Shut Up, Little Man!

“I Got My Picture Taken Tonight” : Stories and anecdotes : Shut Up, Little Man!

« Back to stories list

“I Got My Picture Taken Tonight” — Fond Remembrances of Raymond Huffman, Little Man

ray at walgreens
Ray photographed buying
booze at Walgreen's

Mitchell and I decided that it was high time that we supersede the audio documentation of Pete and Ray and make an attempt to secure some photographs of our bellicose neighbors. One autumnal eve we were in a most gregarious state of mind, and, as we later discovered, so was everyone’s favorite little man, Raymond Huffmann. Mitch and I were sipping a few beers in the living room when we heard Raymond hollerin’ out on the veranda: "Heh heh heh. Fuck you, Peter Haskett! I. . .I . . I’m goin’ down to Walgreen’s to get me some fuckin’ wine!" The door slammed with a thunderous crash. Mitchell and I gave each other a cartoonish wide-eyed look: "Let’s get the camera!" While Mitch loaded up the camera and snapped on the flash, I tossed on a ragged old wig and an overcoat. Hastily, we scuffled out of the Pepto-Bismal Palace and out onto Haight Street. As we spied once we emerged around the corner, Ray had hardly made much progress up Haight. He was totally boozed, shit-faced, pissed to the gills, and yet fueled with an almost super-human determination to somehow get more booze. He waddled and weaved down the sidewalk. Often Ray’s sideways progress out-measured his forward progress. Ray’s gait was like an underwater clubfoot ballet: dreamily slow, clumsy, and yet rhythmic and almost musical. One foot stretching tentatively out in front of the other, the planting of the foot, a jerky drunken imbalance settling momentarily to steadiness, then a weave to the left or to the right. Every once in a while Ray would stop his drunken passage, look up from the sidewalk toward Walgreen’s, heave a booze-soaked sigh, and then commence his stagger. Mitchell and I were sympathetically relieved when Ray finally completed the full one-and-a-half blocks and leaned hard into the entrance door to Walgreen’s.

Once Raymond made it to the booze section at Walgreen’s, he leaned his leaden booze-laden head back to survey the abundant shelves full of liquor. To his left there were shelves lined with Gin, Vodka, Vermouth. To his right were the Brandies, Whiskeys, and Wines. Just behind him was a cooler full of cheap 40-ouncers of Beer. Ray took a looming sweep around to take in all the varieties of sauce. Scotch, Cognac, Liqueurs! Sneaking my way down the aisle toward Ray, I had a revelatory moment of pure empathy with the Little Man. I could see that this vision of a seemingly endless variety and ceaseless supply of sauce was what constituted Heaven for him. Ray smiled.

this article continued »