12 June, 2010

New Broom

Modesto's sitting on the ground at the corner of Folsom & Norfolk, right by "Wish". He's got a clean San Francisco Fire Department T-shirt on, the ragged denims replaced with green khaki. "So you got some new clothes, nice" I tell him. He slowly pulls up the leg of his pants, up to the knee. He points to the black and blue marks. "What happened to you?" 

"Four guys. Four guy - one has baseball bat. One breaks my broom. One hits me with the bat." "That's terrible! Did you tell the police?" He shakes his head. "Nah. I'm no snitch. Don't matter. If I see 'em again, they better watch out".  One of the guys from the auto sales store comes up. Modesto ask him for money for a beer. "Hey, I need money. I need to get drunk." The guy (who obviously knows him) says, "how many have you had today?" Modesto points to the empty can, next to him. "Just two, today. I need beer. My pain" he explains as he points the bruises on his knee. The guy takes out two dollars. "Here ya go man."

I notice Modesto's got a new broom. A good, sturdy straw broom. He still keeps the broken one, which is all handle, no broom. "Take care of that nice new broom", I tell him as I cross the alley. He says good-bye and adds, "if anyone try to mess with you, I'll take care of them".