© Nicholas 2004 - 2006


Fuck! I stepped on my pants and fell against the building and on the sidewalk. My knee was scraped. My heart was racing. My eyes were crying like mad. I didn't have a clue what I should do. I crawled around the corner into the alley keeping my shoes in one hand and my pants in the other. I squeezed in behind a bunch of garbage cans and just sat there sobbing and crying and trying to get my breath.

What did I do? Why'd she hit me so hard? What'd she mean by stealing from her? I never took nothing 'cept some change way back when we had an apartment. And that was just to buy her coffee! Why'd she get so mad?

Oh God, what was I supposed to do? I didn't want her to hit me again. She was like fucking crazy! Who'd she mean saying they said I had it? What they hell was it anyway? Oh God..........

And the creepy guy trying to put his hand in my underpants! Gross! I almost choked on the anger and scaredness and soon I was like throwing up all Manuel's tacos. I kept puking and puking until nothing was coming out. But I was still gagging and crying and feeling like I was going to die. Shit I wish I could die. Get it over with right now. Dirt swept off the sidewalk, pushed behind the garbage cans, dirt and dog shit and blood and puke and runny nose and sitting here in my underoos. God if I didn't hurt so much I'd laugh. I must look just like that fairy thingie Artemis found in that Ho Ho Chin city. Green, like sick. Scrawny and thin, without any pants. Face all melted together in blood and snot and tears and puke. Wouldn't need no special night glasses to see me for the dirt pile I am. Well didn't matter none anyway, no stupid person was going to be looking for me! I didn't have no magic book. Didn't have no nothing. No money. No Mom, so no way to get in the shelter. No place to go. No way I could let Manuel and Carlota see me like this piece of shit I was. They'd throw me out of the restaurant so fast I'd just get another scraped knee or worse.

God, I had been so happy just a couple hours ago. Now I was done. Dirt to dirt. Smelly, bloody, crybaby. I moved away from the puddle of puke and used my shoes and pants as kind of a pillow and wished myself to die and never wake up.

The music was like crying in my head. I sniffed a bit and smelt wet dog. Shit! Big damn dog was licking up my puke and eyeing me like I was supper! I banged my shoes on the sidewalk and kind of whisper yelled for him to go away. He lifted his head and stared and growled. Damn, don't know what made me, but I looked right back at him and growled like even meaner. Shit! Worked! He put his tail down and turned and kind of slinked off down the alley.

The music sounded good, but I was shivering. Duh! Still just in my underoos! I squirmed around and got my pants back on and then my socks and shoes. At least they weren't covered in snot and blood and puke like my shirt. Damn, my Quiksilver shirt! God, I was hungry too!

Wow, I could hear the people all clapping for the music real close like. I snuck out of from behind the garbage cans and edged toward the street. Yeah, just one more street over and I could be out behind the restaurant. I knew there'd be something in the garbage maybe I could eat. I helped Carlota throw like a bunch of chips and stuff out earlier. Maybe I'd be safer there too. At least I'd be close to Manuel even if I couldn't let him see me. God, I must look and smell a mess.

Just as I crossed in front of El Chapultepec a lady and man came out. I quick kind of just melted into the wall. Yeah, they didn't even see me. I could be invisible like I was on the corner. They only saw me if I said something or got in their way. Geesh, she must be like roasting, she was wearing like a bear around her shoulders. He had some kind of weird tie around his neck. There was a taxi and they got in and drove away. I turned to the little windows and saw a sign flickering I hadn't seen the other times I was here. JAZZ LIVE it said in a bright red and blue fancy lettering. Wonder what jazz live is? I'd seen a place once that had like live giant crawdads in the window. Some guy had pointed to one and a waiter guy pulled it out and put it on a big plate. I wouldn't want to eat none of that stuff live. Creepers! That would really be gross!

I hurried around the corner into the alley and looked in the kitchen door. Oh God! I wanted to make it screech and slam. I wanted to rush inside to Manuel. I wanted to feel him hold me and laugh. Fuck, he'd look at me and call the fucking cops I bet. Dirt ball inside his restaurant kitchen get him in big trouble. I raced past the door and hid behind the dumpster. Damn, the crap inside smelt good and bad all together. I raised up and looked over the edge; there was a sack from the restaurant part. I tore it open and YES! There were some chips like still in the little paper wrapper thingies Carlota put in the baskets when she served them. I munched one and they were still crispy so they weren't very old either. I grabbed the paper thingies and sat down kind of behind and kind of beneath the dumpster. Shit, just like the fucking dog. Eating other peoples trash and shit. God what a piece of dirt I was....

