When I was in graduate school at Emerson, I used to spend my weekends at the two-family house rented by my girlfriend at the time. Her name isn’t really important, so let’s just call her… oh,I dunno… Donna Whitestraub of 281 Main Street, Second Floor, in Winthrop. Anyway, every Sunday morning, I’d amble downstairs, get the Sunday paper which was always placed neatly on the top step by the delivery guy, and then spend the next three or four hours in bed reading her the Gammons column or the travel section or whatever the f@#k was on sale that week in the K-Mart circular. Point is, it was a ritual, and we need rituals to keep us tethered.

So one morning I get up as always and head downstairs and I see some dude sitting on her front steps. Our Sunday paper is at his side, and he’s got the sports page opened, and a cigarette dangling from his lips.

“Great,” I figured. “Now I have to deal with a transient. On Sunday morning no less.”

So I grabbed the “hittin’ stick” that I kept handy by the coat rack, opened the door slowly, keeping the screen door closed, and cleared my throat. The dude didn’t even flinch.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“Sorry, man,” he replied, not even looking up at me. “I just had to check the Sox score. Tough game last night.”

I opened the screen door and came out onto the porch, sizing him up. He stunk of booze, looked ridiculously unwashed — like he’d just appeared as “Hobo Number 2” in a high school theatre production — and he had a sack of hash browns stuffed in his pocket. His fingernails couldn’t have been filthier if he’d just clawed his way out of a room made of chocolate and I felt great unease as I watched his hands clinging to the sides of my motherf@#king Sunday sports page.

But, hey, it was someone to talk to about the loss.

“Viola really f@#ked us last night,” he muttered.

Viola?” I replied. “Dude, when the thick of your offense is Scott Fletcher, Carlos Quintana and Andre Dawson, you basically have to be perfect every night. Seven good innings from Viola should be enough.”

“Yeah,” he said, turning to the Gammons column. “That’s true.”

I sat watching him reading my paper. Wanting to talk Sox even more with my hobo friend.

“Hey, uh… you want a beer?” I asked.

“What time is it?”

“Almost 7:30.”


So we sat there. Man and hobo. Drinking beer at the crack of dawn on the front steps. Me and this unwashed dude, talking about Andre Dawson’s knees and Steve Lyons’ brain and how “Zupcic” really should be a verb. Donna eventually ambled downstairs wondering where I was, but I’d already read most of the paper at that point. Also, I was shitfaced.

The point of this story? None, really. Just thought some of you might want to know how I met Denton.