When I safely touched my anxious feet on the tarred streets of Manhattan, it dawned on me I had forgotten my most precious watch. I had that watch as far back as my slurry and shady memory would want to travel, therefore all that mattered at that point was a watch to wrap my wrist with.
In a very brisk moment of curious observation and smart questioning, I had found my way in front of a street vendor. I never knew such public display of wares and goods existed in this part of the earth; I thought it was a place devoid of such practises, but I must have a very wrong thought to think that way.
By and large there won’t be any need to indulge you in the nifty details of how I got by talking with the street vendor; for I sounded and spoke like a foreigner on his home turf. And did I say I travelled to Manhattan?
I can’t remember saying such; in truth I was at my backyard, haggling with a trader I know not from anywhere. Perhaps he was a new face; in fact, he was.
“How much does this go for?” I asked.
“50 dollars,” he abruptly replied.
“Would that be the last price? Wouldn’t it be nicer if you could pass it as a souvenir to me? I’m not from here, you know?”
“I’m sorry, mate, you can go fuck yourself; go fuck off to some other place if you’re not interested in buying,” he sharply retorted.
I was dis-tuned by such impertinence, rudeness and disregard. Perhaps this could be his manner of dealing, but I must have forgotten again to state that I was actually in Manhattan: a few mix up in my memory box, in fact I was a foreigner on a foreign soil.
“Sorry mate I wouldn’t want to be fucking off to anywhere!”
That was me trying to leave an impression, and presumably trying too hard to be cocky. I handpicked another; it was of exquisite familiarity and dainty quality.
“I shall take this. How much does this go for? I shall take it.”
“If you really mean that, you could have it for 30 dollars,” said he.
“I’ll pay 20 dollars for it. I hope you don’t mind?” I reached my hands into my right waist pocket, brought out four five dollar bills, counted them in a cursory but meticulous way and handed them to him. I had not gotten a glove yet hence my hands were chilly from the cold.
After dealing I set my feet towards the direction of the bus stand. I had barely gone a few blocks when I began to feel an approximate body size like that of mine bearing in close range, with close footsteps gliding behind mine. In the process I felt a soft masculine touch right on my shoulders. With haste and I turned back at the site of a teenager, who had a fairly coloured skin, slender physique, and had a face almost like an oval shape.
“May I be of help to you?” I asked.
“Not really, I would like to let you know something: I saw you count about 20 dollars to the dude selling the watch. You got that shit at an overpriced cost, man. I wanted to get it for myself a couple days back, you know. It only cost about 11 dollars,”
he said, sounding quite cold whilst flashing a wild grin right at my face.
His words struck my meandering and wandering mind, but I felt he was trying to run me over with a lie.
“You’ve been played man,” he continued.
“Alright, alright, stuffs like this also happen where I’m from,” I said with an attempt to wade of the slight mishap that had befallen me. Nailing the last set of nails in my coffin, I asked, “Roughly how much is a hotel room around here?” pointing my index finger towards the location of a handsomely decorated hotel, with colourful paintings. The hotel block was a few yards away.
“I don’t know, probably 75 dollars for a night,” he replied.
I quickly reached into my waist pocket to check how much money I had left on me. Astonishingly it was a paltry sum of 45 dollars.
I looked around with total dismay,, hoping to see any cash withdrawal outlet of walkable distance, but there was none.
I turned to my new found teenage friend to see if could ask one more question. But he was gone, leaving me stranded on the cold Manhattan street.