“And dry leaves can make good insulation for cold winter nights!” Dr. James Hunt said, a touch too cheerfully, Alex his assistant thought. She bit her lip. Teaching homeless people how to survive on the streets seemed like a good idea on paper, but out here, it was a joke.
“Of course,” James continued, “newspaper is even better for insulation. I’ll pass out a list of recycling centers.” The assembled faces watched him impassively, just waiting—Alex was sure—for this to be over so they could get their promised free meal. They knew all this already; they must. It was a like a Boy Scout leader teaching a platoon of Special Forces about pocketknife safety.
“Well, I think that went well,” James said after the class. “What did you think?”
“It was a band-aid solution on the real problem.”
“Sometimes a wound needs a band-aid while healing takes place. I’m addressing the city council in a few months on the issue. I’ll share my research with them.”
“The research where I live on the street for two weeks,” James said. “I’m starting in a month.”
Alex stopped. “You’re crazy, it’s almost winter.”
“So what if you die?”
“Then that will speak much louder than I ever could.”
“Tell me where you’ll be, at least. I’ll bring you soup.”
“Only if you bring enough for everyone.”
“How many homeless people are in the city?”
He put a hand on her shoulder. “I’ll try.”