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Fifty cents

A guy is leaning against the RedBox at the 7/11. He has clean shirt, a parted afro, and a tightly rolled up sleeping-bag at his feet. He’s young, maybe half my age.
“Excuse me, Sir—can you spare fifty cents so that I could get some food?”
I dig in my pockets—change is change to me—so why not spare two quarters?
“Oh—sure, Man—I’ll help you out.”
I don’t care how the money’s spent. I just know I have fifty cents to give, that karma is incredible, and that we’re all a family. (My kid—when he’s anxious and heartbroken, talks about breaking his piggy bank and giving all the monies to the homeless people who have to be outside in the rare San Diego rain. He’s a great kid).
Before I can give the gentleman my coins, I’m stopped by a police officer who tells the guy: “You can’t harass people outside of this property. Pan-handling is illegal.”
He steps in between me and the gentleman at the Red-Box in order to break the karmic transaction.
I duck into the 7/11 and buy my coffee.
The officer walks in, points at the teller, and says, “He can’t do that. I’ve sent him down to the intersection.”
The officer looks at me, with my coffee and bottle of sparkling water, and says, “Hey—I apologize about that. Guy shouldn’t have harassed you.”
He waves and walks off. Him and his extremely tight haircut.
The teller and I meet eyes.
I shake my head.
“Shit, Dude. That was totally unnecessary,” I say, and he laughs.
We do our transaction and I place all my change and then some in the counter jar.
“For when—you know—that bothersome guy comes back.” Goddammit, sometimes.

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