When, on the first night in my new flat, my internet seemed to be predictably faulty, typical for me, I reached out to the neighbours. Working my way down the corridor to a soundtrack of unanswered knocks, I came to room 506. A blond man with thick glasses and a walking stick answered. He was perhaps pushing 50, and spoke with a drawl. He looks like that drag queen from Under Siege, I thought. "Gary Busey!" he cackled on another occasion, remarking on his new persona in China. Would they even know Gary Busey? I thought.
He hobbled down the hall telling me that he "dropped a goddamn piano on ma foot last week. Hurt like hell. Yeah, ah was moving it, getting reading to leave 'n come out over here, an' the thing slipped on me." He paused to point at his foot. "Broke both these bones." We picked up walking again. "Yeah I'm still walkin'. Just about ahaha. Yup I was in the army, can take a little pain all right. Little kids think I'm a machine." He paused again and pulled up his sleeve to flex his bicep. "I just show 'em this and, hahah, they're all 'wooa', haha, yea. Well, let's take a look at this internet of yours, I'm no wizard with the computer stuff, ah just stick it in there, seemed to work OK...."
In the flat I tried again with the ethernet cable. Arizona Man opined that I might have the wrong "hole". For all I knew he was right; I'm also no wizard with computer stuff. But then it just worked and all was well.
It turns out that Arizona Man was a military man. Military intelligence, he told me under his breath, in case the CIA was listening. He been shot and blown up and all sorts. Now he's married to a Korean lady and they've adopted Arizona Man's son's daughter. The three of them are out here, seeking a new life. I popped by their flat for a cheeky can of Sprite and before five minutes had gone by, Arizona Man had his binder of songs out, his acoustic guitar on his knee, and was playing the Beatles. He followed that with a repertoire of blues songs, never finishing the whole song, but instead stopped to flick another page over in the binder and say, "Yea ah got all sorts in here, a ton 'a songs."
Next day, I was walking back to the school after a stroll, when I heard a holler: "You stand out man!" Arizona Man was waiting on the other side of the road, at the bus stop. I stand out? Where was he going. "Bought maself a printer yesterday, at the Metro," he shouted at me, waving a box. "Got back 'n there ain't nothing in there. Gone and bought maself an empty box, gonna head back and git the damn thing." Didn't you realise there was nothing in the box? I asked. Or you thought it was a really light printer? He flexed his bicep again. "Most thangs not much heavier than air to me, hahah."
And off he went, sunsetwards.