Saturday, July 17, 2010

Need a Kiss

The Artful Dodger was somehow missing again today, after about a week, so Fagin said it was now time for me to go out and make us all a living.

He gave me a big cardboard cutout, from an even bigger piece of cardboard that he keeps somewhere in his 'stash'. And he gave me a whole apple and a sharpie, and said, "These'll keep ya going for a whole day, lad." Then he gave me a few slaps on my cheek and booted me out of the apartment building.

It was daylight outside and a whole load of pedestrians were walking on the sidewalk. It would be bad, I decided, to use up the entire sidewalk as I walked with this huge piece of cardboard Fagin had given me, so I began to walk sideways, like a crab, which turned out to be very efficient.

This worked so well that I was almost half-way along the avenue block when I suddenly encountered two people with a couple of dogs each, squatting in the middle of the sidewalk and talking amicably to each other, and their pets. I noticed that these people were sort of 'talking about their dogs' but really gauging each other as sexual partners, and as such were completely oblivious to every other pedestrian on the sidewalk. They took up about eight ninths of the sidewalk, so I had to press myself against the wall (my back scraping against some old bricks). I was very polite and favored to show them my cardboard, rather than my ass, as I passed along.

Anyway, after that it was smooth sailing crabways (except for a construction worker with a running drill trying to rush past me, in the vertical, and an old lady using one of those four leg support things), till I reached the corner of seventh avenue and 24th street. By that time I was really tired, so I decided this would be a good spot to work my trade for Fagin.

I sat down with my back against Jamba Juice, and surveyed the area. This was fantastic. I had really chosen a great spot. On a hot summer day, from here, you could see just across the street all these hot women walking in and out of Whole Foods. All of them were wearing these fantastic clothes that made them look totally sexy, though if I went ahead and told you exactly what made them so sexy, well ... well, Fagin would punish me for spending. Anyway, all of them were 'hot', I noticed, under the early morning summer sun. Every single one of them.

I looked at my cardboard piece and wondered what sort of message I could write. Normally the Dodger would lemme know, but he had been missing for a week, and today I was on my own. I looked around the street for what Fagin called 'inspriration', in all our little games. I always thought of 'inspiraration' as a sort of tall tower, with spires, and I'm in it, climbing to the top. So I'm in-spire-ration. The ration is my apple, which I hadn't even had a bite of yet.

I then heard an argument between two young men on the opposite side of seventh avenue. One of the men was sitting in one of the enclaves of the Fedex-Kinkos, and the other man was towering over him. The two men were arguing about payments. Apparently, the previous day, the towering man (who was clad in such fashionable New York garment that, I noticed, even some of the hot women going into Whole Foods turned a head), had made a payment to the sitting man of two whole dollars.

"You said you only needed two dollars to get back home, yesterday," accused the fashionable man, "and I gave it to you. Why are you still here now, saying that you are a Vietnam war veteran and need funds to return to your wife in Cambodia?"

The sitting man mumbled something about daily expenses, with half-hearted accusations toward the fruit-seller on the corner of 23rd, but my focus was stolen by his sign on his cardboard sheet. He was requesting moneys in order to fund a trip to Cambodia. Eyebrows raised, I turned back to my own cardboard piece. How could I possibly top that?

Then I got an idea. I don't know where it came from. Maybe it was the distant fire-truck siren, maybe it was all the nice legs that passed to-and-fro, or the cool sound of Jamba Juice customers ordering their Jamba drinks that reverberated in my head from the marble tile, but it hit me. I knew exactly the sort of capital I should be begging for on this street corner. I wrote it down carefully on my piece of cardboard, with the sharpie,

"Need Just 1 kiss
From All You Beautiful

I mused at myself, "Fagin is going to love this when I get back".

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