• Brian D. Hinson

Three Homeless and a Home for the Night

The McDonald’s parking lot at Central and Eubank has been a center for the homeless and illicit drug-dealing for quite some time. It looks a chaotic enough during the day, but at night I’ve witnessed a few tussles just driving by. Friday, I got a call for a pick-up there and I expected it to be an employee. I arrived, and the lot was much less populated than usual, and a constant beeping grated my nerves. I quickly figured this noise was broadcast to keep people from loitering. It did cut the population down from around fifty to about ten.

Amid the blaring beeps, I waited. Two people approached for money, and I declined apologetically. I was about to cancel the ride when someone approached with a cart brimming with bulging garbage bags and shopping bags and totes and backpacks. He asked if this was the Uber for Lori (not her real name, of course). He said he needed to trunk open. I popped it and stepped from the car. “You need to get all of that in there?” I asked.

Glum and a little grouchy, he replied, “Yeah.” My professional opinion: He was a day out from his last hits of meth.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I could tell at a glance that there was no way that shit in the two travel carts he had combined (they weren’t shopping carts) was going to be squeezed into the trunk. But he was already loading. Fine, he could try.

Lori and another guy, Jose, emerged from McDonald’s: Lori with the bag of food and Jose with a cardboard tray with three drinks. These two were personable and in far better spirits. Jose sat the drinks on the roof of the car and helped crabby Dave. They soon reached the trunk’s limit. Dave stood there scowling with the second cart with stuff still inside. “I’ll just have this on my lap,” he said.

That turned out to be the solution. Dave and Jose and the rest of their stuff crammed into the back. Me and Lori and the food in the front. Dave looked very uncomfortable back there. Hell, he looked uncomfortable when I first saw him.

So, off we rolled to the hotel they had reserved. Lori and I chatted a bit about jail and addiction and it came out that meth was her issue. She claimed to be off of it. She didn’t appear high or in a hole. But I’ve met people who need it to just be normal.

The hotel was one of the ones off of Lomas and Eubank, by the Target. These places are ghetto, but a small upgrade from the motels along east central. As Jose and Dave unload, Lori came out and said something happened to their reservation. It had been canceled at five. She left the food with Jose and went to check for availability at the other hotels. This sucked. I know all three were looking forward to having four walls and a ceiling that night, and that was up in the air.

With the car unloaded and reloaded back onto the carts, they bid me goodbye. I really hoped they found something.

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