A DOLLAR AND A DREAM

His sleep – uneasy, but sleep none-the-less.

An indigent life was indeed a life of hopelessness. Carl Telesco knew this better than anyone. Huddled over the open grating hoping for the steam from the subway station to waft upward to warm him. It was a wonder he slept at all. His sleep – uneasy, but sleep none-the-less.

Somewhere in the night Carl was rousted awake. The poke of a wooden prod; a night stick. The police officer did not care that the broken man had nowhere to go. He needed to keep the grate clear for everyone’s safety.

Telesco gathered his meager belongings and shuffled down toward the wharf. It had always been the seedy part of town. Carl hated it there; too much hassle and his dignity, what little he had, was in rapid evaporation.

His feet slid uneasily down the pavement. Shards of broken bottles skittered toward the gutter. Newspaper trash and cigarette butts; used condoms and hypodermic needles littered this lost world within the big city. Carl’s foot hit something metallic. Under the street lamp, the shape of a dropped handgun twirled in the shadow. He picked the piece up and felt its heft in his hand. But Carl saw something else; the wad of bills was more money than he had seen in a very long time. Carl tossed the gun back to the pavement. He went off with his treasure.

Carl bought a suit; fine threads made him feel better. He got a shave and haircut, exposing his handsome features. He walked into Chez Cuisine and Carl ate like a king. He flaunted his faux fortune and people noticed him. Carl felt like a big shot.

The blast resounded in the street, echoing off of the brownstone building and triggering the alarms of cars parked nearby. Carl’s head bounced on the concrete as he landed in a pool of his own blood. A scared kid had found the discarded pistol. He wanted what Carl had.

Carl felt a hard poke in his side. His eyes butterflied open. Standing above him on the metal grating was a police officer, night stick in hand. Carl was being rousted to move along. Telesco gathered his meager belongings and shuffled down toward the wharf. Carl’s foot hit something metallic. Under the street lamp, the shape of a dropped handgun twirled in the shadow. He picked the piece up and felt its heft in his hand.

He remembered his prior dream. Carl thought about the outcome. The blast resounded in the street, echoing off of the brownstone building and triggering the alarms of cars parked nearby. An indigent life was indeed a life of hopelessness. Carl Telesco needed not worry about that anymore.

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