The short lunch the day before Hurricane Hanna hit New York…
The Taco Bell® was full except for a table next to a dude in a red and black biking outfit with a full matching backpack sitting in the seat of the table next to him. He didn’t have any stinking bicycle with him.
“Is that yours? Can I sit here?”
He nodded and put the pack on the floor next to him and said, “You should sit here cuz I KNOW you do not want to be looking at that guy.” He pointed to a guy sitting on the fire pipe on the other side of the front window. I had a book and didn’t think I would be spending any time looking out the window and said, “No thanks, this cool.” He went on. “That guy’s on acid or something. He come in here like lookin’ around, staring. Then he go outside and stand in the middle of the street holding up traffic. Staring. Then he finally sit there. Man. You know. I’m just trying to relax and this guy getting me all worked up like what the hell he gonna do. I got my musics and shit just trying to relax. Hey that chairs fucked up — you sure you wanna sit there?”
The chair was fine and I looked at the pile of CDs he had on the table. The top one was Paul McCartney’s first solo record with the cherries and the bowl of red juice on the cover. Under that was Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. There were five more but the titles were turned away from me. “No thanks. Just gonna read my book and eat my crappy burrito,” I said.
He started spieling again about the guy outside but I started reading and eating my crappy burrito and he finally shut up. Just trying to relax. He listened to Paul McCartney and opened the other CD cases one by one and nervously cleaned each one with a Taco Bell® napkin.
In between my book and my burrito, I checked the guy outside. He had a reusable shopping bag from the Time/Warner® Whole Foods® store with some clothes and a black basketball on top. He also had a white Listerine® box with another bag inside it. I read the blurb about killing germs on the side of it five times but I can’t remember it. He was dressed in a blue basketball jersey and had black basketball shorts on and was sporting a black headband. Probably just lost a street game at West 4th Street that he had some money on.
When I went outside, the guy was standing up and holding his bag and Listerine® box under his arms and talking to a very short and wide girl about finding a job.
I walked past, got a coffee at the deli, and went back to work.