My bruised forehead cabbie took assumed the role of a snooty Parisian confronted by a tourist from Iowa when I gave him the destination.

"I can't understand you!"

Apparently "Forty and Lex" and then "Four-Oh and Lex" was to difficult to hear through the hair and his Secret Service type ear-piece that I suspect was giving him a direct live feed to the latest jihad fatwa. I gave him the destination three more times before the wheels moved.

His beard of pubic hair was thick and long attaching his chin to his chest and the steering wheel and I swear it tried to grow thru the bullet proof screen to get at me in the passenger compartment. Mr. Attitude ignored the first two opportunities to right the wrong route by turning left. When it seemed sure he was headed East to Third via Second I got out and walked.


Last night I overheard a conversation snippet "...about a fifth a day..."


As I approached the Starbucks at 40th & Lex, I watched one of the homeboy employees push "Beautiful Mind" Guy toward the door and raise a chair as if to hit him. I turned away and kept going up the block.

I passed and looked away and I heard a dull thud. Then Beautiful Mind Guy yelled something like "You Stupid!"

I didn't look back.

Beautiful Mind guy wanders around this area asking people, "Did you graduate college?" During the winter he often holds up in Starbucks polling customers and speaking to other invisble beings. In nice weather he wears a forest green sportscoat and conducts his queries on 40th Street between Lexington and Park. He's harmless and very happy when you stop to answer him. Once, he told me he used to be an attorney.

Anyway, I decided not to help him and kept walking toward Park until my cigarette was finished. From a safe distance I looked back and decided it was okay to go back and get coffee.

Beautiful Mind Guy was hunched over a payphone just outside the frontdoor of Starbucks, phone receiver in hand, perhaps speaking to an invisible being on the line.

When I entered the Starbucks homeboys were excitedly congratulating each other on their victory over a quasi-homeless mental patient. There were exchanges of high-fives and, "Yo, niggah, I was like..." phrases and I received an enthusiastic, "Good Morning, sir! How may I help you today?" Starbucks thug seemed eager to get rid of me and continue to enjoy his adrenaline rush. He shook with excitement and couldn't operate the register and forgot about giving me my dime change.

I was about to say something about not fucking with mental patients. I wanted to. I didn't.

When I went to put milk in the coffee I noticed Polaroid shots of the employees, striking gangsta stylee poses like prison inmates on visiting day. Each employee was identified by name in toy-graffiti font on the white bottom of the Polaroid.

As I left, Beautiful Mind Guy hung up the phone and rushed through the snow uptown, shaking his head from side to side.

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