They never looked up or in any way acknowledged my presence as i entered.
In this clothing factory and store in Miami Beach, no deliveries were necessary. Everything was on hand. My first day i walked around the maze of lofts looking at people.
Unlike New York, most of the workers were black. I walked up to a black man, quite small - almost tiny, who had a more pleasant face than most.He was doing some close work with a needle. I had half a pint in my pocket. "You got a rotten job there. Care for a drink?"
"Sure," he said. He took a good hit. Then handed the bottle back. He offered me a cigarette. "You new in town?" "Yeah." "Where you from?" "Los Angeles." "Movie star?" "Yes, on vacation." "You shouldn't talk to the help." "I know." He fell silent. He looked like a little monkey, an old graceful monkey. For the boys downstairs, he was
I took a hit. I was feeling good. I watched them all working quietly under their thirty watt bulbs, their hands moving delicately and swiftly. "My name's Henry," i said. "Brad," he answered. "Listen, Brad, i get the deep deep blues watching you people work. Suppose i sing you guys and gals a little song?" "Don't." "You've got a rotten job there. Why do you do it?" "Shit, ain't no other way." "The Lord said there was." "You believe in the Lord?" "No." "What do you believe in?" "Nothing." "We're even."
I talked to some of the others. The men were uncommunicative, some of the women laughed at me. "I'm a spy," i laughed back. "I'm a company spy. I'm watching everybody."
I took another hit. Then i sang them my favorite song, "My Heart is a Hobo." They kept working. Nobody looked up. When i finished they were still working. It was quiet for some time. Then i heard a voice: "Look, white boy, don't come down on us."
I decided to go hose off the front sidewalk.