It’s lunchtime. I make my way down to the shopping center to the little Korean owned restaurant. I purchase shrimp fried rice and a coke, and then head over to the grocery store to find Big S sitting outside on the bench doing his usual thing. I walk over to talk to him.
“Aren’t you cold?” I asked as I shivered.
“It ain’t that bad,” Big S replied.
“How much have you made today?” I asked of his panhandling.
“Two bucks,” He replied. “It has been a slow day.”
I sat on the bench eating my fried rice with chopsticks as Big S looked on hungrily. It wasn’t very good and I only ate half of it. The shrimp was overcooked and rubbery.
“You want the rest?” I asked him.
“I don’t know how to use chopsticks,” He said.
“It’s easy,” I said showing him how as I placed the chopsticks between my forefingers and thumb and made a moving motion.
“Walk over and get me a fork,” Big S said.
“No way,” I replied as I laughed. “You get off your lazy ass and go get one yourself.”
“Ah, I wasn’t that hungry anyway,” Big S replied.
About this time, my old boss comes walking out of the grocery store and stops to talk to me as he shakes my hand. I worked at this grocery store for a short while until my social anxieties overcame me.
“Good to see you still around,” He said. “You working anywhere?”
“No, I am not working at the moment,” I replied.
“We sure could use you back in produce,” He said.
“I sure could use the money,” I replied. “I need to upgrade my computer and would like to buy a new laptop.”
“Anytime you want to start back then just let me know,” He said.
I thanked him as he walked on down to the coke machines to buy a soda. He then disappeared back into the store to attend to his managerial duties.
“I thought he was going to run me off,” Big S said. “I am not supposed to be panhandling over here anymore. It’s a long ass walk across the river to that other store though.”
“I know,” I replied. “I thought the same thing.”
“Well, I will see ya man,” I told Big S as I got up and threw the rest of my food and my cup in the trashcan. “Don’t get in trouble.”
Big S told me goodbye and I walked on home to a beautiful if somewhat blustery and cold day.