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Squeaky Shoes Guy

“Hey, you squeaky shoes guy?” He looked homeless, but then again his hair had the flowing quality of a man who just showered.

“Um, maybe?” If it was a line for lose change the guy was getting mine for originality.

“Yea it’s you,” he said. “I remember the shirt.”

I sat down on the bleachers across from him and bit into my apple. The air was crisp, the type of crispness that comes with a late afternoon storm. I could smell rain, but felt none. The sky was growing darker and the wind was picking up.

“I just showered you know.” He was proud. Glowing as if holding his first-born son. “The guys over there (he pointed at the YMCA), let me in. They see me out here drinking all the time, but I keep my distance. They are nice folks. You know what?”

“What?” I replied. My apple quickly disappearing as I kept an eye on the dodgeball game unfolding before me.

“I don’t know why people pay for this shit?”

“This shit?”

“Yea, kicking a ball. I ain’t never seen this before. We didn’t even play it in jail.”

“Yea?” The teams had switched sides and a twentysomething who obviously was a bit tipsy, was having trouble keeping her eye on the ball.

“You know what else?”

“What?”

“I got a shower in San Diego once. I was in rehab and snuck in a shower. They don’t like us sneaking in showers, but I stripped down butt naked and used the hand soap. They caught me but it was too late.”

The first crack of thunder could be heard off in the distance, rumbling against the flatirons. My apple was gone. The umpire behind the backstop had just smiled at me. The wind was still picking up.

“Dude.”

“Yea.”

“It’s hard to get a shower, dude. People don’t know. I’m a drunk, yea, but I also need a shower. I hate the shelters too. All those gross folks. Jail isn’t gross.” He paused as a tall lanky guy rounded third. “Jail is clean. Just jail you know, sucks.”

The raindrops started falling. The infield began to darken as the topsoil desperately soaked up the moisture.

“Game!” The ump yelled. I looked over at my new friend.

“Finished my apple, man.” I stumbled a second not sure how to finish our conversation. “Uh, have a good one.”

“You too squeaky shoes,” he shot back. I got up and started walking away. “Remember man,” he shouted. “Showers are hard to come by.”

And with that I turned my back. I could hear beer bottles being rounded up as the two teams dashed for cover in the unzipping downpour. A free shower of sorts.

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Categories: Advice, Conversations, Personal
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