Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't Bother Mr, I'm Working

Lloyd asked me for some bottle caps. "I'm losing me skill by being idle in here. I run a Three-Card Monte operation on 42nd Street. Actually, I use bottle caps and hide the pea." Lloyd is too fat, too sloppy, and too silly for anyone to take him seriously. The other residents, especially the younger ones made fun of him. They thought he was slow, maybe dim-witted. He wanted to be taken for a fool. He wanted people to think he was none too bright and that he could easily be taken advantage.

After he practiced with his bottle caps for awhile, some of the other residents tried to challenge him. For several days they took all of his cigarettes. When they were sure they could beat most of the time, Lloyd suggested a few small wagers. After he had taken all their money and their commissary, he had them doing his laundry, bringing him his meals, and running little errands for him, he stopped.

One day he took me aside and said, " Don't ever come watch if you see me on the street. When I'm working, I can't watch out for you. I know you are smart enough not to play me, but my partners will pick your pockets clean. They don't know that you and I are friends. Just wink at me when you go by and let me know you remember me."

I keep a watch out for Lloyd and I know that one day I will see him and I will wink as I go by.