©2000 Philip Stone
Shoulda worn two pairs of socks. Two pairs. Two pairs. Not one pairs. One pair. Shoulda done worn two pair. I...shoulda...have...worn...two...pairs. Or boots. Yeah, boots. Not converse. Not wear the converse or one sock. One pair of sock. Two socks. One pair. Dang.
Wet foot. Two wet foots. Stupid grass. Stupid snow. Wet grass makes the foots wet. The feets wet. Cold toes. Only one pair of sock.
I hope he scratches his balls tonight. Yeah, I hope he scratches his balls.
Thursday, 6:49 AM: Starbucks, State St. & Ohio St.
Philip. Philip. Phil. Philip Stone. Stone. Where is Philip Stone? Where is Mr. Stone? P. Stone. Philip Stone needs his hot chocolate. Gonna be late. Mr. Stone is gonna be late for work. Cold. It's cold today. Philip needs his hot chocolate. Where where where. Philip?
Thursday, 6:51 AM: Starbucks, State St. & Ohio St.
Here he is. I seem him, Philip. Philip's here.
"Hey Brian, Gooooood morning," Philip says to the coffee guy.
"Philip," he says. "It's damn cold, huh?"
"Yeah, no doubt," Philip Stone says. No doubt. Yeah...no doubt. "Gonna freeze my ass off out there."
"Doorman, today?" coffee man says. I hope so. I hope he's doorman today.
Philip smiles and nods. "Sucks, huh?" Sucks. It sucks, huh. No doubt.
Man gives Philip a hot chocolate. Looks hot. Hot chocolate. "They're free today," he says. "Since it's so cold."
Philip laughs. "For real? Awesome. Thanks. Awesome." Awesome. Awesome, for real. No doubt.
"Awesome," I say quietly. Bad. No talking. No noise. Sit, no talk. Bad. He looks at me. Looking at me. Smiling, looking. He points.
"Hey...hey buddy," Philip says. At me. Philip is talking at me. And smiling. "What's shaking, buddy?" Philip Stone says at me.
"You know this guy?" coffee man says. "You know Winston?"
"I know Winston. Right, Winston?" Philip Stone says at me. He does know me. I know Philip. I nod my head at Philip.
"Winston cleans the street out here," Philip points at the street. "You work for the city, right?"
I nod at Philip. My buddy. What's shaking? No doubt, buddy. For real. Awesome.
"Yeah, I know Winston. Win-Stahn," Philip Stone laughs. "I let him come into the hotel to use the bathroom every once in awhile. When it gets cold. Right, Winston?"
I remember. Yes, Philip. I nod. Philip lets me use the bathroom. Not like the other guys. Not like little man. Little Roberto. Not like him. Roberto the Brazilian. Won't let me stand under the heat lamps. Roberto the bad little man. Me and Philip Stone. Outside.
"Gonna be cold today, right, Winston?" Philip Stone says.
"No doubt," I say. "For real."
Thursday, 8:03 PM: Philip's Yard
I know you're there, Philip, I know it. Right there on the couch. I know it. You'll stand up soon. Stand where I can see you. See you in front of me. Scratch your balls. Warm me. Warm my cold feet. My wet socks. My cold toes. Like the time you let me stand with you, Philip. You said, "Come on, dude, fuck work. You can stand under the lamp here. S'fucking cold, dude." Next to you under the heat lamp, I remember I had cold toes. You said, "Guys like you and me, buddy, we work too fucking hard." I remember. Buddy. "It's just too fucking cold, my man. Too cold," you said. "For real," you said.
Philip, where are you? Please stand up so I can see you. Philip. Philip, are you wearing your red plaid boxers? Philip Stone. Why are you alone in there? What are you reading? Philip. It's fucking cold, dude.
Friday, 5:43 AM: Public Works, Harlem & Congress
"Winston, you piece of shit, you fucking asshole. I'm gonna take your ass off the street and put you on a motherfucking garbage truck in fucking Bridgeport so you can clean up after fucking dead bodies in the fucking projects, you lazy ass, piece of crap, fatty fat fat. Fucking A, you monkey-fucking, piece of dick. I'm telling you, I don't fucking care if you've got some cocksucking seniority. I will take your ass off of goddamned State Street and have you shoveling crusty-ass fucking hypos in Cabrini Green with that fucking Bosnian Guy who shits himself and that guy who's got fucking gonorrhea, What's his name? Huh? Hey Walter, what's that guy's fucking name...Walter...the fucking guy with gonorrhea...yeah...the dripper..yeah...his name's Mike? You shitting me? Okay. WIth fucking Mike with gonorrhea, Winston. Because I fucking can. Say I won't. Say it, you piece of fucking shit. Say anything. Well? Winston, you dumbshit. You dumbass fat man..."
Friday, 7:15 AM: Embassy Suites Hotel, State St. & Ohio St.
