I sped to the gas station to get smokes, and half way home I ran out of gas. I pulled into the local diner where the drunks who I used to kick out of the dive bars would go to sober up before crawling home.
As I chained my bike up, a toothless junkie coughing up a lung while smoking a Pall Mall said, "Hey, don't worry. Your moped is safe here. No one will fuck with it."
Without thinking I said, "Oh yeah? Why not?"
She smiled, her road-daddy pinned to her side, nodding his grey nicotine-stained mustache in agreement. "You're one of us," she said. "You got a long walk home?"
"No," I answered truthfully for once. "I've spent the night on a sidewalk and under a bridge. I've crashed with bartenders and felons. I'm lucky enough that this time, I have a short walk home, to a room I can call my own, with a door that locks."
There was the briefest of pauses. "Damn, kid. You really are one of us."
I smiled. "I've been around," I said. "But there is no "one of us." We've all suffered. They're just minor details. I've got a short walk home tonight and that's the happiest ending I've had in weeks. I know how lucky I am."
The gypsies laughed as I walked away, and I laughed with them.