Moses prodded the contents of the dumpster with his walking stick hoping it might reveal some choice delicacies that would revive his spirit. Hunger has a way of raising one’s expectations in life. The art of dining is to choose carefully from what other mistake as garbage. The fare at Chez Joey was to be prized with judicious searching. “It is a shame no one ever throws away a half filled bottle of wine, that would truly be a gift from the gods.” Moses like talking to himself for he found his own company agreeable. “Man does not live by bread alone. But some bread would be a nice change form the usual fare. Some pumpernickel or Prussian rye would be most welcome to the palette when spread with non salted butter.” He continued his perusal of the dumpster in confident hope that some great treasure would satisfy the gourmet within his soul. Finally he spied a piece of filet with a touch of bearnaise and next to it some duck with orange glaze. Perhaps some asparagus would be nice. One never knows.
“Ah, the problem of having a chef that is too good. The diners throw away far too little fare. Isn’t that always the luck? Now if I chose a place of lesser stature when it comes to the preparation of food I could eat my fill. But would I ever satisfy my soul? I think not.” Moses collected his dinner and placed it in metal containers, the kind for food storage for he never used Tupperware. It left an offensive odor on the food. No, it must be metal, after all, it was easier to clean. “Still, I wish I had some wine tonight. Wouldn’t that be a treat? Said the cat to the king.”
Moses made his way back to the Yellow Trucking freight depot. The place was abandoned and not yet razed. He had constructed a rather nice shelter under the old wooden docks with the pieced of cardboard and scrap wood he found. Candle light was still his means of illumination but it was sufficient for his needs. Here Moses had his library and his bed. A few dishes sufficed to hold his meal and tumblers to hold his water. It is a simple abode, discrete and quiet. “It is that part of my circle of life, it guides me well.” Moses was starting to wax poetic as he often did when his dinner pickings were exceptional. He was relaxed in gustatory anticipation as he arranged the morsels on the plate he so carefully selected. “I really must watch my weight in the future. It would not do to gain too much weight.” Before Moses ate he reflected on life and began to quote from Rumi, “Why should I seek? I am the same as he. His essence speaks through me. I have been looking for myself.” A grateful benediction for the meal he was to enjoy. Afterwards the glass of water was slowly consumed and he ended his routine in like manner, “When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men.” Then Moses selected one of his briar pipes, filled it with tobacco, and went back outside to smoke, to drawn in the pleasure of sunset and its fading light. This poetry of nature would be the muse for his dreams that night.
The morning arrived early as all mornings do. At first its coldness greats the body but the sun then warms all that it touches and Moses felt glad. He must look for another place, a palace of splendor such as he had now. “I see the new sign on the fence, they have sold this property and in a month, maybe less, will commence to tear my dwelling to pieces. A good place is not easy to find.” So he set out once again searching the mental map of the city he held in his head until he settled on two possible sites. His pocket held enough coins for the bus and transfers that would carry him to his appointed rounds. Miles passed until he came to the first place. Finding a spot for observation Moses seated himself for the several hours of watching he knew were needed. Too much activity, particularly by the homeless, would make his future abode uninhabitable. His solitude was precious, not to be invaded by the riff-raff nor endure endless nights of fear at their hands. As he watched he observed several individuals going and coming from under the old truck dock. No, this place was most unsuitable. It was a long trek back to Chez Joey but surely he would find another meal for the night.
Luck was with Moses the next day as he discovered the object of his search. Almost no one around to speak of and any entrance he might make to access the area under the loading dock could be easily hidden. The warehouse was fenced off and had a gate where the workers came through to work. There was even a water faucet around the side, behind a wall that once held trash barrels. Under the dock the supports were thick wood and concrete, very cozy come winter. And since the dock faced east there would be no glaring host sun during summer. “I am well pleased with my new abode. Tomorrow I shall start moving. there is much to do for I need cardboard and perhaps some scraps of lumber. Then I shall live like a king.” Moses had emerged from under the dock and saw someone dart into the shadows farther down the street. “Ah, now to fetch my meal for the evening. Maybe I’ll win the lottery and there will be a partially filled bottle of wine. That would be heavenly.” The night passed uneventfully and the morning came.
