Object 216

The Holder of Poverty

In any city, in any country, you will find an area that is rundown but still inhabited. These areas go by many names - poor districts, ghettos, and slums. Find the one nearest your location and make your way there. Search around until you find a building of at least two stories with most of one wall torn down. Be sure not to bring anything of value in with you, save for two nickels and a penny. Enter the building at high noon through the hole - you must not enter through the door.

Inside, on the top floor, you will find an empty room with a foul-smelling and ratty-looking man facing a small dirty window. Approach him quietly and whisper into his ear, "I'm here to see the Holder of Poverty". If he does not move for five seconds, turn and run out of the building and as far from the slum as you can. Do not look back until you are far from sight of the nearest building in the area. Never return.

If he raises his right hand, however, stay in the room until night falls. When it does, he will turn and face you. You will notice that his face has been horribly burned and it will be hard to keep your eyes focused on him. Whatever you do, do not look away from or flinch at his appearance. After a moment, he will open his mouth and say something that sounds like garbled nonsense and point at the window.

Look through the window and the man's life will take place before you. You will see how he lost his money, how his family descended into destitution, how his face was burned, and every hardship he was forced to undergo to survive up until this point. Do not make any motion to sympathize with him. He does not want or require your pity.

When you are finished, turn back to the man and give him some form of acknowledgment. He will then smile and hold out a small and ragged tin mug. Remove the change you placed in your pocket earlier and drop it into the cup. Giving him anything other than two nickels and a penny will cause him to sink into a depressed state, and no matter how much time you spend with him you will not be able to raise him from his sadness. Do this correctly, however, and the man will close his eyes and fall asleep. The mug will remain in his hand, the change nowhere to be found. Take it from his grip, but do not awaken him.

The tin mug is Object 216 of 2538. They must never come together.