09 December, 2008

Modesto Mobile

Modesto limping down the street. His right leg in a black boot with velcro straps. "Hey Modesto, nice boot! No more wheelchair?"
"Wheelchair broke. I no need. I got 4 appointments for the doctor, but I don't go."
"Why not?"
"They don't know what they doing. I got four screws here," he points to the area around his knee. "They lose one screw!I fix it myself. Don't need doctors."
"How's the healing coming?"
"Good. Almost better. I mix together, garlic, onion, vinegar ..."
I don't need doctor".

 "Modesto, can I write it down?"

"Onion, garlic, salt, vinegar. Mix all together. Leave in sun FIVE days."

He said when he was 15 he had very bad asthma. He used this mixture, and "never again in my life have asthma." Perhaps it's an old Cuban folk remedy. In the past he's told me it cures everything, even Cancer. "Put on, my neck, here" he puts his hand on his neck. "Cancer, *never* come back."

"Where you sleeping, Modesto?"
He points down the street. "Around the corner. Different places."
"What about the boot, when you sleep?" He shows me how he sleeps with his leg raised up.
He's got a new jacket. A puffy, hooded, winter jacket, with the insignia of a private security company. "I go to work now. I clean all today."
"With your leg like that?"
He shrugs his shoulders. "I'm fine." Points to sidewalk. "See? I clean".
He says, "I have pain. Police give me . . ."
I can't understand what he's said. "What"?
"Per-co-set," he says emphasizing each syllable."Don't help. Nothing."
"Modesto, Percoset is a strong pain-killer. No, this one only 300%."
I know he means milligrams. But certainly not 300.
"I don't take. Don't matter. I drink alcohol . . . no pain."

"Listen," he says. "I got check in my pocket. Tomorrow I cash check for 250 dollars. I give you some money."
"Modesto, how do can work with your leg in that boot, and with so much pain?" He looks up to the sky, points, and says, "Him".