“Are you one of those…” he waved a nicotine-stained finger in circles. It was as if he was trying to get his memory running. They were sitting in a gazebo in Adams Square. Liza wasn’t ready to go home, so she had decided to sit down and see if she could draw something. A homeless guy who looked like Mick from the Rocky movies sat next to her a few minutes later. “Um…”
“No.” Mick squinted.
Liza sighed. Maybe she should have gotten up when he sat down. Was she that hard up for company? No, she could have hung out with Brad longer. Mick had seemed interesting, and truthfully, he was a welcome diversion from the sketch that she was struggling with. “Painter? Sketch artist? Cartoonist? Designer?”
“No. One of those people who draws the funny pictures of people.”
“Yes!” He smiled wide, flashing one lonely tooth at her. It wasn’t a bed tooth, straight and only slightly yellowed. She wondered if he was nice looking when he was younger and (presumably) not homeless. He was nearly toothless and his skin was like worn leather, but he had these lively blue eyes.
“Nope, none of the above,” said Liza.
“So what’s this then?” He waved the stained finger at her sketch pad as he pulled out a pack of little cigars.
“A hobby.” She shook her head when he held the pack out to her. “No, thank you.” Liza fished a cigarette from her pack and lit up. “I have some.”
“That your boyfriend?” he asked.
Liza stared at the picture. It was supposed to be Casey as an angel. Liza was no da Vinci, but damn, was it that bad? “It’s my niece.” He nudged her with his elbow and pointed with the little cigar. Brad was standing near an entrance about twenty yards away. He was looking at her. Darn. She felt like a mean girl. Liza thought about going over and telling him the truth, but the way he was looking at her gave her a sick feeling. Mick looked like he was thinking the same thing. “That’s not my boyfriend,” said Liza.
“But you know him?”
“Yeah. Kind of.” Liza watched Brad, trying to decide what to do. She wished that she had remembered to put the knife in her purse. It wasn’t doing any good back in the glove compartment. Mick turned his head. He was probably getting ready to bolt. She didn’t blame him. Liza stuffed her sketch pad into her bag and pulled it over her head so that it sat across her body diagonally. She put the pen in her front coat pocket. It was better than nothing.
She was trying to psyche herself up to make a move when Mick turned back to her suddenly. “Come on,” he said. He stood and waved her in front of him with one hand. The other was extended toward the nearest opening in the gazebo’s railing. He was ushering her out of the gazebo in front of him. Liza flicked her eyes in Brad’s direction and back to Mick. She didn’t know what to do. “Liza!” he snapped. Liza jumped up and walked out of the gazebo ahead of him.