Afternoon, Spider Rock © Robert Sommers 2023

Saturday, August 1, 2020

A chance encounter

I have known S___ since he was eleven years old. I used to play bluegrass with his dad, a banjo player, Cowboy Jack and the older fellow who played like Merle Travis, what was his name again? Played in one of those fifties western swing bands at Lockheed. Died a couple years ago. Ray?

Anyway S______'s pop would bring him over to my gallery at the age of eleven and the kid would sit down with my Gibson Lucille with the gold knobs and play Hendrix, rip Hendrix, note for note. This is fifteen, sixteen years ago.

He had a few issues and a couple demons that laid him low and I think things got weird between he and his family and he ended up on the street.  I always liked him and always treated him like anybody else but he has obviously been on a long run of hard times.

Used to buy him coffee once in a while. He fancied himself a stand up comedian and he was never real funny but I would sit through his pointless jokes anyway, which probably worked better in his mind at two in the morning when he was wasted. Because that is what friends do.

So I see him in front of the shop yesterday and I noticed that he was getting really dark. Very hot in Fallbrook right now. So I said, " Hey S_____, you are getting really toasted. You better get some sun screen."

And he looked me up and down and said, "You know, you are getting really fat," and walked away.

I had to chuckle. Score one for S____.

We have an older Mexican fellow now active on the benches in town, name of Geronimo (pronounced Her-on-imo.) Big guy with the crutch. He simply appeared on the street one day. I gave him a few bucks about a week ago, he was not very thankful and frankly looked a little nonplussed.

Now when I say hello he gets weird and mostly finds a new bench.

I saw him talking on the phone outside my shop the other day and waited for him to finish. Then I realized that there was no phone.  He was talking to his hand. "Geronimo, who exactly are you talking to?" I asked. He pointed to the eaves of the building. "The cameras. They are all over the place.They're always listening," he said in Spanish. Whoa, we have a whole new situation here.

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