Saturday, August 11, 2007


Gary is a homeless man I met under Chinatown's Metrolink Station. When I approached him, he was sitting on the bench listening to a baseball game being broadcast on his hand-held AM radio. He asked me if I would like to have a cigarette. Not being a smoker, I respectfully declined. I wasn't prepared for the next question he asked me. He wanted to know if I wanted to see something he killed the day before. I was intrigued and a bit anxious at the same time. When I finally agreed, he walked back to the bench where his belongings were and took out a thermos bottle from his duffel bag. Then he held it in front of me, opened the lid, and slowly shook out its I gazed in amazement, a dead scorpion spilled out onto the black pavement next to our feet. I asked him where he had found it, and he said that he had gotten it from the Chinese merchant a couple of blocks around the corner. It was difficult to carry on a conversation with Gary, because he was speaking incoherently. It was obvious that he had some form of mental illness.

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