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Dollar Joe Chapter 6
Junkout Jackson
[Author’s note: The author and his friend met Junkout Jackson in Portland, Oregon at the cor-ner of Powell and Foster on March 2, 2021, at about noon.]
It was a beautiful day!
The rich white folks cruised by in their cars waving and smiling and approving.
But it was not a lucrative day.
The antique music store sold old time Mo-town on big plastic DVDs and they were cool with him walking their store front. He was a nonviolent dude. He never dropped no trash or pissed on the building or begged nothing from nobody. He believed a man should work for a living and working he was, within reasonable limits. The owner had asked him if he was willing to be a sign spinner, and to be honest—but not modest—he, Mister Jackson, had expressed the obvious contradiction that would arise between his freelance work and sign spinning. Because it would only be a matter of time before spinning a sign would injure that about him which was di-vine. So he had to decline.
His feet were bare.
His hair was nappy.
But his shirt was bright white.
His sweat pants had lost their tie cord—not lost, but taken by his wicked sister who had set him on this sure trial and tribulation course to fame and fortune.
They both lived at home with Mama. But his sister had gotten greedy, wanted it all. And they had got to fussing and fighting on the front lawn. He never had been able to beat that bitch in a fight, especially not after she surpassed three-hundred pounds, him being but 150.
Then, on that lawn, as Mamma sat inside watching The Price is Right, none the wiser, don't you know his only begotten sibling had taken his key—after she had already burned his under-clothes on the gas stove and throwed them in the cat’s litter box, the fight having been about her re-fusing to wash his underclothes. Then, on that fateful lawn, in the middle of all this socially dis-tant disease, his sister had pulled his sweat pants down around his ankles and tore out the string so that he’d have to get in the backdoor with one hand while that big bitch locked it.
Then the police.
They were good for keeping his ass out of the house, her saying she didn't even know him, and since he had no identification—that shit being burned up with his drawers—they had dropped him off at the edge of town.
First, as he made his way back to the other side of town he had been humiliated, having to do everything with one hand holding his pants up. But then, one day, after some white folks had given him money for being homeless and bare-foot and he was running and waving the ice cream truck down for some ice cream his pants had fallen down around his knees and the people driving by thought he was great, even told him he was blessed and handed him some more money.
But that was some time back, before this most recent disease variant that was said to catch and kill folks outside. Well, that would not have mattered, but he had spent his last dollar inside the drug store and the security guard would not let him come back in to retrieve his mask that had fallen while he left the store. Now that he had no mask, none of the people who gave a shit and gave money—being the political white people—would come near him. The people that did not give a shit about his mask were the kind of pickup truck driving people who also did not give a shit about down-and-out folks.
He was out of money and might be a real down-and-out homeless man and eating from the Mickey Dee dumpster if he didn’t make any change soon.
But until he happened upon a mask he could still keep up his popularity so he did, waiting for the light to change outside the dollar store. He then let his pants drop to his knees as he stepped to the curb and waved to his peeps, junk out and proud. Even the police drove by without jacking him up—that is how popular he had become!
Junkout Jackson stepped back into the main part of the sidewalk and accidentally bumped in-to a rough-looking white dude with the straw-colored elf hair, but with a fucked-up face and backpack.
“I'm sorry, man,” they both said to each other, surprised, as that dude had a blind side and well, Mister Jackson had been attending to his reputation.
The man then looked down and started and said, “Bro, your junk is out.”
“I know, man—I’m Junkout Jackson. This is my corner, where I make my living.”
He said this as he pulled his pants up with one hand and apologized, “Sorry sir, it weren’t meant for you—it’s a public service fo’ the ladies.”
The man smiled slightly and inquired, “So how much you make today?”
“Oh. Nothin’ today, brutha—I lost my mask and people afraid, ’specially the white ladies wit da money!”
“I know that’s right, bro,” said the fellow. He then stopped and took off his bandanna from around his neck and said, “A rich dude gave this to me in Thailand, and a little fella back there said I can buy a three pack of more acceptable masks here at the dollar store—so here ya go Junkout! The man who gave me dis ’ere chin cover asked me to pay it forward.”
And just like that, it was about to rain junk money again at this corner as the nice man with the messed-up eye handed Junkout Jackson the coolest bandanna in town, made a half a world away!
But Junkout was worried about his benefactor and said, “Da end cap in da front, right in front of the door, it has the masks—go right to it and put one on or dese people will fuck you up! You can pay for it after a minute, but dey won’t let you pay for it until you face is in it!”
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