Moses did not have much in the way or personal possessions, enough to fill a grocery cart that he borrowed from a local stream. It took a little cleaning but it was serviceable for the trip and there would be no problem getting rid of it. the other street people would fight over it. The thought amused Moses. “Ah, how so many would drag around their possessions and add to them willy nilly like a squirrel adding to his own nest until it became so large that a big wind wind would blow it to pieced. Such silly people carrying mere trash in a wagon train of carts like the men of Cortez with their pack trains of gold. A few blankets, some clothes, rudiments of living such as a bar of soap or two. Condiments of essential spices and salt. Some candles and a small pan, matches and a jar of instant coffee. My needs are few compared to most. A pox upon their acquisitions. I have but a few essential books, of course, a man must have the sustenance of the greatest literature to read in solace of his soul.” The hours of his trip had dragged into the afternoon and yet he did not feign tiredness. Noses was careful to see that no one noticed him close to his knew abode. He had chosen to live beyond the pale of the mass of homeless, that foul rabble of the streets.
He had taken care to dispose of the cart unnoticed and stealthy made his way back to this new castle so that he might attend the installation of his treasures. As soon as he had ducked down under the dock he saw her. His soul was filled with both fear and questioning. The woman said nothing, forcing Moses to speak. “Woman! What are you doing in my abode? Why are you here?” Instead of the thunder of the gods his voice lapsed to a less assured tone, almost quavering in pitch. Against this attempt to hurtle thunderbolts from the mountain came a single word. “Please.” He knew he was as helpless as a newborn babe before this plea of a woman. Moses sat in full ten minutes silence before the woman echoed her plea. “Please.” The words came softly and without malice, they came with innocence of youth, they came as a child would ask of a parent.
Moses finally answered. “What is it you want from me? I have but a few coins, take them if you like. You have seen my things as modest as they are in number and quality.” Her reply was the same. “Please.” Almost mysterious, almost loving. Could that be it? “Child, tell me more. Who are you. From whence do you come and why do you come to me? I am a man of solitude, a man who treasures his own company. What do you seek?” Moses shook his head as though the mere act of shaking would lose the answer he was seeking. Again, as if she were afraid of saying more, of telling more, of letting her desires be know lest they be rejected, she again uttered that single word. “Please.” A few more minutes Moses spoke again. “Woman, I am hungry and you have disrupted my routine. Come, if you must, for i seek my supper.” with that he turned around and emerged from the dock once again. He started towards Chez Joey and the woman meekly followed at a distance.
Once Moses had reached Chez Joey he started to poke around in the dumpster trying to locate choice bits of food for his meal. Soon the woman was trying to do the same but with far less discrimination. “No, no, my dear. Look at what your are doing. See, this bit has curdled cream, its not good. See this bit here? the bearnaise is still excellent and the meat has not yet started to decay. And here, bits of asparagus in butter sauce, see how the butter has coated them and protected them from harm?” The woman smiled and started to emulate as best she could the movements that Moses made, looking at the bits and pieces of food for selection. Finally they have enough between them for a meal that would satisfy their hunger and their soul. But it was the woman who noticed in a small bin a bottle that still had a third of its contents. She quickly picked it up and slid it under her coat. They walked back to the loading dock, Moses leading the way.
He motioned to her to precede him under the dock and then found the plates for their mean. Moses arranged the various pieces in a most attractive manner and then issues his benediction upon the food. The woman’s eye glowed as she brought forth the bottle with its contents. “Is that really wine? And what luck, we shall have a glass of wine that matches our meal. ” The tears in his eyes were real enough for a man recognizes the worth of a companion and is glad. It was then that the woman finally spoke the few words at her disposal. I’ve heard of you, you’re a kind man.”