The Score by Steve Young

I left early to go to the park and drink. I used to do things like that all the time. I’d just stroll up to the boss and announce I had to leave early, and I would see him tomorrow. I was only making seven bucks an hour, so what did three hours hurt? And I sure as hell didn’t care if I got fired. I was looking for a job when I found that one, as they say. I didn’t ever get fired, though. I’m not sure why, but the bosses never even spoke about it. Ah, a wonderful freedom to experience; to sincerely not give a fuck.

I walked straight through the park and across the street to a liquor store. I bought two tall cans of Olde English and headed back to the park. The park was very small, it just took up one corner of the intersection, but it did have a pond in it. On weekends you could find all sizes of Mexican families scattered around the edge of the lake, fishing. They used pieces of hot dogs for bait, and I never saw any of them catch a fish. But during the week, it was a hangout for tweekers and bums. They leaned their bikes or backpacks on a tree and lounged about; waiting for night, or more dope, or for nothing at all.

I was moving toward a small shady spot in the back corner of the park. I passed two Indians sitting at a picnic table, they spotted my beer through the white plastic grocery sack, and invited me to join them. I saw they both had their own bottles so I took a seat. Introductions started. Leland was a Navajo and about three hundred pounds. He was taller than me and looked a lot like the “Chief” from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Tommy, who was also Navajo, was also pushing three hundred, but was short and round. Leland looked like he could kill a horse with his hands, and Tommy looked like he would eat it.

“So” started Tommy, “what’s the score?”
“No score” I replied.
“Don’t worry about the score, Tommy. Where’d you pick that up any way? All this motherfucker ever talks about these days, is ‘The Score.”
I shrugged. I was never very good at starting conversations with strangers. But I got the impression these guys were going to pick each other apart for my benefit, so I tried.
“How do you guys get money?” I asked.
“We spare for change during the rush hours” answered Tommy, “and Leland gets money from his Mommy.”
“Fuck you, fat ass. That money is mine, from the government. They owe me for-”
“Yeah yeah” interrupted Tommy, “we know the score. Don’t start that shit now.”
“All right Tommy, why don’t you tell our new friend how you got sent to jail last week? Maybe I’ll tell him…”
“What, did you rob somebody?” I asked.
“Nah, listen, if we let these faggots suck our dicks once a week we’d be swimming in booze.”
“So, what does that mean? You beat up a queer or something?”
Leland was giggling like a little girl. I could see Tommy was starting to laugh too. I had no idea what it meant.
“Fucking tell him, man!” cried Leland.
Tommy took a sip from his bottle, and made himself comfortable.

“Listen, here’s the score. We get a buncha’ fags driving in and outta’ here all day, winking and making signs at us. One Chinese guy kept coming back every day. Each day he would creep closer and closer to our spot here. One day I finally just said, ‘What’s the score zipperhead? You wanna’ suck my dick or what?’ Well he started nodding and reached into his pocket, he brought out a silver money clip stuffed with cash. I had this hangover, man, you know the score. Leland didn’t have any money, and I sure as hell couldn’t go sparing change with a hangover like that, so I waved the guy over. He asked how much, and I told him a hundred. He nodded and pointed to the little van he was driving. I walked over there with him and let him suck my dick. He wanted his money back because I couldn’t cum. I said fuck that, and split with the money.”

Leland was laughing loudly, and leaning against a tree for support. I still didn’t get it. It was odd, but not funny.
“How did you end up in jail, though? Did the guy call the cops?” I asked.
Leland was slapping his chest and choking with laughter.
“Tell him” he croaked, “Oh man, tell him!”
“This Chinese guy” continued Tommy, “had real bad breath man. I mean really bad. I could smell it when he was blowing me, but I thought it was my own ass. When I came back to our spot here, I kept getting a whiff of ass. I went to the john to clean my ass, but when I got in there and pulled my pants down, I realized the smell was coming from my dick, man. That goddamn zipperhead had left his bad breath all over my dick, man. You know the score, it was worse than bad pussy.”
They were both laughing hysterically now, crying and pounding the table.
“But, how did that land you in jail?”
“Oh, man” laughed Tommy, “a lady cop walked in to the john while I was washing my dick in the sink. I had walked into the women’s john. She busted me for indecent exposure.”
“And since it was in a public bathroom” added Leland, “he’s gotta’ register as a sex offender!”
They both roared with laughter. I announced that I was going to buy more beer. I walked past the liquor store and kept going. A bus stopped for me and I rode home, promising myself I would write this down as soon as I got there.

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