He stopped me in the street and he said “Hey love, sorry to bother you, but I had a car accident… and I can’t work anymore… and my wife died… and my daughter’s got cancer… and I can’t afford to pay the bills…”
I laughed and laughed.
“Oh god, mate,” I said. “Seriously. What’s your real story? What do you want?”
His crinkled grey face crinkled some more as he smiled, and his eyes twinkled a little.
“Aww, nothing,” he said. ” I just want some change.”
“Then why didn’t you just say?”
“Oh people, you know.” He waved his hand to show me the people, the footpath, the street. “They always want a story. They want a story for their money. You gotta have something to tell them.”
“Well, here’s $3,” I said. “It might get you half a beer, or maybe half a meal.”
“Thanks love,” he said. “Have a great night. See you round.”
“Yep, you too,” I said, and I walked home to my warm bed.
But I woke up in the night and I thought, what if he did have an accident? What if his wife really did die and his daughter really does have cancer?
How can I laugh about that?