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A Bum in The Crowd

Kenneth is a rural citizen of Hamilton, Ala., and has begun to observe life and certain things and people helping him to write about them.

There's not a lot

of things that I know. That's a gimme. But I will tell you of ONE thing about other people who do not know me: if the opportunity arises and a group of people (who don't know me) who are standing outside of their lavish home--the people are laughing softly, munching on some snack food, and enjoying imported beer and Vodka Martini's and when I just walk into the crowd at first, a few of the people are startled, and look at me quickly and I am "milling" around the other people--shaking hands, smiling, being friendly, but NOT eating any of their snack food.

I continue depriving myself of the (what looks to be) Imported Caviar, Kippers, Assorted crackers, and other high-end food, and sit down at their massive, lengthy eating table and even now, some of the folks are looking at me and halfway smiling--they actually think that I belong in "this" crowd.

 Ball in colonial Chile by Pedro Subercaseaux.

Ball in colonial Chile by Pedro Subercaseaux.

When Fantasy Becomes

truth, I have to fend-off some of the more-aggressive folks--who show their disgust quickly because they have overdone the booze, but it's okay. These are rich, high-end folks and they are way under the local authorities' radar. People like me are not.

"Are you related to someone here?" a gussied-up woman in her late 40s asked while eyeing me with the judgment of a Trial Judge.

"Well, ma'am, that depends," I say in a friendly way and excuse myself and point to the bathroom. That put a hush on that woman when she sees me go into the house she will think that I am related to the people who live here. By the way, the man and woman have never heard of me, but the last thing they want to do is stop their pretense in making themselves be humble-hearted and gracious--rather than letting out the claws and embarrassing me to death.

If you've read the above paragraph, and you have, you will see (with your own adoring eyes), the obvious-difference between regular boorish folks (like me, the "guest") and the other folks with high cheek-bones, a dead-give-away trait of the well-to-do--barely chuckling at an old, worn-out joke and sipping poor excuses for real Martini's, the kind when real Gin is used. Differences is all over this scene that is playing right in front of you. But you do not need me to tell you.

Before I can rest on this left arm of the guests' recently-upholstered couch, a stately gent who looks to be 70 more or less, makes his way toward me and I feel what real fear is really all about. "This" aged man has seen some kind of rough and rowdy life by the long scar that hangs so proudly over his right eye. If I had a scar like that, I would make bales of cash by telling different people different lies on how and why I am wearing a scar over my right eye.

And with each lie told, the next one would only become more-colorful, more-interesting and sometimes a bit more-humorous, but all of that would depend on the one receiving my colorful lie. I think, this go-around, I shall tell people that I was in a near-death fight with a local native man who said he knew how to cure sickness, but he had to use an interpreter to be able to talk to anyone. He looked like Satan himself, but with a glint of Shirley Temple when she was just a girl and just (a) Temple. A rather interesting combination if you ask me.

The Medicine Man just happened to over-hear my howling of lies rolling one after the other and it must have been something that I said, because he took my left arm and slung me at least 10 feet in the air letting me fall in some tall bush grass at the edge of this native village. What was I doing there? Research on How Natives are Able to Stay Calm When Provoked. It was a dynamite-of-a-paper. Fit for the New England School of Medicine and if you are to be revered, you only have to have one of your papers published in this institution. I know. People when they read about my thoughts about anger and natives, I get lots of respect and invites for a late dinner. I always go with the late dinner. You cannot get full on empty respect and besides, the people who pay you this empty respect are stingy as the day is long. They never invite strangers over to the club to have a late dinner with them. This is why they have most of their money.

My story went ahead and it told about the Medicine Man taking my own knife off of my right hip and sticking the edge of the blade into my right forehead over my right eye. Blood flew! I was blinded for a moment or two, but what do you do when an angry Medicine Man sticks you like a fattening hog getting ready for the Winter Meat Harvest?

Some who witnessed what I did to the Medicine Man are still in shock. (I always play-up this part). With one hand, mind you, I took hold of his long hair and began running around and around until he was exhausted and covered with sweat. He gave up about three different times and I managed to show compassion on him for me treating him so cruel, especially when people were watching us, so the tired Medicine Man crawled out of the village and the beast did not once offer an apology to me for sticking my head with my own knife. I felt that he had had enough fist-a-cuffs, so I left him crawl into the dark night while I got some rest.

It takes a professional liar to tell a professionally-researched lie like the one above. Besides this story was the time that I was walking along the sidewalks in the French Quarters in Baton Rouge and there was this Cocktail Party going at full-steam--people with drinks in hand were cramming in and out of some club, I didn't get the name, and before I could walk in to see what was really going on, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Old Time Rock and Roller was inside entertaining the Baton Rouge crowd.

This lie only plays well if one tells it while you are in Oklahoma at the time. And I was about to find out why this distinguished-looking man who was now smoking a stylish pipe, was walking toward me in a quick pace. What had I done? I thought. Or asked. I couldn't think of anything, so I just slowly walked around the scene of people smiling, drinking, and some doing a good example of slow dancing. The truth is the ones slow dancing were only doing this to mask their intoxication and keep them from passing out in the daytime out in public.

"Yep, Uhhh, (Wheeze! Cough!), young man, pray tell, what are you doing here?" the older gent said while cocking his left eyebrow.

"Sir, I resent that remark. I am here by personal invitation," I replied in a very low tone. Frankly, his pipe tobacco stunk to high Heaven.

"Well, young man, errr, (Gulp! Cough! Wheeze!) I know, but uhhhh, (Wheeze! Wheeze!) who, uhhh, are, errr, (Gulp!) you?" I noticed that he had been drinking whiskey. The store-bought kind. I pretended to like him just long enough for me to make a nifty get-away without being hauled to jail.

Before I could talk anymore, this elderly man went right to sleep and slowly fell down on the couch where I had been sitting. A few of the women who were drinking and eating, looked at him and pointed toward him, laughed more, and continued to drink and eat. This would have made a great Broadway play by Tennessee Williams.

It was time for me to make my move. The hosts both spied me at the same time. The man, probably a bank manager from the way his fake smile was plastered on his lips and his plastic wife from the way her hair and lips were kept in a velvet case overnight, was winking at others while her husband was looking right at me and I figured that I had over-stayed my welcome.

I had and I guess that was what hurt me the worst--lying my way into and out of homes and yards just to tell my friends about how easy it was to get anyone to believe you as long as you didn't giggle. And in my line of work, you had best keep the giggles to yourself in some dark closet at the back of your house.

I am an entertainer who works on what people may give me. I do not work because I hate people standing over me and telling me things to do every hour of any day. And when I am on my A-Game, the lies I can tell are so believable that some of the people hearing the lies will say, I know so and so. Or , I have been there myself. It's all in how you perceive yourself and how you carve your words.

But at the end of every day comes night time and there I am somewhere else to sleep where I can without the cops beating my feet with their Billy Clubs and a Good Will Store is right up the block.

____________________________________March 14, 2018

© 2018 Kenneth Avery

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