andy jenkins photographer

Only numbers

The drive thru line is long, so I decide to park and go in. Never been inside this particular fast food joint, but they make a good chicken pita pocket, so I go for it. The parking lot is tight. Ridiculously tight. I wait for a giant Suburban to struggle its way through a twenty-point turn, before slithering into the spot it vacated. As I walk in, I pass a line of homeless folks sitting on the stoop out front. The cement is black with their time spent. Inside I instantly get a turnaround from a tall, bald, flame-tattooed white man waiting his turn at the register.

“Number 911!” shouts the Hispanic girl from behind the counter. “Your order is up!”

Flame man turns towards me. He’s looking at me but not looking at me. Then he leans into the elderly black woman between us in line and practically spits out the words, “911! Fuck. Remember that?”

“Uh-huh,” she says, shaking her head. “Terrible. Just terrible.”

“Shit… I was doing just fine before 911. Mother fuckers. We used to deal our drugs through the mail before that day! FedEx that shit! Damn.” The woman shakes her head again. I can’t tell if they know each other, but I’m thinking she’s his parole officer and humoring him. He’s fidgety, she’s stoic, her chin up, dressed nicely. He orders, gets his bag and walks past us. “Nice talking to you, ma’am,” and swaggers out.

, 27 July 2009

Postcard by Tucker Nichols