Scott Soloff




It was pitch black, reeked of garbage and I had just banged my head on something that very much felt like metal.

It took a moment to orient myself. I used my hands to explore. It didn't take long; it smelled like garbage because it was garbage. I braced myself and forced my legs to push upwards. The metal door swung up and back exposing a mostly blue sky.

Son of a bitch… I was in a dumpster. Touching my head revealed a lump the size of an ostrich egg. Hurt like hell. For a moment I had trouble focusing.

After taking a deep breath, I scrambled out of the dumpster. I had to think. Where was I and how in the name of God did I get here.

It was an alley with a row of dumpsters behind one very long building. Hotel, I bet.

With some difficulty I managed to walk very slowly to the end of the alley. I looked left and then right. Shit! New York City… Ninety miles from home. On 7th Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets.

My pockets… Nothing! No money, no phone and no ID.

I suppose I could call someone… Screw that. I walked back down the alley, the way I had come. Reached into the dumpster and pulled out one of those blue and white waxed paper cups that are so ubiquitous in Manhattan.

Shook out whatever coffee remained.

Walked around the corner to Penn Station, sat crossed legged on the pavement and stuck out my arm with the nearly dry coffee cup.

Believe it or not, it didn't take long. Not with the way that I looked and smelled. At the moment, I was doing a pretty good impersonation of a homeless person.

Within thirty seconds I had made my first quarter. Twelve minutes later, there was a buck seventy-five in change and a single dollar bill. That was plenty and I decided to quit while I was ahead. Didn't want to get rousted by the cops.

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