We thought the backpack belonged to the two women across the Taco Deli picnic table from us. They had said yes when I asked if it was theirs. I must have misunderstood. It turned out to belong to Marco who walked up a few minutes later, clearly drunk and apparently homeless.
“I’m not sure I’d want to sit next to this white trash,” he mumbled as he sat down with his back to us. Awkward but it was clear he was referring to himself. He started talking to a woman with a dog. And at one point he started singing Frank Zappa lines that I sometimes sing. Going to Montana soon. Gonna raise me up some dental floss. Raisin’ it up; waxin’ it down.
The woman walked away, so he turned to us. Mumbling and cussing, his eyes peering out from behind squinting eyelids, he spoke loudly in language not well suited for the nearby girl scouts waiting for their post-hike tacos.
He had a huge scab over his right eye and a horrific scrape on his arm. But he wasn’t obnoxious if you could get past his choice of words. So we chatted for a while. Because… well we were sitting there, and we wanted to finish our tacos
Marco talked with obvious regret about the days of his youth, about dropping out of high school, about living with his step mother and step sisters in Spain, about moving to Albuquerque, about how he liked Austin better, about getting beat up when he recently got off a bus. Sometimes he would start speaking in Spanish. When I replied in Spanish, it was quickly evident that I was out of my league, so I kept quiet when he started speaking French. And after he was talking for a while, he paused and looked at me.
“I’ll give you twenty dollars if you let me sleep on your couch.”
He didn’t wait for an answer.
“No. I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t,” he said. “The nominative I would not let the accusative me sleep on the genitive my’s couch.”
What a loss.