Ok, Ok – so it turned out not to be a corpse. But, I was only semi-conscious when I turned down Salem Street and found the body. I had awoken at 6:00 a.m. and assumed that I was in store for a quiet Sunday morning with two newspapers and a cup of coffee before my wife stirred. With sleep still in my eyes, I dressed and descended the stairs to the sidewalk only to find the New York Times sheathed in its blue plastic wrapping. But, there was no Sunday Globe – just a telltale white plastic bag left crumpled on the ground. Some jerk had obviously removed the paper from its sack and mockingly discarded the plastic litter on the doorstep as a kind of weird gotcha tag.
My only option was to hoof it over to Hanover Street where I knew that the 7-11 would be open already and stocked with Sunday newspapers. And, as I trudged along Tileston Street, I blinked and focused my eyes on a figure slumped facedown over a granite block at the entrance to the condominiums at the former Columbus High School. From afar I hoped that this was not a murder or accident scene. I drew closer and I prayed that this inert male was still breathing. Then I wondered whether I would have to thump his chest and begin CPR after dialing 911. As I approached I heard a low sound that I initially mistook for moaning, but quickly realized was soft, gentle snoring.
I must admit that I was impressed, given the solidity of the granite and lack of pillow or mattress, how deep this fellow had slid into the oblivion of unconsciousness. I was kind of jealous in a way since I sometimes struggle with insomnia. I did not think it an invasion of his privacy to snap a photo since his facial features were well covered. But, God help him if someone happens to positively ID his rump.
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(North End resident Thomas F. Schiavoni writes about neighborhood life and city living.)