I munch some kind of sandwich as I walk unhurriedly along the empty night street. I wear Nike sneakersAfrica’s gift. Very good sneakersalmost new, and my size. Is there any black on earth darker than Jamil-Africa? I don’t think so. But the darkness of his skin is not his most distinguishing feature. I’ve never met such a generous black man. He’s always kind and happy. That is because he smokes very strong weed. I remember when Officer Perez put the cuffs on me, standing near Jamil-Africa, who looked upon the scene very gloomily. Of course! The open bottle of beer wasn’t mine but his. He just put it next to my cart. Because of this confusion I had to lie all day on the concrete floor in a cell with a horrible hangover, drink foul water from the water fountain, and shit in the presence of 40 cellmates.

What a marvelous country America is! How generous! After I was acquitted by the judge, they gave me a Metrocard to get home. But my home is the street, and I would go into the subway only in winter, and then only when it was very cold outside. In all my years of vagrancy, I had gone down into the subway no more than three times. The main problem in the subway is that cops don’t let you lie down to sleep on the benches. If they see someone lying down, they may come up to him and make him sit up or simply take him outside. And sleeping sitting up on a bench is uncomfortable. On top of that, the train’s thunders are bothersome. In order to sleep under these subway conditions, one has to drink till he passes out. But that’s not for me. I like to be half-conscious, so at least I’ll have something to remember. Half-consciousness is my way, with beer. Full oblivion is the American way, with whiskey.

So, I have a metro card and I need to sell it. I offer it to passersby, at half price. A man bought it. Now I have $15 alreadyuntold wealth! Not far away, a hydrant pipe protrudes from the wall; an unfinished bottle of Fanta with a straw stands on the pipe. I threw away the straw, sniffed the Fanta first, and then poured a little on the cement. If it foams it means it’s Fanta. If it doesn’t foamit’s urine. This simple way of distinguishing drinks I learned from my buddy Trevor. But before I learned that from him, I had been mistaken twice and had thrown up a lot.

Now there’s the walk straight to the grocery store. I want to smoke. Where can I get matches? The street is empty and everyone is afraid of a bum at night. Three old Chinese women sit in a circle outside one house, lamplight glowing in the center. The women pray.