Struggling Writer Strikes Gold!


Every day, on my morning commute, that newspaper guy on the corner of Queens and Woodhaven Boulevards waved at me. He'd stand in the middle of the two left lanes directing traffic: “Take it easy now, I don’t want no accidents on my corner. Let the lady in, buddy, she gotta merge! Come on now, honey, he’s letting you go. I gotcha.” He's ageless, probably wiry, based on his jutting cheekbones and bold chin, but it was hard to tell with those over-sized clothes, a black T-shirt in summer and a black hoodie in winter. He wore a dirty skull cap, even in August, and accessorized with a thick, ratty scarf in December. His deep-set eyes zoomed in on the passing drivers while he snapped mental pictures of faces and license plates.
Click. Click. Click.
I knew what he was doing because I did the same thing. Only, he was scouting out potential customers for his newspapers, and I was observing life on the street and framing the snapshots in just the right phrases to attract thousands of readers. In my dreams.
He wore a canvas apron with deep pockets full of rolled up newspapers. Do people even read papers anymore? Why should we, when we can just say, “Good morning, Google”, and get the top stories so we don’t sound like imbeciles at the office? Even so, I bought one of his papers once, just to be nice. Or maybe it was out of curiosity, to get a better look at him. Like most writers, I’m always on the alert for that quirky character who will make my next book a best seller.
“How much?” I asked.
He rolled his eyes. “What it says, lady. A dollar.” Like I should know this. So I scooped up some change from the cup holder and held it out to him. He was not worth that dollar to get a closer look. A week’s stubble of an indistinct color couldn’t soften those cheekbones, and his narrow, piercing eyes had a haunted look that pleaded, “Talk to me.” Pathetic.
But then he grinned, his face all crinkles. Still unattractive, but infectious. “Here ya go, sweetheart," he said. "Have a nice day. And hey, love the new haircut!”
That was weird....

Read the entire article in the September 2021 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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