Chapter 4

Jacob Long could see the once ocean blue sky above turning cloudy and black. He knew it was going to rain. Having no home, and thus having no TV, Jacob was unaware of the weatherman's claims that it would be very sunny all week long. But to Jacob it didn't matter if it was going to stay sunny and hot or if it was going to rain. Either way Jacob was fucked.

He probably wouldn't be fucked if that fat bastard would have let him in, but no. Fat ass doesn't want a bum in his house. Jacob could read it on the son of a bitch's face. A lot of people get that very same look on their faces when they look Jacob over and you can usually see the same three words run across their minds.

Bum.

Hippy.

Booze-hound.

Jacob didn't really blame them for thinking of him as a bum. There was a time when he would have used the exact same word to describe someone like himself. He also didn't blame them much for thinking of him as a hippy. With the long blonde hair and the flashy blue eyes he kind of fit the description of a hippy didn't he?

So he was not too bothered by being thought of as a bum or a hippy. What bothered him was that third word that always tagged along with the other two. The word that always seems to pop into people's heads when they see a homeless person.

Booze-hound.

No way in hell did Jacob Long fit the description of a booze-hound. He had never had a drink of alcohol in his life. Especially not booze. And even if he did have a taste for the stuff, why in hell would he use what precious money he got from people on the shit? He could think of thousands of things he would rather spend the money for (food and clothing being the top two things on his list) than booze.

After so long though you can't change what people think about when they see homeless folks can you? Nope, sure as hell can't. Jacob has come to learn that fact over the course of ten years.

Prior to his journey to Chasco, Jacob use to be a clerk at the Fast Gas Pass over in Fox Hollow, a small little city west of Chasco. Ten years ago he'd been robbed at gunpoint by some nut. Jacob would never forget that day, he could still distinctly remember that the crazy bastard had been so scared when he left that he almost left the money he came in there to take.

Jacob would never forget that day because that was the day that fucked up Jacob's life.

After that day Jacob quit his job as a clerk. He had planned to immediately look for another job. But he just stayed in his crappy little apartment day after day, making up excuses not to look for another job, they all sounded pretty reasonable. But quite simply he was scared shitless.

He just kept picturing that gun being waved in his face over and over again. It's all he could think about. He couldn't just go back to work again like normal. What if the sick bastard was still out there somewhere? What if he evaded the cops and was looking for him? What if the son of a bitch was just waiting for Jacob to stick his head out the door so he could put a bullet in it?

No, no. He couldn't go back out there. Just couldn't.

But after three weeks went by he was forced out by the owner of the apartment complex. Jacob had not paid that month's rent and with no job there was no way he was going to. So out he went with no place to live. He wasn't going to be in Fox Hollow any longer than absolutely necessary though, he still to this day had no idea what happened to that man and didn't really want to find out, so that is when he began heading east. After a few miles he came to a pleasant little city called Chasco which is where he's been ever since.

Jacob currently found himself in an alley sifting through a garbage can looking for food. During his first six months on the street he had not been forced to resort to garbage for food. During those months he had been able to buy meals from fast food places he had come across. He had gotten the money from selling most of his things just before he absolutely had to leave the apartment. Looking over a maggot decayed apple core now, Jacob thought of those distant days with longing.

Not being so hungry as to eat the maggoty apple, Jacob continued sifting. Paper towels, cotton swabs, flyers, other shit, but no food. Where's the fucking food? Jacob has slowly found it harder and harder to come across his meals. He thanked God for those days when people wasted food or when a meal got burnt and had been thrown away. Jacob savored those days.

This did not appear to be one of them.

He sifted through until he reached the bottom of the can, still no food. Except the apple core if you counted that as food, Jacob didn't and he still had no intention of eating the damn thing.

"I guess I won't be eating today." he said to himself.

He raised his head some and then looked again at the sky. It would not be long before the first drop of water hit the ground.