The Hat

a story

by J. Orlin Grabbe

I'm just going the same way. I'm not following you. Hi, I'm Kim. I saw you looking at me, back there, like I was weird or something. I was just dancing beside the car. Yeah, I thought you were kind of cute, too. You want to try on my hat? That's my best hat, don't lose it. You want to get some beers, since we're going the same way? Great. Wherever. Or we could just get a six-pack and go to my place. Or to your place. We can just be friends, okay? Do you like marijuana? I could get some great Thai weed over on Fourth Street. It's great stuff. Chocolate. We can get an ounce or a quarter. It's in-house, we don't have to buy it in the street. You're not a cop, right? Tell you what, we could take a cab. We could get a quarter or a half. We split the grass and the six pack and you pay for the cab, okay? Great. You're sure you're not a cop? We have a good thing going here. I just have to call first. Hello? I'm calling about the laundry, the four shirts. I need one of the shirts for a party I'm going to. I will come by in a few minutes. Can you have it ready for me? Okay, great. We're all set. There's a cab. Hi, we want to go to Fourth Street. We have to pick up a painting. You wait. I'll just run in and get it, and then we'll go to Thirteenth. That's twenty-five each for the quarter. What do I have? Let me see, I have, oh, just fifteen dollars. You don't mind if I owe you five do you? So that'll be thirty for your part and I'll owe you the five. I'll pay you back. There. Stop right here. Why don't we get a half? We might as well go for it. Give me an extra twenty and he'll let me owe him twenty because he knows me. Okay? Great. I would never do that, we have a great thing going. And you have my best hat. Just wait right here, I'll just be a second. Hi, I'm back. Listen, there's a problem. Just pay for the cab and get out. Yeah. It's just that he won't let me owe him the twenty, I already owe him some money. We need another twenty for the half. Okay. Yeah, I'm really sorry about this. I'll pay you back, really. Okay. Stay in the cab, but don't leave, okay? Just don't leave. Take care of my hat, I'll be right back.


from Art Times, November 1992