Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Conversation With Ernie

The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.

Ernie is a homeless guy who I see around downtown Fullerton a lot. I'm pretty sure he's schizophrenic, but he is also one of the warmest and most interesting people I know. I always enjoy my little interactions with Ernie.

Me: What's up, Ernie?

Ernie: [Fiddling with the tuner on his cassette boom box. He stops on a Christian music station.] Hey, my friend. Check out these coins. [Shows me a collection of wheat pennies.]

Me: Cool. I inherited a bunch of those from my grandma. Does your boom box play cassettes?

Ernie: Yeah. All my cassettes got stolen. I had John Lennon, Tom Petty, Creedence Clearwater Revival...[Mumbles something about avocado sandwiches and laughs to himself.]

Me: I have some old cassettes I can give you. I'll bring them tomorrow.

Ernie: That would be great. I'll give you something for them. How about a tie with peace signs on it? I know where I can get one.

Me: I would love a tie with peace signs on it.

Ernie: Alright, merry Christmas. [Fiddles with the tuner on his boom box. Stops on a classic rock station].


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