Your prompt for today is to write about scams
The day was hot and the city street was bustling. A man stood aside the ant line of busy pedestrians walking to their next appointments. “Excuse me?” He would say to any of them who walked close enough by him. Many of them would ignore him and keep moving. “Excuse me?” and a gentleman finally stopped and gave the man his attention. “Do you have the time?” the man asked. “Yes” the gentleman said, “It’s twelve-thirty” and went on his way. The rest of the man’s afternoon went much the same:
“Excuse me, Do you have the time?”
“Yes, it is a quarter after one.”
“Thank you, miss.”
“Can I trouble you for the time?
“Thank you, sir.”
“What time is it?”
“Why, it is time you get yourself a watch.”
Later that afternoon when the bustle grew thin, the man began to lose hope.
“Excuse me, miss” he tried again. The woman stopped and gave the man her attention. “Do you have the time?”
“Yes.” She said “It’s three-fifteen.”
But instead of moving along as the others had, she hesitated and gave an irksome look as if he were a puzzle.
”Now, what might a homeless man such as you need with the time?” she asked.
“You’re right, ma’am, I am homeless, but I still have appointments to keep.”
“Yes ma’am” he said. “I have to catch the 3:30 bus and make it all the way to Northern Gardens for four so I can walk my son home from school.”
“School is dismissed by now.”
“Piano lessons, extra curricular,” the man explained. “I’d rather him play football like his old man, but the boy is an amazing musician. I’m proud of him.”
“Northern Gardens, huh? She mused. “That’s a pretty up-scale part of town.”
“Don’t I know it,” he said. “My ex-wife lives there with her boyfriend and the house I bought for them with my divorce.”
“Yes, ma’am, I believe he did.”
They shared a moment of silence, until the lady finally spoke.
“Look,” she said, while fishing through her purse.
“Here is twenty dollars. Take a cab, on me. The busses smell like piss.”
She handed the man the twenty.
“Don’t I know it,” he said, and the young gentlewoman went off.
The man pocketed the twenty and sat on the bench at the bus stop near by and waited.
The three thirty bus to Northern Gardens arrived. Another man, as homely as he, sat beside him on the bench.
“Well, how about it then, Roy?” He said. “Did it work like I said it would?”
Roy looked gravely at the other man and nodded slightly. The homely man clapped his hands and jigged to celebrate. “I told you man! What did I tell you! Never ask for change! Never ask for change! Ask for the time and those blue bloods will damn-near forget you’re a lousy, no account cup shaker!”
“How much?” the homely man asked.
“Twenty,” Roy said.
“What the hell are we waiting for? Let’s go get fixed up.”
The three thirty bus to Northern Gardens departed, and Roy was not on it,