Greets was 29 but looked like a teenager; he wore Vans, baggy jeans, long sleeve shirts on which were emblazoned skateboard company logos, adding to the youthful effect. He spent every waking hour getting high or trying to get money to get high.
A good day for Greets consisted of getting off quickly — either because he happened upon some money early (i.e. stole something and sold it) or because he had bags left over from the night before. He’d then smoke cigarettes in front of the diner, scoping the park, enjoying his dwindling yet abiding buzz, distantly plotting ways to get money.
“Why don’t you get a job?”
The diner’s owner, a bald man, washed the door’s window; he observed, with disgust, Greets standing near the entrance, smoking. Greets had spotted a college kid trying to cop, already thinking: target; figuring if he didn’t beat the kid entirely (and Greets probably wouldn’t; he wasn’t vicious by nature, only by necessity), he could coax the kid into hooking him up with some bags in exchange for helping him score.
“Huh?” he said, remotely.
“Every day,” the man muttered, as he sprayed Windex on the window. It was a beautiful afternoon: the sun bore down through the green leaves of the trees and glinted in the diner’s windows; it made Greets think of childhood or movies — or something — before those sentiments degenerated into other thoughts: i.e., taking advantage of the college kid, who, for the third time, walked past the dealers at the tables on which were etched chessboards. The college kid would glance at them but wouldn’t approach.
“I wouldn’t stand it.”
Greets was vaguely annoyed at having his concentration broken.
“If you were my son” — the man glanced at Greets briefly before turning back to the window — “and he did what you do every day, I’d kick you out of the house.”
Greets snorted; he took a final drag of his cigarette. The college kid looked even more desperate; he appeared as though might leave.
“Should join the army. Or the marines. Would do you good, would change your—”
Greets crossed the street. In the park, he ignored the two or three greetings from other junkies. The college kid’s bright eyes, upon making eye contact with Greets’, became even more scared, but then softened yet also toughened with something like scary hope, as Greets smiled and said, “Hey, man. How’s it going?”