Human beings. Human beings are very strange creatures indeed. They are born, grow up, have children, have grandchildren and then die. But the strangest aspect about them is the things they get up to, to make themselves feel better.
Charities and churches are probably two of the best examples of daily cycles which relax and give a sense of well-being to the humans. The daily monotony of collecting unwanted coinage lazily lurking inside deep pockets, whilst gold and platinum plastic cards take pride of place in designer wallets, continues through the night as gimmick, plastic pots sit on the counters of takeaways across the UK.
Celebrities, millionaire business people and entrepreneurs all self-indulge when they “launch” their new projects that will put an end to poverty and make all equal. Badges, stickers, flyers and pamphlets explaining ways to pay, flood the cities from Scotland to Cornwall.
The middle classes abandon their semis in the suburbs in order to hand out leaflets to the homeless, telling of The Lord. “There`s always room in his house,” they say. “There`s never an empty church or stomach,” they joyously recite. “So come and eat with us, come and pray, come and sing to The Almighty. Let your voice be heard.”
Let your voice be heard? I wish my voice had been heard. But you wouldn`t listen, you wouldn`t listen in the church. You greeted with your false smiles, talked amongst yourselves, believed that you were doing good as you buttered the 17pence a loaf and served up a chipped bowl filled with soup from a massive can of soup bought from a second division supermarket. The wooden seats were cold and hard on my arse, just like the concrete slabs I had to sit on. But if the sun shone, I could hold my hand up to the stained glass and watch it change colour as I moved it from side to side whilst the gathering got over excited about dancing wherever you may be.
I didn`t feel like dancing whether I was here or out on the street, or in a box, or in a park and I was certainly never heard. You see, I was one of the homeless. I lived the everyday cycle of the homeless. But I looked on the bright side of life, at least I wasn`t one of the missing. They have the worst of all life`s cycles. They end up with their faces on lampposts and telegraph poles. They end up with the words “Missing Person” spread under their mug shot along with a “special” number to call. Some get a little airing on TV and then there`s always another who`ll post something on Facebook about them.
They’re plenty of us homeless people in every city or town up and down the country. How do we “arrive”? Who knows? We just are. A cardboard box, a doorway, a park bench for a bed; odd size shoes or boots and an oversized army coat to keep you warm.
Everyday people go about their everyday lives, carrying out their everyday routines; young, old, black, white, it doesn`t matter. Nattering away on their expensive mobiles phones, slurping coffees from brand name cups costing more than a jar itself, they have no spare change. A few may have a 1p, 2p or 5p, some may be daring and throw in a 10p or 20p, a well dressed man, who works out at the gym, might throw in a whole 50p to impress his new, doll like girl friend. But few, if any, throw in the gold nugget, the big one, the £1 coin.
This is special to the human beings daily routine, as it brings comfort and security. The obvious notes are tucked away safely of course, along with the plastic. But when it comes to change, there`s a pecking order.
You can add your meaningless, worthless coins to a £1 coin and buy something nice, or hop onto public transport and again make up the difference of fare to travel the short distance to a friend`s flat in the city.
But the real “magic” of the £1 coin is the fact that you can walk into Poundland and buy things for a pound! You`re not “breaking into” a note, or spending on the plastic, you can actually buy food, drink, books, car and garden gadgets or just that something you thought you`d never be able to buy for a pound.
I normally received a whole £1 coin at least twice a week; normally from human beings who had that look which said, “Don`t spend it all at once” or, “I`ve given you quite a lot of money and I think you owe me now.” What a lovely treat! And for this, I could indulge in the wonderful cycle of the homeless. I too could purchase something from Poundland. I normally bought a big jar of coffee. The young girl in the record store let me have endless hot water, so I could fill up my cup all day.
I made my cup from one of those gimmick, plastic collection pots. It used to sit on the counter in the local Indian, but someone nicked it, stole the money and left the pot in the road. I managed to chop of its head and seal of the bottom with a bit of super glue I found.
On Wednesdays, I didn`t get any hot water because it was the girl in the record shop day off and the guy in the bookies didn`t like me. He thought I put off his customers. That`s a joke coming from a man that would take money from anyone ranging from a solicitor to debt ridden potential suicide.
All those lovely people marching in with bravado and storming out with the weight of the world on their shoulders when they`d lost; eyes quickly glanced and looked away as the ticket was discarded into the gutter. They didn`t engage with words, not with me. But inside they said “Yes, what do you want? Money no doubt. No chance mate, do you know how much I`ve just lost on that dead cert? Got to get back to the wife and kids. Anyway, Christmas is coming up, do you know how much that costs?”
Christmas time, how much does it cost? I knew the cost of Christmas along with the rest of the homeless people. Christmas costs lives. It was the worst time of year within our cycle. It was when the cold came a calling and claiming. You tended to huddle up somewhere as warm as you could get and hold out. We tended to go into hibernation if you like and come out in the Spring; a quick head count soon told who`d made it or not.
Christmas was also when the middle classes were at their most active; dishing out their “good books” and words of “He died for me and you,” or “He suffered for me and you.” I suffered on a daily basis.
