"Spare change?" came the voice behind us.
"John! Haven't seen you in a long time!" John looked good: clean clothes, clean shaven. He was wearing gloves. I wondered if his hands were washed...something that is pretty rare in his life. Sometimes his hands are so black his palms look burnt.
There are countless stories about John, his life revealed in short tidbits picked up almost at random on Central Ave. He attended Pius X High School. His mother was apparently murdered in front of him during childhood. His life seems to be intertwined with street drugs, but I've never seen him drunk. He loves my girlfriend MaryAnn.
"I've been in jail," he said matter of factly. "I was in there for five weeks."
"They caught me sleeping on somebody's porch."
"Five weeks for sleeping on a porch?"
"I hate that place. It's so crowded. They let me out downtown. The jail is way out by Grants."
The author David Stuart told me he once took John and his buddy Morris out to eat in a restaurant. John was clean and sober at the time. "He was surprisingly articulate," said David.
"Well you sure look good," I told him. He always looked good after being in jail for a while.
"Got any change?"
"God bless you."
"You too, John. God bless you."