“Hey, get OFF ME,” cried the thin man. Hands pushed him out the smoky doorway and he staggered into the humid night air.
A balding muscleman wiped his hands and reached into his pocket to retrieve a cell phone. “And don’t ya come back until ya got money, Charlie. Ya bum!” He flipped the phone open. “Hey, hun…”
“Great,” Charlie muttered. He fingered a fresh tear in his already threadbare, over-sized jacket. He glared over his shoulder at the yellow-lit entrance to Wimpy’s Tavern. “Calling me a bum? Why don’t you look in a mirror!”
“Whadya say?” The goon lowered the phone from his ear.
“Nothin’.” Charlie scurried down the road’s paved shoulder, muttering under his breath. That dive used to be respectable before it got rebuilt after the Big Hurricane. Now he figured it was too highbrow for the likes of him.
Charlie’s eyes narrowed and scanned the ground for loose change. A glint of silver from a corner up ahead looked promising. Once under the streetlight, he saw it was only flattened bottle cap stuck in mud.
“Dang!” He kicked at the cap and got a clump of crud on his shoe.
Dejected, shoulders hunched, he thought about his next move. Maybe I can scam a couple of bucks off one of the night-crawlers, he thought. He straightened his jacket and looked for cars before setting across the West Saint Bernard Highway.
He’d have to cut through the military cemetery to get to the night-crawler’s usual hang out.