No Money, 2011 by Nguyen Cong Cu
I hit the dirty pavements every day. And every day, the windows tell me the same thing – “No vacancies,” says one. Another says, “No jobs here.” I chuckle when I see one a few blocks onward. “Don’t even think about it,” it shouts, in angry red writing in permanent marker. That one makes me chuckle a little, in spite of the fact that I haven’t worked in six months.
My feet ache as I walk. My shoes had better last the month – I can’t afford a taxi and bare feet will only take me so far. I bump into other people, worse off than me. I can feel the resentment in their hollow eyes and ravenous stares; skin leathery from too many nights sleeping under the stars. My own place stinks and the ceiling leaks from the neighbours above – but at least it’s a roof.
I cross the street – the smells from the food stalls are taunting me. I count the coins in my hand, which are enough for a bottle of water. Who needs lunch anyway, I laugh ruefully to myself, as I pass a store displaying leather handbags. Each one bears the letters “L” and “V.” The store is empty.
~ Meandering Maude