I see him asleep on the steps as I approach the church. The front doors are locked. Apparently Charles has left for the day.
Me perdon, Senor, se necesita salirse. No es permiso a dormirse en las escaleras duriente el dia.
Di me, he says, demandingly, di me.
Me dijo que necesita salirse las escaleras. No puede dormir en las escaleras.
Pero me no estoy durmiendo.
No importa. No puede esta como este en las escaleras.
Y quien es usted?
El pastor de la iglesia.
No. Usted es caminando en la calle.
No. Yo soy el pastor.
Ok. Me voy dentro la iglesia y me voy abrir las puertas.
Ah man, why you bother me Jus leave me alone.
Can’t do that.
You follow me everywhere.You follow me..
No sir, I don’t.
So I go in the church. I open the doors.
That other man, he leave me in the church. Say it’s OK.
And it is. You can sit there. He enters and sits down. I look out and realize he has two SUV shopping carts tied to the scaffolding. I sigh.
My coffee man brings me a coffee. I tell him he can play the piano. He points to Luli and a friend pointing and talking. It’s OK, I say. Soon Martin is there. Pigeons again. He has a friend. She wants to take a look, I agree. She comes back with two dead birds. And some fresh eggs. She’s not sure what to do. You don’t want me to kill them do you?
No, I say.
They’re gonna die anyway, says Martin.
She seems to have a plan.
Hugo arrives. With a bag of leftover food from work. I turn to our friend, sitting in the back charging his cell phone. Homeless. SUV carts. And a cell phone. Es el tiempo salir. Yo nececito cerrar las puertas.
Tiene hambre, senor? He nods again.
Hugo opens the bag and our friend selects what he wants. Ensalada de pollo, pan…
While I close up, I hear Hugo ask him his name. He responds that he has no name. He leaves. Hugo locks up. As we leave, Hugo tells me the man told him he has no name. Yes, I overheard, I said, Un hombre sin nombre con hambre….And Hugo laughs.
When I come back from a good dinner and conversation, the man is asleep. In the north doorway. Out of site of our new security cameras.
Inside, there’s a private swing dance class going on in the sanctuary. I follow the music upstairs to the gym where the weekly Syncopated City swing party is, well, in full swing .Walking up the stairs, it could be the 1940’s. Despite the wholesale renovation of the lower floors, the gym still looks like the Weimar era Berlin Spiegelhall when it reopened after having been locked down by the Nazis and
kept mothballed by the DDR only to be rediscovered after the wall fell. Like that. And the dancers swing on.
One floor down, RL has another appointment with Nero Wolfe.