Johnny was a man. A gargantuan black man who lived behind a convenient store in Padre (homeless). He'd done some time back in Alabama, and headed to the island for a chance to have it all washed away. He spent the days waiting tables at a place called Mango's. Mango's was on the verge of being a local hot-spot, but failed to acquire a liquor licence, which doesn't boad well for a spring break destination. Johnny's solution was to give the liquor away for free. . . A coworker offered him a place to stay. That coworker was my neighbor.
At night, we'd sit on the screen patio, which overlooked a beautiful sail-boat marina and drink red wine in the hot-humid air. We'd watch the sun go down over the empty sail-boats with backgrounds of pink clouds and orange glass water, which reflected the sunset.
Johnny would smoke a joint and tell me what to do if I ever went to prison (sit in a corner...be quiet...make them think I'm crazy). He didn't like authority, but he wasn't an angry man. He got excited when we bought him Christmas lights to decorate his room.
When my neighbors (who were married) had their religious parents come into town, Johnny took off. The weekend with the parents came and went, but Johnny was gone. 48 hours passed, but still...nothing.
On the third day, I saw Johnny strutting down Padre Blvd. (the main strip). I was cruisin in the LTD, with the windows down (tryin' to pick up chicks....but all I picked up was a coked out Johnny). He'd been doing cocaine all weekend, and this proved to be his undoing.
At night, we'd sit on the porch in our routine and drink our Cabernet. But Johnny stopped hanging out. He became a reclouse. My neighbors found crack in his sock draw and immediately packed his things.
The car was filled with Johnny's clothes and Christmas lights. When she got to the crack-house, Johnny wasn't there. He was on The Wave (a free public transporation vehicle with a drop right next to the house, by the marina, with the screen porch). But the locks were changed. So Jonny hopped the fence. The doors wouldn't open, so Johnny pulled out a window. He then sat on the front porch and waited for the Evictors to get home.
"I guess I'm kicked out eh?" he said.
She gave him a ride back to the crackhouse. We never heard from him again.
2 days after I said goodbye to the island for good, I received a phone call from my neighbors. The police (it could have been the FBI--but I can't say for sure) contacted the owners of the house. Johnny skipped out on his parole back in 'Bama. He was a convicted felon on the run. . .and he couldn't catch a break...but he loved Christmas lights.