17 November, 2008

"I Dream of Jeannie"

Sunday night deserted streets. Modesto in his wheelchair in front of a dark "Fat City". "I'm lonely" he tells me. "No-one talk to me except you. They all say, "fuck you".

His right leg gives him pain. He says he has a prescription, but he can't find a pharmacy that has it. I ask him the name of the drug. It's something I've never heard of. He says he went to seven other drugstores. "Why don't you ask for a different prescription; have you tried to fill it at General?"

"The sheriffs at the hospital ask me "what are you doing here? I tell them I need pain medication for my leg. "They push me away."

"Modesto, do you still have that room?"
"No more; big Indian man throw away my key. I don't like staying that room, there's too much "cockaroaches".

A man comes up to us. He's wearing khaki shorts, a nice shirt. A silver bracelet on his right wrist catches my eye. The bracelet looks like it could be from Nepal. I've never seen this man before. He introduces himself to me and then kisses my hand. Modesto tells him I'm his good friend and that he "knows me five years". The man with the silver bracelet whispers something in Modesto's ear. "We have to go *now*," he says. Modesto asks me if I can watch his wheelchair. "I'll be back in 20 minutes". They leave together, Modesto limping.

I push the wheelchair down to the Garage Cafe. It's difficult to maneuver. I leave it by the door where I can see it. I sip Turkish tea and wait. The TV is tuned to "I Dream of Jeannie".

Modesto's been gone for close to an hour. I go outside to look for him and see him limping down the street.

He thanks me for watching his wheelchair. "Sorry I take so long; that man, he very, very rich. His brother is a millionaire."

16 November, 2008

Any News on Modesto?

Dear reader,

Please forgive my negligence. I haven't kept up and now there's so much to tell.

Here's a quick update copied from an email I sent to Audrey. Audrey lives in the neighborhood. I had sent a distraught message to the neighborhood group, desperate for information. Audrey asked for news of "Cookie". (Yet another nick-name, details to come.)

November 14th

Great news! Modesto is out of the hospital. He's doing fine. He didn't have a stroke after all. He was hit by a drunk driver in the FoodsCo parking lot and ended up at SF General for about 7 weeks. I don't know if the driver was caught. I don't know about the details of his injuries, except that he has seven stitches in his leg and pins in his ankle. He was given a wheelchair. He looks much healthier. Hiroshi has been helping him out, giving him rides back & forth to the hospital. He has a room now, but it's the kind of place where people get robbed so he's been going back to the hospital and sleeping in the emergency room.

Considering he was hit by a drunk driver, he's extremely lucky.