This is a picture of Joe, and while a rough sketch, it’s really him. Rather, it’s the homeless man who I tend to think of as Joe. There aren’t many homeless people in Hessen, so the few that are here are as familiar as a landmark.

Joe isn’t the man’s real name, but I wouldn’t mention it here anyway. He’s Joe. But early this morning, I walked past the bank where Joe usually sleeps, and saw that Joe’s bank had been hit.

It was still dark, but police had roped off the area. I saw a man fingerprinting the entrance, and two more taking stock inside, while a fourth officer guarded the area.

Broken glass was everywhere.

Breaking the glass wall had been done only in spite. None of the glass was inside of the building. The burglars had clearly walked into the bank, smashed up all the ATMs, emptied them of their cash, and then smashed the windows. All of the glass was splayed outside the bank, onto the sidewalk.

But all this was Joe’s area. I don’t know where Joe is, not even now. I haven’t seen him all day and I’m a little worried about him.

In the novels I’m writing, Joe isn’t one of the main characters, but he does play a unique role that is quite important to the plot in Book One, tentatively titled The Dragon That Ate the World. The real Joe is, I feel, a good man fallen on hard times. That is the sense I get of him, and it’s what pressed me to create a character inspired by him.

And I like Joe, so it’s very possible that he will appear in other books as well.