Monday, April 29, 2013

Righting Wrongs ... Everywhere. Even Little Ones

Look! A pussy cat!

I was out on assignment last week. 

Clark - ever the assistive gent he is - stepped in with some sharp cover that not only entertained you folks but kept my whereabouts secretive. (And oh ... that Clark! He's such a card!) You'll find out what I was up to in a couple weeks when I've concluded my investigations; I'm not quite finished with some of the details yet. All will be revealed soon. Patience, good citizens!

I can tell you this much, however. My exploits led me up and down the third largest state of the union (California ... hello!) in a quest of urgency and a bit of intrigue. Along the way, the smallest of adventures happened where it was evident I was at the right place and at the right time, so I can at least reveal that to you ...

As an Unbelievable, you might not realize there's more to fighting crime than one would think. It's not always the often present << crash! boom! bang! >> action and adventure 24/7. Sometimes it's the little things that make up one's ordinary day that need "righting" along the way.

I was at a bus station in San Francisco recently, waiting for a midnight coach headed back to Los Angeles, minding my own business. Of a sudden an elderly black gentleman in mis-matched clothes came shuffling along trailing a small cart behind him. He was homeless and - as it turned out - in need of a little company. Company that I, obviously, was able to provide to him.

Quite possibly the bus station terminal
where my "little adventure" took place
"How you doin'?" he asked me as he came to a stop on his journey past the bus station. He was dressed rather nattily for a bum, mid-60s with a white beard and a keen, vibrant look in his eye.

"I'm doing fantastic," I responded. "Just holding tight for my bus ..."

"Oh? Where you headed, young man?" he inquired.

"Back to Los Angeles."

"Los Angeles? I came from Los Angeles. I liked it there before I ended up here. One day I'm gonna have to go back."

I was curious. "So ... why are you here and not in L.A.?"

"Oh ... I kind of got stuck. I arrived one day and promptly lost my wallet. It had all my stuff in it: cash, cards, ID ... everything. I've been looking for it ever since."

"How long have you been looking?"

"For the last eight months or so. I just kind of stuck around, been scopin' out the lay of the land, you know?"

"Huh. Is that a fact."

"You wouldn'ta happened to have seen my wallet now, would you?" he asked me seriously.

"No, I have not. But is there anything I can do for you to help you out?"

"Nah. I'm cool. I like it here. I don't need much. I've got my box of recyclables here I collect that get me a few bucks (he pointed to the wheeled cart that trailed him) and I'm good. A sammich every once in a while, money to shack up at some flop house with a warm blanket and it's all good."

"Well I'm happy to hear that, good sir," I confided in him. "As long as you're getting along just fine, all's right with the world."

"You know ... it really is. I don't really need my wallet anyway. It jus' got me into trouble every time I took it out my back pocket, so I don't really miss it. I'm 65 years old and happy-go-lucky. Everything I need I got right here and I'm a happy camper. Nuthin' else I really need ..."

He stopped and put his hand to his chin and looked skyward, considering his next words for a moment. It was a rather pregnant pause and I could tell what was next to come out his mouth could quite possibly be profound and telling. 

"Well, truth be told, every once in a while I like to get a little "kitty cat"* if you know what I mean. Not too often, mind you, because it's got to be special. No use abusin' it and gettin' some every day. Just as long as I get it here and there as the need strikes me."

I couldn't help but smile at his derogatory epithet. He was pleased with the use of the term, but spoke the thought fondly. I could tell he was genuinely appreciative in a way you knew he was telling the truth; he wasn't trying to pull the wool over my eyes - he made the statement absolutely and without a hint of sarcasm, out and out honest admission. You know how refreshing something like that is in this day and age of shenanigans? No pulled punches ... no political correctness. Just the truth, Ruth.

"I hear you," I replied in acknowledgment "and I can tell you're a connoisseur of ladydom, an admirer of the fairer form. After all: Hello, Ladies!"

"Damn straight. Always the gentleman! That's me! And hello ladies, indeed!" He smiled a big toothy smile. "
Well, young man, I have to go. My destination awaits. But it's been a pleasure talking to you."

"As it has you, sir. But before you go, I have something for you ..." I reached in my pack hanging off my shoulder and pulled out one of two recently purchased apples, a bag of chips and a Coke. "Will you take these in payment for keeping me company this evening?"

"Absolutely. Never look a gift horse in the mouth! Hit me ... and thank you!" He reached out for the comestibles. I stuck my hand out afterward and gave him a warm handshake and he was on his way.

As I watched him head off, he looked back over his shoulder after a few steps, waved and called out:

"And don't you worry about that wallet of mine. Damn thing never did me any good!"

* As I'm sure you've surmised, the words "kitty" and "cat" used above in conjunction with each other weren't the ones necessarily voiced by my new-found friend.

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