We walked outside the coffee shop. The sun was bright. I tripped and had to regain catch myself from falling. "Watch it."
There was this woman sitting huddled outside the door with a stack of newspapers, wearing two pairs of overlapping shorts of different lengths and colors, lime-green and purple, and a hat with a black veil pulled over her face. She shook a stack of newspapers at me like a rattle. The masthead read, "Homeless Security."
"Make a contribution."
"I almost fall and you want me to buy something?"
"Why not? It's the American way. Besides, it was just an accident."
"Then how come you're sitting right there by the door? You deliberately tripped me."
"Get a grip. If you buy a newspaper, I'll show you something amazing."
"Give her a dollar," said Lulu. Some one else came out of the coffee shop and quickly walked away from us.
"Here's your paper," said the woman. Then she showed us something I've never seen anyone do. She tied her tongue into a knot. "It's in the genes," she said, after she'd shown us several times. "They tell me my father could do it, too." She got up from her feet and lifted the black netting from her face. Her face had some nasty-looking pimples that I didn't think was about teenage acne. She looked like she was in her forties.
"You just sit here all day tripping people?" asked Lulu.
"Selling newspapers," she added. "But I don't go tongue-tied for everyone. That was special."
Lulu reached for her video camera. "I can take your picture and show it to you."
Right then, I wished I could've tied Lulu's tongue into a knot, and left it that way.
"Where are you going after you leave here?" the woman asked Lulu.
"We're going to build a mass movement. Why don't you come with us?"
The woman picked up her bundle of newspapers and zipped the fly of one of her shorts. "Sure. I've got nothing better to do. But what're you guys going to use for money?"