Common name: Aggressive Panhandler

Scientific name: Sparechanger agrobummus

Illustration By Conrad Garcia

Call: “My head feels like it’s gonna blow! Jesus! Got any money? Give it to me right now.”

Physical characteristics: Beside the aforementioned distinctive call, the tip-off that you’re dealing with Sparechanger agrobummus is the incredible shape he’s in. Some folks would kill for a body fat percentage that low, and a buff, healthy Sparechanger agrobummus specimen can be quite intimidating when encountered in the field. Can also be found in various states of physical, mental and sartorial deterioration depending on drug and/or fortified wine consumption. Don’t be misled by the “will work for food” sign hanging around said specimen’s neck like some lame nametag at a business convention. You’re dealing with a potential psychopath here, and the slightest hesitation on your part could conceivably result in a sudden, extremely messy altercation.

Habitat: Tends to roam near K Street Mall, downtown bus station, freeway off-ramps, outside liquor stores, and can be seen rummaging through those big green and blue garbage and recycling containers issued by the city to all decent, law-abiding, rent- and mortgage-paying citizens. That’s right, the big plastic cans outside right next to your garage. He’s rummaging through them right now.

What to do? By all means, give Sparechanger agrobummus your money. All your money. If he insists on talking to you, speak only every other word in return. The resulting skip in his audio track will befuddle his collapsed and decayed synaptic pathways long enough to provide you an opportunity to escape.

What not to do? Never, never, ever make eye contact with Sparechanger agrobummus. He will take this as a sign of weakness, latch on to you with grit-stained talons, and not let go until he’s told you his tragic life story 14 times. Anything that might be perceived as unconditional human kindness, with the exception of giving him all your money, right now, should be avoided.

Mating habits: None.

Disclaimer/Warning: It should be pointed out that Sparechanger agrobummus is a relatively rare species. By and large, most homeless people are harmless. However, identifying species is often difficult in close quarters, i.e. on the street, which is why when encountering any homeless person, but particularly Sparechanger agrobummus, we highly recommend giving them the money, all the money, right now.

Gluttinius republicanus