This is a part of the description of one of my characters in the book I’m writing. The character, Silver, is a real person I met a few years ago and who told me about his life. Although I mention at once that the scene around the character in the book is purely fictional 🙂
“Before meeting Anna, his wife, Silver lived as homeless. Together with about ten other homeless people, they had built a hut outside the metropolitan forest inside where they could all sleep. Some even had their own room, like Silver. Already at that time, Silver was showing his extraordinary ability to lead others — under his firm control were all those who belonged to and watched their gang, all had full stomachs and was in warm. Besides, Silver always made sure there was alcohol in the house. If not directly alcoholic liquids, then at least something that reminded and gave a similar effect. In order to maintain this system, the chief had a requirement for three characteristics. Be smart enough for things to go together and for people to always have everything they need. Be patient enough to make people feel trust. And be big enough to evoke respect. Most of those who ended up being homeless – and some of them had been homeless for many years- did it for some reason. This was often due to underdevelopment for various reasons or to degradation due to drugs and alcohol. Both meant a lack of critical thinking and self-esteem. Silver learned it very quickly and it was very suitable for him. Perhaps life as homeless was destined for him because he felt that he lived such a life much better than he had come to live the life of an ordinary person.
While living in the forest, all the inhabitants of the hut had certain rules that they had to follow. First of all, every morning they all drove up and went to the city together to pick up and find everything that could provide income. Most of the time, however, bottles and jars were collected that could be pledged. Discarded food that was still fit to eat was also collected from the landfills and brought “home”. Clothes and other different things that might be needed in the hut and kept warm in the winter were also picked up. Silver had made it clear to everyone that in order to guarantee the inhabitants of the hut the food, warm and fun drinks, everyone had to bring a certain amount a day “home”. That was one of the most important rules – a job that even the sickest could not escape. However, those who received a pension or disability money from the state were more fortunate, because then they could afford several days off where they did not have to go anywhere. Silver’s principle in this regard was simple. To survive, everyone had to contribute. Together, they had a better chance than they did each by themselves. And besides, they were stronger and had more fun together.
Other rules that had to be followed were, for example, that no one was allowed to bring anyone aside to the hut; everyone had to use a certain path with a security system to come to and go from the hut; everyone had to be ready to escape quickly at any moment and, of course, that Silver’s word was that put them all in place. Strict rules regarding the use of bystanders and a certain runway were to prevent damage from the police or other forces. The fact that some homeless people were able to organize themselves in this way and build a hut that provided warmth and a roof was a very extraordinary phenomenon. Even more extraordinary was that they were able to keep it secret and protected. Silver immediately had one of the best reputations in this environment. Especially the way he figured out the security system he made around the hut that signaled someone else’s approach was respectable. However, their people had developed a definite path along which they always came and went. If someone took a step to the right or a step to the left in a certain area around the hut, an alarm would go off. The reason for their invented security system was only one – none of them wanted to go back to arrest or mental hospital.”