So, about a month ago, my neighbor and I were sitting on the front porch watching a storm and extolling the attributes of kale chips –we talk about food a lot-- when a blond stranger emerged onto the steps from the deluge. It is approximately 9:30pm which means I am on bourbon # four or so. His pink polo shirt was drenched. His eyes were wide and desperate. He looked completely frightened and out-of-place in our fringe neighborhood, which sits in North downtown. He reminded me a little of that dainty Derek Hough of “Dancing with the Stars.” He told a harrowing tale of how he’d gone home with a woman he’d once known, and how she’d stolen his wallet, and tossed his keys, and how he had to get home to his daughter. He swore he had a job and offered to leave his business card. He vowed if I could loan him enough money to take a taxi home to Paris, he would bring me back the full amount in the morning on his way to work. And, for some reason…let’s blame the bourbon…I believed him.
Now, I am usually skeptical and distrustful to a fault. And, I never fall for the old “My child is in the hospital, and I am on my way to see them, but I ran out of gas” scam. At least, one person a week knocks on our door with that played-out plea. But, I am trying not to be so cynical and stingy, so much to Frank’s dismay, I gave him $20.
I made sure to be up and dressed early the next day fully expecting him to stop by and repay me on his way to his job. I hadn’t actually asked for one of his business cards so I had no idea where that was, but none the less. He didn’t show up that day…nor the next…nor the next. By day four, I was kicking myself for not getting his card so I could go to his workplace and raise the kind of hell that I have been specializing in for years. It involves high heels, red lips, screaming, and threats of involving my uncle the lawyer, brother the detective, and cousin the Hell’s Angel (none of which really exist). After a month, I chalked up the experience and lost cash to tuition payed out to the University of Life and School of Hard Knocks. Still deep down inside, I had a glimmer that one day he would show up with my money and a legitimate reason for it’s delay, and my hope in humanity would be renewed.
Then, yesterday, while I was stepping out of the shower, I hear Frank answer the door. It is 10am and a Tuesday, so I am bourbon-free. I peek around the corner. All I can see is a slightly built man in a dress shirt and tie. I hear him explaining to Frank how he went home with some black girl who stole his wallet and tossed his keys…what the hell, he’s back and now he’s not only a thief, but a racist!
I hear him explain, “I just need money for a cab to get home. I’ll pay you back. I make $100,000 a year…”
Frank retorts, “Then pay for your own damn taxi.”
Before, I could get dressed and intervene, Frank slammed the door. Almost immediately, he realized that was the charlatan in the pink polo from a month ago. He ran out on the front porch, but the shyster was gone. It was as if he’d disappeared into thin air.
I felt foolish. I felt furious. I felt futile. I had been bamboozled. And, now, I must finally admit that I will never get that twenty dollars back.
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.