Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nothing Changes (a short story - part 1 of 3)


Same town, same shelter, same bed. Lumpy mattress, not enough blankets. Snorers and screamers make erratic music throughout the night. Four nights in a row, might be a record for me. If I can keep from getting into a fight, I might make it a week.

Breakfast is the same, too. Both the coffee and oatmeal were cold and watered down. Some say thanks, a few nothing, and one or two want to fight about the quality as we shuffle through the serving line. What are they expecting, a restaurant? I’m just glad to have something in my gut. Not any worse than the stuff I got back home when Mom would stumble around the kitchen after a night of fighting with my dad.

Guys scatter about the room to find seats. A few seem to have their “places” and it’s best to let them have ‘em. Others go for the corners, wanting to be alone. A low hum builds until laughter makes everyone look the in same direction, wondering what the story was about.

Gotta be out of this shelter by eight. No use being lazy if you want to come back. They all have their own rules and it’s hard to remember. I can get dinner tonight, if I go to chapel first. Fair enough trade-off for me. You can sleep through chapel; just have to be there at start time.


  1. Wow... Jim...
    This short story provides amazing insight into the mind of the homeless. Having done a little bit of work with the homeless, I can totally picture this in my mind... and it breaks my heart.

  2. I have a friend in Canada who is pr director for a huge shelter. The work there is nothing short of amazing. People who have nothing find they have something they can give (a piece of art, a song, a poem).

    I've helped serve food in one of our local shelters. I've seen what you describe.

    I'll look forward to your other two parts, because there is another side, in fact many side, to life in a shelter.

  3. So, when do we get parts 2 and 3?