Just put up a sign at the coffee shop that says, “This is my last week! I do Shakespeare with inner-city kids over the summer and in the fall I’m having a baby!”
So this guy- about 18 or 19 with dark hair, a black t-shirt and a baseball cap- comes in with a guitar slung across his back. He’s got words scarred across the inside of his arm, but I can’t read what they say. He reads the sign and says, “Oh cool! Is this you?”
“Yeah!” I say. “What can I get for you.”
“What’s the cheapest thing on your menu?”
Great, I think. Here we go again.
“A small coffee. It’s 1.66,” I say.
His face falls. “O…kay. How about I just do this?” And he pulls his wallet out and counts out five ones, laying them on the counter.
“So what can I get?” I ask.
“Oh no. That’s for you. I love Shakespeare. It’s my favorite. And I’m always up to help people with kids.”
I look at him, dumbfounded.
“Are you sure I can’t get you anything?”
He shakes his head. “Nah… My favorite quote is, ‘palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss. Give me my sin again.”
“Romeo and Juliet,” I say.
He smiles. “Yeah. And this other one, about ‘the course of true love never did run smooth…'”
“Oh yeah!” I say. “What’s that from?”
“I dunno,” he says. “Macbeth, maybe?”
“Well you should come see our show,” I say. “We’re doing Much Ado About Nothing.” I tell him the time and the date.
He says, “How much are tickets?”
“Last year they were eight dollars,” I say.
He makes a face and then pats his guitar. “I can probably get that how I get my other money- playing in the Strip District.”
“Cool,” I say, feeling totally helpless. He’s a busker who just gave me five dollars that he made playing a guitar on the street. “Then I’ll see you there?”
“If I’m not in jail,” he says, and walks out the door.