Central Square's Residents

Tom's wife, Wanda, died a few months ago from alcohol poisoning.


Although he has traveled around the country and lived in Colorado and Vermont, he loves Central Square, even in the winter.


The only problem, he said, is that "everybody dies here."


Above: Tom

Right: Tommy


These are a few of Central Square's homeless alcoholics. They hustle for whatever alcohol they can scrounge, but they aren't junkies. Although the junkies further down in the square can be violent or crazy, these men seem relatively harmless. They listen to funk music on the Music Man's boom box, play keano, and make fun of each other all day.


Their days are long, starting at 5am (or whenever the cops harass them) and ending after the bars have closed and the drunk patrons have mistakenly given them too much money for booze.


Lots of friends wandered by; some of them didn't want their photos taken without compensation; some were incoherent, and others had not a care in the world.


Tom said this guy was "all dressed up for his own funeral."

Another friend was eager to show off his "42 year old" bicycle, which might have been stolen.


He promised Tom a 40 if Tom could repay him in a half hour, which meant I had to leave to improve his chances at making up the cash.


Tommy doesn't harm anybody, even when he's drunk. Sometimes he stays in a shelter, but most of the time he sleeps near City Hall. When he sleeps in the shelter, he wakes up yelling "Don't use my name!", referring to Tom's constant jokes about Tommy.


He may have Alzheimer's.


Right: Tommy said goodbye before going to sleep on the grass.

Tom has lots of friends that he can hit up for alcohol or cigarettes. Everyone is constantly paying back everyone else or promising a dollar here and there.


Tom negotiated a vodka purchase with this jovial guy.

When the man returned and offered Tom only a shot of vodka, Tom pressured him into filling up a plastic bottle instead. After all, he had already given the man a dollar and promised more later.

When vodka isn't available, there's always mouth wash, which Tom hides in the bushes. He readily admitted that it's disgusting and said that no one should drink it.

Tom's catch line is, "Spare change for alcohol," which throws people off guard and often leads to more donations. From a block away, he can tell who's likely to leave money, but he jokes with the passersby who ignore him. He'll say, "spare change for bombs" to any Middle Eastern-looking guy and makes fun of people after they pass. Because most folks are blind to the homeless, Tom and Tommy share lots of laughs at the pedestrians' expense.


They also make fun of each other, jabbing one another about which one is "more gay" and announcing to pedestrians that the other one is a homosexual. Nobody seems to notice, but it passes the time.