While I’m sitting on the front stoop of my apartment building, smoking a cigarette and watching everybody walk by me on the sidewalk one weekday morning, a man shuffles forward and sits on the empty step next to me.
He’s got a few days of growth on his chin and a few days of dirt on his clothes. But he doesn’t bother me much at first, as I hear the pop of a freshly-opened beer can from the paper bag in his hand. He slips a plastic straw into the bag and takes a sip, as if just starting his day with an iced coffee or something.
After sitting in silence for a few sips, he turns to me and asks for a cigarette. And a light. He spends as much time watching a woman walk past as he does trying to light his cigarette in the wind.
Eventually, after scanning the sidewalk for more girls — some in skirts, others in short shorts, still more in business clothes — the crusty little man notices one approaching with her little Yorkshire terrier. He stoops to pet the dog, and gives the girl a smile and a nod. She keeps walking.
“Man, I’ll bet she treats that little fella good,” he says. Those are the first words he’s spoken since taking his seat next me. I can almost see the loneliness in his eyes, and think that he probably wishes he were being taken care of, too.
“You know what I’d like to do?” he asks as he watches her walk away. “I’d like to bend her over like that dog, show her how good to treat me. Oh, boy! That’s it. Bend her over and fuck her just like a little dog!”
He giggles to himself, then looks at me for some sort of approval. I nod. But I’m finished my cigarette, so I decide to get up and start walking.