He’s always there, a loner sleeping in an alcove under a mobile signboard. A couple of bits of cardboard and a blanket from head to toe renders him invisible, conserving as much body heat as possible.
This was the homeless bloke at Central Station last month. After an episode of ranting and accosting passers-by, railway security, police and ambos settled him down and provided medical assistance and a bed for the night.
Last night they returned, for the last time. He died inside the Country Trains terminal opposite the Arrivals and Departures board.
I got talking to a middle-aged bloke with luggage, smoking outside the terminal. “I’m not usually homeless,” he explained, “only tonight. I came down to see the family but they’re, arrrgh, busy.”
He proceeded to tell of two assaults: someone tried to steal the old bloke’s blanket which upset him greatly, triggering a coughing fit.
Also around this time, he claimed, a second homeless bloke was assaulted and robbed outside the building, under a security camera.
“It’s a dog act,” he sneered, “robbing someone who’s got nothing. You should only rob those who can claim it back on insurance.”
To validate this piece of wisdom he revealed a past spent in prison for armed robbery, supporting a heroin habit.
Another forty-something, rough sleeper wandered over to join us and lit-up a bumper. “This bloke found him dead,” said the armed robber. “Woke up next to him.”
The newcomer nervously dragged on his fag with a trembling hand and hunched shoulders. “It was fucked up,” he mumbled, obviously in shock.
After lighting another cigarette the robber remarked, “You know, he’s just a nobody to them. There won’t be nothin’ in the papers tomorrow. This happens every night and you never hear about it.”
Finally at peace.