Every Thanksgiving and Christmas fights break out. Without fail. You see? Everybody else is celebrating family and home. Two things most street people lack. So a lot of them are bitter about that. And somebody must pay for this injustice.
I hit Hate Camp this Thanksgiving morning and I’m not even half-way through smoking my first cigarette when it breaks out.
This crazy homeless woman who is constantly screaming and cursing for no perceivable reason, is laying in her sleeping bag doing her angry screaming harangue at all of her invisible enemies.
This barrel-chested guy who’s built like a middle linebacker is trying to sleep at his campsite by a tree about 20 yards directly across from her. Suddenly he stands up and shouts: “WOULD YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP! I’M SICK OF LISTENING TO YOU!!”
“I’m not talking to you. Mind your own business,” she says.
“IT IS MY FUCKING BUSINESS,” shouts Barrel Chest. “I’M TRYING TO SLEEP AND YOU KEEP WAKING ME UP!! SO SHUT YOUR MOUTH OR I’LL STICK MY BOOT UP YOUR ASS!!”
“Oh fuck off. Have a nice life.”
That sets off Barrel Chest. He suddenly charges towards her like a raging bull. He pulls her tarp out from under her, pulls it over her head, spits at her.
“NO NO LEAVE ME ALONE!!” she screams, cowering in fear.
Then this young street guy who was standing nearby gets into the middle of it. He weighs at least 50 pounds less then Barrel Chest, but he bravely steps in between the two. “Leave her alone.”
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FACE OR I’LL BEAT YO’ ASS!!” shouts Barrel Chest. They’re jaw-to-jaw, chest-to-chest. The young guy refuses to back down. So they start grappling with each other’s arms, wrestling around trying to prevent each other from throwing a punch. But Barrel Chest gets loose and punches him a hard shot to the side of the head. Followed by several more punches to the head (the ole left right combo).
“STOP STOP STOP!!” everyone is shouting. This other street woman gets into the middle of it to try and break it up. But Barrel Chest gets in one last punch to the head before the young guy finally backs off. A passing car starts honking their horn and shouting at him to stop fighting.
“ARE YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES HONKING AT ME,” shouts Barrel Chest. “I’LL BEAT YOUR FUCKING ASSES!!”
A contingent of street people come running to the scene to cool things down. So Barrel Chest storms off in a rage. And the young guy staggers off in the other direction, trying to shake the cobwebs out of his brain (I gotta give him points, he never went down, the boy can take a punch).
I stubbed out my cigarette and headed off in search of some quieter burg with which to celebrate my Thanksgiving.
I swear to God it never fails. Every holiday.