The old guy sat on the sidewalk, holding a small transistor radio to his ear.
“Batteries,” he said to me as I walked past him.
“What?” I asked, stopping.
“Batteries. Batteries are the future. Can’t go wrong investing in batteries.” He pointed to his transistor radio. “World runs on batteries. Everything needs batteries.”
“You got a point there,” I said to him.
“You got a cigarette for me?”
“Sorry, I don’t smoke.”
“Damned messed up world. Everybody’s done gone squeaky clean. No more real men left. Used to be everybody smoked.”
“Light bulbs,” he said. “Light bulbs are the future. Can’t see shit in the dark without them. We all need light bulbs.”
“That’s some good advice. I’ll have to remember that. Light bulbs and batteries.”
“So how about that cigarette?”
“Sorry, but I told you I don’t smoke.”
The old guy nodded his head toward the grocery store sign behind him. “Advice don’t come free these days,” he winked. “How about it? A pack of Marlboro Regulars. None of that light shit. And how about a couple of double A’s for my radio?”