Picked Up

A three-minute short-short for Sundance (although truth is stranger than fiction and thus comes off contrived, I know):

Characters: Me, Trash Man, Rich Man, Pug Dog

Scene I, Act I: Trash day. City abuzz with commuters and collectors. Midsummer sunshine. Cobbled street. A hill.

Action: Walking through the upper echelons of said sunshiny street to Me’s destination, Me comes walking behind Rich Man who just stepped out of his flat with his Pug Dog. Three giant trash bags are on curb to the right of Me. Trash Man jumps out of trash truck to get the three trash bags. [the cast of characters are oddly positioned now, so this takes staging.] Rich Man starts walking Pug Dog and is oblivious on his cell phone while Pug Dog goes behind Rich Man, pisses on the three trash bags just as Trash Man is picking them up. [it would be over the top to put this in slow-motion, but that’s the reality.] Me and Trash Man and Pug Dog are right next to each other, but Rich Man is ahead of everyone, still oblivious.

Me turns to Trash Man: “That’s disgusting, and rude.”

Trash Man doesn’t speak. Perhaps he has fallen mute out of appall or just plain dumbfounding thought that this job sucks. But Trash Man’s eyes do speak: I’m a hardworking Trash Man just trying to do my goddamned job on this goddamned street. When Me and Trash Man’s eyes meet, his eyes are full of a distinct sadness, like I wish you hadn’t seen that because I’m so much more than just Trash Man on the street next to Me, but I’m really glad you did see it because then I’m not the only one who sees this crap, or piss to be exact. In that one second, Trash Man wasn’t sure if Me was Me or Rich Man’s friend. After Me spoke, he knew Me was Me and his eyes softened. Me and Trash Man had acknowledged the pissiness of oblivious riches, and finally smiled at their mutual, muted agreement that it’s better to be dirty and humble and hopeful than walking a dog on a leash chasing nothing.

Pug Dog finished, Rich Man moved forward, Trash Man collected the bags, and Me stepped to the curb.

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