they’re not supposed to be there.
he’s sleeping in a little cart attached to the back of a ramshackle tamdem bike. the lumberjack from the island of misfit toys is on the second seat. he’s not exactly homeless, since the convenience store parking lot appears to be his new home.
i’ve stopped to buy caffeine in a futile effort to kickstart a doomed run. i’m sitting there waiting for inspiration when the store gestapo come out. you can’t be there, they tell him. ok, he says. you have to go, the lady in charge says. ok, he replies. now. ok. no movement.
increasingly frustrated, she looks over to the other homeless guy, who is engaged in a frenzied conversation on the pay phone in front of the store. you need to leave, she says. i’m talking on the phone, he replies. that phone hasn’t worked in two years, she points out. he hands her the phone and says then who’s this? she puts the phone to her ear and says i don’t hear anything. he must not like you, he replies and returns to his conversation. she walks back to the first guy and reminds him he has to leave. he reminds her ok. she pulls out her cellphone to make the inevitable call. the lumberjack from the island of misfit toys hunkers down. i leave before the ugly stuff.
i go to the jackalope course and pretend to care, which lasts a couple miles. i don’t fit in with these people. it’s the houston 30th anniversary weekend and i’m standing on an empty road wondering what’s the point. i just stand there. and then i quit. i have to go.
it’s not that much fun being a misfit toy.