I'm counting down the blocks to the 8th Street bookstore from where we stand
on a corner waiting for the light to let us cross --"11, 10, 9...." A man missing
some lowers, wearing straw cowboy hat and fingerless gloves in milder-than-normal
Minneapolis December turns and says, "8, 7, 6, 5, 4...." I respond, "3, 2...," but he
doesn't pick up where I left off, simply says as we walk that he can play piano
better than Little Richard and why does he keep throwing his daughter at him?
He answers his own question: "he spends too much time on the road and expects
me to take care of her but I won't give her the satisfaction of hearing my voice."
He says B.B. King is still looking for his guitar, 10 years after it got lost. "Don't ask
me! I don't know where it is!" He says the skyscrapers, the sidewalk, Nicolicka Mall
(as he claims Nicollet is properly pronounced, every extra syllable true and necessary)
is his--"Mine, mine, mine!" he shouts, waving his arms at it all. He's a lawyer
"between the lines" and will get it back for his tribe. His name is Ant B, short for
Anthony Bigwell. "There's an ant in it but sure as hell no Tony." When I stop at a corner
to cross, he shakes my hand and moves on, dwarfed by the buildings, sidewalk, and street,
all of which belong to him as surely as they do to you or me.