I’ve spent the past two days in two coffee shops trying to wrap up a story that’s driving me to drink.
Two moments in time:
I’m walking through a parking lot from my car to the cafe. A car pulls up. Big guy driving. Lots of tattoos. His window is rolled down and he says, “Hey, you ever hear of MMA?”
“Yes,” I reply.
“Cool,” he says. “So I’m fighting in two weeks at the convention center, and I’m trying to get some attention for the fight.” He reaches toward his seat, grabs a CD or DVD with his image on the cover and hands it to me.
“You want me to have one?” I ask.
“It’s a big fight,” he says.
“You on Twitter?” I ask.
“Nah, man,” he says. “So I’m selling these to raise money for …”
“I’m sorry,” I say. “I can’t give you money.”
I’m about to tell him I’ll Tweet out the fight info, but instead he whispers a “Fuck you” and drives off.
I’m at Panera. There’s a young woman at the register. She takes me order. Greek salad, no chicken. Her left elbow is wrapped in beige gauze. “Give blood today?” I ask.
“No,” she says.
“It’s something else,” she says. Then, “But don’t worry. I’m not shooting heroin.”
“I really wasn’t thinking that,” I reply. Truly, I wasn’t.
She then tells me she recently got a tattoo—”A really cute one,” she insist. But it was done over a vein, and now the vein is infected, and the pain is excruciating, and she can barely move her arm.
“Wow,” I say. “Do you regret it?”
“No,” she replies. “Not really.”