Giovanni spit a honker on Houston Street. Damn that Western Union boy. The only gold he ever saw, his precious tobacco, half spilled on the ground. Giovanni tried to look casual as he plucked himself up off the dusty street and replaced his cap. Why was he always picked on? The rolling of a cigarette would take his mind off the embarrassment.
He sat down outside Sommers corner drugstore, his preferred spot. Here he could watch the comings and goings from all directions. San Antonio was his for the taking. The biggest city in Texas just didn’t know it yet.
The fur nudging against his back made him jump. Damn, he was jittery. Turning around, he patted the head of the scruffy dog. Even the coarse fur of a flea infested mutt felt good after a little bullying and a long day’s work. Rising early, collecting papers from the office and bundling them into stacks to haul to his corner meant the day started at four-thirty in the morning. Now mid-afternoon, his workday had come and gone.
“Hey, buddy, don’t you have somebody looking for you?” he said, the dog settling down next to him.
The drawstring of his cloth tobacco sack hanging from the side of his mouth, Giovanni sprinkled part of what was left onto the rolling paper. Sometimes he would break the rule and, instead of accepting money for his newspapers, he’d bargain for tobacco and rolling papers.
Packing the tobacco neatly onto the paper was easy. Rolling it with one hand was the hard part.
“Porca miseria!” he said, loud enough to scare off the poor mutt, his rolling papers torn. The Italian words came out before he could stop them. He’d had enough of bullies the first part of the day, and being called a “wop” wouldn’t be a good way to end one.
Excerpt from Naked, She Lies by C. Dennis-Willingham
Casual– Daily Word Prompt