Monday, August 29, 2011

Homeless Conversation

Stealth Shot
Last week a homeless guy with a scraggly gray beard and unwashed hair past his shoulders, sat down next to me and plunked down a 12 year-old desktop PC in the Cow's End. He had an empty, high-end hanging bag under his table as well as what might have been a hot plate beneath that. He wore a track suit pants and old T-shirt. He had this conversation at full blast on a headset phone he used to call people through his computer. At first I was going to leave like the three other people who dashed as soon as he started talking/screaming into the phone. But instead I decided to consider it inspiration.  A gift from God. His conversation sounded so convoluted I assumed it was a scam, but over time his pleas sounded more real as he added clearer consistent specificity. I wanted to steal a pic of him, but he kept looking over at me as though I was intruding in the conversation he was broadcasting from literally 4 feet away. You decide if it was a scam: "Hello? Hi. Um. Yeah. So, last Sunday I was at the movie theatre and when I went to the bathroom I tried to put my wallet in my pocket and I think I missed. You know I had my swimsuit under my warmups. I missed my pocket and it fell down my pantleg. I think there was a guy who followed me in there. When I was leaving I looked back I saw a guy with a wallet in his hands.  I think I dropped it on the ground and they picked it up. [He's asked a question and he looks something up online.]  It looks like it might have been on Glencoe and Maxwell. [I know the theatre. He gets a number of the local police. He calls again and tells the same story. With this new addition] 
Here's my guy leaving with his computer in bag
"I saw this man holding it up. He had it in his hand, and I didn't realize he was trying to give it back to me. I'm not saying he stole it. But I think he took it. At the time I didn't realize it was my wallet, but now I realize it was. I didn't understand what he wanted. So I left. [listens] No, I didn't. [listens] Well, then I guess he stole it. I don't know. [listens] I'm 5'10" 180lbs. Date of birth? 9/29/60. Texas. I'm disabled....It was after The Smurfs in 3-D. 6:45pm. [listens] Yes. My ID, Social Security. My foodstamp card. $40 AmexGift Pre-paid Certificate. Dean Witter card. and my last card, Convenient Bank Texas ATM. Somewhere between 10 and $19 in cash. A ten and some ones. Maybe a 5. Any chance we can use the theatres cameras to look at that time? OK. Great. Thanks so much officer. Looking forward to seeing you out there."
I hope the dude finds his wallet. Until then, I hope he uses one of the public showers right on Venice beach. They're free you know.

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