I was out and about on Tuesday afternoon—had to be. I had appointments and places to go. We had some snow the night before and because of it, some of the sidewalks here in Covington, Kentucky were in bad shape. I would find patches where the sidewalks had been cleaned and I was thankful for that. You know, you take the good and put up with the bad.
Over on West 10th Street, I ran into Roger. I see Roger at least once a month, sometimes more than that.
“Hey, young man,” he always says. “How you doing?”
“I’m OK, Roger, you?”
“Good,” he replied. You doing all right?”
Yes, he’s asking me that again, but, again, I reply that I’m doing OK. It’s part of our normal routine.
Roger is a strange character here in Covington. I met him when I first moved over here. He approached me wanting to borrow a dollar. I was stupid and gave it to him. Of course, I didn’t “loan” him anything. Roger has never paid me back, but he’s been extremely grateful ever since. He has told me more than a few times that he will always have my back.
I kind of believe him. Once, he showed me the handgun he was carrying—had it tucked inside his pants just above his belt. Roger has told me he’s shot a few people in Covington when he could get away with it and when the cops weren’t around. I think what he’s telling me is true. I think he’s over the top, but I don’t think Roger’s a liar.
Once, early in the spring, when I met up with Roger, I told him I was going to Walgreens to get toothpaste.
“Hey!” he said, “I can get you free toothpaste, don’t buy it.”
“OK,” I said. “When can I get it from you?”
“When I get it, I’ll keep it here in my pocket,” He said. “Next time I see you on the street, I’ll give it to you.”
“Fair enough,” I replied.
Early spring turned to summer and then fall and now its winter. I never did get any toothpaste from Roger.
“Where you living these days?” Roger asked me last Tuesday.
“You know where I live,” I said, knowing that he doesn’t really have any idea where I am now. I’m going to keep it that way.
“Yeah, I know where you are,” Roger said. “I’m still looking out for you.”
“I appreciate it,” I replied.
I continued on my way. When I did, I wondered if Roger still had that gun hidden in his pants. Maybe it’s next to the toothpaste.
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