He just stood there. The dirty milkman just stood in line, doing his little shaky-leg dance (don’t you just love the shaky-leg dance?), and rolling his greasy-looking little eyeballs back into his skull. The line was a long one, but he seemed to be patient aside from the shaky-leg dance, which made him appear antsy (you know how it makes people look antsy, don’t you?).
“So you kick them too?” I asked.
“Doesn’t everyone?” he said, staring up into his skull.
I thought about this. I couldn’t really decide if everybody kicked pigeons when they had free time, or if it was just people like the dirty milkman and his pigeon-kicking compadres. Milkmen have so few joys in life, I reasoned. We might as well let them have this one simple pleasure.
So I strolled away to find the liverwurst I had come seeking. Do you remember the liverwurst sandwiches that your mother used to make for you when you were young? Do you remember the white bread – Wonder Bread, it might have been. No more of that. There was full-fat mayonnaise, of the variety that has been banned in California and New York State because of its fat content and whiteness. Finally there was the liverwurst – plump, pink and salty, smelling like liver sausage should. I had come over to the East Village (no, not THAT East Village – the one in Davenport) to the one place I could still find the illusive, illegal, and tasty liverwurst.
I walked into Gypsy Dan’s little shop. The place smelled of incense and onions, and I could barely see Gypsy Dan through the haze. There was some kind of sitar music or some such crap playing lightly in the background. As I approached the counter I saw that it was coming from a hairy, dirty hippie who was seated on the floor, strumming away and smoking a zucchini.
“Any requests, man?” asked the hippie on the floor.
“Do you know ‘Okie from Muskogee’?” I asked.
The hippie shook his head.
“How about ‘In My Merry Oldsmobile’?”
The hippie ignored me and started playing something that sounded vaguely like the Beatles. Or was it the Rolling Stones? It didn’t matter. It all sounds the same, especially when played on a sitar by a dirty, stoned hippie.
Gypsy Dan stood before me at long last, smiling and nodding his head.
“You got it?” I asked.
“Sure as hell,” said Gypsy Dan, handing over a brown paper sack.
I reached out to take it when all hell broke loose. A seven-man tactical squad in black ballistic nylon burst through the door. All we heard was the sound of rustling rip-stop, breaking glass and men shouting “Hut! Hut! Hut!” Gypsy Dan hit the floor with his hands behind his head. The dirty hippie dropped his sitar and threw his hands up in the air. I froze in place with the bag of liverwurst in my outstretched hand and was knocked to the ground by a man with a short-barreled shotgun and night vision equipment. The bag was swept from my hand and my wrists were zip-tied together. I laid there on the floor, face-down and afraid to move. The tactical squad left as quickly as they had burst in, and Gypsy Dan’s shop fell perfectly silent.
After a long, long time I heard Gypsy Dan get up off the floor. He came over and cut me free from the zip tie.
“Damn,” he said, “I guess a guy’s gotta’ be more careful with ‘wurst these days.”
I nodded my head and rubbed my wrist.
“I’m gonna’ have to go back to hiding the stuff in bags full of meth.”