I've been thinking about him a lot lately. Almost four months without a peep or a mince. Was he finally behind bars? I could see him there- he deserves to be there of course- locked in a go-go cage lined in faux-fur, wearing a rhinestone-studded thong and matching toe socks, eyes all done up in glitter, while Heklina smacks him with a whip as he shakes his little butt to "Alejandro."
Perhaps he's been ill? Some trick at the Gangway put a roofie in his his daiquiri? Maybe, worst of all, was he dead? Another of his victims turned the table on him and the LCM was now lying somewhere under an underpass of the 280 with his underpants around his ankles? If that were true I would finally be free from ten years of unrelenting terror, but then who would I write about? The transvestite who applies his lipstick to his nose and struts around talking to herself isn't quite as terrifying in the same way.
And then tonight, out of nowhere, there he was right beside me at the corner of O'Farrell and Powell. I was just looking for a place to eat that wasn't jammed with tourists, and there he was. I didn't even have to see his face, I could tell it was The Little Chinese Man just by looking at the back of his head.
Terrified, I reached into my pocket for my crappy phone. Here he is, all decked out for a new year of terror in his fetching new jacket:
I quickly walked in the opposite direction. After almost four months I found myself flummoxed, unmoored and strangely excited. Dinner and drink calmed my spirits.
Walking back home an hour later I came across the Sleazy, Green-Eyed Con Man who hustles tourists and whom I find particularly disagreeable. As the family he was trying to scam walked away from him he approached me as I stood at the corner.
Sleazy Con Man (getting right in my face): "Some people just don't want to hear the message of hope. How are you on this fine night, sir?"
Me: "I've lived in this neighborhood for almost 10 years. I know who you are. Go away."
Sleazy Con Man: "Is that so? Who am I?"
Me: "You're a fake who's out here trying to get money for some fake-ass charity with a clipboard in your hand. Who the fuck raises money for charity with a clipboard on a corner in 2011? Go away."
Sleazy Con Man: "You don't know that's true."
Me: "Okay let's try it this way. You go away, or I'll follow you and tell your marks you're a fake. Your choice."
Sleazy Con Man: "Can I have a cigarette?"
Sleazy Con Man: "You can't even give me a cigarette?"
Me: "No. I don't like you."
Sleazy Con Man: "Fuck you. You shouldn't have told me that."
And at that moment the Little Chinese Man walked out from behind the Sleazy Con Man into the crosswalk at Geary and Taylor, just like that. I glowered at the Sleazy Con Man and stepped off the curb after LCM without another word, automatically reaching into my pocket for my crappy phone.
I hurried across the street, trying to catch up and I was almost in range and then LCM stopped dead in his tracks to admire a display of Snuggies in the window of Walgreen's.
Saddened and dejected, I trudge up the sidewalk, looking back at the LCM-less street behind me every few steps. "It's okay," I tell myself, "at least you know he's still here."