Nothing Left

Eventually life on the streets  loses its allure and the cold, stark reality of loneliness, sickness and a wasted life takes hold. The magic elixir, alcohol, loses its ability to transform the landscape from dreary and lifeless, full of unsavory characters to a vibrant place to hang out, socialise with like minded individuals and think, for as long as the euphoria that comes from the bottle lasts, that life is good.

Life isn't good for Kevin. His time is running out. He can still bring a laugh to the people who care for him with his trivia questions, but seldom does. He needs to be prodded into asking, "Whose the guy, that played the captain, on Sea Hunt?"

When I first met him I thought his questions were hilarious. Now, the same three or four questions bore me. They bore him. The only people not bored are the folks who have yet to meet him, and see him after he sobers up, and watch the shell of a person crumble from a disease that has taken over.

At one time I thought he might beat it. When they clean him up and give him a shave, haircut and new clothes he could fit in with just about any social setting. But the hair grows back, the clothes get stained with piss and grime, the stink clings to him, making his presence unbearable. What kills me is he knows it. Somewhere deep in his subconscious he knows he lost his chance, and its just a matter of time till he slips away, forgotten by everybody who once laughed at his drunken wit.

"I don't feel so good," he said the last time I picked him off Eddy street. Then he cried. And couldn't stop until we brought him into the ER. Somebody asked him, "Whose the guy…"

"It's C-C-C-Conan O'Brien!" said Kevin, without any of his usual exuberance.

He left that in the 1/2 pint bottle of vodka that joined all the others in the gutter.


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Michael Morse

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