There is a little boy in my neighborhood named A.
At some point, A learned that the residents of the Casa De Diego, Hannah, and Ru are easy marks. He has knocked on our door selling coupon books and wrapping paper, and on more than one occasion has asked to walk Charlie or Spence (for a small fee, of course). A has also parked himself on our couch for an entire Sunday afternoon, watching Nashville with me and Diego, eating a leftover cupcake from Echo's bridal shower, and using our wifi.
It's never been stated explicitly, but A has implied (repeatedly) that he lives in a state of mild want. Hence the guilt that makes it really hard to tell him "no."
Recently I made a deal with A, as I was getting tired of him hussling me out of all my spare $5 bills. A told me he'd been saving up for a pair of shoes, and I told him I would buy the shoes in return for X number of walks.
Unfortunately, the first time I bought the shoes, it turned out they were too small and I needed to exchange them. Double unfortunately, A has come back at least three times since we made that discovery.
Last night, A came by again, and again I explained I hadn't exchanged the shoes yet -- but he was more than welcome to start working off one of his X walks.
A shook his head. "I was really hoping to get cash. I didn't have breakfast today."
My jaw dropped -- it was 7 pm. "You didn't have lunch or dinner?"
A shrugged. "Well, yeah. But I still didn't have any breakfast. So can I walk Spence for cash tonight?"