The man was ordering a beer from the bartender when I noticed him staring in my direction.
“You’re that writer, ain’t you?” he said.
On whether you’re with the IRS.
“Brother, have I got an angel story for you. It’s divine providence that I’m running into you like this. I’ve been wanting to tell this story to you, but ain’t had the courage to email.”
Does that pickup line work on all the other girls?
“Tell me something, Mister Writer. When you was a little bitty kid, what was the scariest thing you could think of?”
That’s easy. My fifth-grade teacher.
“No, I mean something much, much scarier than that.”
My fifth-grade teacher holding a King James Bible.
“Losing your home, man. That’s the scariest thing that can happen to a boy. Home is everything, man. That’s where your life is. You ain’t got no home, ain’t got no life. And, well, that’s what happened to my family. I was ten years old when we were evicted.”
Wow, that must’ve been hard.
“More than hard. Was like watching life fall apart. I mean, think
about it. In normal life you wake up, you eat your Cornflakes, take a shower, get dressed, right? None of these things can be done when you’re living in your car. And that’s where my family was living, in our car.”
“Wish I was. After my dad lost his job, me and my two sisters and my mom and my dad were living in our ‘77 Ford for one whole year.
“Dad drove from place to place, slept in whatever parking lots we could. My mom had leg problems from polio, and couldn’t work regular jobs, so it was up to my dad. Poor man couldn’t find a job to save his life.”
So what happened to your family?
“What happened is my dad took gigs doing crapola work for…