His is the voice that I hear trying to calm down my dog at 2:00 a.m., just outside of my back fence.
He is the neighborhood drunkard. He is also a self designated “Night Watchman” trying to keep our home and neighborhood safe , even in the midst of his intoxicated bliss. What a contradiction he is.
He is the “Bum in the Alley”. Not really our friend, at least not the kind you invite into your home. He is the kind that you may give a hot sandwich to on Christmas Eve or let him use your phone from your back porch to call his son, but that is about it. The kind that tries to quiet your dog down when he barks at other “customers of the local saloon”, who are leaving at 2:00 a.m. and being extremely loud and belligerent, not for any selfish reason of his own , but so you are not wakened by the 2:00 a.m. clientele on their way home.
He has a soft spot in his heart for you and your family, not because you are so special, but because you don’t make him feel ashamed. Because you understand that he has an addiction. He knows you don’t like it, that you don’t want it in your life, but he also knows that you have some compassion for him and his struggles. He knows that you know that deep down, he is a real person, a good person with a bad addiction.
So, he tries to do “something nice” for you. Something to show you that he appreciates that you don’t make him feel worse about himself. Something like watching over your home, so that no one would break in or damage any property of yours. Something, anything to make him feel a sense of accomplishment and to make you feel a sense of his appreciation of sorts.
Yes, his is the voice that you hear when you go out to quiet down your dog. You hear him saying ” shhhhhhhh, it is okay , don’t wake everyone up”. He tries, but the dog is so excited she keeps barking, she loves people and she loves him too.
You say, “Is that you Steve? What are ya doing?” To which he replies, “Oh the dog is barking like a Banshee at someone leaving the bar and I was just trying to quiet her down”.
I say, “Oh thanks, but she won’t be quiet until you leave”.
“Oh, okay I’ll walk away then, though I can barely walk, my knee cap is blown out”.
I then asked him what happened to his knee?
“Oh you know, sometimes you gotta teach those 22 year olds a lesson or two”.
I can barely see his outline in the street light as he walks away from my house, his rich laugh trailing behind him.
I smile and shake my head watching him and say to myself, “Angel Man in the Night” and wander off to my warm bed.