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  • Harry Jensen

March 10, 2021


At work today, we received a phone call that a client in Burnsville received their food with a garnishing of trash, gum wrappers and other detritus. When I got home, I found a gum wrapper outside of my side door while I was smoking. I do not chew gum. I am now convinced that I have a stalker, or perhaps an arch nemesis, with a very casual demeanor and an easily crumpled electric blue calling card. Perhaps when I get home tomorrow I will find the Moriarty to my Sherlock Holmes with his feet kicked up on my couch, blowing blue bubbles and making fun of my slippers.

Alex the Intern told me she saw a raccoon and it filled her with joy, which I found to be a sad state of existence, like finding lice and thinking you made a friend. Bartholomew the Intern had his final day today, and we signed a card to send him in memoriam. One person signed as follows:





I hosted a dozen volunteers as they worked in the kitchen from 5:00 – 7:00 this evening, slicing buns into hamburger buns and packing plastic trays of oatmeal and portabella mushrooms (no relation). I talked to a man roughly my age named Shawayne while he spooned gobs of pinto beans into the trays, and asked him what he did. He was wearing an expensive looking Rugrats hoodie, and dotted down his neck with faded tattoos of roses and women’s names. Shawayne told me that he had taken most of the day to care for his son, who is a month and two weeks minus one day old. He also has a daughter who is almost five years old and lives with her mother in St. Cloud. Another volunteer asked if he gets to see her, and he responded that the mother did not let him visit very often.

“She’s child-minded,” he explained. “Always saying shit.”

I thought of him when I got home tonight, as I stared at the gum wrapper and honked down a cig in earnest contemplation. I imagined that my littering enemy was this very same woman, driving down from St. Cloud just to drop trash in the deliveries at work and in my backyard, to punish me for talking to her daughter’s father. I could forgive her though. If raccoons can be glorious and a louse my companion, then I could befriend Shawayne’s child-minded daughter-mother.

I wondered what I could say to her to win her friendship, or what Shawayne could say to see his daughter again. Maybe we could do it together, holding hands, and stare into this mysterious woman’s eyes, ours full of tears, and say but one word to win her back.



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