The Adventures of Charles and His Life on the Streets | Teen Ink

The Adventures of Charles and His Life on the Streets

November 29, 2007
By Anonymous

Charles was an old war veteran and was now homeless and living on the streets of Chicago. You know as soon as someone starts talking about homeless people they want you to donate money or help them out in some way. Me, I’m just here to tell you a story, a story about Charles.

Charles lived right in the middle of the worst part of town. Well he didn’t really live there but that is where he slept and sent up camp. It was nothing more than a vacant parking lot with other people just like him, homeless and no family left. He, in his mind, had one of the better spots on the lot right in the north corner. See the parking lot was in a triangular shape with the tip pointing north north east. The construction of the lot was not the smartest but it is home to about 130 individuals right now.

No one was really all that friendly around here you were pretty much out on your own once you moved here and sent up camp. Food was scarce as it was in everyone’s house at this time, with the stock market crash and the war just ending a while ago, but all that was about 8 years ago.

It was the beginning of a new day not that today was going to be different Charles was still happy that he was alive and still here helping others out. He also found a dog that he became close friends with and the dog seemed to like him also. So he named him Ralph.

Charles and Ralph were going down their favorite alley and searching the garbage cans looking for some good breakfast that they could start their day out on. The great thing about this was that this alley was only about 3 blocks from his shack of a home. MMMMM some left over eggs and burnt hash browns, still warm even. Him and Ralph took their delightful treasure back to the village that he called The Dumps. After he got back to his shack he opened the door which was simply a piece of ply wood covering the entrance to his humble abode. Ralph instantly took his spot next to Charles on the green tore up bed blanket, and they began to eat.

After they finished up and disposed of the garbage in the same can they went for a walk around the Dumps to see if they had any new visitors or if anything has changed. It really hadn’t look like anything had changed but he did see a new face wondering around the shacks on the south side and he had heard rumors that there was a bum down there looking for a place to shack up or someone to shack with. Charles and Ralph set of to go in search of this stranger that he had heard of.

They had walked for a good half hour and still nothing to be found all familiar faces that didn’t want to be interacted with in any way. Finally a new face just walking around very lost. He had the grey hair going on but yet looked very young in the face couldn’t be much past 30. He was dressed the same as everyone else here, in rags.

We approached with caution we did not know what to expect from this stranger. Like I said this morning it is not a very friendly place to be so I doubt he has gotten much more than the cold shoulder all day long. So the first thing that I asked him was “ Hey buddy do you live around here?” And as expected his response was “ No just passing through hopefully trying to find a place to shack for a night or two. Would you be able to help me out at all you’re the first person to talk to me all morning.”

Well with his luck that he sounds like he has had so far I bet I could probably help him out. It had to be almost noon by now anyway. The only problem present was if I could trust me, everyone around here is a bit sketchy so we watch who we talk. So I’m really not sure if I should let him come live with me but any way I decide that we are going to go find lunch together and then we will talk about it. Any way what could go wrong , Ralph seemed ok with him so its got to be safe.

I tell him that we are going to go find some lunch first and then we will talk more and maybe I can help him out in some way or another. So any way he says that there is a really good place for lunch up the road from here about 8 blocks, it was a bit of a walk but he said it would be really good food and lots of it.

He was right there was a ton of food and still hot and really really good steak, chicken, ham, sandwiches, salads, tacos, goulash. It was truly amazing. So on the way back we discuss where he is going and what he is trying to do in life. He replies that he is trying to get to Wisconsin that is where he family is, well what is left of his family , his two sisters. So it is decided he would be able to stay for 3 nights max, this would be enough time to rest and gather his strength again so he could set off for the rest of his journey.

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