Shorty may be small, but he makes sure you know he's there. There's not a lot of middle ground when it comes to one of our long time regulars. When he's in a good mood, you are aware he's in a good mood, and in order to maintain that good mood he needs 4 or 5 cups of coffee. If however, he's in a bad mood, you are also aware of it, and the only thing he says will change that mood is 4 or 5 cups of coffee.
For quite some time there has been no highs and no lows when we are serving the homeless. Nobody trying to start a sing-a-long or complaining about our long line, people in the line, how bad life was, or trying to jump the line because "he didn't want anything but coffee." Shorty was not around. We asked a few people and heard a rumor he had been arrested.
Shorty is 46 years old, and he has been homeless for 31 years. Using our superior math skills, we have deduced that he was 15 when he started living on the streets. During that time laws have changed, and sleeping on the streets is illegal. "Camping" in Austin is illegal. During the last 31 years, Shorty has amassed some citations. He has also ignored some citations. He has "missed" some court appearances. All of which have added to the fines he is unable, and probably in some cases, unwilling to pay. Due to this failure to pay, combined with failure to appear, Shorty has spent the last 9 months in jail.
It was a different Shorty today then the one we saw 9 months previous. He wasn't happy or mad. More strangely, he wasn't loud. He seemed a little sad, but he said he was just tired.
Of course he needed 4 or 5 cups of coffee to help him wake up...
Welcome back Shorty!