Blast from my past

8 05 2009

“I know what you kidzch need. How ’bout a niszch bean szchandwich? And a warm pair of szchockzch?”

We were sitting on the stoop of the brownstone building in a bad neighborhood in Boston. The front door opened and out shuffled a ragged looking older man. The deep wrinkles in his face told the story of a hard life. The few teeth that showed in his mouth as he spoke were brown and rotting and caused him to schlurp  his words. At first glance, he looked like a homeless refugee.  

I could feel Eddie looking at me but I knew that if I made eye contact with him, I would not be able to control the laughter that was bubbling in my belly. To my surprise, he took our new friend up on the offer of a bean sandwich. We watched the man, happy now, as he turned to go back into the building.

“What did you do that for?” I asked him.

“Have you ever had a bean sandwich?”  

“Never.” I assured him.

“Well, let’s see if he comes back. I bet he knows how to make a mean bean sandwich.”

We talked about robbing him if he did come back out. We could ask him to let us use his bathroom. Once inside his apartment it wouldn’t be hard to overcome him and take anything of value that we could find in a hurry. 

The cold was getting to me and I was having difficulty keeping my eyes open as I allowed my body to succumb to the heroin I had just snorted. The familiar cloak began to envelope my mind as I slipped in and out of awareness. I smelled the sandwich that had been placed on my lap and my stomach turned over. Sure enough, steamy hot baked beans on a fat slab of buttered bread sat on the melmac plate. We had spent the last of our money on drugs earlier that day. I pulled myself together enough to eat the sandwich. I learned a couple of things that day.

#1, Bean sandwiches are good on a cold November day.

#2, This old man was just trying to help a couple of messed up junkies.

I really can’t tell you why I am thinking of this story tonight. I wonder if God had protected him from us that day. For some inexplicable reason, we never robbed that man that day.


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