I don't see Philip. Where is Philip? I see Robert, stupid little Brazil man. Oh no. Oh no. No. "Where's Philip?" I say.
"He's inside today," Roberto says.
"He's inside," I say.
"Yes, he's inside," Roberto says.
"Inside," I say.
"Yes, I said that. He's inside," Roberto says.
"Philip's inside," I say.
"Right, Philip is inside. In there. He's a bellman," Roberto says.
"Philip's a bellman," I say.
"Look, Mister," Roberto says, "I am busy."
I see that he is not busy. He is doing nothing. And I know that when I walk away, he will go inside and talk to Philip. He can talk to Philip all day long. My buddy and the little man.
"Can I go in and use the bathroom?" I ask.
"I'm not allowed to," Roberto says. "You have to go somewhere else."
I look through the window and see Philip. The window is frosty, but I can see Philip. He has his elbow on the front desk. He is talking to an old man with broken glasses. They are laughing. The old man walks away. Old man. Philip is alone. I can see him. He looks around. He's alone. Philip's alone. He stuffs his hand in his pants and scratches his balls. Philip scratched his balls. Philip scratched his balls. His balls. His balls. His balls. Philip.
Philip, are you okay? Do you have a rash? Do you have jock itch? Philip, you scratched your balls. I saw you scratch your balls. For real, buddy.
Monday, 8:13 AM: Embassy Suites Hotel, State St. & Ohio St.
My feets are cold. Cold feets. Roberto is gone. Roberto always goes inside. He does not like the cold. Philip always stands outside. He and me outside. Cold. Philip is inside. Maybe he will come outside. Philip. Philip. Here he comes.
"Yo yo, Win-Stahn. What's shaking, buddy?" he says. He is wearing a short sleeve shirt. He rubs his arms. They are so hairy. "Damn, s'fucking cold, eh? Right, Winston? Fucking cold."
"You doing all right, buddy?" Philip Stone says. :You need to come in and use the bathroom? warm up and shit?"
I shake my head. Little man will see me.
"Word," Philip says. Word. Fucking cold, word. No doubt, buddy. "Well, shit. I'll see you later. I'm fucking cold. I'll see you out here on Wednesday, Winston. I'll be out here on Wednesday." Wednesday.
Wednesday, 7:01 AM: Embassy Suites Hotel, State St. & Ohio St.
Philip is late. It's past seven. Philip is supposed to be out here at seven. Philip. Philip. Philip Stone. Philip Stone. I see him now.
"Oh shit, Winston," he says. He is carrying a phone. "Shit Winston, it is fucking cold, my man." My man. It's cold my man. For real. Word. He plugs in his phone on his stand. I can see his breath. He is so alive. "Gonna be a fucking cold one, buddy. Whew."
Philip looks around. Just me. He picks up the phone and dials a number. "Hey you," he says. "Yeah...doorman. I know, right? Totally sucks...what can you do, right? Seriously...well..yeah, I'd love to..oh stop it..your place? Why... I was just kidding...no I do not really think there's a peeping tom outside my place...I was just..no, I was just kidding...no....I don't know why I said it, I was just..I was just..oh come on...seriously...you're killing me here...what do you mean...yeah, I love you...cool...well then, cool...right...awesome...all right, then...four o'clock...cool..I love you too...cool...awesome...bye bye." He hangs up the phone.
"Winston, my man," he points at the phone, "It ain't easy. But it's totally worth it. For real." He is smiling and staring past me. What is he looking at? "She's worth it," Philip says.
I have to go.
Thursday, 8:43 AM: Embassy Suites Hotel, State St. & Ohio St.
I see Philip. He is talking to someone. He looks like Philip. Smaller head. Bigger forehead. Same age. They are laughing. He looks like Philip, but smaller head. Less hair. He looks like Philip. He is talking to Philip.
"...well I told you I could get you a job here if you hate your shit so much," Philip says.
"I don't want to be a fucking bellman," the small head, big forehead man says. "I hate people too much."
"Then what do you like?" Philip says.
"Nothing," he says. "I hate everything."
They laugh. "No doubt," Philip says. He looks at me. Philip looks at me. Philip is looking at me. "Well, check it out. Winston, the man with the broom and shovel. What's shaking, buddy?"
I look at his friend. He looks like Philip. Smaller head. Bigger forehead. He is looking at me.
"Winston, I want you to meet my friend. My old friend," he points at the guy who looks like Philip with the smaller head.
"Hey Winston," he says. He shakes my hand. He grips it hard. He has soft hands. "My name's Steve. Nice to meet you Winston." Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve has soft hands. Steve has a big forehead. "So Winston, don't you get cold out here cleaning this shit?"
Steve smiles. He scratches his
ass and burps. Steve scratched his ass. Steve smiled at me.
He has soft hands. Steve looks like Philip, but he has a smaller
head. He scratched his ass. Steve scratched his ass. Steve.
Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve.