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Now You See Him

Page 4

The way he spoke, his accent, the things he knew about, his air of refinement, had us intrigued.  Where had he come from?  How did he get to where he was now? He seemed different; even in a city full of street people, all with different stories, some of them true and others the products of cunning or damaged minds, he seemed different. For some reason we believed in him.  Not so much his stories, although he told them so well we mostly allowed ourselves to go along with him, but we just believed in him.  Heroin was his drug. If ever one of us mentioned getting clean to him, he just smiled that shy, childlike smile and backed away, almost bowing, putting his head down as he went.  Then we wouldn’t see him for a few days.

Eventually, we all pretty much gave up. We just listened to his stories, gave him a few dollars, hoped for the best, and let him be. 

***

There was a buzz in the street. You couldn’t hear it, but if you knew the street you could just feel it. He had gathered a small crowd around him, at his spot. He stood a bit taller, his head up high, and he was talking earnestly.  I joined in. There was a light in his eyes that I hadn’t seen there before. 

“There’s this place. I read about it, and then I rang them up. It’s in the bush. Far away from here.  I can get better there. A mate of mine did.  It takes three months and I’ve got to live there.  It costs heaps though and I have to pay it all up front.  $6,000.” 

So we chipped in.  Twelve of us, between us, put the money into his account. People thought we were crazy. And then he disappeared.  Fools we may have been, but we still hoped for the best.  We believed in him.

 

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