Denver and the other man ride their train to Dallas and catch another to Fort Worth, where Denver stays for a couple of years. He moves on to Los Angeles, lives with a woman for a while, gets in trouble with the law, and moves back to Fort Worth. Denver finds small jobs occasionally, but quickly realizes there isn’t much work for cotton farmers to do in the city. However, Fort Worth is known among the homeless for having a lot of shelters for people like him to have a meal and a place to spend in the night.
Denver’s quick summations of large spans of his life indicate just how little those years seem to hold for him. There are no milestones such as marriage, children, retirement or so on. He is simply surviving from one day to the next. This suggests a life that was not rich with good experiences, but one which simply passed. Despite the story’s comparatively positive portrayal of homelessness and poverty, it still paints it as a tragic state to be in.
Living on the streets in Fort Worth, Denver learns the methods of hustling to make one dollar into a few dollars, bathing in public fountains, and picking up odd day jobs. Unable to read or write and without a birth certificate or social security card, Denver can’t find a stable job, though he wishes he could. Like the others on the streets, he takes to “drinkin [and] druggin” to help him forget his misery and that he is very much alone.
Despite the common conception—from people such as Ron—that homeless people are lazy and should find a job, Denver’s life demonstrates that often, homeless people are working as hard as anyone else; they are simply working with less. This continues the portrayal of homelessness not as something that one earns, but something that is created by external circumstances.