Written by Gail Smith (Linda Mooney w/a)
Something lives in the big black plastic garbage bag. Something that isn't human. Something that depends on the goodwill of others to provide it with food. Fortunately, it's not particular if its meal is dead, long dead... or alive.
Eenie Meenie Miney Moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, make him pay
Fifty dollars every day.
My mother told me to pick this one.
-Children’s Choosing Rhyme
This one was an elderly man, close to his seventies. He was dressed in stained and ragged clothing that had not seen a washing machine in many weeks.
The old man was shuffling down the side of the highway, dragging a plastic bag in his wake. Every now and then he’d stop and stoop over to drop something into the bag. From his vantage point, Jack couldn’t tell what it was the old geezer was collecting. But it was obvious this senior citizen wasn’t helping to keep the highway clean by gathering roadside litter. By his best estimation, Jack put his money on aluminum cans.
Eenie Meenie Miney Jack
Of course, everyone in the world knew that these old people stopped trusting banks years ago and now kept all their valuables and money nearby or on their persons. Especially vagrants like this one who probably couldn’t get a bank to open an account for him if his life depended on it. That’s why old folks were such easy targets. They had neither the strength to fight back or yell loud enough to get anyone’s attention. Better still, drifters like Grandpa there had no cell phone or other resources to immediately contact the police if something should happen. Jack figured he’d have a good hour, if not more, before the cops were wise to him.
The old coot remained completely oblivious to the man sitting in the car parked less than a hundred feet away. He continued to closely examine the drainage ditch and patches of wildflowers, while picking up bits and scraps of whatever to toss into the black garbage bag.
The bag looked pretty full. A sizeable lump had accumulated at one end, making it harder for the guy to pull behind him. The lump itself was too rounded to look like a pile of cans. Jack dismissed his earlier supposition and wondered what the guy could have in there. He soon dismissed it; time was a-wasting.