Last night I was at the Flying Saucer, playing darts with one of my neighbors. Out the window I could see one of the neighborhood crackheads begging passersby for money. I’m so sick of seeing those guys downtown. They give people from other parts of the city the impression that downtown is unsafe, and they bother tourists who are here to have a good time.
So I waved and got his attention through the window. He came over and looked in, and held up a sorry-looking daffodil that he had picked from one of the city’s flower beds. I pointed at the daffodil like I wanted it, then took two dollars out of my wallet and held them up. He nodded with excitement. Then I shook my head and put one of the dollars back in my wallet, and held up the other dollar and pointed at it. Now he knew I was interested – I had negotiated him down a dollar! He was practically jumping up and down by this point.
I made a gesture that communicated “one minute” and pointed at the dartboard. Then I went ahead and continued playing. He stood outside the window and watched. And watched and watched. He watched through the window as we made futile attempts to shoot a bullseye. He watched as I went to the bar to get another beer. He watched as I talked to a friend of mine at the bar, a cute redhead who was looking extremely hot last night. He watched as I came back to continue playing darts. By now about 30 minutes had passed and he was starting to wonder if I was ever coming outside. He held up the flower again. I nodded and pointed at it and waved the dollar around some more. I was still interested! The crackhead was happy. He stood by the window and continued to watch the game.
Another 20 minutes passed. His interest was starting to wane. He disappeared for a couple of minutes as he attempted to bum money from other people walking out of the Saucer. But he kept coming back to the window. There are two windows near the dartboards, and every few minutes he’d go from one to the other and look in.
About 1:00 we decided it was time to head home. The place was clearing out, and the cute redhead had left. Probably not enough time for another game of darts before closing. So we handed in the darts and paid our tabs. I looked out the window and saw the crackhead walking up Second, wondering where we went. “Take a hard right as soon as you get out the door,” I told my neighbor, figuring we could cut down Peabody Place and Main Street and avoid him.
But we weren’t fast enough. He came running after us, or more like staggering as fast as someone who lives on a diet of crack rocks and Lord Calvert can possibly stagger. “Sir!… sir… sir… hey… look here… you was… uh… uh… the window… uh… dolla!” (Brookstone sells hand-held devices that translate Spanish to English, French to English, and German to English. Wonder if they have one that translates Bum to English.)
After I got home, I felt a little bit bad about it. The poor guy had spent an hour at “work” trying to cultivate a key customer relationship, and in the end had nothing to show for it. It’s as if I had gone to a restaurant and run the waitress around for an hour getting my food, and then stiffed her on the tip.
But then, waitresses perform a useful function that makes the world a better place. Crackheads, not so much.
Okay, I don’t feel bad anymore.
Tonight I’ll probably head back up to the Saucer to catch The Dempseys. Beyond that, plans for the weekend are undetermined, other than the Sunday Monkey brunch/drinking extravaganza. Duran Duran is playing the Orpheum Saturday night, but I don’t know whether tickets are still available, or whether I’ll go even if they are.
All right. Several more topics are swimming around in my head. There might be another post before the day is done.