Sunday Scribblings: Change

Can You Help A Brother Out?
“No quarters in that Louis Vuitton handbag? No? Bullshit, lady. Thanks for ignoring me.”
“No folding money in those wool slacks asshole? Ooooohh, that sad eye contact, thanks for that. That was special.”

“Can you help a brother out?”
The change in the “tall” coffee cup (never the “venti,” that’s just too impudent) is what we call starter coin, a couple of quarters, nickels and dimes – and very few pennies. (Pennies are the kiss of death. We call it that, “What did you get today? Fucking kiss of death, over and over again.”)
Starter coin. Yeah. Something to grease the skids, clink together, get that tambourine of salvation shaking for the citizens.
The ones who today are in a frenzied hurry to get out of the spittle of snow and freezing breeze.

“You could spit on me if you want, asshole. That’s what the looks says, anyway. Nice knock-off Firado suit. Screams Men’s Warehouse.”
“Awww, c’mon chicky. Those Stuart Weitzman’s you’re wearing go for at least four bills. And you don’t have a quarter to spare?”
“Pennies, shit! A handful of pennies – and a big piece of lint. You’re a fucking prince, my man. Kiss of death - want to piss on me, too?”

It’s not like I went looking for this life. A refrigerator box insulated with newspapers out of the wind near the 41st Street overpass. Out of the weather, out of the eyes of the cops who want to roust us all these days.
It’s not like I’m crazy, like so many out here.
There are circumstances, you know.
Breaks that don’t break your way.

“Two bits, yes, yes, thanks.”
“You’re very kind, thank you.”
“OK, now we’re talking, .89 cents in various coinage. A smile too. Yeah, I brushed, these are my own teeth, too.”
“You’re very kind, thank you.”

I keep two sets of “good” clothing for work. Shabby-chic. Ha. Clean, but worn. Sad. It’s all about marketing these days.
And don't smell like piss. Very important. Hygiene is everything.
I make, on a good, warm day, more than $100. And it all goes into a fund, at a bank, to buy T bills.
No booze, no eats (purchased, that is – I eat what you throw away and I stake out the finer shops like Katz’s mostly), no nookie from the crack whores that roam nighttime streets like zombies. If I’m not working, I’m reading. Solar, wind power. Composting. Hydroponics. Cheese-making.
Planning my return.
But not to these streets. These mean streets…

“Fuck you, too, mister.”
“Thanks for that condescending look, ma’am. You’ve got dog shit on your shoes, by the way.”
“Two bills, yes.”
“You’re very kind, thank you.”

A bus ticket to Reno is $237.
No, Reno is not my final destination, thank you very much.
My ranch, all 20 acres of it tucked up in the Sierras, is.
Once those last two T bills mature.


Michelle said...

Nice ending...

Large Marge said...

Right on, brotha! Wow!

missalister said...

Outstanding. The writing and the idea of interspersing the T-bill beggar’s thoughts with the action. Another piece where you reached into the gut for the good stuff—tambourine of salvation shaking for the citizens, the spittle of snow, breaks that don’t break your way… I floated with the transitions—feeling bad for the guy, thinking it cool he’s on top of his begging game, then Oh, eff this faker!

Alisa Callos said...

This is awesome! I loved the internal dialogue. It seemed so authentic. Very nice.

J.C. Montgomery said...

I can't ever seem to get over, and be absolutely "wowed" by your characterizations and dialogue.


Quin Browne said...

: )