Homeless man sleeping in fetal position.
A group of young people looking for a place to relax in the shade gather nearby.
A male from the group shouts at the homeless man:
Hey! Why don’t you find some place else ?
The homeless man doesn’t stir.
You hear me talking to you, old man. Get up and get out of here.
I was here first.
Get out of here. You stink. You’re bringing us down.
This is my spot.
You never had a spot.
I use to be somebody.
(laughs) Yeah? Who?
I was a pretty fair musician in my day…
(laughing) Yeah right.
I was a percussionist.
One of the other males from the group pulls a pair of drum sticks from his back pack and throws them towards the homeless man.
Yeah. Play something and I’ll give you a buck…
… or move on.
The homeless man picks up the sticks. He slowly warms up his tired arms, loosens up his wrists.
Are you going to play something or…
The homeless man begins to play rudiments in the dirt. Then he increases the tempo, complicating the rhythmic structures. He dives into a melodic repetitious pounding. It’s tribal; guttural, urgent, driving and demanding.
He’s creating dust clouds, caving in the earth. It’s like he’s summoning and then exorcising something. It’s eerily captivating and haunting as he alternates from fast to slow, hard to soft, passive to violent.
Sweat beads on his brow, drips down his nose and drops into the dirt. Ignoring it, he pounds on.
Finally he tickles the earth with tiny tender taps before gently, silently putting the sticks down.
The group sits quietly for a moment as the homeless man rises and begins to gather his belongings.
He’s your buck man.
Keep it. That was my life’s story. It’s not worth a dime.