Shorty & Morty
An Extraordinary Homeless Couple
The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad?" Alice: "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are. " Lewis Caroll
By E.M. Fredric
In a County ER waiting room…
“When you face extremely difficult times - you will quickly find a distinction in humanity - a dividing line of who is real and who is not with a sudden awareness of what true friendship or love means. If you've never experienced watching it happen to others - your time will come - and it won't be the end of the world - it will be a beginning of richer moments amongst the hairiest ones you'll ever face… like a plague only the rich will know about first. Not liking this day but it's early.” Celine (aka Shorty) spoke to no one in particular.
She sat among the others in a crowded county hospital ER waiting room littered with the homeless – prisoners - the destitute and the mentally ill – realizing that she had truly become just another number in her own country, or so she hoped. Although Celine didn’t remember where she came from - this was her home town as far as she knew. Voices and dialects from around the world asked her questions as others talked or cried – or silently dealt with their fate.
A Hispanic man with lung cancer was slumped like a fetus in a chair – so slight in stature from radiation treatments that a door slamming could snap his bones. His adult daughter and son huddled protectively next to him.
Celine’s leg had popped off via a car accident while crossing Hollywood Boulevard. It only took a slight bump and her crutch leg dropped to the street - but her mannequin leg held her steady - until that horn blasted. She sat in her hospital wheelchair wondering where her 4’6” boyfriend – Morty - was – it had been hours since he was tossed off of the premises demanding his girl see a doctor – “NOW!!”
Morty was a small black man with a scrapper’s attitude and didn’t like anyone to touch his girl - especially when people looked down at him as they jeered. “Hey how’d ya get the girl?” “No – really man – you get paid to be with her?”
This homeless duo’s day had started off as nothing peculiar – wondering what adventure they would find after their morning meal when they hit the shelter for a quick shower and some metro tokens. They had a pact that rather than take the food from the Krazytown’s shelter - their work consisted of lifting whatever they could as their own way of giving back to their community. Hollywood living as a homeless person was sublime compared to other areas. Wherever prime real estate was garnered the wealthiest snapped it up to help get people off the streets. This pat-on-the-back, money to write-off propositions, hid America’s enormous eyesore as an even better money-maker for those who acquired – anything and everything – just to have or say they did their part.
The residents of the City of Angels were affected more yearly as the dividing lines of inner cities had started being quietly being erased decades ago. Her people were left angrily scratching their heads at price hikes, job losses and places to live within their means. Everyone was kept so busy trying to make keep their status quo - or a roof over their head - that the questions of how this came to be… rarely entered a citizen’s mind. That was how it’s supposed to be and always had been.
Ahhh the ones behind the curtain would become more visible now and even they would be stunned that they wouldn’t be protected as they were promised. The high stakes of the stackers in Krazytown and life - knew blame- was-the-game and what strings to pull and when – or so they would hope. But for now – life in Krazytown on the Boulevard was as looney and lucrative as usual.
Shorty at 5’8” was the same size as Morty, if not a wee bit shorter, without her legs. She felt alone within the sterile walls and smells of the hospital setting as the voices echoed and bounced off walls. Frightened that she’d be hauled away as a freak of nature - she wondered if they’d send her back where she came from – even if she didn’t know where that was because her accents kept changing. When she became nervous she was either British, Jersey, southern - or whatever foreign language she heard while on the streets of Krazytown with Morty - as they struggled to survive among the tourists and the freaks. A term used upon seeing them – by many.
Wherever prime real estate was garnered the wealthiest to help get people off the streets to hide America’s enormous eyesore and an even better money-maker for those who acquired – anything and everything – just to have or say they did their part. There were a few who put their necks out for the homeless and were complained about to city council and the mayor. The same people who got angry that fed people on the streets cried loudest about animal abuse – their local parks filled with dogs and cats in need of adoption. Where was the human adoption? No more public restrooms – but a canine could hike its leg anywhere and not get penalized.
Hollywood Boulevard Day...
Zippy – the homeless and blind self-proclaimed Mayor of the homeless in Hollywood teased the duo mercilessly on their daily passage near his corner. He was one of the elders of the alcoholics and drug addicts that permeated the streets within the cubbyholes of the City of Angels. Celine ignored him but Morty always wanted to whack Zippy. She understood that Zippy held a fondness in his blind heart for her but would never disrespect Morty by smiling too much or giving either man the wrong idea.
Zippy was always trying to get information and making sexual remarks which irritated Morty to quick fists but Celine would remind him it wasn’t fair to hit a blind man no matter how angry or protective he got.
As they crossed the street - Celine was telling Morty about a new meeting she had heard about where they could get free food, money and more importantly - it would be entertaining. It was the PA or the Puppet Addicts Meeting. Morty thought it over and was about to nix it - when Celine looked at him. Her heart shined through her smile reaching through Morty’s heart and into the marrow of his bones – he never felt such love. Celine convinced him to go as a ventriloquist’s dummy as their camouflage.
Katey - a homeless woman was in a rush as she entered the opposite side of the crosswalk. She was one of the happiest people on this planet. Nothing phased her. Once - Kate saw a man lose an arm from dragging his motorcycle on the boulevard and taking a spin on the asphalt she hustled over to him - pushed her way through the crowd, looked down and grinned - “Oh - you can buy new arms and they work almost as good as the real ones!” In shock the man yelled profanities but Kate just laughed with joy.
Kate rushed past Shorty & Morty not seeing them on the crowded crosswalk. Her large bag that held her doll for the puppet addict meeting swung wide as a car honked. Kate’s arms rushed up and her hands clamped to her ears to keep out the noise and she started spinning and giggling. She inadvertently hit a stranger who fell backwards in a domino effect – one person after another knocked into each other until Morty and Celine were hit. Celine knocked against a car waiting for the light to change and that’s what brought her here to the ER.
The ambulance forced her to come once the paramedics realized she had two false legs. Morty got into a one-sided fistfight with the two medics before they drove Celine away. Angry because he could fix her legs in a heartbeat – he built them!
Kate moved across the street unaware of any damage in her wake. She just grinned and said hello to every person who she came into contact with. Kate’s life was good as a homeless lady – she loved her every day and every night times. She was truly a person who never had had a bad day in her life due to her outlook. Everybody needs a Kate in their life – another human being to see our life through different eyes – even if they arrive as skewered funny bones.
To be continued…
I love these characters, the Krazytown neighorhoods they reside in with the other misfits, tourists and has been or wannabe - "bluebloods." This journey goes beyond the films or the in-character interviews. I hope they will bring you as much pleasure as I had creating them. And will keep going... yesirree she will...