I Scripted My First Twenty Bites

November 26, 2004

With Thanksgiving comes the stretch run of the football season and with Baltimore Colts quarterbot, Peyton Manning, playing that day, I was planning on stretching out on the chaise and betting large on the Colts. That was the plan until I came back from taking my dog Oscar for a walk only to discover that I had locked myself out of the house.

It was about a half hour before the start of Colts v. Lions and I’d yet to place a bet. I didn’t have time to try and get into my house; I wanted to go large on the Colts and needed a pay phone fast. I walked from my humble Selby Ave house to the spiffy intersection of Grand Avenue and Lexington. Trying to squeeze a quarter out of the swells walking down that street was harder than I thought. My mind was sharp as a tack that day as I quickly decided to act like an old helpless blind man. It helped that I didn’t have my glad rags on as I put on my sunglasses, held my hat out and tried to get Oscar to sit down next to me like a good lead dog would. The last part was impossible. Oscar wasn’t a good actor and he likes to drink coffee. When I’m standing still the dog is running circles around me. Oscar is the goofiest dog you’ll ever meet. It’s a pleasure to know him.

Oscar

A lady threw a quarter in my hat, she smiled and I smiled back. This puzzled her but I didn’t have time for her confusion. I rushed by her into the phone booth and she shot me a dirty look but the quarter was already down the drain. I waved her on. I dialed my bookie Paulie. He was known as St. Paulie for obvious reasons but I didn’t like him much. I could barely hear Paulie because Oscar was barking at a bush; a bus was going by, a plane overhead, a baby crying, brakes squealing, a muffler out and a bad connection. I just started yelling. “COLTS, COLTS, COLTS, COLTS.” Everything suddenly went quiet, all I could hear was Oscar whizzing on the Uptowner Café. “How much?” I heard Paulie say. The bet was in, it was 11:25 and I was still locked out of the house.

Oscar and I headed down Summit Avenue, the fanciest stretch of real estate in the Twin Cities. I stumbled past some Joe Brooks reaching down to get his paper at the end of his side walk. I must have still looked like a blind man because he asked me if I needed anything. I said nice day, huh. He said, “Are you hungry?” “Isn’t that the human condition?” I said. “Wait here.” The man returned with a giant turkey leg. I gladly accepted. “Looks like one hell of a lead dog there.” Oscar was running circles around me. I asked for a bottle of wine. He obliged.

I descended down Summit Hill into downtown St. Paul with a bottle of wine shoved in the pocket of my overcoat, a turkey leg in my left hand and Oscar to my right leading the charge. We ended up on 7th Place, a pedestrian mall in downtown St. Paul where I found a television in a storefront and had a seat on a nearby bench. I opened my wine, had some turkey and watched the money and the football and the Colts and the Manning touchdowns come in. I also had collected about 4 dollars in change just by sitting there because I appeared to be homeless. Oscar ate the turkey leg bone and had a little wine.

I was falling asleep on the bench when I heard someone say “Hey buddy.” I turned to the voice in a daze; it was a bum stumbling past me. I looked him up and down; he looked me in the eye and said, “Now you’re on the trolley, buddy, now you’re on the trolley.”

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