The new lad was visible through the back slats of the
bench without seeing his face so I could watch him unnoticed. He was
dressed very neatly in tan corduroy trousers and a black tee shirt,
new-looking shoes, and was quite meticulous about how he arranged the
trousers as he sat there. When I later got a look at his face, I guessed
he must be sixteen or seventeen. A delightful new neighbor.
The new fellow
isn't as young as I first thought. He has such an innocent, boyish face
that it was misleading, but after a better look at him, I'd guess late
teens or early twenties. So his parents are off the hook.
got to the hacienda on Sunday evening, there was his backpack stashed
under the bench, a black tee shirt and black shorts draped over the back
of the bench. As usual after an alcohol-free day, I had a hard time
getting to sleep and he still hadn't arrived when I did finally drift
I was thinking about what to call him, but couldn't come up
with an appropriate name. Sitting at the bus stop next morning waiting for
the bus to the mall, I decided on "Angelo".
Shortly before one in
the morning, Angelo showed up. With the Sleeptalker.
Angelo certainly stays clean. Almost every night there are clothes draped
over the back of his bench and he'd done more laundry than usual on
Tuesday since there were his black shorts, a gray tee shirt and white
boxer shorts with thin gray and blue stripes hanging there, his backpack
as usual stashed under the bench. I thought I'd like to have the boxers,
just because they were his.
When I arrived at the hacienda on Sunday evening, the Sleeptalker and
Angelo were already there, sitting on adjoining benches. The Sleeptalker
had the headphones on and was staring blankly into space. Angelo returned
my wave, asked if it had been crowded the night before. "No, only three
people." He asked if a short Japanese guy had been there and I said no. My
first conversation with Angelo.
[it was months later I learned his question referred to the Iceman]
I was sitting on the bench enjoying the last flask of a Mickey's
nightcap when Angelo and the Sleeptalker came walking up the path. The
Sleeptalker came over, two very short snipes in his hand, and asked
for a light. I handed him a pack of cigarettes and the lighter. He sat
down on the bench beside me, Angelo sitting on the steps at the bottom
of the bench, his back to us. I asked the Sleeptalker by gesture if
Angelo would like a cigarette and consequently found out Angelo's real
name. It suits him better than the nickname.