Soap-N-Sudz. Saturday morning. Snotty nose little boys with dry phlegmmy noses play Tag. I’m home but my heart is not in it. I move the other side and sit near a fellow my age who hasn’t shaved in 3 days. I tell myself he’s a closet celebrity but my heart tells me otherwise. He resembles Johnny Depp. I call him el Pirata. Woman walks in. Woman has a goatee. Rub eyes. Nope. Vision still good. 20/20. . .which now is not a good thing.
Reading fascinating article on the evolution of ceramic cats in last November’s ‘Good Housekeeping.’ Shaggy goatee person enters. This time it’s a man. Inspects quarter machine. Talks to quarter machine. Pounds on quarter machine. Kicks quarter machine. Confusion.
The little old man carries a brown paper sac and looks around. He has no clothes. . .aside from the forty pounds of dirty rags on his back. He sounds very articulate, unfortunately I cannot recognize his language-nor apparently does anyone else. He talks to himself and spies me in the corner avoiding humanity.
“HowareyadoingSonny?” he says.
Not wanting to make polite conversation I reply “Me no Sonny. Me llamo Miguel Perez.”
Little man isn’t deterred. He rambles on.
He nods and visits el Pirata.
Three Mexicans walk in. Stereotypic thoughts fill my mind. Dark thoughts vex my soul. Ruffians. Vagabonds. Miscreants. Hamper thieves. They look like el Pirata’s older brothers. Old man points to me. I chant the Litany Against Fear and hum a dirge.
A scripture verse comes to mind. ‘Yea though I walk though the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Somehow this seems apropos at the moment if not perfectly exegetical. I notice the goatee woman has a stick, a curvy white one. She’s preoccupied with a Golden Retriever sporting a fanny pack. I make my move. Dog barks. Teeth snaps. Blood is drawn.
Chesapeake Volunteer General Daughters of the King and Queen May-She-Live-Forever Hospital Emergency Ward for Disenfranchised Minorities and Minimal Out-Patient Surgery Center. I feel warm when I see a ‘We ‘heart’ ‘hearts’ sign on the door. Nurse. Kindly nurse with missing front teeth. Her name tag reads ‘My name is Ell.’ I figure she’s missing a letter or trying to curse like the British.
“HowareyadoingSonny?” she says.
The misery continues.