"You're my last
customer, Mr. Kias." |
"Hey, Tony. Just trim
the back and sides with the machine. How
are the Italians doing? Do you think
they'll take the Cup."
"We're the best in
Europe. You know, Mr. Kias, U.S. soccer is
starting to take off. In California, they
are packing them in.
Next year, you wait and see. How are you doing? What's new
"I'll tell you what's new, Tony.
It's one crazy story. You got
to keep it under your hairpiece.
"Sure, Mr. Kias. You and
"At 7 o'clock tonight, I'm on my way to
Louisville to a
reunion of my old outfit. This morning I stop at the bank and
withdraw $500 bucks for my expenses and to do a little
shopping in West New York.
You know, outside of Miami, there
are more Cubans in West New York than any other
town in the
U.S. I bus it down to West NY and hop off in front of Models.
looking for a pair of sneakers. As I get off the bus I
slap my back pocket for the
feel of my $500 dollar wallet.
Damn it! I had
done it again. I realize my wallet is gone and
it must have fallen on the seat of
the bus. For the third time
in thirty years I have left my wallet on the damn bus.
until now the wallet had always been returned to me, sans
My body vibrates with anger, panic and utter disgust.
amazing how you can feel three different emotions at one time.
I have the
choice of two things: one, going over to the curb
and throwing up and then
proceeding to bang my head on the
pavement or two, chasing the bus down Burgenline
I take off at a speed that makes the
road runner look like a
slow sloth. With my lungs on fire and the old ticker
to blow, I am closing the gap. I'm steadily gaining, thanks
congested traffic. I finally run down the bus in the
middle of the avenue. I pound
on the door until the bus driver
reluctantly opens it. Bounding on the bus, I run to
where I had sat. There is no wallet on, under, or in back of
I think it would be kind of stupid after
behavior to ask if anybody has seen a wallet. I glance at the
people who are now quietly staring at me. I had checked my
pocket when originally
boarding the bus. I am mad as hell and
completely frustrated. I think someone on
this damn bus has my
stopped cutting my hair. He is now holding dormant
scissors and comb in either hand.
He is on the bus with me.
"Just then the
driver yells to me. 'Hey Senior', as he holds
up the wallet. A shabby old woman
that I had rudely brushed
past while running down the aisle has just given it to
I rush to the front, grab the woman in my
arms and give her
one big hug and a kiss. God, I am in ecstasy. I tell her she
has saved my life, then I realize she has not understood a
single word. It's time
to celebrate. Despite her protest, I
flip the wallet open to reward her, only to
find it empty.
To quote Bill Gates, 'Speed is
God and time is the devil.' It
is amazing how fast the brain works in a state of
plan of operation is conceived at a speed that made a Pentium
like an abacus.
I feel I have no choice in
what I must do. I am in a no-win
confrontation with a bus load of Cubans and a Cuban
I feel extremely helpless. I have to take control and right
In desperation I snatch the woman's
pocketbook from her grasp
and jump off the bus. I head down the yellow line at top
with the bus driver in pursuit. After running two blocks, I
bus driver's hysterical screams had coerced a
posse to form behind him. I top my
I think If I can only reach Hudson
County Park where it
borders the avenue, I can lose my pursuers in the thick
I know I need at least a hundred-yard lead. I have two things
favor: the posse cannot make time on the sidewalk
because of the crowd of shoppers,
and running on that yellow
line through intersections takes the edge off the
God, there it was,
the woods. I suddenly realize that there
could be no sanctuary there. They would
surround it and I
would be trapped. They would beat the bush 'til I was caught.
I could not stop. With a superhuman effort, heart pounding,
fighting for air, I run
and run. I suddenly realized how
Frankenstein's big friend felt when all those
carrying torches were pursuing him.
Finally, I crash out of the Park, into Fairview, hoping I have
left my pursuers
combing the woods. I continually glance back
in search of the dreaded posse, keeping
the pocketbook under
my shirt. I run down Fairview Avenue. I feel as if I'm
red and twenty feet tall. This is what nightmares are made of.
Reaching my home, I go directly up to my room and rip open
pocketbook, only to find three bucks. There on the dresser,
still in the
bank envelope, is my $500 bucks.
know what this means. I have to spend the rest of my
life skirting West New York.
They will always be looking for
that stranger, the kissing purse-snatcher who can
run like the
Tony stood there
"Hey Tony, close your mouth. When are
you going to cut my
hair? I got to get to Louisville. Keep cutting, Tony, and
tell you the true story. Everything I told you up until I
wallet on the bus was true. The truth is my wallet
still contained the $500 bucks. I
gave the old lady twenty
bucks and stepped off the bus. Tony, when you tell a
never let the truth get in the way."
"NO, NO, TONY, NO SHAVE!"