Heirum was sitting outside of Barnes and Noble at the Edgewood shopping center holding his carbon fiber prosthetic leg, which was pasted with a Falcons sticker. “Hey can you help a brother?”
I went and got a couple burritos and ate one with him. I asked and he told me about much of his story and near the end I asked if I could record some of it, or the things he learned. He smiled and said for a little bit more donation he would. So before I left I gave him a little more. We didn’t have long before we got kicked off the property but long enough to hear some crazy stories. Here’s the 3-minute recording.
In 1988 he was buying drugs on “Cocaine Lane,” not too far from where we were. The dealer asked him to leave. But Heirum was high and refused. The dealer shot him in the back of the head. I didn’t see that scar but I’m guessing it just glazed him because then they picked him off the ground and shot him in the leg. The doctors couldn’t save it and amputated it just below the knee.
He lives under a bridge with about 15 other people just a block away (where Dekalb crosses Moreland, I think). He says they help each other sometimes but most of the time they stay to themselves. It’s been pretty cold the last few nights.
He said, “I drink a lot… A lot.” He tries to get about 8 bucks each day so he can buy a big platter of fried chicken from Kroger and eat that throughout the night. He has no family around. His mother was close but she passed away.
Thanks for sharing with me, Heirum! He says he’s there a lot. So if you’re in the neighborhood and you see a guy with a prosthetic leg with a Falcons sticker, say, “Hi Heirum.” Wouldn’t it be fun to make him feel famous? I think that would make his day :) Let me know if you see him.
Raw Spoon, 1-30-17