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Whiskey and spit 2

Dear Bradshaw,

It was ten o’clock in the morning and I was almost at Yves’ house. He lives in a slightly seedy area on the other side of Rome. In fact, Francesca was meeting us later and had expressed concern about walking alone to his apartment from the metro.

“Are you kidding,” I’d told her. “At one o’clock on a Sunday afternoon? What could happen?”

When I got to Yves’ building I realized I had forgotten the name on his buzzer. The building was big and there were many names and buttons, and panels on each side of the door. I set my backpack against the left wall and then started going through the names on the right side, hoping one of them would jog my memory. But my computer and Yves’ video camera were in my backpack and I knew leaving it unattended, even only a few feet away, was a bad idea.

As I turned to retrieve it, some weirdo arrived and asked me what I was doing there. He was about my height, skinny, and looked like he had just crawled out from under a bridge or a train track. He had slurred his words when he spoke, and I noticed he was holding a see-through plastic cup, which was about a fourth full of what looked like whiskey and spit. He reeked of alcohol.

“I’m visiting a friend,” I said. “But I can’t remember the name on the buzzer.”

As Weirdo reached over and pressed a button marked F MANCINI, I saw that his fingers were grimy with dirt and what looked like tar.

“Gimme a cigrette,” he said.

“I don’t smoke.”

“Ya don smoke? Wha ya do then?”

“I drink.”

“Thas it?”

“For me that’s enough.”

He reached over and pressed F MANCINI again. Still nobody answered. And that’s when I saw a name that looked familiar. ACHILLI. I took a chance and buzzed.

Weirdo reached toward me and I stepped back as he said, “Ya ain got no cigrette?”

“I told you. I don’t smoke.”

Then I heard Yves’ voice, “Scott? Sixth floor.”

The door clicked open and I entered the building. Weirdo followed me.

“Gimme a euro,” he said. “Fer a cigrette.”

“Sorry, man.”

“Wha?” His tone was angry now and I could see his cheeks flush as he sized me up.

I opened the elevator door and then moved to let Weirdo enter first. He stayed where he was so I got inside. But when I started to pull the door shut, Weirdo shifted his foot, blocking the door.

“Gimme two euro,” he said, clenching his fists.

Expecting a fight, I removed my sunglasses, put them in their case, and said, “Listen. I’m not giving you any money. Now please move your foot. My friend is waiting for me.”

Weirdo was about to explode. His eyes were narrowed and his lips pursed. But he was also very drunk and, I think, confused.

“Leave yur glassez on,” he said. “Why ya go and do tha fer? Ya think ya Matrix? Gimme two euro!” His jaw was set and his face was practically on fire. “I’m reeeeally gettin mad!” he said.

“My friend is waiting,” I repeated. “Now will you please move your foot?”

Weirdo stepped away and I was on guard as I reached out and pulled the door shut. On my way up, I thought about what Francesca had said regarding the danger of walking alone to Yves’ apartment from the metro. Apparently, she hadn’t been kidding.


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There are 2 comments for this post

  1. Pat says:

    and so, did Francesca meet you later? Or did you meet in a weirdo-less place??

  2. Scott Sussman says:

    Yes, Francesca met me and, luckily, without event. (Though it would have made for a nice follow-up blog.)

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