Times are tight and disappointments routine. Dig what I mean, cabrones?
Stood in a soup line cause I'm broke. Nothing at the house through no fault than my crazy, manic depressive ass.
So, as I was saying - standing in a soup line in the sweltering afternoon sun with about one hundred other sad, sweaty beat tramps. The stench from unwashed bodies - coughs of TB and Hep filling the stagnant air around me. Not enough though to overpower the wafting aroma of the boiled gainish hens down in front of the patient que.
A church had set up a field kitchen in an arboreal park - a long table with gas stoves and great silver pots containing boiling chickens, smells of grease and pepper. Loaves of fresh bread and stacks of warm tortillas set to one side next to a cauldron of baked beans.The church volunteers moved with supersonic speeds in heightened moods preparing the hobo banquet - smiles and back slaps and high fives. Assholes. Though, I had to admire their energy, the sun was fierce.
I stood there sweating in my straw fedora and shades and raggedy ass jeans and wrinkled t-shirt, glancing around at the people nearest me. Shabby men in sweat stained clothes, holding their backpacks, their bundles or carts crammed with nostalgic memories of what life was before it all fell. Most chatted to themselves, others stood catatonic - stomachs grumbling in the heat - others screamed at demons that I imagined screamed back. I lit a cigarette as two old bums behind me passed a fifth of bourbon back and forth. Guffawing and spitting on the dusty grass.
I struck up a conversation with the black guy that stood in front of me - he being mid-twenties, scrawny and draped in hip-hop gear. Not bad looking.
"You're not from El Paso, huh?" I asked when I met his sympathetic gaze.
"Nah." He smiled. "Nah - I'm from Chicago. I got stuck here, coming from Ft. Lauderdale on my way to Phoenix."
I laughed, "Yup, that's El Paso for ya - the trap of the great southwest."
Then, the old fucker behind me started pushing and bumping into me as he gesticulated his retarded drunken conversation to his friend.
I commented this offending fact to my black friend, guess the old fucker behind me heard and replied with a hardy "Fuck you."
I rolled my eyes and as the guy I was talking to was taking a cigarette from out of his pocket - he dropped it by accident onto the ground. The old fuck bent over to pick it up - blatantly throwing his flat ass up in the air towards my face. He farted.
Amid chuckles of his friend and not to lose face with this idiot, I pushed him, causing the old tramp to almost fall over, but he caught himself. Popping up like a jack in the box, he growled, "What, mother fucker - you want your ass kicked?"
I thought this asshole was more bark than bite - I stepped away two feet and reached in my front pocket of my baggy jeans as if I was holding a weapon - instead, I just clenched my keys. "Let's go, asshole - I'll cut you."
Without a word, the old tramp whipped out a huge butcher knife from the folds of his jacket, grabbed me by the neck, threw me into the dirt, and held me by the neck with his knee on my back.
"Watch it, motherfucker - or I'll gut you right here and now!" He growled - I could feel the blade pressing on the side of my throat.
Damn, that's a big fucking knife, I thought. I think I smiled.
People nearest us began yapping to stop it and calm down.
The old fuck slapped me across the back of the head and got up saying, "You ain't even worth it, prick."
The soup line began to jerk forward and I tried to get back in my place - but, the others wouldn't have it - harsh glares and silent tightening of space so as I could not pass back into my place. I have been ostracized from this element. Outcast from the outcasts.
I just stomped back to my house and crawled into the coolness of my bed. Indeed, I thought, this is my life and I am not worth it.