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"You got a smoke I can borrow?" she asked.

"No," I said, "sorry."

"Can I have some of your beer?"

"Sure." I handed her the beer. She took a big drink and gave it back.

"You sure you don't have a smoke? " she asked.


She didn't say anything for the next few minutes, just twitched a bit now and then, and looked nervously about. "You're kinda cute," she eventually said.

"Thanks," I said.

"What are you doing out here?"

"Working, kind of."

"Yeah? Me, too. You got any money?"

"Maybe. A little bit."

"Wanna go buy us a drink somewhere?"

I considered a moment. I had some money in the bank, but it was all needed for rent, which was already six days late. But I was about a hundred bucks short, so what did another twenty matter? In the next few days I figured I'd buck up and get the rest of the signatures needed for my petition. I'd get paid, and all would be right again for a little while. At that particular moment, going to get a drink with this woman seemed about the best thing going.

"Okay," I said.

I got forty dollars out of an ATM and then we wandered down Mission St. looking for a bar. It was mid afternoon and most of the bars had not yet opened for the day. It made no sense to me. Weekday afternoons seemed as necessary a time to drink as any other. People had no imaginations. We finally found a dark little Mexican place on 24th St. It was perfect, a wonderful place to hide from the day. A short, chubby woman with a kind face stood behind the bar pouring a bag of pretzels into little baskets. She smiled a decent smile as we walked in the door. A few old Mexican men with cowboy hats sat at the bar and glanced our way for a moment and then turned back to their drinks. A jukebox played Latin pop songs. We sat at the bar and I ordered a dark Mexican beer. She ordered a Jack and Coke. She. I just realized I didn't know her name. And just as I realized it I also realized that it didn't matter, but for the sake of conversation and conventions I asked her as we waited for the drinks.

2 Likes | 4 Comments | Author

About William Taylor Jr

William Taylor Jr. lives in San Francisco. His latest collection of poetry, Broken When We Got Here, was released by Epic Rites Press in 2013. The Blood of a Tourist, a book of new poems is forthcoming from Sunnyoutside Press in November 2014. Right now, he should be sleeping, but isn't.


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Kent L Johnson    2 days ago
Love that story. I've been close to that spot before, so close it may have been yesterday.
Mickey J. Corrigan    8 months ago
Sad and darkly funny. I was there with you, giving you high fives for forging those signatures on the way home.
Danielle Imara    8 months ago
I found this very moving
Leopold McGinnis    12 months ago
Ha! I love the last line.

Poem For A Friend In Prison:

Hello Joe | I could handle the name change | but they keep transferring you | to so many different units | that I’m running out of space | in my address book | and now they’re shuffling you | from prison to prison | I know this is America...
Poem For A Friend In Prison
by A.D. Winans