Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Joe the Mex had a thin face with a long, sharp, twitchy nose and a down-curving, toothless mouth. Joe’s face was lined and ravaged, but not old. Things happened to his face, but Joe was not touched. His eyes were bright and young. There was a gentleness about him common to many oldtime junkies. You could spot Joe blocks away. In the anonymous city crowd he stood out sharp and clear, as though you were seeing him through binoculars. He was a liar, and like most liars, he was constantly changing his stories, altering time and personnel from one telling to the next. One time he would tell a story about some friend, next time he would switch the story around to give himself the lead. He would sit in the cafeteria over coffee and pound cake, talking at random about his experiences.