"My Name's Bob."
I have a headache. My hip still hurts me some. And here comes "Bob" wobble wobble. He looks down at me and, by way of introduction, says, "What you got?"
"A headache." I'm not up for this guy.
He shuffles a few feet over and sits down. I'm waiting for the leadoff band, Over the Counter, to kick off The Sound Downtown concert in the downtown mall in Las Cruces.
I get up, stretch, walk around. My ears are still ringing from the previous night's bash at Danny's Barn. I'm drinking water. Lots of water.
I find a new place to sit, in the shade, away from Bob. The band kicks in and cranks. I watch and listen. Bob's in my field of view. He's smoking a cigarette. I study him. Untucked gray short sleeved pullover, dirty jeans, white socks tucked into black sandals. He's gesturing, mumbling, looking around. First song ends. Bob yells to the band, "My name's Bob." The blond haired bass player says, "Hi Bob."
Band dives in for seconds. Bass player's parents are watching, taking video and pix, mom breaking out into a dance step, daughter beaming on stage. Bob's looking around, pulls a can of beer from his blue and white gym bag. Takes two sips and BAM! Lady security guard walks up. Takes Bob's beer. No resistance. Bob is not happy, but he's not super pissed or anything. Just another of life's misfortunes falling in a steady drizzle on Bob's head.
Band's playing third song. Bob smokes. Arms outstretch to band. He looks around. Again. Swivels sideways so his back is to the security officer, pulls another beer. Takes a sip. Guard walks up. This time Bob is not giving in without a struggle. Beer sloshes from the can onto the ground. Guard talks to Bob. Bob doesn't say much. He's rubbing his left sandal across the wet concrete, like he's making love.
I walk a bit, getting out the stiffness. Bob takes a new spot, close to where I was sitting. I sit beside Bob. We talk. He's pissed, but not in a dangerous way. His breath smells like beer that's fermented way too long. He looks at me, pulls out a comb and runs it through his brown hair. He wears a gray and brown goatee, unshaven neck.
Bob doesn't have any eyebrows. There's a blood encrusted welt on his right temple. He extends his hand. "My name's Bob." We shake. I give my name. My right hand has been severely contaminated and I'm wishing I'd brought disinfectant towlettes. I don't even own disinfectant towlettes. Gotta buy some for emergencies. Ya never know. From now on, always pack motorcycle bag with disinfectant towlettes.
Bob drove tanks in the National Guard. "I got that shit over with," he says.
Bob extends his hand. Again. "My name's Bob." Shake hands. Give my name. Again. What to do about my hand?
"Where do you sleep?" I ask.
"Not in her pants!" Bob says, pointing to the guard, who's watching us. He's still angry at the lost love.
I tell Bob I gotta walk. Be back.
I walk the mall. I talk with the security guard. Her name is Sylvia.
"Bob's really harmless," she says. "I know him. See him at the soup kitchen."
Sylvia plans to join the Las Cruces Police Department once she goes through academy. I mention the burglary the police botched some years back. She laughs. Her boss is the former police chief. Started his own private detective agency. He really runs a good ship, she says.
I give Sylvia my name as we shake hands. I walk back to Bob.
"Hi! My name's Bob!"
I sit. Bob extends his hand. "Hi! My name's Bob and I'm lazier than shit!" I laugh.
"Where do you sleep, Bob?"
"I sure wouldn't sleep with her," he says. I try again.
Bob puts a finger to his lips. "Shhhh. Ya know that big church on Alameda? There's a side door."
The band's doing the last song. I decide I need a picture of Bob and the band. I want to make Bob happy. Cause of the beer.
"You know James Locatelli?"
"He's a judge. And he says, 'Robert, what am I going to do with you?' And the courtroom, you know, they laughed and laughed."
Song's over. I go to the stage, ask if I can get a shot with Bob?
I tell Bob I want a picture of him with the band. He grins. Wobbles to the stage. I tell Bob to get on stage. Bad idea. Bob will never make it onstage. Band members climb down to his level.
Trying to get everytbody arranged. Bob turns just as I shoot first pic.
Try again. Good. Nicely done, Bob.
All the pix from last night are here.