Written: 11/6/2015. Writing prompt, “Fauna”
If the birds can do it and the bees can do it, they thought they could do it, too. Why not? Thriving in plain sight. They’d seen mice do it, and hell, the Viet Cong did it. Living in plain sight. The bears and baby cubs do it and so do the deer. And street workers are so nice, they put up signs asking drivers to please watch out for sudden bears and crossing deer. Maybe they’d put out a sign for them, so that drivers don’t hit them. But then there were the signs that read ‘Don’t feed the squirrels.’ Well, we wouldn’t want a sign like that, they thought. Or maybe they did, as people loved to do the opposite of what some sign says you cannot do. It’s that whole reverse psychology thing.
So they gathered the little they had left. A few bites to eat. An empty water bottle. One never knows when an empty bottle will be needed. A tattered coat, but warm enough for mild winters. New shoes from a second-hand place. It’s amazing what these kids giveaway these days. They never thought it’d come to this, but hell, if the wild hares could do it and the no-brain chickens could do it, they surely could do it, too. But this was America, they never thought it could come to this. They never thought it’d come to them. For sure it’d be temporary.
They had lived comfortably. Then paycheck to paycheck. Then a borrow of money here, a borrow of credit there, but no repayment anywhere and repossession everywhere and friends & family, conveniently, nowhere. People said they had lived above their means. Family said they had had enough. It all happened so fast. The loss of careers, degrees that looked like Third Place certificates, and a game of eeny-meeny-miney-moe of which way to go.
“We could live in the car,” was his first thought. But the last of possessions got repossessed.
“We could go to a shelter but we will be separated,” she said. But the shelters were full.
Then we are homeless, they both thought. How could they do it?
Again, if the birds and the bees could do it, so could they. It couldn’t be that difficult. If the mice do it, digging all those tunnels, hell, the Viet Cong did it, they could do it. Then there were the bears, the baby cubs, the deer, the wild hares and the no brain chickens that did it. They surely could do it.. Those animals don’t need a fancy house or luxury vehicle and they get by just fine.
“We will live like the fauna. We will live with the fauna,” he said.
People will throw us bites to eat and swerve not to hit us on the streets, they thought. After a month on park benches, under freeway passes, digging in garbages and holding signs asking for money, he made a sign that said, “Please don’t feed the homeless.” This reverse psychology thing has got to work.
But people passed by, they respected his sign and did not feed the homeless. All the people that did or did not live paycheck to paycheck, and those who never borrowed, or those who borrowed here and there, turned their heads. Soon they were like the fauna, but not thriving, not living. They blended in, no longer seen. Existing.