Pagan Moss' Peep Show Stories

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Sidewalk Connoisseur



I saw him the other day walking home from the clinic. He was inching down the sidewalk, painfully hunched over an old metal walker--a grotesque bony hump jutting up from his back like a monstrous lopsided fin, straining the fabric of his vintage brown leisure suit. His disfigurement made it difficult for him to look ahead, so he just looked down at the sidewalk as he made his way.

He used to come into the peep show once a month when he got his check from the government, he'd joke. It had been about a year since I'd last saw him and even though he was twisted and painful back then, seeing him in the light of day with the bright sun beating down on his brittle pink scalp, which shown through his thinning white hair, was startling. He was like a walking horror show, shuffling idly amongst the sea of sylish hipster kids of Capitol Hill's youth.

As I approached, he muscled his neck up as far as he could, which wasn't very far at all, to try to get a look at me. His eyes got as far as my chest, but he smiled anyway, surely out of politeness rather than out of recognition. I smiled back even though I knew he wouldn't see. His smile dissolved as his strength gave way and his head dropped down to the ground. As I passed by him, I caught a glimpse of his gnarled bony-white hands, covered with light-brown irregular spots, which desperately clutched the handles of his walker. I followed his gaze down to the square of cement sidewalk that he had been hunched over for the past several seconds--his eyes taking it all in . . . another section of the endless filthy canvass that had become all too familiar.


2 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow.... This is the most perfectly described scene that I've read in quite a long time, and one of your finest (despite its brevity). Thanks once again for sharing your prose with us.

Looking forward to more,
Dok
5:47 PM  
Blogger Trish said...
You see a side of people in your work most of us never see. Then, you share with us another side like this. Putting it all together makes it all make more sense. I wish more people would see it that way...
8:39 PM  
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