I originally posted this without a preface but a few of my beta readers were flummoxed by what exactly I was talking about. So just a little backstory, I suppose, is necessary.
Have you ever met one of the crazies, you know, a lunatic from the fringe, the homeless, muttering type who ramble on in their own bizarre world?
Well, this is a chance meeting I had with one of them in New York. Prior to that, when I lived in Boston, I had met plenty of these folk, on the T or on the sidewalks, spouting nonsensical verbiage into the wind. (I am not knocking these people at all; sometimes what they have to say can be quite profound, and little tidbits can posssibly be used in a future story.)
Anyway, when I was in New York this past August with my wife, we took the subway from Central Park to the Strand bookstore. This, then, was my experience with one of those unique characters.
“Is…is that seat is that seat taken sir?”
“Uh, no. Go ahead.”
“Th…thank you sir. My name’s Eddie. I live in a brick house with a cat I found in back yard. The hole in tree I saw something like a bird fly out of it once you know.”
“Have to be careful balancing a canoe on your head like time I went fishing with my brother Danny and he caught splinter on deck of house in New Jersey. It was funny that movie all alone in woods with nothing but shadows following me eating Debbie cakes on sidewalk in New York time I went there to store and just couldn’t figure what to steal.”
“Really? That sounds fascinating.”
“Do you like me? My name’s Eddie. I live over there in a brick house. Sometimes I scoop water from puddles in backyard and then my goldfish died. I found a cat there. Where are you going?”
“I…I’m going downtown, to The Strand.”
“Oh? You…you like to stand? Me too. Sometimes you can’t help it on train when you’re rowing on that narrow stream in woods by dirt road. That white house. I don’t know who lives there. So what’s your name? Do you mind if I sit here?”
“Paul. And no, I don’t mind if you sit there.”
“Oh thank you sir. I been waiting to sit on train a long time ever since I was left on that trail with nothing. Oh I had my backpack but someone took it. I think the Yankees stole it. Do you like the Red Sox?”
“I guess. I never really think about sports.”
“Well you should think about newspaper I found on sidewalk. I think Patriots are gonna win. Food I found in pantry didn’t taste good. Don’t think peanut butter should look green do you?”
“No, that doesn’t sound—”
“I’M TELLING YOU DON’T EVEN TRY TO TO BALANCE THAT CANOE ON YOUR HEAD! It’s hard! My uncle Kenny he looked at me too long. I don’t like men when they touch me. So where you going?”
“To the bookstore.”
“The last time I flew was when I jumped off that cliff in the water.”
“Oh. Well, you have to be careful.”
“And then I found a quarter in the grass. I bought two candy bars with it! Peanut butter didn’t taste good green and all. That canoe. Be careful!”
“I certainly will.”
“I live in a brick house. Windows broken at night get cold. Animals in there sometimes keep me warm. I think they’re rats. Not sure what I’m gonna have for dinner tonight. Do you live here?”
“Well, no. I actually live uptown.”
“Maybe I come over we could look at your boat in the river. Ropes in shed look strong. I think canoe can handle wind. I hate when bats get in my window. What’s your name?”
“It’s…uh, it’s Paul. I believe the next stop is mine.”
“I don’t have a stopwatch. I used to have a watch it fell off the wall. Now it’s always 10. Can’t tell if its am or pm. Do you like pistachio ice cream? I don’t like nuts. I need to go to the bathroom.”
“Well, I suggest you wait until you get off the train.”
“Oh I hate trains! You’ll never catch me on one. I like canoes. Did I tell you had soup for breakfast last week?”
“Why, no, you didn’t. Well, Eddie, here’s my stop.”
“Oh okay sir. Can I have your seat when you leave? I don’t like trains. I have to go home. I live in a brick house. My cat is probably hungry. I had soup.”
“Okay, then. Take care and good luck.”
“You be careful! Gotta watch out for those stars you know. Can’t be too careful. Sometimes…sometimes they fall. I know. I seen them. Right out of the sky!”
“Nice to meet you, Eddie.”
“Yeah. Yeah it was nice wasn’t it going up those stairs in park. Trees they looked special didn’t they? Dark. Dark trees. Yeah my cat’s hungry.”
“I live in a brick house. Bye. Bye sir!”
Obviously, this was not verbatim but you get the gist. Have you ever had such an experience?
Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2018 – All Rights Reserved.