But some people were just rotten apples. Or that’s what his mother had told him the last time they’d spoken.
“I’m an alcoholic,” said Doug.
“Most people don’t admit they are alcoholics unless they’re at a meeting.”
“I don’t go to meetings, never have,” said Doug.
“How much do you drink every day?”
“I don’t drink every day,” said Doug. He sipped his coffee. It was smoother than any coffee he’d tasted before, yet still woke him up like adderall.
“Doesn’t sound like you’re much of an alcoholic,” said Mousy.
“Huh?” said Doug, only mildly interested.
“I know guys at school who just get drunk every night,” she said.
Doug’s laundry was done. He stood and walked away from the conversation and opened the washer. He set his coffee on the dryer behind him and took out his clothes and loaded them into that same dryer. He thought it was one of the good ones. He put three dollars in and set it and pressed the button. It trundled to life. The who was in there was sitting on one of the dryers on the opposite side of the rectangular configuration. She swung her legs and held a magazine close to her face. Doug grabbed his coffee and went back to sit with Mousy.
“These guys,” he said, “They’re college students?”
“Yeah–from my trig class.”
“They like the ideas of being alcoholics?”
“It seems that way sometimes.”
“Well, tell them I felt the same way back in the 80s. now. . .”
“You don’t seem that fucked up,” she said.
“Besides the fact I live down by the swamp?”
“Yeah, besides that.”
For the first time that day Doug smiled. That sentiment had more worth to him than that $50 Kid had given him while he was panning it.
“Well, my family won’t let me forget it. Once I start drinking I can’t stop. But I don’t have the money to drink every night.”
“Do you ever get work?”
“Sometimes down by the docks–but I don’t hold jobs, I told you, I just stop going.”
“That just sounds like you’re lazy,” she said.
“Maybe I am, I don’t know.”
“There seems to be a lot you don’t know,” said Mousy.
“I’m homeless,” said Doug.
“I’m Ames,” said Mousy.
“Aims?” asked Doug.
“I don’t like Amy, so Ames, E-S, no A-I. But, yeah, sounds the same.”
“Do you usually talk to homeless people?”
“Have you ever gotten in a fight?”
They both sipped their coffees.
No they both said.
“How do you live on the streets and never get in fights?” Ames asekd.
Doug shrugged. “You don’t make enemies.”
“What about the police?”
“You stay out of their way.”
“That’s smart,” she said.
Doug shrugged. He seemed to be doing a lot of that. But–this girl.
“I think you should call your parents or sister and ask for help,” she said.
“What am I going to ask for?”
“I don’t know–what do you need to get back on your feet?”
“A new personality,” said Doug.
“Your personality seemed fine to me–hang on.”
Ames got up and changed her laundry into a dryer. Doug sipped his coffee. The older woman left even though her laundry was still in the wash.