Shut Up, Little Man!

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

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

eddie and ray at walgreens
Eddie incognito sidles
up to Ray at Walgreen's

When this reverie dissolved and he got a slippery grip on himself, Ray decided on Mickey’s Malt Liquor. He managed to get the cooler open and wrangle himself two 40-ouncers of the stuff. He swept around and began to hobble toward the counter. In my mind I had a sudden flash that Ray was not going to make to the counter with the two big beers. And sure enough, one of the Mickey’s slipped and smashed on the floor. Everyone in the place turned their eyes toward Ray. The accident seemed to shatter Ray’s drunken narwcolepsy, for he stiffened up and called out with authority: "Was not my fault! Was not my fault!" Then, slower: "Was. . . not. . . my. . . fault!" He lowered his head and looked at the little green bits of broken glass floating amidst the puddle of brown beer. And, silently, almost imperceptibly, he mumbled: "Welllllll, maybe it was."

A young Walgreen’s employee approached and swept up the mess. Ray, with new-found vigor, returned to the cooler and again procured two big bottles of Mickey’s. He approached the cashier. The cashier who always seemed to be behind the booze counter at Wahlgreen’s could not understand what Ray was asking for, because: (1) Ray was ripped and mumbling, and (2) Ray couldn’t understand the attendant’s thick accent. I snuck up behind Ray just then, and Mitchell snapped a photo of me buying a big ol’ jug of wine behind my hero, Ray Huffmann.

Mitchell handed me the camera, and I ran on ahead and positioned myself on Haight Street for the impending arrival of the Little Man. Ray somehow crossed Fillmore safely and began his drunken little two-step home. Mitchell slid up behind Ray, and I snapped a shot of them both. The flash sort of startled Ray, and he looked up and then around. But, by that time I was half-way down the block ahead of him. I stopped, pivoted, and walked back again toward Ray, who was totally oblivious of my movements. I jovially asked: "Hey there, how ya doin’ this evening?" Ray brightened up and looked me in the face: "Hot damn! I got my pitcher takin’ tonight!" He walked on. Mitchell was a few steps behind him; we hugged each other, laughing uncontrollably.

No End.

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