He was a black man.
“Yo Nigga! to his friends but these days he didn’t have any.
“Hey, you got a dollar?”
“Sorry, good luck.”
Prescott Migilacuddy had first caught sight of the hustler as he was passing by the window of a fancy eatery.
The black man had pushed his face up real close to a blonde haired Upper East Side Matron who had absolutely no desire to be blackie’s patron. She looked horrified and their interaction was brief. Black man, dressed in jeans and a hoodie and thin winter jacket was then quickly on the street again. He rushed past Prescott and Daisy Sue, as the Migilacuddys made their way toward school. Black man entered the expensive coffee chain and then quickly exited. No soft touches in there he probably surmised, or at least that was Prescott’s best guess on the matter.
It was then that black man saw the Migilacuddys and asked Prescott for the dollar. It was a natural instinct for Prescott to put his arm around Daisy Sue to bring her closer to him, just as the hustler had sidled next to them in the street corner. After being rebuffed, black man was quickly on his way, looking for a dollar from someone else. Daisy Sue said nothing to her dad as they continued on their way. She was caught up in some childish reverie. Prescott was glad that the interaction with black man had ended quickly and peacefully. He didn’t wish anything bad toward black man, he just hoped he would move on from their neighborhood and not become a regular obstacle to avoid on the way to school. Life already had presented Prescott with plenty of obstacles as the lead salesman for his Fortune 1000 company. He wanted to tell black man that his aggressive approach or “hard sell” was a major turn off, but he really didn’t want to think of work. He wanted to enjoy the feeling of Daisy Sue’s small hand in his as they got closer to the school yard. Black man was gone now. He had crossed the street and was heading in the opposite direction- probably to a prior location where he had had earlier luck pan-handling. It was a cold morning even though the sun was shining brightly. After drop-off, Prescott got a cup of coffee. He was greeted by Alexandra the nice waitress with a thick Russian accent who taught yoga in her spare time. Alexandra smiled at Prescott as she was already walking toward him with a hot cup of joe. She knew all about customer service.
“Good morning Prescott, same as usual- buttered elephant ear?”
“Morning Alexandra – thank you sooo much- cold out there today”
“Yes, very glad to be inside…I’ll be right back with your elephant ear.”
Prescott unfolded his Wall Street Journal and perused the headlines as always. Suddenly he was thinking about his peculiar dream. Normally, he forgot his dreams but this one was quite unusual. He was a young man, not a white-haired salesman. He had joined a group of actors who had enrolled in a training academy seemingly dedicated to erasing the fears of its students. There were team building tasks that involved psychedelic foods and climbing and jumping through obstacle courses designed to elicit terror. The bathroom was in an open space and nothing was private. Of course, Prescott had felt attracted to one of his female classmates and that led to a bloody fight with another suitor. All of the lessons were under the instructions of cruel teachers who did not seem concerned at all about the safety of the enrolled students who boasted constantly about how brave they were. At one point Prescott was hiding behind a door, when a tiny mechanical smiley face started to slide under the door. Thankfully, Prescott woke up-in a cold sweat-and realized he was safe as he looked at Daisy Sue sleeping happily in her little bed at the other end of their apartment.
Getting the check was no problem as usual. Alexandra was on top of it.
As he left the diner on the way to the subway a familiar face was walking toward him.
“Hey Chief- ya got a dollar?”
“Sure, here you go. God Bless.”
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