Thomas Gordon was having a tough day. Well, let’s just be honest, every day was a tough day for Thomas Gordon. Being homeless is not just a day to day struggle. It is an hour to hour, minute to minute struggle. Fending off poachers who want to steal your meager belongings is a constant battle and worry. Going somewhere when nature calls, you have to take everything you own with you. Some people in the homeless community will slit your throat over a can of vienna sausage. In fact, Thomas Gordon had seen that take place just two months prior. It’s bad enough fighting the heat of summer and the bone chilling winters of Louisville, Kentucky. But, the constant fight to maintain a form of shelter from the elements was nerve wracking to say the least. Thomas was accustomed to the homeless life. Having been homeless for the past eight years, since his release from prison and then six months in a halfway house, Thomas knew who he could trust in the homeless community and who he could not. The latter was a long list of names. One of the names, on that long list, was a man known simply as “Dallas.” It was Dallas who was responsible for his long day. It wasn’t even noon and Dallas had already started two arguments with Thomas about a raincoat that he said belonged to him. Thomas wasn’t having any of that. It was a common tactic, among the homeless, to make false claims on property. The strong would prevail in times such as this. The weak would lose. The survival of the fittest was in play here as it is in the animal kingdom. Only these were human beings involved in the lowest common denominator of life.
“You see that damn tear on back of the raincoat? I did that when I got too close to the chain-link fence. Now, I want my fucking property back right now. You stole it from me and if I don’t get it back, I’ll crush your skull like a grape, bud!” Dallas yelled. The towering Dallas stood about six inches over Thomas, as the two men were now just about a foot a part. Thomas knew the raincoat already had the tear when he bought it at the Salvation Army store for a dollar. So, Thomas knew if he gave in to him now, he would have to continue to give in to Dallas and the other homeless people standing around the two. It was just like this in prison, of which, Thomas completed a five year stretch for possession of crack cocaine, his third offense. He was pretty much off the stuff and just stuck to smoking weed. But, his more immediate concern was Dallas. Dallas appeared to be digging into his coat pocket for something.
“I’m only going to tell you one more time, you dumb fuck. I bought this raincoat at the Salvation Army. I’ve shown you the receipt. If that’s not good enough for you, then make your play now. I’m sick of your lying bullshit and I’m not taking it any longer,” said Thomas. Dallas suddenly lunged at Thomas with a kitchen meat knife. It was only about four inches long. But, more than enough blade to cause serious damage or even death. Thomas deftly moved aside and slammed a right hay-maker to the left ear of Dallas. Busting someone hard in either ear usually took the fight out of an adversary. It was an old trick he learned as a kid growing up in Las Vegas. Stunned, Dallas dropped to the pavement. But, still held the knife in his right hand. Thomas slammed the heel of his boot on Dallas’s’ hand and ground his foot into that hand until the screaming Dallas released the knife. The fight was over. Thomas still had his raincoat and a new knife. He also held new respect in the homeless community. Dallas, on the other hand, had to leave now that he had been humiliated. He would soon be on the receiving end of others making claims on his property if he didn’t leave. That was the risk he took in a direct confrontation with Thomas. It was understood and Dallas knew the risk he was taking. Such was the homeless life. Only the strongest truly could survive.