The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

To Dare or Not To Dare


The block letters printed across his back gave notice to all that he was owned. Dusty pink and drab beige plastic chairs whose sheen had been worn away by all the buttocks that had rested on their seats were placed in neat lines and rows by he and the others on this work detail. Men and women-mostly men-dressed in dark suits and brimmed hats stood in groups on three sides of him. To his back was the building where he lived. Cars and a large truck lined the street in front of him.

Pedestrians walked by on their way to somewhere else. A woman with a camera walked past him to the building door and then turned and took photographs. Two women were trying to figure out the parking machine, and a suit walked over to help them. Another suit leaned on the railing playing on a silver coronet while people listened and talked. A guard big enough to crush him was standing nearby. As he straightened chairs, the young man thought, “Is he watching me?” Near a tree a few other suits practiced drills in preparation of their performance. A man in blue scrubs walked by. This city of hospitals was littered with scrubs of every hue and pattern.

He had scrubs on too and not the red ones that stood out. A quick change would conceal the lettering. Could he do it? Did he dare?

He looked secretly to the right and then to the left. He could walk quickly, but not too quickly, along the fence and might blend in. If anyone saw him, would they recognize the incongruity? Would they act? Should he dare?

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