Those who have followed my blog for a while know that I give to all kinds of people. Well, today’s post is proof of that. It was an evening full of interesting characters.
I saw tall lanky African American man wearing a hat, sweatshirt, jacket and suit trousers who was randomly walking up to people and saying things to them and then walking away. His unpredictable behavior and use of a sweatshirt and jacket in near 90+ degree temperatures peaked my interest. As I walked up to him I was greeted by him saying, “Did the good old boys send you from Texas or Tennessee?” I tried to make sense of his question but couldn’t and responded, “My name is Reed and I was wondering if you would like to be part of my project…” He put his hand on my shoulder, something he most have done twenty or thirty times throughout our conversation, and said, “I bet you don’t know where to find you some Japanese ninjas do you?” Before I could tell him that he was right about that he continued, “I trust the Japanese more than I trust my own people, and that’s the end of that now.”
A homeless man rests his head on a briefcase on the streets of DC (photo: Reed)
This was the beginning of a 30 minute bizarre conversation that was impossible to follow. It was like taking a Quentin Tarantino flick, translating into another language and then watching it backwards. I don’t have any pictures or video of Frederick because he was completely paranoid about his image being captured. I did however manage to rather stealthily turn on my audio recorder that was in my backpack at one point and captured some of the tirades. If anyone knows a simple way to upload an audio file on WordPress, let me know, I tried and it only seems to accept video. I know there are some conversion products, but I have not had good luck with some of them.
Few pieces of Frederick’s discourse were coherent. He rarely answered my questions, preferring to jump to a completely different subject. Here are a sample of items that I did manage to comprehend. He claims to:
- be a direct descendent of our 14th president, Franklin Pierce
- have served in the 18th Military Police Criminal Investigation Division for six years
- have worked for the US Postal Service
- be protected by ninjas
- know about secret German laboratories located through a system of tunnels under NYC
- be homeless and live near the Russian embassy (for security reasons)
Surprisingly I did manage to get a clear answer about what he would do with the $10. “I’m going to buy lottery tickets. It’s a tax write-off,” he explains. Hmmm, not sure I agree with him on the tax write-off, but by this time I was not surprised at all by anything he said.
The rest of my time with Frederick was spent tangentially jumping from subject to subject. It was difficult to make any sense of it, but I did start writing down topics that he spoke about. Here is a sample of the items (in order as he mentioned them) that he talked about: Manuel Noriega, Marion Barry, Vietnam war, drugs, race, Philippines, Spanish, Obama, Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Christmas cards, South Carolina, Castro, KGB, Charlie Rangel, plagiarism, Mozambique, Florida, Turkestan, Jews and Alexander Pushkin. On top of all this he fist bumped me at least two dozen times throughout his ramblings. If you can make a coherent statement weaving all of these items together in that order, please send it to me!
He stopped at one point and I decided this was my time to make an exit. I thanked him for his time and got my things together. ”So, when are you going to deploy?” he asked. I assured him that I wasn’t deploying anywhere, shook his hand and went on my way…but my interesting evening wasn’t over yet. As I said goodbye I heard someone imitating the sound of a cat. They were meowing really loud. I spotted a twenty or thirty-something white guy with really unkempt hair slowly making his way along the sidewalk. He was about 15 feet away from me screaming his lungs out. People began changing their path just to avoid getting close to him. If this wasn’t weird enough, another white guy, about sixty years old, ran past both me and the crazy cat man shooting at us with a water gun. I looked up at the moon, but it wasn’t full.
Nonetheless, it was really late and walking home was probably not a good idea so I found a cab, jumped in the back and breathed a sigh of relief.
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