He appears from the darkness in silence; He may have been there for hours.
Like the minute hand on my Omega, I failed to notice him at first.
I speak; he glares.
The tattered apparition holds his gaze.
“May I pass please?” I attempt to move around him. “May I pass?”
He remains silent. His eyes hold mine. What are they telling me? He’s wearing a badly soiled, well-tailored, senatorially pinstriped suit, crafted apparently for a taller man in a different time, most certainly a better defined neighborhood. His attire assumes a sadness; a life of poverty? Perhaps a recently downgraded lifestyle forced upon him by difficult times?
I step to my right – he steps to his left.
“Please” I implore, “My lunch hour is over. I need to get back to my desk.” neither a minute flick of lash nor hint of furrowed brow.
I breathe deeply and attempt to relax the imagined lines in my forehead. He remains implacable; an immovable stoic with an unknown plan. What does he have on his mind. His left hand is hidden in the left trouser pocket where gentlemen account for their coins. Is he holding a weapon? A switch-blade?
I move to the left – he to the right.
“Are you hungry? There is a warm dinner roll in my doggie bag. I had one of these for lunch; delicious. I think you’ll enjoy it.” I raised the offering; no response.
I deke to the right and quickly left. Had I been wearing a weathered, fifty year-old, hand tailored, poorly fitting suit I might have thought for a moment that I was dancing at a street corner, practicing moves before a mirror.
Mulling momentarily: “How much to cross the street?”
“Fifty Cents”: I offer a dollar; his left hand withdraws from the left trouser pocket and places two quarters into my open palm.
The disheveled entrepreneur steps to his left.
The light turns green.
(Most who have read this describe when requested to do so, the businessman as the man with the expensive watch. In fact, the business man is the fellow in the tattered suit, the beggar being the one who asks permission to cross the city street.)