A white-haired, skinny black man precariously balances a cane pole and a five-gallon bucket on his bike as he wobbles toward the river. He knows the fish aren’t safe to eat, but he figures starving ain’t healthy either.
An upwardly mobile, fast-moving lawyer in freshly shined shoes and a three-hundred dollar suit gives a homeless Vietnam vet with two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star seventy-eight cents and a disgusted glare. He can now buy nutritionally bankrupt pre-packaged food, a lottery ticket, or a beer. He weighs his odds and opts for the latter.
A thirty-eight year old waitress surrenders her body in exchange for drugs and thinks that’s a fair trade.
The man behind the counter is the best mechanical engineer in three states. He can listen to a million-dollar machine and tell you exactly what is wrong with it. Since the mill closed he works third shift behind bulletproof glass, making change for street people buying cigarettes.
A middle-aged middle manager finds comfort in a bottle and a bottled blonde.
The woman closes her eyes tight and pretends to smile as she dances under multi-colored lights to a heavy metal song that’s older than she is. She loathes her job and the people, but the money’s good and the daycare bill for her two daughters is past due. Happy twenty-first birthday, girl, keep your eyes closed and make a wish.
A young priest wakes up in the middle of the night, slick with sweat, and prays.