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26th November
posted by amber


My wife found out I’d lost my job over a year ago. I never told her what I’d been doing every day – going downtown to collect bottles to maintain a shred of an income and some occupation for my time. The divorce, uncontested, happened quickly and I found myself truly homeless, living downtown all day instead of nine to five.

It was autumn, and the rough parts of downtown were a hive of activity, much busier than they’d been all summer. All the bottle sources were taken, and defended vigorously. I’d been assuming I could earn enough to pay for a flop hotel and a little food to supplement what the soup kitchens give. I’d been assuming wrong.

Life was difficult until all the young people moved into the park. My wife graciously let me have our tent – she’d never enjoyed camping – and I joined the throngs, contributing a few freeze-dried meals I’d snagged when I went to get the tent. There was a lot I could tell my fellow occupiers about the evils of capitalism and corporate greed. Other homeless came too, bringing front line accounts of broken social safety nets and the criminalisation of mental illness and addictions.

None of my fellow occupiers ever found out I’d been among the one percent. It took 16 months of no income, bad investments and my wife living her accustomed lifestyle to reduce me to join the 99 per cent. I can’t say that I prefer it.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

This tale is a sequel to story 167.

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