They call him Sly, and he’s slick like gasoline. Buzzin through a late crowd, he’s on a pick-up for a buck before sleep. A few kids call on him but, not anything kind. “He called me a Punk!”, was the last grunt I heard before he threatened to lose his shit on those snot-nosed brats. College kids post kegger, insurance on Daddy’s buck, saying things about, “Get a job.” Like they know what brought him here.
He’s the best peddler on the block. At least, he’s the least threatening of the bunch, in our village of the Queen City, where thick rimmed glasses pay for beer on a 2 for 1 Tuesday night budget. He’s the last voice you hear before turning for bed, a raspy reminder not a thing’s been shifted under Apollo. A coughing call to the last flannel shirt walking out of final rounds, “Two dollars for the bus.” is as soothing as a goodnight kiss to a mother’s youngest, spoiled pisset, for hazy-eyed locals in route.
His two and a half mile Castle stretches with bakeries, bars, and crowds that carry drink tips perfectly drunken. They slip past with a smirk, a feel-good exchange, and leave with a little self-humbling for better sleep. They don’t even see the other flunked fool with a burden to lose get suckered into another five behind them.
He likes Pink lemonade, if you’ll let him have it for free. Otherwise, he wants nothing but another buck for the bus, to get to another street. And if you pass him you’ll see he’s sometimes refreshed, sometimes sober, and sometimes – no, none at all. But, he still likes Pink lemonade, and if you got one, a Marlboro as well.
One time he told me about his grandmother from his years back when. She was a bright, strong woman who took up nursing. Married three men, and outlived them all. She had a nice house in a better part of the city, when the trees were healthily grown. She had plenty of children to keep the gene pool steadily flowing, and he remembered her like cake.
Another time, he told me he was a Vampire, before swiftly darting off into the crowd, with nothing more than a phobia for garlic.