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Street Urchins:

A Short Story

Scotty and Papi and Baby...OH MY!

Papi lunged for the nape of Baby's neck.

Thought he had, anyway.

She moved fast. Lighting fast. A simile. Yes, he thought, I still have it. A bad simile, sure, since lightning is quick and unpredictable while he intended his grasp to be targeted and pivotal and game-changing, but he had remembered what it was to compare an unlike thing to a like thing. A simile.

Sprawled on the concrete Papi says he'll do you one better: his fingers splayed, wide-open, like the jaws of a Pit Bull hungry for the throat of the fall dog. The teeth, though, land only air and the victim remains victimless.

He stands, no, he was never down. His body is automated on drink. His limbs...the ground tilts. Baby runs (runs?) perpendicular to the sidewalk. Concrete slapping shoes. Pounding the red bricks now.

Berkeley.

But what was before? What was before?

***

Chicken or the chicken? Egg? Wait. What came first: the drink or the writing. Question mark. Hemingway was always a poor excuse for a mentor? No. A demigod.

See, Papi still had it. Demigod. No one thinks, let alone utilizes, demigod. Dem. E. Gawd. Democrats. E.coli. Gawain. And the green knights. The green king!

In Britain, drunk driving is against the law, but far easier to skirt. Baby's skirt. Papi got used to the 'wrong side' of the road and could drunk drive with the best of them. Pulled over once. ONCE! On his way to work at four in the morning. By the lorries. No, those are trucks. Kennies? Bobbies? Doesn't matter. He still skirted the ticket, completed an entire shift of work on those silly flying machines, and got home. Drink fueling him all the while.

He stowed one bottle under the seat of the car. That's what got him. He thinks. But he ended up in front of Bob at Boeing. One of the Bobs and he had to go back to California. Cal. Ih. For. Neuh.

Narnia.

Getting home ended up being stupid easy. Sitting on a Boeing aircraft (HA, imagine the irony (it's irony, right?)). Sitting and drinking (free of charge) on a Boeing aircraft. Waking. Arriving. Delivered. Born. Birthed from that Boeing aircraft. to...

Home. For the homeless. Vagabond.

Call from Berkeley.

Teach engineering, they said. Whatever you need, they said. So he did. But he drank a little more than he taught and after a while those tool students actually wanted to learn and not just graciously accept the As he handed out.

Stop drinking, they said. Support you need, they said. Give you the support you need, is what they said. But he didn't this time. Papi collected his paycheck and the looks, again, from the staff. The money didn't last. Never did.

Especially with Baby around.

***

Wait. Baby can't run. Baby ain't got no legs, Lieutenant Dan. Wait, though. She's still away. She's awaying. Her feet aren't slapping the concrete sidewalk. They are not striking, nor could they strike, cement. Wait, yes, he was certain now that the striking and the strikes were his head. The pavement and bricks and cement were sliding and whirling like a vortex (simile!) from Star Trek. Warp speed, Scotty!

They had his legs, those assholes. Hobo codes. Unspoken codes. Of conduct. Baby hadn't done nothing, they said. Whatever you think she did she didn't, they said. He stopped fighting. Blackout.

They left him, just his legs, on the BART tracks.

And waited.

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Street Urchins:
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