Cascadia: an excerpt



“So, what’s the deal?” he said.

“Deal?” said the bum.

“I thought we agreed you’d go away. I gave you money. You said you would!”

“I did go away.”

“Not for long. Just a few days.”

“Had to get back to work.”


“Money ran out. Need some more.”

“More? From me, you mean?”

 “I ain’t asking.”

“This isn’t right.”

“Tell me about it.”

 “I mean you leaning on me.”

“I’m leaning on the wall. Nothing to do with you.”

“But why here?”

“You asked me before. I like it here. Got my regulars come by, some of ‘em every day. Give me a dollar, give me $5. It’s been good to me here.”

“Hell, man, I gave you hundreds. $300 in fact.”

“That was nice.”

“So you’d go away. For good.”

“For good? Good for you maybe. I got to make a living.”

“You call this…? Look, it bothers my daughter to see you like this.”

“Know how she feels. Bothers me too. Just the way it is, though. Nothing to do about it.”

“Nothing? Can’t we figure out a way to make it worth your while?”

“My while? What would be worth my while?”

“I don’t know. Something worth going away. For good.”

“You want to buy my business, is what you mean?”

“Buy your business?”

“Yeah, my business. That what you mean?”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“Give it some thought,” he said, and winked. “I got to go now. Time for dinner.” He turned and shuffled away.

by Michael Understraw

Center for the New Northwest

(c) 2017 All Rights Reserved


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