Sunday, 7 July 2019


Redundancy hit hard. Everything gone, being a somebody, the cars, the golfing trips to Spain. But Carol walking out with the kids, now that hurt. Could life get any worse?

“You have a good day” the warden at the shelter for the homeless said.
“Yeah whatever” I muttered.

The wheelie bins stank of waste food, vomit and piss, but the old adage one man’s trash is another’s treasure. The first two rubbish bags did not live up to that, but the third, “Jeepers” I said as I closed the canvas bag and briskly walked away. And then the dilemma started, the internal conflict. Hand it into the police, or not.
The weeks passed and despondency had set in. “Tony Johns?” I looked up from my cold mug of tea.
“Yeah” I said “What now?”
“If you would come with us please” the policeman said.
The detective inspector looked me in the eyes and said “The stolen property and jewellery is very valuable, and also of great sentimentality too”
“So what has that got to do with me?”
“Actually quite a lot” said the detective inspector,
I could not believe I was hearing this “You’ve got to be joking”

The woman in the azure suit walked over from the window and smiled “No Tony he is not joking, and yes it’s of great sentimental value.” I was starting to feel the winds of change when she said “My family can’t thank you enough for handing in our property and we would like you to accept this reward by way of thanks.”

The reward enabled me to turn my life full circle, but I had no desire to be top dog with a flash car. And so here I am just trying to give something back.
“Be lucky” I said locking the door behind the last person to leave the shelter for the day.

Word count 312.

A wheelie bin would be a dumpster in the USA

© Julian Clarke 2019
Linked to Poets United


  1. Life often happens in circles—when we give, we get—good for him.

    Thanks a bunch for Telling Tales.

  2. I cant tell you how much I love this story! And I love the cool switch in perspective that occurs when the reader realizes he is not a resident of the shelter, but is giving back. A wonderful tale! So well told.

  3. Life was complete for him, now. Nice.

  4. Great story – and the false trail is beautifully laid!

  5. Is this a true story, personal or about someone you know? Either way, it’s cheered me up this morning. There’s so much doom and gloom around that the public forgets that no matter what, life is hard for the homeless and there, but for the grace of whoever, go I. You’ve conveyed the despair of living in in a homeless shelter, especially in the paragraph about the wheelie bins. Not giving away whether the decision was to hand it into the police or not, built in a clever twist.

    1. Hi Kim, thank you for your comments, much appreciated. To answer your question this is a fictitious piece which unusually for me, I found quite easy to write.

  6. The first sentence is so effective. It does its job well of piquing the reader's interest. And yes, sometimes it takes being removed or being away from one's home (whatever the circumstances) to gain a renewed sense of home. I like the moral of the story.

  7. I am glad that, in the end, he made it!

  8. honesty is rewarded, but he never forgets how the shelter helps him, and now he is giving back.
    a great heart-warming tale.

  9. One man's trash, Gosh this is a sorry tale turned around so beautifully.

    Have a good week

    much love...

  10. Life in full circle... I have always remembered the time my family were the ones who received the Thanksgiving basket of food from a church. I give every chance I can to those in need. Love needs to keep going.


Comments are very much appreciated and I shall endeavour to reply, however, this may not always be possible due to time restraints.