Sunday, March 26, 2006

I have a soft spot for immigrants, both the legal and the illegal variety. This is probably due to the fact that my dad immigrated from Peru in the late 60’s. Of course, back then Hispanic men were sexy and mysterious. Now most are regarded as low-class, unwashed laborers.

This latter description is an inaccurate and untrue stereotype. Unfortunately, Stinky Hugo does nothing to disprove it.

Stinky Hugo used to hang around at an engine swap shop next to the one where I worked as the Vespa service manager. To call me the Service Manager was a stretch. I was the one-man service department. In stark contrast to the retail location, the Vespa shop had no entrance other than a roll-up door, no bathroom, and no air conditioning. There was a drain in the floor where I could relieve myself in the customary manly way. This led to a few close calls when customers came to the shop, but it worked for me. Of course there were invariably occasions when a floor drain wasn’t enough to meet my needs. In these situations I would use the facilites next door.

It was on one such occasion that I first met Stinky Hugo. He was a friend of Victor, the swap shop owner, and since being homeless and unemployed left him with lots of free time, Hugo was almost always there. After a while he began hanging around my shop and we became better acquainted.

Hugo, as it turned out, had studied auto body and paint. I had a scooter that needed a paint job, and he needed money, so we made a deal. To pay him, I would give him my old air compressor so that he would have tools to continue working after finishing with the scooter. You know, teach a man to fish . . . blah, blah, blah.

Well Victor had another shop which he was just using for storage, so he let Hugo live there and I took him there and delivered the scooter and the compressor to him. He began work right away.

While there I noticed that the shop had a bathroom with running water. As tactfully as I could, I asked if there was a way for him to bathe there. He said no because the water heater was broken. Since I am possessed with a dysfunctional belief that I can fix anything, I climbed up on top of the bathroom (it was built like a wooden box inside the larger warehouse) to where the water heater was located and proceeded to light the pilot. In the process of doing this I managed to cut my hand open pretty bad. Though I bled on everything, I succeeded in getting the burner lit.

The next time I saw Hugo, his body odor was nothing if not worse than before.

I guess this goes to show that you can take the man out of the stink, but you can’t take the stink out of the man.

Also, I forgot to mention that Hugo believes that he was abducted by aliens, that aliens are responsible for making mankind believe in God, and that the Mormon church is making him suffer because he won’t abide by its teachings. All of these assertions are more plausible if you've met the guy.

1 comment:

AzĂșcar said...

You know, it would be great if you sometimes posted pictures of scooters on special at the store.

Persian New Year: good to know.