© 1998 , 2007 Greg Kaiser

feel free to copy and distribute entire document

Incidental Confrontation

      Does he feel homeless when he stays at his desert campsite 50 miles from Tucson? No! But now, fifty miles from his "real home", surrounded by people, he often feels lonely and hopelessly misplaced. Last night two fellow "campers" confronted him for flying a sign on "their corner."
      He'd been there first. He pointed out that since they were sitting at the signpost and he was walking up and down the line of cars awaiting the left turn signal, that "we wouldn't interfere with one another." He was countered with the accusation, "You're interfering with our traffic."
      Boredom or perhaps lack of success, maybe growing a little more crazy than he knew in this poisoned environment, he angrily retorted, "no one was here when I got here and I'm staying!"
      Verbal abuse and a threat to, "flatten you're bicycle tires," to his back as he was walking down the line.
      Half turning, without stopping, and putting on the most malevolent squint eyed smile he has in stock, he thinks, "how absurd and foolish this is to be competing with idiots for a 'corner' the police will eventually drive us all from." He returned to their attitude fortified position with an oral flanking maneuver, "This is ridiculous, we're doing the same thing to each other that everyone else does. It is what causes us to be here in the first place."
      "You’re ridiculous! You don't know nothin'! You're not one of us! You're not a 'camper.' You say the world's got problems but you got the problem. You're stupid!"
      Victor had enough. It was bad enough to be rejected and unwanted by all of society, but to be discarded by the unpeople as well? It was more than he was ready to accept.
      "Fuck you!!", as he walked back down the column of commuters. Some of them hid their smiles. He wondered if they'd be amused if they realized that though these apparently childish altercations are usually all puff and bluff, that much too often the participants consider them so serious that they will maim or kill one another. If they did know would they care? Would they laugh if they knew they were laughing at a mockery that only slightly exaggerates themselves? Or would they grimly make a note for the report, as the police do when they find a body, and then forget about it?
      The Sun was out of sight and the light was fading. He'd been there ten minutes longer than he'd planned. He couldn't cave in or the rumor would spread faster than the internet. Then he'd have worse problems wherever he went. Isn't it ironic how capitalism reduces us all to the lowest common denominator? He walked back towards their reclining post as the cars filed out of the lane. The male was ready for him. "You're an asshole!"
      "Suck mine!"
      "You ain't gotta dick!"
      Low and slow and looking hard into his adversary's eyes. "You're mama knows I do."
      "Well... well... that's ok," the last looking down and barely audible. Victor's foe seemed at a loss. Victor just laughed at his opponent's failure to recognize the time to get up or shut up. Then he said, as he started down the string of new arrivals, "now that its dark, I'd like to leave but if you keep talking I'll be here all night." He'd provided a face saving out for all of them, though none were oriental. Actually he preferred getting the last word to not getting cold.
      The sedentary soldier's girlfriend spoke to him while the walker made his tour. When Vic returned it was to averted eyes and silence. He retired from the median to his bike on the corner and mounting he road "home." It was days later before he realized they would edit the confrontation in it's retelling so that the face he'd hoped to save would be lost in translation to the language of self deception.
      The next morning he packed up and moved to a new campsite. There would be no second thoughts leading to covert reprisals. He wondered if it would be the police or some other circumstance that would drive him from the last refuge on the planet. He wondered if he'd recognize the last place when he got there.
      And he hadn't been given a dime on that corner. And he would accept any reasonable offer of employment. Sixty Minutes is full of shit!


Encourage me to write!

contact me:
Greg Kaiser
email to

name and email optional in comment form

As with any email you send, your email address will appear in the header.

return to cover page