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  • It was the beggar, the one from the corner by the Engen and the Spar shopping center where we stopped.

    I had a milkshake and mom had a latte with a biscuit.

    I know it was him because of the feet. That was the first thing I always saw, the foot. One foot in shoe. Normal and nothing to even glance at twice. But the other one. A foot that couldn’t fit in any shoe. The first time I saw him I thought he had a clown foot on. Only they were real. Toes that stuck up huge like they belonged on a different creature, not a human and never a boy. And there they were, so it had to him.

    I felt bad that we didn’t have anything for him today. Mom always has a bag of things she has me hand out to the beggars. You know, stuff that will keep alright in the car, granola bars and potato chips and all that kind of thing. I told her it wasn’t very healthy one time, I mean it is all the kind of stuff she always gave me a hard time about when I even looked at it in the store when we were shopping. It’s energy she said and smiled like she knew what I was thinking. I started to make a big deal about it go on about teeth and blood sugar and all then I got what she meant and stopped.

    His feet came towards me very quickly and then stopped and I watched his toes wiggle a little and wondered how hot it must be to stand there on the asphalt because I could see a big bubble of it right beside his toes. And then his face bent down and filled up the window. And I worried about the asphalt being so hot and his face right there on the road. And that was strange that his face was on the road.

    He was crying and I told him really it was OK and I’d remember mom to bring something next time. But he really ought to take care of his feet and I was sorry to disappoint him because mom had been in a rush at the Spar and we hadn’t got time to get any treats and I had ate the last ones coming home from school the day before.

    And it was so odd to be talking to feet and a face. And it was so quiet. I couldn’t even hear me talking.

    And then I remembered the bus. And the horn blaring from the taxi beside us and the long, endless metal scrape and scream of brakes.

    And I didn’t want to remember any more.
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