Sweet Charity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Story about a beggar

Submitted: November 08, 2012

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Submitted: November 08, 2012

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Sweet Charity

He walked with a limp between the restaurant tables, holding out a hat.  The waiters seemed uncomfortable with his presence amongst their customers, but reluctantly allowed him to do his rounds.  Whenever one of the diners gave him some money, he would place his right hand over his heart, bow slightly, then point to the sky and say ‘Theos’.  Most people, however, shook their heads and looked away and after each interaction, successful or not, he would move on to the next table.  When he’d mined one restaurant, he’d go onto another, all the eating establishments nestled cheek by jowl in a line by the harbour, their boundaries sometimes difficult to discern.  I’d finished my meal and decided to watch his progress while I drank my coffee.  I felt I had the right.  I’d given him two Euros.

After about half an hour he came back down along the row of restaurants, but was no longer begging and his limp seemed more pronounced.  He looked around for somewhere to sit and chose a spot near a woman who was running a small charity stall on the other side of the road.  I knew she was collecting money for the island’s destitute cat shelter, because I’d spoken to her briefly before dinner.  There was a small crowd of people chatting with her, all tourists.  She held a small cat in her lap while another played nearby. Children stroked the cat on her knee and parents dug in their pockets for some loose change to give to her.

The beggar looked on, smiling, but nobody acknowledged him.  Eventually the tourists moved on and, before others arrived to take up her time, he got up and walked over to where she sat.  He bowed and put his hand on his heart.  He pointed to the sky, gave her some loose change and limped away.


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