The sun peeked over the tall city buildings casting rays of light at lingering night shadows. Crystal dewdrops glistened on the leaves of the young trees along the sidewalk. They'd been planted not many years ago by the town's community betterment department. Their door to the world was an eighteen inch square of earth surrounded by concrete and covered with an iron grate. A few tufts of hardy grass refusing to give up its meager existence, poked its head through the metalwork searching for the sun. Occasional piles of dry leaves, adorned with a candy or gum wrapper huddled next to the walls of the buildings.
In the dark recess of a three foot space between a hardware store and a beauty salon, not yet discovered by the probing rays of the sun, Virginia sat up, straightened a ragged comforter wrapped around her body, then slowly got to her feet. She unbuttoned her threadbare, navy pea coat, picked up the six foot sheet of visqueen which protected her from the wet ground and wound it carefully around her body, tucking it under the faded blue comforter. Searching a pocket she drew out a length of baling twine, pulled the comforter close, tied the twine around her waist and buttoned her coat. Digging in her other pocket she pulled out a red balled stocking cap, which she stretched over gray, matted hair, pulling it over her ears, nearly covering her eyebrows. Wisps of uncombed hair struggled to be free. A brightly colored, well used, plastic bag advertising a local bank lay at her feet. She called it her "piddly stuff bag". It made a good pillow. Draping the handle over her arm she stepped out of last night's bedroom, blinking in the sun. She headed down the sidewalk taking great care not to step on the visqueen or comforter encircling her bare ankles. Black high top sneakers with broken, knotted shoestrings sloshed loosely on her unsocked feet. She mumbled to herself as she walked.
No one had bothered her last night for a change. When were people...