Falling Apple

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Jeff turned the corner and bumped into a derelict. Unfortunately, it was his father who he continually avoided. For one thing it was his father’s stench, the result of living on the street and feeding out of dumpsters behind the fast food joints around Pioneer Square in Portland, Oregon. He did admit that dear old Dad lived pretty cheaply for a former high flyer. The leftovers in the dumpsters are full of protein and calories. He didn’t seem to mind that a completely unknown stranger had previously been munching on the soggy, leftover burger.

Um Al Naft, 1991

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To say that Abdullah looked filthy would be a massive understatement. Abdullah had passed filthy-looking weeks ago. In fact, there wasn’t an adjective strong enough to describe his looks as he stood in the evening shade behind the Hussein Center carefully appraising the crowd of Ramadan shoppers. 

He wore a baggy shirt drooped over the top of loose-fitting pants held up by a frayed, waist drawstring. He gave the appearance of not having washed, bathed or even combed his hair in a month but, to the more observant,...