For three weeks, I used a random number generator to select one of Shakespeare’s sonnets (1-154) and a line number (1-14) and I used that line as a prompt for some writing. This is the first one.

Andrew awoke with the sound of the wind whipping through the tarp he wrapped himself and his belongings in each night. There had been no wind when he’d gone to sleep. Everything was wrapped up so that he’d be awakened should anyone disturb his stuff. 

He didn’t consider himself wretched by any means – he had clothes for the weather and books and a few regulars who tossed him coins and sometimes a sandwich.

His hard bed of a sidewalk kept his back aligned if he didn’t move too much in the night and he could sometimes even wash his clothes.

But today his carefully wrapped set-up was fluttering in a storm. The detritus of the street whipped about him and the storm whipped his skin, his hair and pieces of his life away. The book, wrapped in a zipped plastic bag that had been his pillow, was whisked down the street as soon as Andrew lifted his head. Now on its way down the street, he’d only had about twenty pages left of it to read. He knew of course that Miss Marple would solve the case of X and Y, but he was sad not to be able to finish it. It might have been the least of his possessions, but as his life flew away in the storm it was the most important. He also didn’t have another book to read. 

What made him most wretched is that he’d have to pack up all his stuff in this wretched weather and find a shelter. Somewhere.All the other homeless on his block of downtown street were doing the same. 

He started to hear the grumbling of the hard sleepers around him, but the wind tore their words away as soon as they were spoken. No one on the street said anything new anymore and even if this storm was real, it wasn’t making anything better and whatever the rest of the folks on the street had to say would differ in degree, not in actual content. 

He went to work wrapping his possessions again, more meager now. He reined in the blowing tarp. And rolled a blanket and a metal plate and bowl and thought about the dog – Billiard, she’d been called – weird to name a girl dog after a game played with a stick and balls. But someone had lured Billiard away. Andrew knew about the dog fights that people gambled on, but pushed the thought of his gentle dog being used that way from his head and concentrated again on getting his gear into a form he could carry. Somewhere.