Birthday Present

Mark from the Old Crow Book Club was sitting on the sidewalk reading one of the Dune sequels and malt liquoring. He was assigned watch over friends’ possessions while they trudged off to redeem a stash of cans and bottles. One carried a bag like Santa on Christmas Eve. The other pulled a toy wagon with a load the size of Grinch’s loot ripped off from Whoville.

I was walking home from a coffee shop and stopped to chat. I don’t recall what prompted Mark to tell me the following story and it doesn’t matter. What matters is its documentation for the sporadic record of one homeless man’s highly eccentric or quite possibly normal life in the midst of the New American Diaspora.

Mark told me he got laid on his birthday a few weeks ago. He used the word “laid.”

I burst out, “What?!!!!!!

“Yeah,” he said, “a one night stand.”

I assumed it was a liaison with a homeless person in the neighborhood and said as much to him.

Mark flashed me a semi sinister smile and said it was with a woman who owned a nice home in our tony neighborhood. She had recently broken up with her boyfriend. She had previously met Mark while he was collecting cans and bottles. He regularly collected hers and they formed a friendship of sorts…and then he was in her bed on his birthday!…but couldn’t “perform” because he’d drank too much goddamn Old Crow and three cans of malt liquor beforehand.

What?” I said, “I thought you said you got laid.”

“I guess I didn’t,” said Mark. “She did let me take a shower and she was nice in the shower.”

What???!!??!?!?!? Did I believe him?


“Are you telling me,” I said, “that homeless people around here are occasionally having sex with people living in houses in the neighborhood?”

“Yes,” he said. “More than you would think. Some of them like it dirty.”

We both laughed at that!

“I’ll be dirty for them,” he added.

And we laughed at that, too.