You can’t break the circle

Posted: July 24, 2020 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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RRBC Interview, Eyes on the Book hosted by Rox Burkey  https://buff.ly/2OJjaKx

 

7 March 2012

The sun was shining, the weather was warm and most of the snow had melted from the sidewalk. There was a large group near ‘the benches’. Someone was waving at Toothless Chuck across the street, but he didn’t come over.

Ryan came over to me and thanked me for the Subway card I had given to him and Ian the previous day. He wanted to reimburse me for the five dollar value of the card.

I said, “Lots of people have helped me in the past. You can do the same for another person some time in the future.”

Ryan said, “I was walking along the street this morning and I met an elder. We talked for a while. He reached into his pocket and handed me a hundred dollar bill, so I bought beer and cigarettes for the guys. I can give you five dollars for yesterday.”

I assured him that it wasn’t necessary.

“Have a beer then.”

“If I came back to work smelling of beer, I’d lose my job, but we’ll go for a beer sometime when I don’t have to go to work.”

Shakes said, “I saw my daughter and my grandson this morning! I have two daughters and seven grandchildren. They’ve been busy.”

Someone said to me, “With your white hair slicked back you look like either a politician or a mafioso. Which is it?”

“What’s the difference?” I asked.

Jacques was lighting his carved stone pipe. He passed it to Shakes who took a hit then passed it to me. I thought of a dozen reasons why I shouldn’t take it. I could be arrested for possession of marijuana. I could lose my job, if anyone smelled it on me, or if I acted stoned. If things got out of hand I might not have a place to sleep, like most of the people here.

“Come on, Dennis, you can’t break the circle.” All eyes were on me. I’d already turned down a beer. Generally, people who don’t drink aren’t trusted. I thought I’d lose all credibility if I was afraid to do what all of these people do on a daily basis, and are doing right now.  I took the pipe, inhaled, and passed it back to Jacques.

I was noticing Weasel’s hair. It was freshly washed, cascading over his shoulders like a L’Oreal commercial. I could just imagine him shaking his head, his hair flowing in slow motion, because you’re worth it.

Shark was telling me about the problems he was having with HIV. One benefit is that he gets free marijuana.

Shaggy was walking around the circle of people. Wolf said, “Shaggy, make your mind up. Decide who you’re going to bite, and get it over with.”

~~~

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