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OLIVER BROWN – HANGING WITH STRETCH

Foreword by Stan Lerner: as mentioned in a previous foreword, I’m working on the motion picture screenplay for our dear Downtown Oliver Brown, so I thought it a bit of fun to repost some of his classic adventures. Enjoy!!!

“Hey Oliver, slow down a second.”

I stopped half a block short of 7th on Flower so my homeless buddy Stretch could put a torch lighter to the pipe in his hand. I call him Stretch because he’s almost seven- feet-tall and looks like he weighs one-sixty or less. “Stretch, you know I don’t approve of you smoking crack.”

 “Oliver, I’m a homeless black man with HIV—give me a break. Smoking crack is the least of my problems.”

 “Well maybe you wouldn’t be homeless if you didn’t spend all the money you panhandle on drugs.”

 Stretch laughed. “Oliver, you spend more money on coffee than I do on crack.”

 “Not anymore, Howard Schultz sent me a Starbucks’ card with a couple of grand on it, for a signed copy of my last book.”

 “Does that mean you’re going to pay me back the money you owe me?” asked Stretch.

It was my turn to laugh. “I knew there was a reason I hadn’t told you about my Starbucks’ card.” I stopped at the corner and stared up at the Wokcano sign.”

Stretch looked at the sign as well, although thinking a completely different thought than my own. “I did some good business here when this was Burger King—it’s all about foot traffic for me,” said Stretch.

 I had a plan. “You really shouldn’t smoke crack on an empty stomach…Wait here I’m going to get you some sushi.” Continue reading