As I was walking down the street, on an ordinary morning, the ordinary turned into something quit different.
I was walking down the sidewalk, dodging all inquiries from pan handlers and Jehovah's Witness. The last thing I wanted was to browse and edition of the Watchtower. I was quiet sure I was going to hell anyways. I already felt like I was there. I was bundled up on this chilly San Francisco morning. Everything in my world seemed to be in the right place, at the right time, at the right moment. I was not sick, always a plus. I was not high- I could actually see the world around me. My backpack was full of food, a jacket, and another outfit. I had a place to return that evening. The world was full of possibilities.
I would have barely noticed him. I generally ignore his type. He was about my height. His clothes were nice but not flashy. He had a nice baseball cap, slightly pointed off in another direction. His pants were non descript but fit in a way that made a girl say Thank YOU. He was walking and talking with another woman. I normally would have paid him no attention until our eyes met. Then, I knew, he was a hustler.
The girl he was with was nothing but a hustle. He was a predator, a master of his domain. The woman did not want a friend, she wanted a savage. She wanted a man to pull her by her hair and tell her what to do. He had her, he had her friend. He had bounced around the whole circle. He was going to go where the money took him. She would put her head against his chest at night but the heart that was beating in there made a sound for no one except new money. She was lost and he had found. She was willing, he was taking so it all worked out in the end. He met her loneliness with his desire to be left the fuck alone. Now, he was walking with her. She was talking while he was scanning the landscape for opportunities because he was a hustler.
His eyes met with mine. Those big brown eyes. Those lashes that waves to me like fingers inviting me in. He tried to see past me, see through me. He tried to tell me with a single glance that I needed to get with him. He would leave this bitch at the fucking corner, drop her shit, and bounce if only I would look in his direction. I could smell the fear in him. I could see it in the air that morning like the fog, the tension was thick for that moment. For at that very moment, I knew this man would never be satisfied again. Because he saw himself in me. He saw a chick moving through the world. He saw the hustle and the struggle and he marveled at it my existence. Because he knew, I was just like him- a hustler.
Our eyes locked. He almost hit the god damn stop sign. Whack! His bitch dropped her tall can into the street. He needs to take her to the methadone clinic but she can barely walk.
"What are you looking at?" she asks me as she stoops to retrieve her liquid gold
"Not much..." I reply "not much at all". She is too dumb to realize she is being insulted.
As I pass by this scene, I decide to keep stepping. There is money to be made on a day like today. Everything is coming together. I am not to sick, not too high, and I have a place to stay tonight. I just met the man of my dreams right now. Another future ex husband in the making! No time for love, I got to make my rounds. The life of a hustler- never knowing where you are going, never satisfied with where you have been.
Dedicated to JF.
In our madness, we feel weakness.
Our true strength is concealed.
Like a Jack in Box, popping like the sizzle of a rock,
Like your boy, it's a chore,
Jacking like a rabbit on hop,
Bouncing from place to place.