Anyway, I received two “good books” one particular year and they both served me well. One filled the holes in my shoes when I divided it down the middle and the other assisted with a more personal function.
I had to smile as I thought of Moses parting the sea just as I parted the cheeks of my arse and quickly turned one out into a carrier bag. The pages were my very own Andrex; but the only dog in the scene was a large oily German shepherd, whose owner looked like Freddie Kruger`s lovechild. He muttered something and walked off with his carrier bag of wine.
The New Year called once more to end another year for the homeless and when the fireworks started and the celebrations erupted, another new cycle began; but it was my last year in the homeless cycle.
I went out in style though and with a little bang of my own. They came blowing towards me like two angles some might say and I laughed insanely as I snatched them up from the frosty tarmac; two £50 notes.
Now the chances of this happening were a million to one, even for a non homeless person. I guessed they came from one of those super rich, cool people who`d been in the city all night celebrating. They hadn`t a clue what they were doing, what they were spending or what they were spending it on; but I guess it was just their cycle to spend endlessly the money they hadn`t earned, only been given by their parents.
I enjoyed three cheeseburgers from McDonalds, bought a bottle of merlot from Tesco and enjoyed it along with a cigar from the Tobacconist on the corner. I bought a small box of fireworks and let them off in the park.
Now you probably think you`ve guessed the end to my homeless cycle. You`re thinking he jumped into the boating lake or fell into the river. He got stabbed or was run over by a drunk driver. It`s obvious! He overdosed on drugs; surely every homeless person takes drugs or knows a druggie. The poor man just couldn`t take anymore and he gave the rest of his cash to a horrible bloke outside a pub, took himself away with his New Year candy and did the deed in a lonely place only he knew. No, you`re all wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong!
You see, I`m still alive, I`m just not a human being anymore. Humans have faith, belief, “good books”, stories of miracles at Christmas and gods; and gods really do exist, I have seen them and they have performed miracles.
He came to me on the very edge of the park where no one else could see and at first I thought it must be the wine. I watched his shadow dance across the sky. Clouds slowly parted, leaving a full moon to illuminate his magnificent frame. Wings beat effortlessly, bringing him inches above the ground. His eyes locked with mine. Intelligence, kindness and anger burnt within them. His face was that of an eagle, a falcon, a hawk; all the mighty birds of prey lived within him. As his feet touched the ground, his face became more human in appearance and powerful talons took the form of strong hands.
These hands reached out and gently touched my face as he stood in front of me. His voice was commanding, but loving. “This will be your last night of pain,” he said. “When the sun rises, a new cycle of life will begin and you will neither beg nor go hungry no more.”
Trembling, I could not reply. But all the suffering and pain left my body and I began to cry. He placed a finger upon my lips and smiled. This god of the creatures of flight turned his head to the left as he heard a noise from the woods in the distance to which my ears had not registered.
A lithe, beautiful vulpine creature appeared between two of the oaks. Intoxicating green eyes stared at both of us and it was plain to see that my god knew exactly who this guest was. He smiled and I watched as this newcomer stood on its back legs and grew in height.
A female form was taken. She was beautiful, mesmerising, perfect; able to hypnotise any mortal man and bend him to do her will. Great power, along with forgiveness flowed throughout her. “Come,” she said, “We have work to do.”
He cast me one last glance and then took flight. Once more he was a god and she ran beneath him through the woods a goddess herself.
As the dawn broke, I began a new cycle. Taking flight, I flew over the park and wood, over the streets and buildings below. Looking down, I could see people scurrying about. Cars were driven here and there and the world certainly looked a different place.
I came to rest with the others and was instantly accepted. People, both young and old, pointed at me and smiled. Food was thrown and I ate until my belly was full. At night we all huddled together, safe and warm high up on the rooftops.
It`s exactly a year ago today since I stopped my daily routine as a homeless person and I`ve no complaints at all. I`m more than well fed every day, warm and safe at night and I`m also a father of four. Humans actually want to sit and watch me, they actually pay over £2 for a small bag of food and feed me.
I`ve become a bit of a celebrity and my picture is all over the social media sites. You see, twice a day I “do a little dance” along the wall by the fountains. The humans love it, they can`t get enough of it.
I`ve also made some new friends from France and been there twice myself. My best friend though is a falcon, who often visits and tells some really wild stories.
He`s been around for centuries and was one of the first to start a new cycle of life when our god visited him. “Those were the glory days,” he often tells me, “When you became a King yourself.”
But just as the cycle of time never ends, the human population continues to grow, towns and cities become more and therefore the number of homeless people multiplies. I suppose as this happens even the gods and goddesses have to offer a package deal.
“The gang” gets together once a month. We meet at a secret location. I suppose humans would think it very strange if they saw a falcon, two barn owls, a starling, three woodpeckers, a magpie and me all chatting away `till the early hours; talking about our old, daily routines as homeless humans. We laugh at the fact that we still have the human voice. Some of the “egg born” don`t mix with the “god made”; we laugh at that too as we consider it a human quality.