He dug through the trash for a french fry for breakfast

IMG_20140929_183624He found one.  How old was that fried potato sliver – a day, a week, it didn’t matter, it was food and he was hungry.

He reached deep into the garbage can, and with his tiny fingers, he finessed the cold, dirty morsel from the bottom of the trash.  Did he feel any shame in eating from the garbage?  If he did, he never showed it.  This was his meal, probably for the entire day.  Nobody would give him a job, nobody would take pity on him and give him money or food.  He could have stood at a street corner for days and not one passer-by would even toss him a penny or a piece of popcorn.

So for today, the French fry will have to do.  He nibbled on the treat, trying to make it last as long as possible.

And then he saw the man.  He wasn’t expecting to see anyone on a Saturday morning.  This was his private time, where he could scavenge for food when all the downtown workers were away.  And here was this man, staring intently.  Was there a sense of embarrassment, a sense of “Yes, I’m eating out of a garbage can, but what will you do to make my life any better?”  Or was there just the realization that the man would just watch while the French fry was consumed, and maybe toss some peanuts or pennies while driving away?

He decided to wait.  Let’s see what the man has in store.

He watched as the man reached into a pocket.  What would he pull out?  Food?  Money?

No.  The man pulled out a rectangular device and held it in the air.

He had seen such things before.  Rich people had them.  He heard them referred to as “smart phones” or “cell phones.”  They meant nothing to someone who is eating food from a garbage can.

He should just run away.  Run away with the French fry in his tiny hands.  But something inside said, just let the man do something with the cell phone and it’ll be over.

So he stood there, the French fry so close to his mouth that he could still smell its cooking oil.  And in that second…

Saturday breakfast. BlackBerry Q10 camera phone. Photo by Chuck Miller.

The photo was taken.  The man drove off.  And the squirrel continued enjoying his French fry breakfast.