Not Forgotten” is my second attempt at this week’s prompt for Carrot Ranch. I might publish the first one. Ergh.
This flash fiction is semi-based on a true story about a homeless man, a Vietnam veteran, who liked living outside and refused his son’s attempts at bringing him home. He was frequently seen at a nearby 7-11 and subsequently died there.
On a side note, years ago there was this wonderful movie starring the incomparable William Powell and equally incomparable and luminous Carole Lombard called “My Man Godfrey.” Although the men weren’t called homeless, they were called “Forgotten Men.”
Not Forgotten (99 words)
A ragged man, he panhandled holding a cardboard sign between gnarled fingers. He got pneumonia once during a bitterly cold, snowy winter. That’s how I found him then he disappeared again.
“I’m nothing to you,” he’d said to me, his only son.
Mom’s only comment: “Damn war took him away twice.”
He lived in a cardboard box in woods behind the grocery until they tore it down and made him leave. I left food with him, gave him money and warm clothes.
Strangers tried to help. One told me, “He’s always got a joke.”
He died there, not forgotten.