Downtown Harvey


By Daniel Heslin

   The early morning sky was filled with dramatic tinctures of rich orange and yellow that blended into one another, creating swirling eddies and other such wondrous effects.  There was a slight breeze in the air; the faint metallic sound of wind chimes were audible off in the distance. A sea gull glided above the small section of the park while making squawking noises as it passed over the terrain.

    Harvey sat on a bench and absorbed the serenity of the moment. The park was filled with sycamore trees, wrought iron fences, shrubbery and flower gardens. The morning dew created a fog that covered the ground. An early morning jogger was running through the park, she gave the appearance of one who emerges out of thin air. She smiled politely at him while passing by. Harvey smiled back. He occupied the bench for another half an hour. By then the sun had almost completely risen, and he felt it was time to move on.

     While leaving the park, the image of the female jogger stuck in his head. She had a very lovely smile that was similar to the smile of Lori; his ex – fiancé. For a second, he wondered if the jogger really was her. Of course it couldn’t be Lori in the flesh, for she was about twenty years senior to that of the jogger. But sometimes people take on characteristics of other people, and they in turn, become them. When viewing things from that perspective, the jogger could very well had been Lori.

    He was craving a cup of coffee, so he went to the Fulton Deli. They had just opened; the familiar aroma of fresh coffee filled the air. Harvey wanted a cup, but suspected that it may take a while before he would have one. The manager at the Deli didn’t like him and had made that abundantly clear many times in the past. Harvey took his back pack off, placed it on the ground, and sat on top of it. He continued to sit there in hopes that a cup of coffee would find a way into his hands. This was the busy time of day when people were on their way to work and wanted to get their coffee for the bus ride. A man in his late thirties walked out of the deli with a coffee and cruller. Harvey saw recognizable features in him that seemed uncanny. The man reminded him of a former coworker named Scott.  The patron had a similar jawbone and forehead, he also conveyed a likewise body language. Harvey stared at the fellow and wanted to say, “Scott?” but didn’t. The fellow was aware that Harvey was staring at him, but did his best to ignore. Finally the man said, “What are you looking at? I don’t have any change.” Harvey remained silent. Although the voice didn’t sound like that of Scott’s, Harvey felt certain that was him, or at least some type of representation of him.

    The breakfast rush hour had ended, and Harvey was still without coffee. The manager was taking out a bag of garbage when he saw Harvey sitting on his backpack outside the deli. He gave him a dirty look and went back inside. A few minutes later, he came back outside and asked Harvey if he wanted a cup of coffee. Harvey answered yes by nodding his head. The manager asked him if he likes milk and sugar.  Harvey nodded yes. The manager went into the store and returned with Harvey’s coffee.  “Here my friend, enjoy it. “ Harvey nodded his head in a gesture of gratitude. “You don’t talk much do you.” Said the manager. “No, I ‘m afraid I don’t, thank you for the coffee.” Harvey replied.  “Well, enjoy the coffee, but don’t think I’m gonna give you one every day, because I won’t.” Upon hearing this, Harvey gave the manager an odd glance. At that moment he saw a reflection of his father in the manager. He didn’t look like him, but there were underling features that were a perfect mimicry. The manager treated him exactly how Harvey’s father would have had treated him. His father had often displayed a level of disapproval toward his son, but would also show acts of kindness on appropriate occasions. Now his father had returned in the form of this deli manager. Harvey pondered this as the manager went back inside.

    While wandering about the bus stop area, he glanced at the garbage cans in front of the station. In one of the receptacles, he saw a half bagel wrapped up in wax paper. Although the bagel was covered, he was able to identify it by the way it bulged the paper. He had found many half bagels in the trash throughout the years, and instinctively knew how to recognize one. He ate the bagel, and washed it down with the remaining coffee in his cup. Harvey suspected that Scott had left the bagel there for him to find.

Good old Scott!

    Harvey thought about the deli manager, and felt certain that he was really his father. He went back to the deli.

   When the manager saw him he came out and said, “I’m not gonna give you anymore coffee. Stop hanging around my store.” Harvey stood there for moment, then left. While walking away, he thought to himself, maybe that wasn’t my father.

   Harvey returned to the park. He put his backpack on the bench and used it as a pillow. He kept thinking about Lori, and Scott, and his father. The day had been a strange one, and Harvey ran some questions through his mind.

The women jogger was Lori, and the guy at the deli was Scott. Is it a coincidence that I should       encounter them both in one day?

   This was all so very confusing to him, and eventually he gave up on the notion that he could make sense of it. He slowly drifted to sleep.

    A police officer patrolling the park spotted Harvey and tapped him in the bottom of the foot with his nightstick. Harvey awoke with a start.  The Policeman said, “No sleeping in the park. If you want to stay here you have to sit up. This park isn’t a hotel.” Harvey sat up slowly. He thought that he recognized the policeman. During his freshman year at community college, Harvey had a sort of “nemesis”, named Clyde. The only way Clyde could relate to people was by insulting them. He had a popular insult that he used often, and that was to call someone a “stinkbug”. One day when Harvey was having a conversation with a girl in his class, Clyde had approached them and said, “Hey, why would you want to talk to this stinkbug?” Harvey reflected on that long ago event. “Stinkbug”, He said aloud. The officer was slightly taken aback and replied, “What did you just call me? Did you just call me a stinkbug?” Harvey shook his head no. “I know what I heard, why would you call me that? You’re the one that reeks of BO. I better not catch you sleeping in here, and if you call me a stinkbug again, I’m gonna run you in.”  The Policeman walked away leaving Harvey alone on the bench. His shoulder hurt a bit from sleeping on it; he slowly stretched it out.

   Lori was across the street when she saw the Police hassle a homeless man in the park. When she got a look at his face, she recognized him as her ex- fiancé, Harvey. She hadn’t seen him in over fifteen years, and probably would not have recognized him if she hadn’t heard through the grapevine that he was currently squatting in the Downtown area. She witnessed the confrontation without much emotion. Lori was the grounded one in the relationship, and that would explain why she went on to become an assistant district attorney.

   She thought back to the time when they had first met. He was a software engineer who earned good money. He invited her to move in with him, rent free, until she could finish law school. During the two years they lived together, she discovered things which caused her to lose faith in him. She discovered that Harvey was overly sensitive, and often would become alienated. Lori did not care for these traits, but stayed with him until she finished an internship. When he lost his job and was unable to find another one, he had a nervous breakdown.  Lori had left him shortly after that and never looked back.

    She had heard about his decline, and of his many visits to psychiatric centers. She never wished him any harm, but felt bad about the current state of Harvey. This was unusual for Lori, because she was, in a classic sense, a genuine sociopath who was usually incapable of empathy. Her cell phone rang, and she answered it on her Bluetooth.

    Harvey spotted Lori from across the park. He knew she had been around, and this confirmed it. Although she was about 60 feet away, Harvey was able to read her lips and knew exactly what she was saying to him.

Daniel is a well-seasoned individual who loves to write. Although he is currently employed as a handyman, he is secretly a troubled soul who expresses himself through poetry, fiction, and other mediums. You can find him on facebook and twitter, or you can view his unique handyman blog at

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