THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF SHORT FICTIONAL PIECES BASED ON IMAGES FROM THE STREET PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY:
They'd seen him there before, though they didn't know who he was or where he came from. He was always hustling one thing or another, always with his broad, beige cowboy hat, and his entreaties to women passing on the plaza captured the terse attention of shopkeepers as his voice got louder and his comments more ribald. There were rumors of an alley scuffle at some point but by and large he was ignored as a buffoon. Eduardo and Carlos had never actually spoken to him..until that day.
Eduardo met Carlos at the wall every day after work as they both waited for the bus. With his usual bag of loaves in hand, looking forward to his wife's good meal after a long day at the office, he always enjoyed the time with his ebullient friend who never failed to entertain with anecdotes of the people he encountered while slapping tickets onto wayward cars. Carlos enjoyed his work - it kept him in the sunlight and fresh air - but once out of uniform and headed home, he often wished he did something more meaningful, like Eduardo, who edited scientific texts at the local university. But it paid the bills and he did enjoy the scenery.
As they waited that day for the late bus, the usual stories were exchanged. Eduardo's was a short, dry retelling of the day's unspectacular events. Carlos had a more compelling tale of an excitable girl with an orange bag who almost throttled him for dispensing a ticket after she'd parked with two wheels on the curb and a bumper jammed into a trash bin. Eduardo roared, secretly jealous of Carlo's more picturesque life, but as they concluded their debrief both took note of the Cowboy hovering nearby, too close and clearly eavesdropping on their conversation. Neither were pleased.
"Hey," Carlos, always more direct, snapped in Cowboy's direction, "You got something to say?"
Cowboy smiled that big, obsequious grin that seemed a permanent feature of his face and slid closer to the men. Before they could say anything, he pulled out a wallet pack and out tumbled a series of cards too small for Carlos and Eduardo to discern from their tense perch feet away. With an enigmatic expression, the Cowboy turned to the wary men and said:
(Have an idea of what the Cowboy said? Feel free to send an email with your thoughts!)