The Man In The Tent

There’s this guy who lives in a tent near our apartment that I’ve seen just about everyday I’ve been down here. I don’t own a car, I haven’t had the need to buy one yet, so I’ve been “saving” all that extra money each month by walking everywhere. I live close enough I can throw a rock and reach the plaza on the main road that had a cvs and a packie to satisfying all my needs. Only two blocks further there’s a supermarket I shop at, filling my backpack whenever I need to, all within walking distance. I walked everywhere and every time I was out I would see him.

Each time I’d head to the main road I’d cut through the alley behind another apartment across the street to “save some time”. I honestly cut through there because it’s usually discrete enough for me to sneak a couple hits of my one hitter in. I would never do it if theres anyone else walking by. Especially when I see that guy digging through the dumpsters in the alley. He always ask me for a cigarette and I have to tell him that it isn’t actually a cigarette and see the disappointment on his face thinking I was lying to him. It made me feel terrible. Those times I see him I just make quick conversation getting to know him and go on my way. I kept telling myself that I was slowly becoming enough of a familiar face he may start remembering me.

Late one Saturday night my brother and I left our apartment, headed for the alley cut through, on our way to sit at our bar. I saw the same guy digging through the trash again and say, “Hey what’s up man?” to him just as I I do to everyone. I was terribly mistaken thinking he was going to remember me. Instead he tried to sell my brother and I some heroine. I kept conversation short that night, I didn’t feel the urge to do heroine that night, it was more of a chill just sit at our bar and watch the game kind of night and took a raincheck on that heroine.

It was the very next day I swear to you. It wasn’t till the afternoon, I had way too much to drink the night before and couldn’t get myself out of bed. As soon as I got up I went to the super market. I see the same guy again on my way there. This time I catch him before he’s in the alley on the main road crossing the street… in scrubs. He was carrying two large bags pack with who knows what rocking these scrubs that fit him perfectly. I had to do a double take to make sure it was actually him. Aside from the overly packed bags he was lugging around, he actually looked pretty convincing. I would have believed he was a nurse if I didn’t know him better. I had no idea where he got his hands on a pair of scrubs but I can only assume it was for the free pizza from Fuel they were giving out to all the nurses during this pandemic. It’s a veteran move by him if you ask me. I mean I once went as low as to using the fry cup from Five Guys as my drink cup to save the two dollars on a drink. He was getting free pizza simply by the clothes he was wearing, well played man.

The last time I saw him was last weekend. I went to the packie just after lunch so I could get my day started. I didn’t see him until I was on my way back home and we saw each other from a distance as I was hitting my one hitter. I instantly put it away knowing he would ask me for a cigarette like he normally does. When we finally got close enough to talk to me, he tried to sell me two boxes of what looked like food to go containers from a restaurant. He proceeded to explain to me that he accidentally spent the last of his money on this food and meant to buy a pack of cigarette with his last dime instead. He was hoping I would buy the food off of him or at the very least give him a cigarette that I didn’t have to help compensate him for his mistake. I had to told him I wasn’t interested in any food, I just ate, and that I unfortunately wasn’t smoking a cigarette… again. He didn’t question me, he just put his head down, and sulked along on his way.

I never met someone trying to sell me food for a cigarette before. I must admit I have bought a loosey from him before but never food. I don’t know how much I trust the food he’s selling or if there’s actually any food in that box at all. At least I saw him out the cigarette from a full pack. I’ve seen this guy tricking the city first hand wearing scrubs, I can’t let him pull a fast one on me. What would that do to our relationship? We could never be friends if he scammed me like that.

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