Clark’s messy, golden hair rested on a single pillow. A wrinkled suit hung haphazardly from his gaunt body. That’s all he had; his suit, his pillow, and his most prized possession, a box. His brown box held steadfast. The box was stained with dirt and debris. The same dirt sullied Clark’s worn hands. The brown box, and his cracked palms were the only things that had ever caught him when he fell shamefully to the ground.
People had always walked by Clark like he wasn’t there. Their eyes were downcast. They barely managed to give him half a glance. Clark always assumed it was because they were ashamed. They were ashamed of his filth, and the degradation that consumed him.
They remembered a time when Clark could not pay for the clothes that clung to his back. His mother gave him half of her savings to buy those three black suits. He picked his wardrobe out so precariously. With each suit accompanied a pink silk tie. Two of his suits were kept clean enough to sell for a few bucks apiece after he lost his job at that car dealership down the street. The other suit remained tattered, sticking, imbedding into his back.
Few people had ever walked by Clark and his box to offer kind words. When Clark was given anything at all it was merely because they felt entitled to do so. What good were any of those material things, now?
They would have done better had they arrived when he called out for help, when he was struggling to keep his job at the car dealership down the street. Clark could only crinkle his lips with derision at the days when he stood out in the warm sun. He was twirling the keys to a brand new Camaro. Its new owners gritted their teeth, smiling incredulously, smashing the gas as they flew out of the parking lot. His sales were never enough. The newest employee with his slick black hair and daring charm swept his customers away. When his sales plummeted, his boss could no longer keep the anchor that weighted the team.
“In this failing economy, you’re too much of an inconvenience.”
His apartment, his bank account, his pride, and his pedigree had all dwindled down to a box.
Each day, the men in suits served a constant reminder. They walked by his box, their hands in their pockets. Their loafers squeaked with each hollow step. They were on their way to their offices in the buildings that overlooked the parkway. Their condescending demeanor always asserting that they did not want Clark’s kind in their thriving world.
“We must expand!” shouted the men. Their faces were drawn and their lips pursed tight. Their greying hair overshadowed what little light was left in their eyes.
More land means more profit. That meant Clark and his kind must go. Policies were placed. The city offered undying support. The men in suits had their wishes granted.
Clark had no voice. He was just a tired soul. He resided in a box. Clark could not fight. He pleaded to be seen. He pleaded to be recognized, and to be left with the only thing he had. No one would help him, especially in his decay. He was merely delaying advancement; progress.
The men came with orders, and some came with tools. The tools rattled the ground. The tools dug mounds of dirt that piled higher and higher. Clark could hear each heavy footstep. They moved closer to where he rested. They soiled the grass. The flowers were ripped from the ground. They were scattered like ashes across the mounds of dirt. The men cumbersomely began pounding at Clark in his box. Saying he had to be moved, they all had to be moved, and better things had to be built.
Is this what we have come to? Clark sobbed. I can’t even rest in peace.