Fiction: Corporate Welfare

By Daniel Schulz

“Just one minute, sir, let me bring you some change,” the waiter said, “let me bring you some change”. – It reminds me of New York, where a waiter once asked me, politely, “can I bring you some pennies, sir?”, as if I were some greedy little hoarder. And so one step out the door this guy asks me, if I have some change. – “Do you have some change sir? Do you have some change?” –  Seagull lovers are welcome feed seagulls in need. Do not be afraid of overfeeding. Seagulls are dainty eaters. – People in the city of Seattle are sleeping in their cars. People in the city of Seattle are sleeping in their cars, because they have no where else to go to than a parking space. Poverty is nothing new for Seattle, but this is, because the city needs a strong economy and the strong economy is causing homelessness and poverty, because the residents aren’t getting any money. The economy is on the rise and so are the rents. I wish I had a raise. People have to decide what is most important to them: to have an apartment or something to eat. Don’t be an egoist. Seagulls are dainty eaters. And seagull lovers are welcome to feed seagulls in need. Do not be afraid of overfeeding. Seagulls are dainty eaters. And I only go home to sleep, anyway. People have to decide what’s more important to them: to have a roof over their heads or some food in their belly. Small businesses, much like workers, don’t have the dollars that corporate America has, to increase the living wages. While the rents are increasing, many of the wages stay the same, and while corporate America is buying up properties to build new condos, they are buying these properties, because they are cheap and they can sell these new condos for higher prices than the property they were built on was bought. In essence, the reason that so many people in Seattle are homeless is that condos are being built.
For instance: There is a man sleeping in a parking space near the city library, doves hacking at the ground around him, picking up the crumbs. There won’t be any leftovers, when they’re done. He’ll have to start all over again. Do you have some spare change, sir?  – “I’m hungry,” says someone in writing, holding up a sign, because saying the same thing over and over and over again is just too exhausting. It’s like working in a factory. It makes you feel numb. Poverty is a full time job in which free time is your labor, your burden, the thing you carry around with you, the weight hurting your back. Do you have some change you can spare, sir? Like doves hacking at crumbs, people here are asking and asking and asking over and over again for change. And while people, occasionally, do put a quarter, a dollar, or a dime of their spare time into their palm, there is no change in the air, because the reason that they are here, is that things are changing. Every poverty stricken house in this city is being torn down to build new Condos, which the poor can’t afford, because we don’t have enough possibilities to house all the people that are coming in to work for companies like AMAZON, companies that don’t want to pay taxes, because they think they are the welfare Cadillac of Seattle. But the man sleeping in the parking lot does not have a car. There is not much more left of him than the little that he has and the doves around him on the ground, hacking at his crumbs. It’s just as they say, you know. It’s the small things that drive you crazy.

Daniel Schulz is a U.S-German factory worker, writer, and researcher based in Cologne. He is known for his short story collection Schrei (Formidable 2016), his work as the Kathy Acker Reading Room, the exhibition and book Kathy Acker in Seattle, as well as his publications in Fragmented Voices, Versification, Café Surreal, Cacti Fur, The Wild Word, Shot Glass Journal, Outcast Press, the anthologies Tin Solider (Sarturia 2020), Corona-Schnee (Salon29 2021), Jahrbuch Lyrik 2021 (2021), Heart/h (Fragmented Voices 2021), The Clockwork Chronicles (Madhouse Publications 2022), and the catalog Get Rid of Meaning (Walter König 2022).