"I didn't want to be in Atlanta," says Anthony Knighton. "I was extradited [from Detroit, on a drunken driving charge, he claims]. That's how I lost everything." He does have a place to sleep, at St. Luke's, and he keeps busy informing other dispossessed people of their rights, IT'S LEGAL TO BE HOMELESS, says a flier he carries. It goes on:
Police can't arrest you in a public place if you:
?Talk to yourself.
Police can arrest you in a public place if you:
?Cause a disturbance.
?Obstruct a sidewalk.
?Spit on a sidewalk.
" Georgia will give you food stamps," Knighton says. "But how can a man use food stamps if he's living in a parking lot? The concept of that criteria is fundamentally polluted. So he'll sell the stamps."
"Then if you get on drugs," an affable but vague-eyed young man told me in Woodruff Park, "then they got you. Atlanta's a nice town, though. I helped build where they're holding the boxing."
"Folks in our office waiting for shelter watched the opening ceremony on TV," Beaty says. "They loved it. They're very docile people. They're used to waiting for a place to sleep. I step over women and little children on our floor, and I look down the street and see the new stadium lit up and the fireworks going off, and I can hardly stand it."
Standing things really ought to be an Olympic event, at least the way it's practiced around Five Points. It would restore an element of amateurism—maybe not in its highest form, but amateurism has always been a function of what people can afford. A man I talked to in Five Points would be hard to beat in that competition. He declined to give me his name, partly "for security reasons" and partly because I had never interviewed Mike Tyson, "and if Mike don't trust you, why should I? See what I'm saying?" But he did tell me a story.
"Somebody come after me trying to tell me I owe him money. He's got a pool cue in each hand. I said, 'Man, I ain't got no money. Come after me with two pool cues in each hand, I still won't have no money. Do I look like I got any money? I hate to think how many pool cues you'd come after me with if I did. But I ain't ever looked like I had any money. And even if I did look like I had any money, I still wouldn't have no money. I ain't never had no money.' I got him to where he gave me one of them pool cues, finally."