Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted! I got into a bit of a frenzy with finding a place to live, and I’m only just now sorting it all out. I’ve got most of my stuff moved now, and I’m moving the rest, hopefully, by Monday. And classes start up the 30th. This semester, I’m taking Electronic Publishing and Typographic Form & Function. There won’t be as much writing this semester, perhaps the entire school year, so I might try to post more writing on here. This will have to do for today: an on-the-fly (re: hardly edited) piece inspired by my recent excursions from Bolton Hill/Mount Vernon to Downtown via the free Charm City Circulator. Moving stuff a little at a time. This has been my life for the past two days. Work, eat, pack, move, pack, sleep. Repeat. I don’t expect tomorrow to be any different. Luckily, a friend said she’d help me on Saturday, so we can use her car instead of a bus. Which means I can get almost everything moved. 😉
In any case, without further ado, here’s a quick draft of a potential story I’m tentatively titling
“Mooching,” or perhaps “Excuse Me“
Raindrops in your hair. But the sky’s mostly blue. How can that be? Rain drops in your hair.
Out of the blue, it comes, the inevitable question you’ve been expecting yet not expecting, because who would? “Excuse me—sorry to bother you, but you wouldn’t happen to have an extra cigarette, cell phone, car, dime, or toothbrush, would you?”
You don’t stop. You’ve been practicing.
“Sorry, no,” you say, and continue to walk away. But you know it’s there; it’s all there. Deep in the recesses of your right pants pocket. You chuckle. Pants are underwear in the U.K.
But it’s all there. A lone cigarette tucked into the bristles of a dark, yellowed toothbrush, scrubbing germs and old toothpaste residue into your iPhone’s beautiful multitouch screen, a dime jingling against the metal of your ever-shrinking car—clack, cling, clack. Your baby. Your pride and joy. One day, it’s going to disappear completely and you’ll have to get a new one, but today is not that day.
No. Today, you’re on a mission to find cheap parking—street parking. You hope that dime will be enough to get you started. You don’t usually carry change. Clack-cling, clack. It’s 4:46 on a Thursday afternoon. Clack, cling-clack. As you walk, walk, walk down the sidewalk, you clack, cling, clack. The dime.
If they want cigarettes, why don’t they find a job and buy some? Second thought, you doubt they could afford the cigarettes and the toothbrush, so maybe just the toothbrush. Just don’t smoke. Simple.
You don’t smoke; you’re allergic to the poison. Aren’t most people?
“Excuse me,” they almost always manage to say. That gets you every time. You chuckle; you’re a chuckler. At least they’re polite about the mooching.
And there it is. The perfect spot. The rain drops away instantly, vanishes as the sun quickly peeks out of wet, metallic clouds for the first time since yesterday. Rays shine on the spot, highlighting it. Bookmarking it for you automatically, like a 3G Kindle. It’s your spot. You look. As you suspected: it has your name on it. Right on the curb. You walk up to the meter: a dollar. Minimum.
But that’s not right. It’s never been that high…has it? You don’t know.
What to do now? Take the car with you. You always take it with you. In your pocket, like a match box. But you don’t even smoke.
A blonde is walking toward you, on a cell phone, and you look up. You look him up—and down. Gucci. He’ll have 90 cents.
“Excuse me,” you say, without thinking, “sorry to bother you man, but—”
He doesn’t look. He doesn’t stop.