2. Dear Drunk Destitute Lady

travelling hobo signs

Dear Drunk Destitute Lady,

Today when you got down on your knees and looked under our table for cigarette butts, I looked down at my sandals, which I’d kicked off, to make sure you didn’t take them.

I’m ashamed of that.

What I really wanted to do was push the ashtray closer to you so that you could take of the generous pickings the people before us had left behind, but I didn’t know how to do that without insulting you.

travelling hobo signs

I wonder about you. I called you a lady but I don’t think you are or ever were. You have never had five servings of vegetables a day. You are constantly hunting, hunting for scraps of food, of cigarettes, of alcohol, of a diluted sort of love.

I wonder, lady, never-lady, did you ever use your body as credit? Do you see your scrawny unhealthy frame as an asset?

I wonder how you got here, on your knees, barefoot, an enormous yellow jumper, so drunk or high that you can only walk in a curved line.

A friend of mine said that there aren’t any old junkies, but you look old to me. Your parched skin looks older than I know it is. I wonder, lady, will you get any older. Do you want to get older? Maybe you can’t get any older than you already are.

If I see you again I will push the ashtray towards you. You make my insides so old with sadness.


your humble servant,


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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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