The King of King’s Road (15)

(continued from The King of King’s Road (14))

After the homeless man slept in the shelter for several days, the case worker approached him again to discuss his ideas for helping the homeless man. He suggested that they might first try to find the homeless man’s identity and family. If the homeless man could not remember who he was and where he came from, the case worker offered to use fingerprints and DNA testing to find his identity and government records. The homeless man did not speak, but he held out his hand. The case worker smiled and left the room, coming back quickly with some paper, ink and a scissors. The case worker took a sample of the homeless man’s fingerprints and cut off a lock of his hair.

After a few days, the case worker had received a report from the Home Office identifying the homeless man as Giles Piper-Burns, age 52, single, educated at Cambridge and registered with the Financial Services Authority as a bond trader, but  suspended for financial improprieties and on medical leave. The Home Office records further indicated that Mr. Piper-Burns had been treated for gambling addiction by the National Health Service for six months after his suspension, ending a year earlier. The case worker approached the homeless man and showed him the Home Office report. The homeless man looked at the report but remained expressionless. He continued to stare down, away from the eyes of the case worker. The case worker left the homeless man alone with the report. The homeless man sat on his cot and began to play with his Rubik’s Cube, solving the puzzle over and over for the rest of the afternoon.

The next day the case worker returned and asked the homeless man to join him and another man in the privacy of the Head Minister’s rectory. They sat in the minister’s parlor with tea and biscuits and the new man began to ask questions. The homeless man did not respond. The case worker excused himself from the room and left the homeless man and the new man alone together. The new man identified himself as an addiction therapist and explained how he could be helpful if the homeless man was willing to take part. He then sat silently while the homeless man gazed, apparently in deep thought, at the biscuit tin. Neither man spoke again. After an hour the therapist left, and the homeless man returned to the shelter.

To be continued…

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