now occupied in the same way the beds inside of the tall buildings are rented: month to month. Blankets cover this bench. These blankets loosely resemble what were once pinstriped business suits. Underneath the bench is a suitcase full of irrelevance: a cell phone– which has not been charged in two months, a Styrofoam cup half full of pocket change, and a wallet with no money at all.