The Next One

This was what he was waiting for. An opportunity, a chance. He walked 8th Avenue everyday. Talking to himself. Dragging his feet. Going past homeless men and women in a city where deals are done, money handed over one way, or, another. It is done in suits in offices, bars with shots lined up, the streets in cardboard boxes; this is done.

He never begged for money, or, love. But, if the opportunity presented itself, who was he to say no? The deal was simple; sit in a bar and wait your turn. Never play victim. America has enough of those. He ordered a beer with no money in his pockets. Nursing it, and waiting. Waiting for the ice man.

On this night he felt lucky. Felt like all was possible. A middle aged man sat beside the old man. He spoke of business transactions, mergers, stocks and bonds. The old man listened. And, sure enough, it began.

One beer was bought after another. Shots were poured. The middle aged man flit the bill. The whole enchilada. Thanks was given. A card was handed over. They said their goodbyes. The swivel bar stool was empty. The old man sat there and waited. Waited for the next one.

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