His home is San Francisco and for a time he staked out my little niche in the station near the ATM machines where the light rail system spits out commuters every ten minutes and heat rises up from the tracks in stinking thermals. He belonged to the breed of unwashed homeless scratching out an existence around the city. His name is Janus Payette.
J-A-N-U-S. Janus was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings, which pretty much spells out his life.
In a previous life, he was a detective working narcotics, which is about half a notch above being homeless. As a Narc, you don't have many friends and enemies are behind every door and his connection to the God of doors gave him no special license. To make a long sordid story short, some of his enemies wore badges, and when he blew the whistle on a partner taking payoff money from a mob boss the brass sided with his partner, and he was shoved into the gutter. Since then he's been a drunk, a drifter, and the guy on Powell Street holding the sign, "Will Work For Food." It's a pretty good fit.
A near-death experience at the hands of muggers turned his life around. It marked a turning point for him and he decided it was more interesting to be alive than dead and he made a promise to himself that he wouldn't be taken advantage of again; pretty heady philosophy for a bent cop scraping the dregs out of life. He was going to take a stance because he was a human being and human beings shouldn't prey on other human beings.