I had a few drinks. Just a spur of the moment thing, but it was fun. After that I walked to the bus stop. It's between fifth and sixth on Market, where two blocks and one night away there was a shooting. Anyway, a guy asks for some change and a hug. I gave him the change, thirty cents, but not the hug. I had to refuse him three times. He went away thanking me for the change. A few moments later, he came back with two fingers up, giving me the peace sign, or asking for a cigarette. I told him to be careful because he gave me the peace sign with his palm in. I told him it meant the middle finger in Britain. Then with a confused look he held up his middle finger.
"Can I ask you a favor?"
"You want a hug?"
"Yeah." This was elongated, like I caught him in a lie.
"Sorry, I told you no."
"You'll give me change but not a hug?"
He walked away, this time I kept my earphone out of my ear to listen to the circus of drunks, him and the woman he was with, shout at me how they just broke up with their respective partners. He looked at me when he finished. I said that it was a match made in heaven. The older ladies, scared and possibly from out of town, laughed. I didn't like that. I meant that it was good timing. However, they thought I meant the fact that they were both drunks, or crack heads. He came back, asked for a cigarette and then tried to get his old lady to come and give me a hug. She wasn't having it. Instead he asked for a light. I gave it to him and then, not seeing the counteracting logic, he told me not to ever give anyone a light on the street.
"Never give anyone a light on the street."
"You mean like you?" I countered.
"You know why? They are all crack heads. Me I'm just a drunk." He finagled his "old lady" over to give a hug. She was in the middle of practicing her Drunken boxing style. She came over and was a little scared. Over in the bus shelter she was punching and grunting, channeling Bruce Lee. Then she came over, I shook her hand, grabbed her fist and gave it a pound, you know the way white people do when trying to seem cool. She left and sat down, perhaps humbled, perhaps tired, perhaps ready to pass out. Nope. As the man was talking to me she yelled. "You keep saying the same shit over again."
"This guy needs a hug. I like his vibe." Well, he never gave me a hug. As the bus approached I saluted him, wished him well in my mind and found my way to the 21. I got on the bus and opened my book...