There is an instant camaraderie people feel with me because, well, for two reasons I think: I drive a classic Chevy pick-up truck (affectionately named Betty after a much-adored brewer back home) which is bright green--so it's cheery; and I wear a lot of bowties (so I look completely harmless).
This camaraderie means that, over time, I've developed a casual relationship with all the vagabonds downtown.
It's tough to fly below the radar in a bright green truck.
One of the kindest of them all, Gummy Pete, keeps me updated on his continuing battle with certain injectable unpleasantness. But like all relationships, there is still so much that i don't know about him!
Thankfully, during this -30 degree weather, we had a chance to catch up. Outside.
After the obligatory update on his progress with vice (I get to see his arms as Exhibit A and B) I learned that Gummy Pete worked the carnival circuit with his parents for some 10 years or so (favourite ride: The Scrambler; favourite food: corn dogs; favourite game: none, they're all fucking scams).
He then asked me for whatever I could spare.
It just so happened that I had a big bag of Gummy Bears leftover in my truck to spare.
B- "How about these Gummy Bears?"
GP- "Uh. . . sure. I like sugar."
B- "Then they're yours! Are you going to be able to handle these little gummy buggers?"
B- "Well. . . I mean, your smile has been brighter."
GP- "Oh! The teeth? I'll just keep working on them until I can swallow'em whole."
B- "You sure? Don't choke. I don't want to get a knock on my door at 2am, the police looking grim, hauling me downtown to ask me when the last time was that i saw you."
GP- "You won't."
B- "I'm serious. I don't want to be an accessory to murder. I'd stand out like a sore thumb in a line-up with a bunch of Gummy Bears."
GP- "That's funny! Can you imagine? Getting put in a line-up like that? Har har har!"
B- "As a matter of fact I can."
GP- "HAR HAR HAR!"
B- (looking grave, serious)
GP- "HAR HAR HAR! You're a funny guy!"
B- "Thanks. You're the only one who thinks so. That's why I save all my best material for this parking lot."
GP- "HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
B- "Pal--I have got to go. No offense--and I know this will make me sounds like a prick--but it's pretty damn cold out here. I gotta go, or my yet-to-be-born kids will have blue toes."
GP- "HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR!"
B- "Go out on top--Thank you, and have a good night!"
it wasn't until I got in Betty that i realised I had used my sworn enemy: the 'now don't take this the wrong way' cliche; however, for the first time in the history of the cliche, I don't think that it was taken the wrong way. Why? Because I think he agreed with me: I DID sound a bit like a prick; and it was pretty cold.