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That Dude

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That’s the Dude right there

See the dude in the trench?

Yeah, that one.  Long, tan trench coat. Black slacks; hard-soled dress shoes; black, too. My man is wearing a beret.

Every day he's on the block, not doing anything but smoking those nasty fruit-flavored cigars and talking to the street people. He’s always dressed like he's going to work, which I guess is appropriate -- that's his job now: hanging on the corner by the store.

He'd be a great snitch. All the people he hangs with are classic street people. But he also knows everyone and everything that's going on in the neighborhood. And if any stuff went down he'd be the guy to ask.

What strikes me is my man is never sloppy. He even comes back from the cleaners with a load of fresh shirts

"I'll wear the white one Monday, when I'm standing in front of the bodega...Tuesday's blue, for when I'm standing in front of the Chinese restaurant... The plaid one is for the Laundromat... Yellow for when I'm standing in front of the Somali convenience store.... And the pink button-down for casual Friday, when I'm standing in front of that Mexican joint that closed last year...”

He's also the dude who I staggered up to one night, drunk as – you know, and asked who he was. Now I can't remember his name for the life of me.

When I asked him who he was it was because I was interested in who he was.

Also I was really drunk.

Anyway, brother is hanging on to his dignity.

I get it too -- I just think it's interesting.

Fewer and fewer people like that.

There was another old dude I'd run into on the street every now and then; always dressed, even on the hottest day. Bright shirt, loud tie, but he was clean. People would try to crack on him for being dressed up with nowhere to go, but he never cared. All he'd say is that you've got to be sharp if you want to get the women. I never did see him with a woman, but i understand: it was about being who you want to be.

At the end of the day, they all come from the same place: wife dead, or never had one; kid gone, or never had any; all he’s got now is some nice threads, and stories – and he’s happily sharing both.

I don’t know if I should fear it or embrace that one day that old dude might be me.

The End

Joseph P. Williams Jr. and Jamie C. Ruff and just two old dudes who are old friends …

 

 

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