Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Man Living in Front of the Maserati Store is Homeless

Late on a ‪Thursday night in Woodland Hills, California, the recessed lights of the Maserati Auto Gallery spotlight a gaggle of sleek, luxury automobiles; like carbon fiber and plexiglass statues standing in relief, their muscled torsos gleaming, they show off their voluptuous curves, bold coloring, and clean, sharp lines. Masterpieces of human ingenuity these works of art demand to be ogled, to be gazed at, and above all else, to be seen.

In the foreground like in a soothing mural of a city at sleep there’s a man, but he’s not made of paint.  Seemingly oblivious to the world — just as the world is to him — the man is sprawled on a bus stop bench.  He lies so close to the Maseratis that their cool light refracts off of the storefront glass, illuminating the remaining white of his soiled, tattered shoes.  

Across the street, rummaging stoically through a trash can in front of Whole Foods is a middle-aged woman; she’s got straight shoulder-length grey hair, a weathered, noble face, and at least three layers of clothing on despite the lingering layer of mugginess leftover from the day’s heat.

Stoically, this woman forages, inspecting her finds quizzically, but also, in an experienced and depressingly practiced way. Periodically, she will sigh deeply, and sometimes she will add a plastic bottle or soda can to her burgeoning collection; already piled high it threatens to topple down from her overly-full shopping cart.

Visible under the woman’s recyclables is a cornucopia of blankets, clothes, foodstuffs, a battered (but maybe not broken) clock radio, an umbrella, a few books, and a magazine — last week’s New Yorker. The New Yorker lies on the cart’s bottom rung next to a framed photo of a smiling young woman; it’s a spitting albeit much younger image of the grey-haired woman now picking through the detritus of the rich to survive.

The beaming woman in the picture has on graduation garb and she holds a diploma high above her head like the Statute of Liberty holds her torch. If you look closely you’ll see that the glass of the picture frame is cracked.

Seeping from doorways and neighborhood storefronts of still-open restaurants and bars comes contented laughter; the sound is shrill and jarring as it whistles down the boulevard swirling past the man who is sleeping (or maybe not sleeping) with the Maseratis. Occasionally, an unintelligible shard of conversation — happy, animated voices — punctuates the din of the night air, before dispersing, slowly disappearing.

Soon young men and women the same age as the smiling girl in the picture frame, their dress immaculate — with hair, makeup, and expensive outfits still impossibly fresh and unwrinkled despite the lateness of the hour — will emerge from the various establishments. They’ll spill out onto the sidewalk like a ragtag collection of wayward sheep. Shepherdless but feeling satisfied with sloppy stumbles now and again, they successfully make their way, to their own Maseratis or Maserati-like cars. Revving well-maintained foreign motors, some lighting cigarettes for the road, they head for home.

Barely taking noticing of this departure, the woman in front of Whole Foods digs deeper — she’s reached the bottom of the barrel now.  And, across the street, the man on the bench rolls to his other side and pulls the drawstring on his hoody tight; he’s already home.

More articles by:

Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California.

October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail