My name is Jimmy, though no one has called me that for a long time. It’s been that way most of my life. My mother used to call me Jimmy. Sometimes she called me other things, but I don’t like to think about that. She died when I was little. I never did know my dad. I don’t believe the things I heard folks say about him. They say some of those same things about me and they aren’t true.
Folks call me Lucky. I don’t much like it but there’s nothing I can do about it.
I was born here in Podunk. I get by okay for the most part. A good day is when I wake up to the sound of mockingbirds in the treetops and the sun peeking over the hilltop. If I lie real still and close my eyes and just listen to the birds and feel the sun on my face it’s like I’m somebody special.
Podunk is one of those places fancy talking people like to call genteel. That’s a word I learned back in school. My teacher used to say it and I asked her once what it meant. She told me and then she said Podunk was a genteel place. It might have been for her. For me, not so much, but that’s just the way of things.
I quit going to school a couple of years ago. I got tired of the other kids beating me up. I don’t have folks taking care of me anymore. I ran away from all the homes they put me in. None of them ever really wanted me and I didn’t want to be with them.
I start my day by going around collecting soda bottles. That’s how I get my money. I take them to the store and collect the deposits. It keeps me from going hungry. Sometimes the owners pay me to sweep the street in front of their shops before they open for business. They want me gone as quick as possible so they give me cash and tell me to scoot along when I’m done.
When I’ve made some money and I know I can eat then I don’t much worry about what I do with the rest of the day. I don’t hang around in town. You never know what’s going to happen and, well, some things that have happened to me there are things best forgotten.
There are folks that live just outside of town that don’t treat me like the genteel folks do. I know them all by name and most of them don’t mind me coming around. Some of them even smile when they see me. It feels kind of nice. Some of the kids let me play ball with them.
There’s one man who’s always glad to see me. He sits on the porch and plays his banjo and he doesn’t mind if I sit on the steps and listen. He lives on a dirt road about two miles out of town. I’ve heard the townsfolk talk about him from time to time. They say the same kind of things they say about my father. I don’t pay it any mind.
Part 2 Tomorrow