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep! I rub my eyes, that's nothing like the wake up sounds of the shelter. Damn, it's getting louder too. Shit! It's the trash truck! I feel the dumpster shake like really hard and there's this terrible deep whining sound. I'm sure its going to crush me back against the building! I try to lay as flat as I can. There! Its going up! Oh man, its like dumping and any minute the driver guy's going to like see me! I roll forward and kind of under the dumpster and then under his truck. Please God? Please don't let the truck move? I'm rolling backwards and trying to squeeze out behind the wheels when the whole thing starts shaking and bouncing and making like the worst sounds in the world! Damn, last night I wanted to die and now I'm gonna! Oh God! I'm wetting my pants! Even Mom whaling on me never made me as scared as this. The dumpster goes back down with a huge bang and I roll out of the wheel's way just as it starts driving on down the alley. I don't even know where to hide. I just run out of the alley and down the street. I run and run and run until I can't run no more. I plop down and sob and try to catch my breath. A dog's coming down the sidewalk. I look at him and just make a face. He quick runs to the other side of the street. I'm laughing! Wonder if the word's out that I'm a mean dog myself? Wonder if I'd growled at the garbage truck would it have run away too? Wonder if I'll ever be more than a dog on the streets looking for my next place to get something to eat? Wonder if Mom misses me and is sorry she hit me?

"I'm sorry Mom," I whisper to the dog. "I didn't take nothing. Really, I didn't!"

I'm crying again and slobbering my nose all over my puked up shirt. Crap what a crybaby.

I kind of come out of my daze to realize I'm not far from my old corner. I stand up and take my shirt off and turn it inside out. Maybe with the stuff inside I won't look like a real pile of dog shit. I kind of try to arrange my hair and figure I better see if I can get a few bucks. Maybe I can get something real to eat and maybe Mom will be back in the line tonight and let me go in with her.

"Hey Mister, I need a quarter to get to school?" he doesn't even bat an eye. It's like I'm really invisible.

"Lady? Can I borrow a dollar for lunch money?" she must think I'm a stack of fishbones dropped at her feet by some gull. She actually looks like she's going to throw up as she hurries away.

I worked the corner all morning and get like nothing. One guy choked as he threw a couple quarters down on the ground. As I scrambled to pick them up I saw a cop coming and used all the legs to kind of melt away. Shit, I was like that fairie thing, nobody could see me. I didn't have no healing power though so nobody wanted to see me either.

I tried my new corner, but it was even worse. No people there. No people who'd even look at me. Me; just a smudge on the pavement, black mark from a tire tread, a blown out tire at that. A t-shirt dropped from the back of some construction truck. A pair of underwear too filthy to even think of throwing in the trash.

I found some shade in the alley and just kind of sat there. Shit, I couldn't even get a couple of bucks for something to eat. I was real hungry, I was real scared, I was almost in a panic when a McD's bag came flying out of a car window. I snatched it up running across the street and through the traffic. YES! Part of a hamburger and a few fries. I destroyed them and even licked the ketchup off the paper.

I heard someone say, "Thank God!" Yeah! That was sure right!

Then I heard a voice say, "Hey Paul."

I turned and saw the hand, I saw the green and blue of money. I grabbed it before it disappeared and then I saw the suit and saw the face. NO! Damn! It was him! I couldn't see him! He couldn't see me! I'm just dirt! Just Scum! Dog shit and blood and taco puke and piss! I pushed him away and screamed, "NO!" and I ran and ran and ran again.

I heard him yelling, "Wait! I've been praying to see you again! Please wait!"

I'm running and running and running like I never ran before. Oh GOD! Why did he have to see me? Why did I have to be such a fuck-up to work that corner again? Why did I feel like I wanted to melt into his voice!

He'd said, "Hey Paul!"

Just like I'd said "Hey Eric!"

Just two little words and they scared the shit out of me. Why did I feel so crazy all inside?

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