Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Perfect Wake Up Call

It is early Sunday morning.

My sister and I are walking the dog in Central Park. She has just moved from Oregon to New Jersey, and I am ecstatic to have her in the same time zone again.

We pass the reflection pool, the Boat House, Bethesda Fountain, and follow a heavily wooded trail over a small arched bridge, walking and talking of silly sister things.

From behind us, a voice echoes off of the trees. It's a male voice, singing Metallica's Unforgiven at the top of his lungs, as loudly as possible.

I sing along, as I just happen to know the words to this song.

Footsteps pound the trail behind us, the singing draws nearer, and suddenly there he is--the source of the voice. He is a skinny homeless man, running along the trail, ripe with body odor and something musty underneath.

"Good morning, ladies!" he shouts over the music of his headphones he as runs alongside us.

"Good morning!" we say.

"Just singing along to a little Metallica," he says, and smiles a huge, friendly smile.

"Yeah, we know," we say.

"Yeah, Metallica," he says, then laughs. His eyes are wild and smiling, and before he disappears over the next hill, he says:

"That'll wake a muthafucka up, won't it?"