"Hey man! Hey sir!”
Jesus Christ, no…
“Hey sir! You look lost!”
The black guy was hobbling after me, clad in a plaid shirt and dirty jeans; the bum’s uniform. I hopped away, not wanting to scuff my nice shoes. Around us, the rain had gone from a sprinkle to a shower, soaking my blazer and pants.
Fuck you very much pal. Go find someone else to hustle.
Rochester, New York is a tiny, semi-inhabitable urban core surrounded by a sprawling ghetto. The second you leave the Inner Loop, you’re surrounded by trash-strewn lawns, fat single moms, and gangbangers with sagging pants. Demographics and the compactness of downtown embolden the scum to terrorize the nice neighborhoods. Then again, the fact that I was dressed like a rich guy probably didn’t help.
The black guy was closing the distance. I sped into a half-walk, half-jog as the backs of my shoes dug into my skin.
Where the fuck did I park, where the fuck did I… oh, there it is.
I spotted the dingy lot where I’d left my car, sandwiched between two abandoned brick buildings. I skidded over, tore my keys out of my pocket like I was unsheathing a knife, and piled into the driver’s seat, taking off my jacket and tie and throwing them over the shotgun chair.
Car’s untouched. Safe from the hustlers and the rain.
I hit the ignition and tore out onto the Inner Loop as the rain accelerated into monsoon conditions.