I normally don't launch a post on Monday but I have included myself in a writing challenge. Why??? I haven't the foggiest notion. I was reading a story over at A Beer for The Shower about about a fictional character, Slim Dyson. So anyway, about this challenge...Bryan and Brandon over there are releasing a novel today ....YES... a new novel...aptly named The Sensationally Absurd Life and Times of Slim Dyson
(BTW..if you don't already read A Beer for the Shower, the cartoon work is amazing. They draw it freehand in Microsoft Paint. That is WWWAAAYYY harder than you might think. Let's just say I am impressed.)
Slim Dyson is a homeless man that had his journal stolen. Someone put it on the Internet, it went viral and is set to become a movie. Slim became a millionaire overnight but remains living his life as a homeless person in Denver.
Tis the Season to Party
"Stringbean Johnson...I have been looking all over for you. What are you doing sleeping in the park?", she gasped trying to catch her breath.
Annabelle "Little Sis" Larquette, gave the impression that she had run all the way from the 16th Street Mall where Stringbean had been camping out for the last couple of nights. Little Sis is small and boyish looking in her oversized coat and a hat that could have been sitting in the prop room for the movie Deliverance. This morning, however, Stringbean is laying cocooned in a sleeping bag on a bench in City Park. There is a slight movement as he raises his head to see Annabelle approaching. "What's up, Lil' Sis? Is anything wrong?
"Not wrong really. I have this idea I want to talk you about. But before that, tell me why you aren't over at on the Mall? You nearly scared me half to death thinking something was wrong."
Don't go fretting, Annabelle. I'm fine. The cops are trying to keep us away from that area. While they deny it, they seem to be under the misconception that "homeless" means the same thing as "criminal". I thought it would be quieter here."
"Stringy, I don't think their contempt, like everyone elses, is born out of meanness. It's born out of not knowing the "whole story" behind why a person is out on the street. Everyone has a story. Isn't it time you start thinking about coming back to the East Denver Rescue Mission. I worry about you."
"So, tell me what's on your mind this morning besides worrying about an old man."
"I want to host a party for Slim Dyson. You know since he got all that money there seems to be an awful lot of people showing up claiming to care about "what's in his best interest". Where were they when he was just one of the homeless losers they pretend not to see? Here we have this friend that has had a huge blessing in his life. and we need to acknowledge that. Plus what a perfect time of the year for us to celebrate Christmas."
"A party huh? Don't parties take money and "stuff"? I would say around this time of year most of Slim's true friends have NONE of either of those things. As far as Christmas...I know your affinity for all things religious but Christmas for most of us is just another day of the year."
"Your right about none of us having money but we have friends. We have each other. I have exactly ten dollars that I have to work with. Stringbean, we may not have much but this is a special time of the year.
I was talking to Father Vincent and Sister Mary Elizabeth about my idea. You know I have been working at the church two mornings a week cleaning the rectory. I told them about Slim's good fortune and about my idea to celebrate his blessings along with having a kind of holiday get-together for those of us that don't have a traditional family. They told me that generous spirit is rewarded and that God will provide. Then Sister Mary Elizabeth gave me a few things out of the rectory kitchen just to speed things along. She suggested that maybe a few of our friends could line up some freebies as well."
"I don't get you, Lil Sis. Why do you continue to put your faith in the church? After all that you have gone through, I don't see how you can believe in any of it. You have had more heartache and tragedy than anyone I know. How can you possibly believe in God? Would a merciful God have let you suffer like you have?"
"I think it was human frailty that brought all the evil into my life. I believe it is because of God's grace and mercy that I made it through all of that....well...you know. I survived and here I am. I can't believe that you don't believe. Let's just agree to disagree."
"OK...let's talk about your party plans. What do have so far?"
"We have 2 huge bags of chips, enough peanut butter and bread to make 50 sandwiches and a huge jug of Hawaiian Punch. She also let me take the half used alter candles. I have a great idea for those."
Goldtooth Gilda talked to her boss down at the Dollar General. He is going to give us a pack of paper plates, some red Solo cups and a package of lunch bags. Emmy is going to kick in 3 liters of ginger ale to add to the punch. Oh and last but not least, Monty said that the Dunkin Donut manager has been tossing the day old donuts out at night now and they are free for the taking. He'll be snagging those as the opportunity arises."
"Sounds like you have everything pretty lined up. Your good at this party planning".
"Remember in my old life, I used to host grand parties. It's not so much about the quality of the food as much is it is about the presentation, she giggled at the thought of peanut butter sanwiches cut into little triangle party sandwiches. She could envision her old pals from the country club turning up their surgically bobbed noses at the very thought of PB & J. "This party is less about the quality of the food and more about the quality of the attendees." she said with a huge grin.
Oh, but I need help with some decorating, Stringbean. Did you know that Riverwalk Kenny used to work in a machine shop? He has this awesome idea that I will keep for a surprise but I might need your help hauling some stuff. Another of my friends, Dumpster Deb, that lives at the Shelter, is making paper decorations out of the discarded paper behind Kinkos. She is the most creative person I know about converting dumpster trash into treasure. I will explain all of the decorating the day of the party."
"Lil' Sis, where are you planning to have this shindig? We aren't exactly welcome even when there is just one or two of us, how are you going to have 30 or so of us together and not get slapped with vagrancy citation?"
"Yeah, that is a problem but I think I have a spot that we can keep under the radar. There is a little area of City Park that is off the beaten bath. Pretty much surrounded by trees with no walking path leading up to it.
The weather is supposed to be really mild on Thursday evening so I thought that would be perfect."
"Are you sure that our guest of honor is available now that he is busy with this upcoming movie of his life".
"Emmy asked him to come with her to a Christmas get-together, and he just can't say no to her. She told him to wear a Santa hat. He'll be there."
The following Thursday evening...Slim Dyson arrived at the clearing in City Park to find all of his friends gathered to celebrate his success. No one was wanting anything of him. No one had their hand out asking for anything. Just fruit punch a PB & J sandwiches cut into fancy little triangles shared among friends.
With all the party supplies donated, Little Sis bought the guest of honor a gift out of her $10.00. She found a leather bound (OK...a faux leather bound) journal with a pen at Bob's Bargain Barn for $5.00. But the real value of her gift was the fact that all Slim's friends wrote something in it.
She had enough left over to buy party favors. Everyone at the party received a big candy cane.