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The "Wino" in Long Beach

Story ID:6691
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:Hemet CA. USA
Year:1960
Person:Thankful Chelsea Kansas Kid Teamster 5
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The “Wino” in Long Beach

I got to the job site early
And hurried to see
If there was anything
That I could take home with me.

I looked at the address
Just to be sure
That this was the house
Where an old mirror I might procure.

These old two story homes
Were built after the quake
Most were unique
Such lovely homes they did make.

I opened the door
Stepped into the room
Someone was sleeping on the sofa
I could see in the gloom..

“Leroy isn’t this the house”?
“Isn’t this the right address”?
His answer to both questions
Was a profound “yes”

We went into the house together
There on the rug
A big half filled bottle of Thunderbird wine
In a gallon jug.

In no uncertain terms
Leroy told him to leave
As we walked out the door
The bum tugged at my sleeve.

Here’s a dime he said to me
I’ve been on this jag for weeks
Call the police for me
For the help I seek.

I said you call them
Then he staggered across the street
Walked up to a pay phone
He could hardly keep his feet.

Ten minutes later
A Long Beach Black and White
Pulled up in front of the house
The wino looked a sight.

He spread out for the search
In his hand his I.D.
Had nothing on him
I told the cop what he had said to me.

The cop said thanks
We will take care of him
And get him dried out
So he can start again.

I thought about this all day long
Thought about this poor bum
And the life he lived
And what he’d become.

No I don’t look down on this man
Don’t you see
But for the Grace of God
That this could have been me.

Monte Manka 10-14-2006