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Archive for January, 2014

Bitter winds seemed filled with sand particles as they slapped my bare hands. Working with mittens on is not easy; paychecks can easily slip from one’s wool covered hands and fall upon piles of dirty New York City snow-slush that covered everything, even the Upper East Side this week. We were delivering W-2’s, a ton of them, and I nearly broke my neck walking down the slippery sidewalks of the East Side in those two storms that struck the city like some angry stepfather beating the hell out of a kid whom he had nothing to do in creating. 

At work we wear black pants– ‘Dickies’–or something similar. By close of business each day, our pants were splattered on the backs– salt deposits formed where ice once was, and what was left was freckles on our legs. 

Eli had such freckles on his legs. I looked at them on Friday as I awaited in line behind him for the heavy stack of W-2’s being dispatched to both of us. He has those skinny messenger legs that I have too. The black, heavy cotton of his Dickies do little to hide the slender, sexy bodies that foot messengers in New York City have. Eli is so quiet. Rarely does he talk to anyone at the job. When he does speak, his voice is deep and his sentences pure; whereas he fills his dangling windpipe with very few syllables. 

I have Eli’s old route, down in the East Village. I sometimes share stories with him about the customers along the route. He just listens and looks at me with brown, chocolate eyes; and sometimes his heavy, caterpillar eyebrows tilt into an angle and I just melt and cannot shut up– 

“Hey Eli, Adriel at the Meatball Shop on Stanton Street made me a coffee on Wednesday. It was the best damn cup of coffee I ever had– I suppose it had something to do with the cold.” 

“Oh, those guys are cool dudes,” Eli replied. “They once gave me vegetarian pasta. Never had such a thing, but it was good.” 

Suddenly I realized that sexy little Adriel at the Meatball Shop is nice to all his messengers. Not just me. 

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Lucy begged that I help her read a letter from the New Jersey Medicaid office this morning. “I don’t have my glasses,” I protested as I tried to pass by her door on my way into my own place. I was busy doing laundry and the last thing I wanted was to deal with the crazy Puerto Rican woman who one day told me that she was so lonely for a man that she considered “putting her pet turtles down there.” 

“Here, put my glasses on,” she insisted. “I think they are going to take away my food stamps.” 

Remembering that it has been a year since Juan, her husband died, I decided to help the old girl fill out the renewal application. 

“What were your sources of income last month?” I asked. 

“Ten one hundreds,” she said. 

“Do you mean one thousand?” I asked. 

“Si, Papi.” 

“Lucy, you should not guess at this. Don’t you have some sort of paperwork from last month showing the real dollars and cents amount of your SSI check.” 

“Yes I do. I remember now, it was $997.” 

“How much is your rent?” 

“Two-twenty five.” 

I cringed as I wrote down the amount, knowing my rent, for an apartment exactly the same size as hers is more than three times that amount.” 

“They probably are going to take away your food stamps,” I explained. That’s a lot of money to be collecting, considering your rent and the fact that on the news it was reported that Congress was cutting food stamp funding.” 

Lucy looked unconcerned and asked if I got the calendar she had wedged between my door knob and the wall last week. 

“Yes I saw it,” I said, but did not mention that I tossed it in the trash. It was a calendar of Latina women in swimwear. Lucy, who knows that I am gay and live with a man, is obviously up to her old tricks of trying to cast some sort of Latina spell on me. 

I nearly forgot to take off those cat eye glasses as I ran out the door before Lucy once again slapped my ass. 

“Your friend said he was going to give me some of that ham you two cooked on Christmas, but I’m still waiting.” 

“It’s all gone,” I said, although there is still plenty of it left. I did not care that the old Spanish chick will likely lose her food stamp money. I remembered the day she had her husband Juan arrested– just a few weeks before he went into the light. And there she was this morning living high on the hog off of Juan’s SSI check and those two pet turtles that eat better than me. 

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