Speaking of crack heads on the bus – I take a cramped and filthy morning bus down into the Lower Mission area of the city. I have this temp job at a hospital that caters to the indigent, crazy, and drug addled. So this other morning a very skinny, very junked out couple slips into the seats across from me. The lady is skeleton skinny she has those unfed sunken cheeks, a couple of dark scars, and the popped veins of tight skin.
Her boo is an older man missing a couple of lower teeth but is fairly clean. He wears a black vinyl windbreaker with some hip but failed designer label scrawled across the front and a baseball hat with that gold and silver size sticker still stuck on the brim. They are coming down to the hospital, which I know, because they keep talking about which stop to get off.
A friend of the skinny lady gets on and sits across from them. This friend looks to be in her late 60s, round in all places and with short bathroom sink cropped hair. This new older lady has big chunky headphones on and is singing along to the worst gangster rap. She smells of beer or other assorted spirits. And maybe a hint of dryer sheets.
Anyway, the two ladies start talking.
Skinny: You seen Joyce?
Older: Maybe around, what for?
Skinny: I haven’t seen her in awhile.
Older: She still live across from me. I seen her the other day. She got herself some new shoes.
Skinny: Yeah? Where she get thems at?
Older: She shops at Marshall.
Skinny: You means she shop LIFTS at Marshall!
(Both break up into that high pitched crackle of fake laughter and sheer criminal delight).
The guy just shakes his head. Then worries about what stop we just passed. Speaking of that guy, I just remembered, how he told a story about this third woman they all know. I will call her Rosalita-In-A-Wheelchair.
It seems Rosalita-In-A-Wheelchair is a tough little lady. She ran some man off into the road. She pushed up against him until he stepped right in front of a bus. The bus missed him, though.
Plus Rosalita-In-A-Wheelchair will get shit started. She might not be able to stand up, but she will knock you out cold!
Then there was the shelter story about how whenever ballcap man sees Rosalita-In-A-Wheelchair, he sticks his stuff across the hall near that white boy’s room. Whatever that means, logistically.
If he does not do this, he will wake up and find Rosalita-In-A-Wheelchair all with her fingers in his stuff.
“I didn’t know it was yours,” she will protest.
“Bitch that don’t mean it yours! DAMN!”
Again, everyone laughed. Including me.