A tall man standing in front of Mary's strip club steps purposely to the curb and leans into an automobile grill. As if he's trying to be heard through a hole in a wall he shouts, no, screams into the car's impassive plastic faux-metalwork.
I head upstairs. The wood steps feel solid but still creak plaintively underfoot, even if you step lightly. All day like this, I think, this desiccated wood pleading for the fire under the plodding feet of junkies, addicts, head cases and those just-in or just-out of homelessness. For them this is home. And I can just make out the man out the street, screaming again.
I come back out and the man has resumed his position against the wall between the club and the motel. He's standing still but somehow you can just see the familiar manic energy--of the long term homeless crazy--coursing through him under the old army jacket he fills out no better than a coat hanger. Maybe he's not that, maybe I'm wrong. Why was he screaming into the car grill after all? To mute the sound, that's all. And it is an ideal sound attenuator! The face of a car's radiator, with it's countless cataracts formed in thin metal, the vibration-absorbing liquid behind it; it's as if it's designed for the purpose, right down to the box of contained air formed between radiator and the narrow slat in the grill through which he--thoughtful, resourceful madman--directed the barely controlled wail of his profound, building misery.
And I'm off down the street.