The other day I was walking down Market Street, enjoying a rare day of calm winds and clear, sunny skies, when a stranger approached me. His hair was brown and coarse, like horsehair, which he clearly hadn’t washed in weeks. Maybe months. He was short and swarthy and wore a thick, bushy moustache and a black trench coat that was too big for him. I tried to walk around him, delete him from my life, but he swerved to intercept me. This is what always happens. You can’t get away from these guys.
The man ripped open his trench coat to reveal an array of silver and gold-colored watches. A few on fake leather straps, even. Above them was a hastily scribbled sign that said:
“56% off Replica Rolex – Cheap Prices”
“My name is Gino Cuevas,” the man said. “I sell you watch.”
I pointed to my left wrist, where a Swiss watch clearly occupied the space reserved for timepieces.
“I already have a watch. See?”
“I see,” the swarthy man replied. “One watch is good, but a couple of them are better.”
“I’m not interested,” I said, and pushed past him, not turning to look at him again. Deleting him.
But not ten steps later, another, similar fellow approached me, this one a bit taller and heavier. Inside his trench coat was a sign that read:
“76% off Replica Rolex – Cheap Prices”
And I wondered, does the fellow down the street know the prices of his fake Rolexes are being undercut not twenty yards away? Or are they working together? Probably the latter.
Eventually I made a right on Van Ness and headed north. It was a beautiful day for walking. Or so I thought. I didn’t make it ten steps before another dude, this one tall and lanky, with a greasy face and a blonde mop for hair, reached out and grabbed my arm.
“Hey, dude,” I said. “Get your fucking hands off me.”
He let go and I kept walking, but this guy wasn’t done. He walked beside me step for step, muttering under his breath:
“I have solutions for hot humping.”
“You don’t understand,” he said. “The magic blue pills is yours. Free. You only pay shipping.”
“Shipping?” I asked, incredulous.
“Quit paying your doctor to write a prescription,” he added. “Order anything you need from us instead.”
“Who is ‘us?’”
Rather than answer my question, he asked his own.
“You need more blood to make your penis bigger? Your tiny dimensions make you feel an incomplete man?”
This is when I stopped walking. The lanky fellow stopped as well, and when he did, I sent him to the ground with a solid punch to his left cheek. I’d never hit someone so hard before, and pain flared like fire in my wrist. But the dude scurried off, deleting himself from my life, and at last I was free.
Or so I thought.
Because as I looked ahead of me, I saw the sidewalk was dense with these men in dark trench coats. As far as I could see they were standing there, loitering, staring at nothing. But I knew, as I approached, that every one of them would be ready with another sales pitch. And they were.
“Your male friend will look great even in loose jeans.”
“Make it happen in the bedroom.”
“Once you see our watches you will dispose your old ones.”
“Want Cialis for free?”
“Degree in any field.”
“Brad Listi also commented on his status.”
Even though all these men spoke individually, sequentially, their voices somehow seemed to drown out the more pleasing sounds of birds chirping and cars motoring by and even the wail of police sirens. But though I tried many different ways of avoiding these men, by taking different streets, by running, by hiding in an alley, they found me anyway.
And I thought, what on Earth ever gave anyone the idea that my dimensions are small? I’m tall. I have big feet and hands…surely I must at the very least be average. And anyway if I’m so small, why would I have trouble getting it up?
Who says I need another watch? Another degree?
Finally, I reached the water and turned right again, headed toward the Wharf. I thought I might be able to hide among the tourist crowds. I found Pier 39 and listened to the sea lions bark, the sun warm on my skin. The smell of saltwater mixed with the aromas of fried food and fudge and I thought maybe the day would turn out well after all.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a guy painted gold, standing as still as a statue. I didn’t remember him being there when I walked by before. There was a basket in front of him, into which onlookers were encouraged to toss coins and dollar bills. So far the basket was empty. I reached into my pocket, feeling for any money I might have, and the statue guy saw me searching. He smiled.
They aren’t supposed to smile.
I looked at him closely and he looked back. I waited for him to blink first.
But instead of blinking, he simply said,
“The longer your love instrument is, the longer the pleasure lasts.”
So I ran.
But I will never get away.