Salty Riggs is my name. I live on the streets in one of the biggest cities in our nation: Chi-Town. Chicago, Illinois. Yet I don't live in a fancy house or even an apartment: I live on the streets. Yep, I'm homeless. Have been homeless now for better'n 20 years. Lost my home when I couldn't pay the rent, so they threw me out.
Been trying to get on my feet since, but nobody's willing to cut me a break. So I sleep in alleyways, under bridges, and whatnot, panhandle (so to try to make a little bit of dough), dig through trash cans or Dumpsters or hang around the back of restaurants (hoping someone will give me a li'l somethin to eat, so I don't HAVE to go through the Dumpsters or trash cans!), or try to keep from getting killed in any way possible.
Being on the streets is dangerous busisness. You never know who (or what) might be out there, waiting to rub you out. I wouldn't wish it on my own worst enemy.
I used to have a family, but since I lost my home, they don't want to have anything to do with me. Don't blame 'em one bit, but God, I sure miss them! I wonder if they even know that I am still alive, fendin' for myself, or if they even think of me, especially on holidays. Holidays is the worst time for being homeless, 'cause holidays mean family and that's one thing I no longer have. I just have myself. I'm my own family, but celebratin' a holiday gets mighty boring by your lonesome.
I have friends here; met them at different shelters I stayed at or just bein' on the streets. There's Smoke (so named, 'cause the guy smokes like a fiend!), Tater (guy loves potatoes in any shape or form!), Bandit (guy used to be a petty criminal), Chico (an illegal; he's been here 10 years now and still don't speaka da English too good!), Golden (an ex prostitute who found religion; she's always talking about Jesus), Durango (from Colorado originally; he likes talking about the mountains), Isa (a woman with bi polar who changes like the wind; one never knows what kind of mood she is in), Grover (skinny as a rail due to AIDS; he is out of his head a lot of the time 'cause he's so sick; I feel sorry for him), Tyrell (Grover's partner; they're always together), and Tiny (the lady weighs over 500 pounds!).
So that's my crew. And me, of course. Salty. They call me that 'cause I love pretzels. Pretzels is my drug; I can't seem to ever get enough of them!! I'm addicted to pretzels. Have loved 'em ever since I was a li'l pup. Still do. Whenever I smell 'em, my ol' nose goes into overdrive, and soon I'm a slobbery, drooly mess!
Sometimes people are nice to us: they give us money, a place to lay our heads, or even some clothes, but more often than not, they tell us to get a job (most of us cannot work for various reasons; me, I can work, but just haven't found anything; nobody wants to hire someone who's homeless), or they give us nasty looks, like they don't even want to be bothered by the likes of us. Don't blame them one bit, but dang, I wish people knew what it was like on our end!! A lot of us did make poor choices, but some (like Tiny or Isa, for instance) didn't ask to end up on the streets!
Well, hell's bells, it's raining; gotta find some place to hunker down 'til it passes before I get soaked. If there's one thing I cannot STAND, it's to get rained on! I will write in here again whenever I can find some place to write in my ratty ol' journal that I carry 'round with me at all times. It may not be that often, but I WILL write in here again, guaranteed. Until then, this is Salty signing out; talk to you again another day!
~To be continued.~