The Collector

The Collector
JCD Kerwin

Max Sullivan collects people.

He sits, day in and day out, on the edge of the marble fountain in center square, and watches. He calculates the movement of every passersby; he has learned to read the movements of his fellow man. He waits, sometimes for hours, until he spies the perfect specimen. Sometimes they are young; sometimes they are old.

Once, it was a 40-year-old woman who had broken the heel of her shoe. She carried the sandal in her hand and a look of despair on her face. She seemed uncomfortable in her tight skirt and low-cut blouse. It was dark blue and scattered with small, yellow flowers. By Max’s standards, she wore far too much makeup. She was trying much too hard to be something she was not. He captured her to remind himself that humans are a desperate creature.

One Tuesday, Max was in awe of a young man with dark black hair. He waltzed from his executive high-rise with an earpiece in his ear, and greed and sophistication in his eyes. He stepped over a homeless man by a garbage can; pushed pigeons from his path with shiny leather shoes. Max captured him to remember that human beings are cruel.

Today, it is an older woman with graying hair and graying eyes that catches Max’s attention. She walks with a cane and hunches as she makes her way to the bench. She smiles as her long journey ends, and pulls out bread for the birds. Max moves close by. He likes the way she smiles. He looks to make sure no one is watching and lifts his hand. He presses the shutter and is pleased with the image. She reminds him that humans are not that bad.

Max scrolls through his pictures and disappears into the crowd. He will collect again tomorrow.

(Sept. 2014)

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