So the dog and I are walking past the Silver Lake 99-Cent store on Sunset this morning and standing at the adjacent newspaper racks is one of several of the community’s residence-challenged members who I regularly encounter. The sistah’s head is swathed up in a turban all Erykah Badu-style (back before she went all Angela Davis) and as we draw closer to her she asks quietly if I can spare any change. All I have in my pocket is a paper towel and a baggie to pick up any stuff the dog might be dropping, and a dollar that’s been predesignated for today’s L.A. Times. Passing her I shrug and say, “Not today, sorry,” and I haven’t gone two steps beyond her before she snaps me with “Well then lemme have one of them benjamins then, niggah!”
So I do a spit take, then bust out laughing and keep on moving. It’s not that I haven’t heard that line before, I’ve just never had it used on me. And besides, even if I did have one of the “them benjamins” to spare, I’d already promised to flow a part of it Tony Pierce to help turn his frowny face upside down.