He had already made a comfortable stake for himself out in front of the thrift store, and it was only noon-thirty. A molded plastic lawn chair, a big pink comforter, and a coffee can containing $4.78 in cash, out on the sidewalk for all to see. He figured that was nearly everything a man could need.
He really turned on the charm for the pretty young art students. "Hey", he mugged, as they passed, "I'm not just makin' this up here. I really am homeless!" He broke into a wide grin when she stopped. Such a pretty little thing, too, with wise eyes. He was glad he got a chance to look at her again as she eyed him dubiously.
"I don't do cash donations. I'm on my way to the store...can I get you something?"
"You know what I would like?" he asked, quite rhetorically. And she, in good spirits, played along, looking expectantly at him to find out.
"Chocolate milk. And a big bag of M&M's."
"What kind of chocolate milk? Whole milk?"
Now he was really hamming it up, "I don't care what kind of milk. Just any kind of chocolate milk you want to get...but peanut M&M's! That would be so nice, it would be like a birthday present. That kind of thing energizes me, you know."
She had long since stopped trying to preach nutrition to men on the street, but he was just making sure, she guessed. She flashed the winning smile of the do-gooder, and turned on her heel humbly to walk to her fancy organic foods store.
She was a vegan lesbian libertarian, and she knew less about milk than she did about politics, so she got the best kind of milk. Organic whole milk with cane juice and real cocoa, in a glass bottle that had a two-dollar deposit. Nowhere in that fancy little store, however, could she find anything as pedestrian as peanut M&M's.
She had come to get some lunch and a cup of coffee, so she got a little lunch and sat down in the sun and ate it with relish. She smiled at everyone who met her eye. When she was done she stood up and walked to the door, thinking that after she gave him the chocolate milk she could go to another grocery store nearby where they were sure to have M&M's.
She could see even from a block away that the chair, the comforter, the coffee can, and the man were gone. When she got to the corner she looked around on the other street, looked everywhere. Motherfucker was gone. She cursed herself a little for eating lunch so slowly, but he had really looked like he was settled, damnit.
She walked home, put away her one grocery in the fridge. Took it out. Shook it. Took a pint mason jar from the cabinet and set it on the counter. Cracked the seal. Poured herself a cold half-glass, still frothy from being shaken.
It poured down her throat in great rich gulps. She regarded the empty glass, sitting on the counter with the last tiny bit sliding off the walls and pooling at the bottom. She poured herself another glass.