Back in the 90s my English friend AC lived in ground-floor triplex's back door onto East 13th Street. He loved the location and his own personal exit onto the sidewalk. Homeless people also appreciated the step's functionality as a refuge from inclement weather."I kept walking out of my house into someone else's home." The bums squatted the space in their cardboard shack. The overhang protected them from the rain and heat seeped from AC's door to provide an unexpected comfort while living in the rough. "I chase them away in the morning and they come back at night.""Like a homeless shelter.""And I'm not getting paid by the city." AC reflected on this problem. Polite requests were countered by the derelicts insulting him as a limey teabag. Complaints to the police and landlord ignored the problem. THey didn't have to live there.AC's solution proved to be simple.One late winter weekend he transported a giant rock from Dutchess County. The rock was not particularly blessed with beauty. Its mass cut into half the step's sleeping space. The bums disappeared for months. The rock was AC's doorman. He called it 'Edgar'.At the beginning of April AC exited from his apartment and the rock was no longer on duty. He quickly surveyed the neighborhood without finding 'Edgar'. "The bums stole my rock." AC was flabbergasted by the theft."It could be stoned college kids." They loved their pranks."All I know is that had to be strong. That rock weighed a ton." Its actual weight was somewhere around 250. Edgar was not an easy lift.The bums didn't return to the step. Edgar's presence had done the trick. They were sleeping somewhere else. "I miss Edgar." AC didn't have a pet. He had a beautiful girlfriend. "How can you miss a rock?" Marina was a piece of work. "I grew used to it." The rock was a better drinking companion. None of his friends vocalized that shared sentiment. We were considered bums by Marina."Idiot." The Napoli native had a hard heart. I thought that they made a great couple.AC was stunned on a June morning by the return of the rock. Edgar was in his old position more or less. He didn't look any worse for wear. AC didn't ask any questions about where the rock had been for the last months. It was the rock's business and they keep secrets to the grave.