"Did you have enough", Fergus asked.  "You want a dessert or something?"

"Nah.  Thanks.  This is the first time in a week my stomach is full, man, and it feels great."

"Yeah, well, this stuff'll kill you if you're not careful.  There's no "healthy" in a burger and fries."

"You white people worry about that stuff.  Me?  My real meal is tortillas and meat and tomatoes and lettuce and jalapenos.  And maybe a sprinkle of cheese over everything.  And when she's not strung out, my Mom makes tamales - not the store bought stuff you guys like, but real tamales, made in corn husks in a big pot.  And they don't make you fat."

"What's you house like?"

"House?  We live in a basement, man.  We don't have no house.  The landlord is always threatening to throw us out 'cause my old man is gone all the time and there's never enough money to pay the rent.  Last month the electric got turned off, but at least it's back on, now.  But I don't know for how long."

"How is the rent getting paid?"

"How do you think, man?  She's trickin'.  That's the only way there's any money at all.  Sometimes I think she does the landlord to pay the rent.  I don't know ... but I think so.  She puts so much money in her arm and between her toes there's never anything left for anything else."

"Then how do you eat?"

"I steal.  I beg.  I take money from her when she's sleeping because I know where she keeps it.  I can't take it all because then she'll know, so I just take a little because I know she won't remember how much is supposed to be there.  Listen, man, why all these question?  You a cop?"

"Cop?  No.  Private detective.  I'm just curious, that's all."

"You're not gay or anything, are you?  Because I don't do that stuff."

"No, Tomas.  Not gay or anything.  Just less than willing to see you walk back into the life you're living without helping, a little.  If I can."

"How you gonna help me, man?  You're too old and too white to even begin to understand me and my problems."

"I don't know, yet.  Let's walk over to the drugstore and get some of that ice cream we talked about before.  And let me think."

Ndinombethe.  Ubuntu.


Big Mark 243 said...

... I will have to catch up with Fergus to see why he has taken a liking to Tomas...

...Tomas story is a typical one in the city... not so typical that it is one that you hear about all the time from everyone one, but frequent enough to where no one is surprised by it...