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Harm and the Harmonica Man: Part Two - By Howard Schneider

It was a typical rainy Portland spring night, cool but not cold, breezy but not windy. Harm had secured the dry recessed doorway of a Covid-closed barber shop on Sandy Boulevard for the night. He sat on a double layer…

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Harm and the Harmonica Man: Part One - By Howard Schneider

When Harmon Zorn was little the few friends he'd had called him “Harmie.” But by the time he’d made it to high school, the darkness in him had surfaced, and even fewer friends he had called him “Harm,” as if…

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Bigrat: Episode Six - By Howard Schneider

The following week, Travis and Lucile received good news from one of the Multnomah County agencies that works with homeless people—they'd qualified for a two-bedroom rent-subsidized house in southeast Portland’s Buckman neighborhood. Jack's father had helped with the application and…

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Bigrat: Episode Five - By Howard Schneider

We left Episode Four as Jack called his father and told him about what he and Travis were doing. Hoping his parents would appreciate what they’d accomplished, he invited them to the rat circus show. His father said they'd be…

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Bigrat: Episode Four - By Howard Schneider

“It was Bigrat! Didn’t you hear him?” Travis said, as he approached the box where he kept the rat. When he reached it, he looked over the edge, then gasped, a look of shock distorting his face. 

“Pa!” Travis screamed…

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Bigrat: Episode Three - By Howard Schneider

When the big rat stopped nosing around for crumbs and rose up on his haunches, Travis said, “I heard you.” 

"I didn't say anything," Lucile said from where she sat near the burn barrel. She got up and went to…

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Bigrat: Episode Two - By Howard Schneider

Later that evening, after the stew his Lucille had made and shared with the other homeless campers, Travis set out eleven traps. The next morning, every trap held a rat, and the rat man bought them all. With part of…

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Bigrat: Episode One - By Howard Schneider

“Hey! Travis! That sack looks alive. Must’ve been a good catch,” a run-away-teenager named Jack yelled when a tall, hatless man in his mid-thirties appeared in the misty morning light from around a bridge abutment. Travis had longish red hair…

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On The Way To Brooklyn - By Howard Schneider

It was the day before Christmas and Al Badowski and his wife Phyllis, and their two kids, thirteen-year-old Patty and her little brother Jason, were stuck in traffic on Route Nine a little south of Catskill, New York. They were…