Friday Morning

Went to the ATM near the Publix where I buy subs for Judy and me. Felt a bit nervous as I fed checks into the machine, but no one lurked close by. The lady at the sub counter expressed astonishment that the contents of Judy’s sandwich were a whole wheat roll, turkey, lettuce. She looked at me with doubt in her eyes and kept asking whether she should add mayonnaise and cheese. I’ve grown tired of explaining Judy’s food sensitivities to strangers and kept insisting on simplicity. I gave her some relief when I asked her to load up my sub.

Walked back to my car parked by the ATM and saw a tall man leaning against a tree for shade. He had big doe eyes and springy dreads. Drove to the lot exit and waited for the light to change. The same man walked across the cross walk in front of me, turned around and slowly made his way down the queue of cars behind me. He walked tentatively as if each step required a series of decisions. He stopped to ask a man in a sedan for something, received an abrupt dismissal and tried at another car window. The light changed.

I pulled into a gas station at the opposite corner and parked at a pump. Went inside to pay cash. A balding sixty-ish man stood ahead of me at the counter. He turned abruptly and almost bumped into me, placed a can of soda five feet away on a ledge in front of a candy display, and turned back to the counter man. Ordered five cash-for-life lotto tickets and carefully sorted them into his wallet.

Pumped my gas and saw the lotto man get into a silver sports car beside me. He beat me out of the lot, popped the accelerator, burst forward. He sped nearly out of sight before I got up to speed. “Adrenaline junky,” I thought.