A man and a woman, vagrants sat on discarded packaging. Covering themselves in branded canvas bags, keeping out the swollen drops of rain. I envy the warmth of their lit smokes and muffled laughter.
Scanning my thumbprint on their begging bowl device, I wave them a few spare credits as I pass. Our eyes never meet. A giver’s remorse fills me, wondering whether I’m abetting poor choices. Nervous, I imagine the worse possible cases: they may now wish to rob me. I pick up the pace.
Rounding the corner, disregarding the vestiges of my shame at such thoughts, I justify my fear. If not them, it would be me. The clear rationality of my argument lightens my burden, I forget them.
The tents outside the Courts of Justice are burgeoning with discarded people. The Unmeasurables. Their petitioning signs witness to claims of former lives now made redundant. They don’t know the value of education. I am confident in my own lifelong learning habits. What welfare did they expect now that the world is perfect?
The acrylic fumes intruding my air hint at their wastefulness. I spot markings on a few who have taken voluntary sterilisation treatment. A worthy act for the greater good. Not one of generosity on their part but pure profit motivation. All to fuel their wistful lower pleasures. Sleeping, carnal creatures sundered from the righteous progress of mankind. Lovers of folk traditions. Relics of the past, the state calls them detritus in the future that was Now.
“Nothing to give,” I step past more of them, regretting my charity. The feeling like a throwback to savagery. The huddled figures dangerous in the shadows. Waiting for me to slow down, to become distracted. My own primitive feelings may be my undoing. What if I am found out as an abetter? Called in for questioning. I rush to cancel the previous transaction but the credits are gone.
On the steps of the old neo-classical building, one of the vagrants has the gall to approach me. Too close, his rancorous musk aggravating, Scowling, shoving past. I do not dignify him with vocal recognition.
Past the jungle of canvas and refuse, I cleanse myself with a body-spray steriliser. Then I continue on the path of my flourishing, to my vocation space.