It was a cold night in New Haven but for Moses it wasn’t so bad. He had been homeless for about five years, during the day walking around Yale and searching trashcans of expensive restaurants. He would sometimes sit and play his guitar and sing. That was his main source of income, people loved to listen to him play and sing. They would drop him five dollar bills or tens, they would give him food and other random articles of clothing. He wasn’t drinking or doing any drugs, so they treated him different. Sometimes Yale students would talk to him and call him an urban legend.
He had been since he got on the streets, he had saved numerous people from being robbed and had always been as a form of a superhero. There was a time when a woman was being raped in a dark nasty alley near the old bar that shut down on the outskirts of Downtown. Moses came to the woman’s rescue, beating the man mercilessly and then waiting until the cops came before disappearing. He didn’t want any notoriety, nobody call him a hero. That’s not what he was as he roamed the dark airy night streets of New Haven. He was a monster.
Some nights he’d walk by the old liquor stores that he used to practically live in. He recalled those days so bitterly, him in a three piece suit laughing with the other drunk “Bastards.” Moses had the idea that there was some reason that he would exempt from being punished by the cruel world. His name was biblical and he was brought up believe and praise all those things he was told. It was a cushion in his life, one that at time threw him off guard.
Moses would usually sit down on a seat that was left out on the orchard street “Strip” across from all the pizzerias and restaurants. Some nights he’d simply drift around thinking about the past that wouldn’t let him go. The real problem was that he didn’t understand anything about his life but he understood the world around him. It was the only place that he felt at all human. Being in a house caged in wasn’t what was meant for him. His activities and lifestyle led to what was left of his friends and family calling him an animal. Maybe that’s what he was? A true human being, he was the animal that rejected all the corporate synthesizing that allowed overindulgence, greed and eventually their untimely demise.
Moses had spent all that time alone, moseying around and the only thing that kept him company was his cat Jonas. Jonas lived behind his campsite, which was on State Street right in between the ramp to the highway and the thrift shop. Moses had called that home for almost all the years that he had lived on the street. He had it set up nice and the cops didn’t mess with it because they knew that he kept it clean and did well by the city.
That night on a random note he had decided to walk up to Scrap Yard in Mill River and see if he could find any scrap metal from the dealer that would open up for the bums. It was the ultimate place for barterers, bums and bargainers who were up at two in the morning. Moses had his cart prepared and it had a small radio with some earphones hooked up in the carriage. He was listening to 70s Hard Rock and experimenting with some Pop hits while he walked past the Mobile Gas station.
The traffic was scarce to say the least, and Moses took advantage of that walking much faster than normal. He even started to get into the music, so he brushed his long gray hair back so that the earphones he found in the garbage would fit better. He had a couple of other pairs in the pocket of his trench coat that he also found in the garbage. Moses was a man of simple pleasures, flashiness didn’t matter to him. As long as something worked it was valuable to him, he had even gone to the point of being a borderline hoarder. He didn’t mind, Moses believed in the value of true life.
So as he walked up upon the dimly lit dead end that was known as Mill River Street. There were three large multifamily houses on each side of the road, and on the left side there was a lot for the abandoned company Max Supplies. It had been gone for years, but no one bought the building nor did anything for the lot. Across the way from Mill River Street there was a bar called Hanson’s known for its fights, underage drinking and promiscuity. Moses had heard of three dead bodies on Mill River Street in the past year but the numbers were more around eight.
“Look there is Clark Kent, my man!” howled one of the men standing outside the vacant lot. He was staggering with a bottle in his hand, he seemed to be drunk. Moses received the name Clark Kent when a group caught him reading a superman comic book. It was something he had only done a few times, as he had never been a fan of comics, animation or anything of the sort. He accepted the Clark Kent nickname because he didn’t want anyone to know his real name, Moses Floyd. It was a name that was known through New Haven and even Connecticut, a name known of evil and a wretched existence. It was something he didn’t want to live with, so instead he was simply Moses or on some occasions Clark Kent.
“Did I miss anything?” asked Moses as the man shook his head and took a swig from the bottle.
“Nah you didn’t miss a damn thing, half the folks ain’t even down here yet. Come and get a bottle, oh that’s right you don’t drink ain’t that right boy!” yelled the same man whom Moses finally identified as Static. Static always forgot that Moses didn’t drink, and Static was one of the few people who knew who Moses was. He didn’t say anything out of respect. Despite his drunken state, he always remembered to never talk about Moses’s past.
“Now you know I don’t drink,” muttered Moses laughing for the first time all day as he pushed his cart over and shook Static’s hand. “When are these people getting here?”
“I have no clue but they run the show, we are just two bums waiting for the curtains to come up. How has your day been otherwise there? Gone to any telephone booths?” asked Static cracking up into laughter. Moses looked at his eyes which were bloodshot as he barely had a grip on the bottle he held.
“Stop being so loud, someone will call the police on us,” said Moses whisking his friend over to the entrance of the warehouse which was open. “Why are you out here, it’s so cold!”
“Typical guy, it ain’t cold when you got this much liquor in your gut. Man I could basically die right here and now, but nobody would care. My family is sleep at home, finally getting a good night sleep because I’m out here half dead. They wonder why you would have to go out there?” said the Static with his eyes and tears running down his cheek.
