The old man sits alone in his room, mumbling to himself. The room has a stove, a sink, a toilet, a fridge, a single bed in the corner, one chair, and a bureau of drawers. The plaster is pealing and the one window has torn curtains. One picture of the countryside hangs crooked on the wall.
The city doesn’t care whether you live of die. Once every four weeks someone will check on you if you don’t pay the rent.The manager of this Chicago rooming house will come up and rap on the door.
“ Your rent is due!”
They bust down the door and find that the occupant has been dead for a month!
The man keeps mumbling to himself. He is lonely, he doesn’t even have a dog. Dogs aren’t allowed in the rooming house. You don’t have a dog, you don’t have nothing, just a big zero!
The poor souls in this house are just looking to die. They’re waiting for doomsday. Which, of course, is on the cards for all of us. But a man’s gotta squeeze some good out of life, doesn’t he?
But, between the time he’s born and the time he dies, some never get that goodness. You’re nothing! Money is the king, today. That’s all that matters, if you’ve got the bucks.
Does anybody really give a damn? I saw a guy going 60 MPH down a side road and then he crashed into a parked car. The other car looked like and accordion!
The world is full of hypocrites. That’s why I gave up religion. I’ve seen what’s going on, and how people act. I was an altar boy but now I firmly believe it’s all a big hoax. I’m not a firm atheist. I’m what you call agnostic. Someone who sits on the fence, not saying one way of the other!
Someone, the other day, asked me:
“ Do you see any hope?”
When a man gets up in years it’s not important what’s going to happen in 25 or 30 years. It’s the young people that have to worry about that.
When I talk to other old men in the park, they don’t care. They say, too bad, it’s terrible and then they go on their way. Because they aren’t going to change anything and even if things did change, they wouldn’t get any benefit from it!
I should have stayed in a smaller town. I think I would have been in a better situation now. In a big city it’s lonely and impersonal, no one knows you or cares.
The old man lights up a cigarette butt and gazes out of the dirty window.
On the street outside the rooming house, neon lights cut through the night.
Across the street there is a big sign:
“ The mayor is promoting “ URBAN OPPORTUNITY!”