Conversations with Tyler

Interview with Tyler

This fictitious conversation is between Ashley Mann a journalist researching for an article about patrons of “Feed Our Souls” (FOS) homeless shelter in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ashley : Tyler, tell me about the circumstances that brought you to FOS.

Tyler: I was hungry. (Laughs)

Ashley: (Laughs). That’s a good reason. What do you think about the process to get a bed?

Tyler: I’m not staying overnight. I have my car.

Ashley: You know the shelter is a warmer place than a car, safer too.

Tyler: Is it?

Ashley: Yes. (Pause with an unwavering stare)

Tyler: I’m sure that’s true but I’m fine with my car. It’s my space. I’m not good about sharing.

Ashley: You said you’re twenty-two. How long have you been living in your car?

Tyler: Two months, wait no maybe three.

Ashley: Are you working?

Tyler: Lost my job. My roommates kicked me out. Well actually I left. I wasn’t going to let them pay for my place even if they would have floated me.

Ashley: So FOS is there for you while you’re between jobs. What happened that you lost your job?

Tyler: I screwed up. Worked for a builder. I was learning a trade; you know brick work, how to put up walls, windows, a roof. But I partied too much. Came to work hung over, still drunk and almost got one of my co-workers killed. I was fired which I totally deserved.

Ashley : Not easy to admit.

Tyler: Yeah, but when I looked around there was no one else to blame. Not sure I’m over, you know, almost killing someone. Sobered up fast but my references were shot.

Ashley : Hard to find a job without a good word from someone.

Tyler: Damn near impossible and it didn’t help that I’m not cut out for working at a fast food place or the dollar store.

Ashley : What about family?

Tyler (sarcastic laugh) Don’t have any.

Ashley : No family? You’re an orphan then?

Tyler: Not exactly. My dad died when I was eight, but Mom remarried.

Ashley : And…?

Tyler: Stan doesn’t want reminders of Mom’s old life, tried to drive me out, but I had to finish high school at least, wanted to go to college. Yeah, that was a childhood dream.  And I have a sister but she’s in jail. I don’t think Stan even knows she exists. But that’s the way Mom wants it. She has her reasons.

Ashley : No aunts, uncles, grandparents?

Tyler: I thought this interview was about FOS.

Ashley : Yes, right. Sorry. It is but the background of FOS patrons helps us understand the support that might be needed beyond a bed and a meal.

Tyler: I don’t need support. I just need something to eat now and again.

Ashley : Of course. That is our main purpose.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction based on the character in “Kill Words” by Clare Graith. Tyler’s blog can be found at (launching soon). FOS is a fictional homeless shelter. Ashley Mann is a fictional journalist. Any resemblance to real people and places is coincidental.

Puzzle Posts

Get a Job – Flash Fiction on still being homeless.

Not everyone gets it. Why I’m still in a car. It’s been three cold months, since I lost my job. Shouldn’t I have been able to get work by now? Shouldn’t I? Maybe if I was you, but I’m me and me doesn’t know how to get back in the game. I had a plan. I worked hard to be part of the team, to learn. I was on my way. Twice I was tripped up by another guy who said I was white trash, shouldn’t be around the rest of them, skilled workers, tradesmen. I’m a man. I was learning a trade. Why can’t I be here? Leave me alone to pull myself up from my bootstraps. I’m not asking for a thing from you. Just let me keep the place I’ve won by hard work and proving I have it in me. But it doesn’t happen like that for guys like me, does it? Once down, always down. Why even lift my head and try again? Third time was my fault. Should know better then to drink until I couldn’t stand. That was Dad’s way, Mom with her pills, not my way. Should have known better then to show up to work next morning. Would have been better to go missing a day. Almost killed Dan and he is a decent person. If it had been Jarrod, different story. I might not be so depressed if I gave him the fright of his life and lost my job over it. So here I am. I should try harder, consider flipping burgers rather than beg for one at the end of the shift when I know they’ll toss them anyway. I’ll figure it out, just not today.