“Hey, #4, this is Nikos.” Nikos nodded his head somberly. He’d clearly seen enough, that to him, #3 was just another character. “Hey man, I’m really sorry about last week,” apologized #3. “I was just pissed off because somebody called the cops and I thought it was you.”
We’d pretty well established that point the week before, but I’m conciliatory to a fault, so I just said, “Hey, don’t worry about it. Just ask me next time instead of accusing me.” We shook hands, and he agreed that [next time someone called the cops on him when he was doing prostitutes] he would give me the benefit of the doubt. Then I headed to McSorley’s to meet a bunch of dudes, because it was Valentine’s.
A few hours later, I was enjoying six very small beers with an equal number of very large guys, most of whom I knew from college in Texas. Who walks in but #3, with his old, friendly, sideways-waddling black lab in tow. He was clearly a regular (his dog put its paws up on the bar and nobody seemed to care), which surprised me, because even though I knew he’d lived in the East Village since before people called it the East Village, I imagined him only hanging out in vans doing drugs with homeless guys. Mostly because he owned a van, and one time I ran into him walking his dog, and as we passed said van on our way back towards our building it was filled with expectant looking homeless guys, to whom he said “I’ll be back later.”