Thursday, April 21, 2005

Tony's Vacation

Tony's back. I thought he might have absconded with my only clue to humidifier plates, but no, he just took a week off in the Big House--Cook County Jail. And he hasn't lost the box the plates came in, so there's a hope in heck of getting some new ones someday.

Tony is one of the kings of the alley that runs parallel to Marshfield. He celebrated his 43rd birthday with some chocolate chip cookies from me back in February. When Tony isn't keeping company with females, which has landed him in the slammer on more than one occasion, he washes cars to make a few bucks. He was grateful his gear hadn't vanished during his unexpected time off away from his business. I don't have a car, but Tony has picked up some yard work from me and has figured out I'm a softie who's willing to float him a few bucks when he's broke. That was probably an error on my part.

In hopes of getting a return on the singles and fives he wangled out of me, I asked him to go to the lumberyard down at 58th and get me some more humidifier plates. I handed him a $20 and told him to keep the change. Then he vanished. It was hard to decide whether to be happy that he might have decided he was too embarrassed to hit me up for cash after blowing the errand or angry that I had no clue how to get new plates any more. Well, now maybe I can get the plates. For sure I'll be losing small bills to Tony.

In Jonathan Lethem's book, Fortress of Solitude, the lone white boy on a block in Brooklyn gets "yoked"--put in a headlock--repeatedly by black kids. This is a yoke I don't know how to get out of yet.

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