I cut into the cafe Norteno and there is Salvador huddled in someone else's overcoat looking like a 1910 banker with paresis, and Old Jesus, shabby and inconspicuous, dunking pound cake with dirty fingers, shiny over the dirt.
I had some centro customers that Jesus took care of - and he knew a few old relics from hop smoking times, spectral janitors, grey as ashes, phantoms sweeping out dusty halls with a slow old man's hand, coughing and spitting in the junk-sick dawn, retired asthmatic bookies in crumbling hotels, stoic Chinese waiters never show sickness. Jesus sought them out with his old junky walk, patient and cautious and slow, dropped into their bloodless hands a few hours of warmth.
I made the round with him once for kicks. You know how old people lose all shame about eating and it makes you puke to watch them? Old junkies are the same about junk. They gibber and squeal at the sight of it. The spit hangs off their chin, and their stomach rumbles and all their guts grind in peristalsis while they cook up, dissolving the bodies descent skin, you expect any moment a great blob of protoplasm will flop right out and surround the junk. Really disgusts you to see it.
"Well, I will be like that one day," I thought philosophically. "Isn't life weird?"