Sitting under a bridge can be as boring as sitting in a prison cell. Well Almost. Believe me, I have done my share of both. However, I am more creative than most which is a ‘sometimes good’ thing. I have almost become a successful business man more times than you can imagine. I have stood at the brink of a “new day” where Life as a Productive Member of Society was so close I could smell it, taste it… just… almost… touch it, when they rush in and dash me with cold water and throw that old cold, wet blanket of reality over me. Extinguishing my burning desire along with my self-respect, my self-esteem and my pride. Is it any such wonder I return to the only world in which I can thrive. Prison.
Well, yes there is a story… I just happen to be in Colorado Springs about 1984. There I saw a sign which said “Old Colorado City, Garden of the Gods” there was an arrow pointing the way. 4 miles it said. Sounded like a place to make a new start to me. One day out from The Big House I was pretty fired so I set off at a good pace. It would be dark soon and I needed a home, for the night at least. I soon came to the town and asked the first person I saw
– Where is the Garden of The Gods?
– Straight ahead, she said, just out of town.
Wasn’t much of a town and at the edge was a cute little bridge. Not more than 40 ft. across. There was a clear creek running under it that was about ankle deep over millions of smooth pebbles all shapes and sizes, but nothing bigger than a half dollar. I went down to investigate and found what I thought would be the makings of a cozy little home until I could get started. I found me a good place back where it was flat and rolled out my sleeping bag. The bridge had been made of rock. Those smooth round pebbles kept tugging at my mind. Now, if I were in prison and had all those little pebbles I’d have made something to sell in the craft shop. I had time… I counted my pills and had 29 of each one and there were five different kinds. I just had to remember to take them. So I found a little ledge in the side like a shelf and lined them up. Like they had told me pick a time and always take them at that time. That way I would remember. So when I got up that would be the time to take them. I went to sleep thinking of the pebbles, millions of them.
I was up and gone before sun up. In town I bought me some crackers and cheese for breakfast, and made a round through an alley behind the stores and found a discarded table, a small one with only three of the four legs. I found a rolled up piece of carpet pad (my new bed) and set off for home. I had spent $ 2.00 of my $ 25.00 gate money that they gave when I got out of The Big House. Back at the house I ate the crackers and cheese and soon found these bright colored birds, tiny little things, shared my house so I shared my crackers.
Then I got me some of those pebbles and started sorting them into piles of sizes, shapes, etc. That’s one part of my mental illness, things have got to be sorted, everything must be in order. Even books need to be in order according to size from small to big. Well the rocks were going to keep me busy for a while.
Then when I looked down at the pile it came to me… I left, went back to town, found a five and dime store and bought me some of that all-purpose craft glue in a tube, and one of those paint by numbers sets (that’s all the paint they had) and a little pair of scissors. Spent almost 5 more dollars. But I would soon be rich so not to worry.
Back at the house I got the biggest flat pebbles about an inch and a half kind of a round shape. I glued two pebbles to it (feet) then two legs, longer round ones (legs) then two for a body, a head on top then on some I put a little flat round one on their head and a smaller one on that for a hat. My little rock people were about 2 inches tall. I put some feathers on some for beards. Put some of my hair on others, painted faces on them and cloths. By noon I had 10 ready for market. I took them up on the bridge where there was a foot path on one side and tourists were steadily walking by. So I lined up my little people and they ooah’ed them and asked how much I was charging. Well just whatever you think is fair, I’m more interested in finding them a good home, you know. In two hours I was sold out and went back to my house/business/factory/and started up the ol’ production line again.
Late that evening I emerged with another 10 rock people. One Lady asked what happened to my hair. I hadn’t thought of that but when I pointed to the rock peoples hair she smiled and said ohhh. I saw she made the connection then. Another Lady asked did I live there. Sure, downstairs. She looked over the edge, and that same look came over her oooh! Well that night I was sold out again and counted my money. I had 94 dollars, wow, almost a millionaire in one day. I’d be a real home owner in no time. Then I thought did I take my pills this morning? I know that is real important. I think I did.
Then at day light the next morning, just at the brink of real prosperity, the whole police force arrived at my house/business/factory. Where did I come from? Where was my I.D.? Did I have any weapons? They searched me and found the 94 dollars in my sock. I hadn’t put my shoes on yet. There were two of them. They said I couldn’t live under their bridge. I asked “I guess the Garden of the Gods is out of the question too?” They said to get my stuff. I got the sleeping bag and my crafting stuff and they took me all the way to the Interstate and recommended I go North or South. They left. I chose north. That night I was 120 mile North in Denver Colorado. Well I almost made it in the business world, tomorrow was a new day. For now I needed a place to sleep and it hit me my five bottles of medicine were still on that rock shelf. I’d have to figure it out later, now I was really tired.