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 EnTyleryWords.com (launching soon). FOS is a fictional homeless shelter. Ashley Mann is a fictional journalist. Any resemblance to real people and places is coincidental.