George was in fine spirits today. I was so glad to see he hadn’t been in jail. George has been in Florida visiting with some relatives. I bet that was an interesting family get together. I can imagine George and a few cohorts laughing jovially over the cheapest beer you can buy as ground beef patties sizzled on a charcoal grill in the wonderfully warm Florida sun.
“I heard you two did the ole horizontal tango,” George said of I and Rosa with the biggest, goofiest grin. “You go get ‘em tiger.”
News travels fast with the gang. George knows all the gossip on the misfits that hang out down at the shopping center. Dumpster Diving Dan seems to be the only mystery as far as George is concerned. I understand him the best as we are both eccentric souls.
“Don’t remind me,” I said bemoaning the fact that had happened. “I was drunk as hell.”
“I thought you don’t drink anymore?” George asked has he lit up a cigar and then handed me the pack offering me one. “You put on the ole beer goggles, eh? That Rosa ain’t exactly a looker.”
“I usually don’t,” I replied of my drinking, taking a brief pause to light up that cheap White Owl. “I just got in a bad spell and had a weak moment.”
George left me for a moment to sit with Big S. Big S was in a surly mood today. I noticed Big S wasn’t wearing his usual blue jean overalls and had on a well worn and comfortable looking flannel shirt. The red and black checkered shirt stood out sharply against the background of his ebony skin.
“What’s bit you in the ass?” I asked him.
“My life sucks,” He said in a rare moment when a black man will show weakness. “The takings have been terrible as far as my ‘job’ goes.”
I chuckled softly not really to belittle Big S and the fact that life has been tough. I could just think of a thousand easier ways to make money than sitting out front of a grocery store begging people for spare change all day.
George then walked out carrying a cheap bottle of Wild Irish Rose wrapped in a paper bag.
“You want a drink?” He asked pushing the bottle towards me.
“Uggg!” I said tersely as I pushed his hand away thinking of the hangover I had a few days ago.
“What’s this shit about you going around saying I am crazy?” I then asked him with a stern look on my face.
“I don’t know what you be talkin’ about,” George replied with a mystified look upon his face.
“You drunk son of bitch,” I said realizing he was so drunk he didn’t remember.
“Dat nigga sho did go around saying all dat,” Big S said enjoying our little tussle of words.
George just smiled as he took another drink of that swill they try to pass as wine. It is more akin to cough syrup.
“I ain’t gettin’ in dis,” George said as I got up to walk home.
It was good to see George and even better that I managed to avoid Rosa. She has that fiery temper that Hispanic women are known for. I smiled as I walked home just glad he was ok. George and I have gone through a lot of shit over the years and nothing could break our bond. The tulip tree was blooming and the first buds of the azaleas are opening. The sweet smell of this year’s camellias drifted across the road as I walked by. It was a fine early spring late afternoon. I hope it gets even better. You will find me a different man once spring officially arrives. The woods are calling.