Some bums were gathered under a bridge drinking cheap wine straight from the bottle. They smelled really bad and looked shabby from sleeping in their clothes.
“And this globalism business, its nothing but the logical result of secular humanism,” a lanky bum says, taking a swig from the bottle.
“Ya gotta admit its pretty shallow foundation, despite the magnitude of its ramifications,” says another, “but the alternative guys are only offering backward thinking socialism.” He burps.
A third guy, his eyes going in different directions, suggests rethinking collectivism in a different, non-Marxist paradigm. A black guy without shoes smoking a short, wet cigarette he has found on the ground reminds them all that capitalism has made such inroads into the human psyche that any alternative would be reactionary by definition.
“Wish brins me beck ta my ’riginal point,” the lanky bum says, “and daas…”
“Excuse me,” says a cologned voice apart from the group. It’s two well groomed business executives in crisp suits with leather briefcases. “Could you gentlemen help a man out?” Both the speaker and his friend have got their eyes fastened not on the bums, but on the bottle. “You see, its my birthday and, uhm, I’m new in town and my friends mother is in the hospital and we won’t bother you any more if you’d just help us out a little, you know, just tiny a swig from that bottle or something…”
The bums get a tad uncomfortable and look away. “As I was sayin’,” says the lanky bum, trying to focus on his friends and screen out the men in suits. Their cologne wafted in their midst and overpowered everybody’s thinking.
“Aw, gowan. Give these guys a hit from the bottle,” a short bum in a greasy baseball cap says. “F’godsake doncha have a heart?”
They give the clean shaven executives a hit, which they take greedily, each downing a good deal more than a swig. The businessman who spoke hands the bottle back and says thanks and the two hurry off to a corner where they clumsily apply more cologne and get into a waiting BMW.
“It isn’t right to give them a drink,” says the lanky bum, wiping off the bottle opening with a cleaner part of his untucked shirt.
“Yeah, but if you don’t he’ll never do it for himself. That guy probably spends a fortune on organic carrots and vitamins,” says the short bum, finishing his sentence. “Why not let threm live it up once? What kinda life do these guys have? What do they got to look forward too for the rest of the day?”
“Still, it only encourages them to beg more,” says a fourth bum, who has been peeing on the concrete a few yards away. He doesn’t bother to zip up as he returns to the group. “You’re keeping those guys locked in a dizzy cycle of prosperity that’s gonna kill them someday. I don’t know what you people are thinking, really…”
“I feel sorry for the, and all,” says the black guy, “and I know they come from bad families and stuff, but I think they gotta live with the choices they make, you know, like the rest of us. Everybody’s responsible for themselves and no amount of charity is gonna get those guys back on his feet again. They’ve gotta do something themselves for their own good.”
A breeze from the freeway towering above the bums blows the scent of cologne away into a clear sky. In the early morning sun, they watch the BMW zip away up onto the bridge and onto the freeway.
“Hey,” says the lanky bum, “I don’t care about those rich guys at all. Let ‘em eat each other and die from stress. They deserve it. Let’s face it – some people just can’t handle freedom.”
There was a murmur of general agreement. They pass another bottle around in the businessman’s honor, each bum taking a long draught for the doubtful future of the morning’s guests.