“Ok static let it out,” said Moses patting Static’s shoulder. There was a time when he wasn’t as level headed and was seeking guidance and couldn’t find it at the hall of an Alcohol Anonymous meeting. When he was wandering the dark wet streets with a bottle, belligerent and angry, there was no hand to be placed on someone’s shoulder. It didn’t make him feel any better about himself, but part of Moses believed if he kept doing the good deeds his demise would be less painful.
“I said them last night crying, on one knee, I said listen I love you both babies. But I have to go out and make money for the kid, I can’t just lie down next to your fat ass all fucking day and watch Steve Wilkos!” screamed Static. Moses grabbed Static’s arm and brought him into the warehouse. Sometimes the cops would be called and then nobody would make any money. Moses knew he had to pick up some metal and he had just enough money to fit into his cart.
So he walked into the warehouse next to static and was greeted with an arousing applause. Everyone loved Moses except for Moses, as he seemed like the guy other guys wanted to be. He didn’t have good looks, it was more of a moral thing. Few beside Static, Moses’s daughter, wife and a few family members knew of the horrid secret he was hiding. Few thought it had any validity, so Moses was forced to exile himself in punishment rather than allowing himself to live a comfortable life after wrongdoing.
“Yo Moses, bring any bread today brother!” asked Lucky Louie, a fat Italian bum who always loved the bread that Moses would find. One day Moses and Louie were walking around Fair Haven when they gave out bread at Gianni’s, a upcoming restaurant around the way. Moses and Louie spread the word, and ever since were paid in bread and sometimes cash to clean the store. Most of the time their appearance was rugged and unappetizing, each sporting large unwelcoming beards and heavy coats for the winter chill.
“Moses you’re probably the poorest motherfucker here, on account of the fact you don’t get disability so I’m going to give you the best piece for today,” said Carmine, the owner of the racket. Two of his guys Luca and Mickey set the scrap metal into his cart. Often Carmine didn’t charge, he let some of the merchandise go in return for certain favors that he would call upon quite often. He had a set of bums, Moses, Louie, Connolly, Samson and Maxwell. This was it wasn’t charity, and the bums were loyal and would hear about anything on the street immediately after it hit the pavement. Carmine saw it as an ample investment.
“Horse shit!” howled Maxwell who was in the corner smoking a joint. He was laughing as he said it, Moses became worried once he heard that he’d have to fight another bum but it was different then on the internet. For the most part they all worked together, it was the drugs and the drink that brought them apart.
“Yo Moses, I keep telling you each time you bring your ass in here to fill out that paperwork. I got this great doctor, excuse me Max but he is this nigger from Philadelphia. Ya know, where I grew up? His pops gave me work so I kind of do the same, but he became a doctor. Much smarter then I could have been,” said Carmine with his hands on his stomach.
“You can say that again,” grumbled Moses.
“Hey fuck you! I’m sitting her busting my ass trying to get you some extra cheese and here you are hogging the prosciutto. You rat fuck you, don’t look at me like that!” howled Carmine. He had an abrasive way to him, constantly looked angry and at risk to blow your head off. If you weren’t hardnosed, tough or just naturally insane it was hard to handle him. Luckily Moses was a mixture of all three.
“You just mad because the brother probably stole your bitches, and the money out that motherfucker,” said Maxwell with a high laugh. Nobody else found it very amusing. Maxwell got a handshake from Samson who had shared a few hits from the joint but that was it.
“Hey! Hey, what did I tell you?” yelled Carmine pointing at Maxwell, who grabbed a container of air freshener and sprayed it everywhere. “You can smoke that cheap shit here but you better spray every three minutes, not just when I tell you. Spray! Come on, spray the fucking can it’s new so give it some juice,” ordered Carmine with his eyes flaring up.
“You want to me come down with you Moses, make sure nobody robs you on your way?” asked Mickey with a reassuring smile. Moses shook his head and then turned the cart around.
“Hey! Remember I get ten percent of that cut, that’s the deal every first of the week when I call you guys in here that’s what I get. You can’t have the salami and also get the smoked prosciutto,” insisted Carmine shaking his head. Moses nodded his head and gave a somber wave goodbye as he left the warehouse with his shopping cart. He only had about two or three pounds of scrap metal but it would be enough to get him through the day. Most would be crazy to go through New Haven in the middle of the night with a couple dollars of Scrap Metal, but Moses was well known through the order. At least through the parts he was going. He only had to walk about ten minutes to get to his apartment which was a couple of blocks off the Worthington Plainview Park.
As Moses left uneventfully he started to feel something in his stomach. He needed to go to the bathroom after only being able to in the Mobile Gas Station. As he walked along the bridge he felt lights which were burning up his insides. As he started to feel sick he reminisced on the days when he had a functioning toilet and bathroom as a kid. He missed those days and realized he would do anything to get back there, but he started to beat himself up for doing all the wrong things to travel the opposite way.
It took Moses a couple minutes and to be only two miles from his house to realize he had heat on him. He farted and burped when the sirens flashed on, literally scaring the shit out of him. He raised his hands as he heard shouts and hollering behind him, he knew the routine as they brought him up against the car and smashed his head on the hood. As he heard all the police procedure he realized that it was just another day to Live and Die in New Haven.