He was always walking, arms flaying, his one bad
leg dragging. Face of a well-worn baseball mitt, blue
eyes blazing, wild beard catching the wind as unkempt
hair sprang about like bad mattress springs.
Up Cottman to Central over to Oxford then down Rhawn to
Dungan back to Cottman and over and over again each
day Long Legged Larry walked always looking back to see
if what he was walking away from was catching up.
He never spoke to anyone and if you spoke to him he looked
away and back over his shoulder, probably hadn’t had a shower
in years. His jacket, shirt, pants, socks all thread bare as the soles
of his shoes were pock marked.
It was a cold January morning I walked along Cottman Avenue
just past the small grove of leafless trees. There nestled among
them in the park were a second district squad car and a car from
the Medical Examiner’s office. Curled up against the trunk of one
of the trees, like a baby in a womb was Long Legged Larry.
He wouldn’t be walking anymore, wouldn’t have to look back
to see who was following him. There curled up under that tree
whatever was chasing him had caught up with him.