An old man sits at the end of an alleyway. A bum, is he called. The bum, by some.
Its december, and the snow sinks like stones in the water, slowly but determined. Like a fluffy whool carpet over a cement floor, the snow gently covers the pavement.
The man in the alleyway is sitting with is back to the wall, and only his feet is in the snow. Under and above the snow he rubs his feet together to scrub up some heat. In a violent shiver he pulls himself out of his heroin-haze, just in time to ask a distinguished gentleman walking by for a cigarette. The gentleman, wearing his finest armani suit stops up, and to the bums great surprise he sets up a big warm smile. The man cannot be more than 25 years old, but looks like a very successful broker, or perhaps a lawyer of some sort.
The gentleman stands there for a while, looking at the bum, still smiling. A boyish face looks down on him for a second or two, before he kneels - so they sit face to face. Disturbed, in a positive way, the bum repeats his question for a cigarette to which the man in the black suit replys: "Sorry, I don't smoke - but I'll be more than happy to keep you company for a while. Here take my jacket!" Reaching for the armani jacket, the bum squeezes out a little smile, but is weary - for happyness has never ever come this easy before!
With his cherry, almost singing voice, the childlike man - wealthy as he seems - asks a question that makes the bum laugh loudly for the first time in weeks. "Whats your name, and why do you look so sad?" he asked. In the middle of his laughter, the shaking bum gets a raw oyster stuck in his throat and coughs. The sound of sand and glue.
He gathers some strength, and once again he is able to navigate his head, jaws and tongue. "Now I understand why you laugh! You must be pretty stupid to ask a question like that, to a guy like me! People call me 'Martyr'. I did some time for a crime I didn't do, and I'm always in bad faith! You probarly wont understand any of my problems. By the looks of you, it would seem as though you have never even seen a problem before!"
"Oh, why, thats quite true! Life has been a jolly good dance on the roses for me. The worst thing that ever happened to me was just two months ago, when a savage gang of hoodlums broke into my house and stole everything I owned. When they left they lit the whole thing on fire, and my wife and three kids, all burned alive. Even my dog, Charlie, couldn't make it out alive. Actually, he made it out dead - by falling out from the third story window. I lost it all, my wealth and my family. But no matter, I'm on my way to start a new life, and it will surely be as good as the last one! By the way, my name is Lucky." The fine suited man, now without his jacket, laughed and slapped his hands together and paced back and forth to keep warm.
Martyr hadn't said anything the whole time Lucky was talking, and Lucky noticed his face impression changed as he explained his story. The raggy looking bum, with his dirty hair, baird and hat, and a clean armani suit-jacket, stopped laughing. And once again he looked sad. "This story is worse than any I've ever heard before! You aren't lucky at all! I thought I had it bad, I gave up my life for this and a needle - but I did it by myself. Nobody ever did me anything wrong, except for locking me up, but even that was because I admitted a wrongful act! I wasn't guilty, I admitted it for money. Three simple months in a minimum security penitentiary...piece of cake, really. It gave me $2000 when I got out of jail last week! I still have $500 left!"
Lucky tried to hide his grin, but failed miserably - he just couldn't stop smiling. He blinked and said: "You've got it all backwards my friend, I have had everything! You have never had anything at all, atleast I know the taste of luxury, and the will to taste it again is what keeps me alive and smiling! What is it that keeps you alive and frouning?"
This, like everything else Lucky said, came as a surprise. 'This isn't how a conversation is supposed to roll along' the bum known as Martyr thought to himself, and he said: "I have never thought of it like that, I guess I'm just alive because I'm to afraid to kill myself, and I feel just too miserable to smile! Always at this time of year, everything gets worse. Its cold, wet and everybody is twice as cranky and hates me twice as much. Not only that, but those that doesn't hate me look at me with such sad eyes, and that brings me even more down. I can see the pity in their eyes, and that makes me realize the pity I feel for myself. It just goes on and on, amplifying, till I finally pass out for some reason or another. I actually like passing out. But no! You are the one whos got it all backwards - I understand now! You have opened my eyes! How can you possible get on living, when you know of what you have lost? And smiling?"
"Its just because I know, that I can smile! I know what I can get back, and I know how I can do it! My father did it before me, and his father before him. Making something out of nothing is what my family has been doing for generations! You see our faith backwards! Why don't you try to make something out of nothing?" The childish eyes got bigger, and his smile got smaller.
"Nothing? Oh no, there is no nothing - there is so much of everything that I cannot do anything about it! All I can do, is hope that somebody will come by and save me - give me food and clothes. Somebody like you. You seem like an angel - but you have nothing - not even the everything I have! What I had, I hated, and when I threw it away - I missed it badly! Alas! This life is perilous to us all, yet I cannot laugh at it. Even so, it seems like you cannot hate it, you cannot put up a sad, mad and frustrated look upon your face - you seem uncapable to witness evil! How is it that you can smile, when you have lost your family, in a violent fire?"
Lucky looked down on his feet, like in shame, but then looked up again in pride, and uttered:
"Oh, but I cried at first, I cried for three weeks straight - and I havent forgotten the sadess - but that sadness reminds me of this happyness. And this happyness reminds me, that there is no such thing as giving up! There is always more happyness to gather! And you are wrong, you are capable of laughing, as I am capable of crying!"
And so the two bums sat quietly for several hours, until they finally stood up both of them. Martyr gave Lucky his $500, and told him to spend it well, and turned his back as if to leave. Lucky shouted to him and grabbed his shoulder - "NO! You don't leave now! We shall learn eachothers happyness and sorrows. Not until we both grow separately, and together, shall I leave your side!"
They walked away, checked into a motel - and so was it that the world saw another connection point being created in the place of several old ones.
The argent messenger of truth beyond truth, the antithesis of life, cruel and bleak as interstellar space, pulseless and frozen as absolute zero, dazzling with the frost of irrefragable logic and unforgettable fact.