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he was sick of being in his own skin

This is Cara. Yesterday I went over to her house to help her paint and she told me a story.

She works in Seattle's historic Pike Place Market, where she sees tourists, millionaires, and bums. Because she is the way she is, she accepts and befriends them all without prejudice. She calls the people she meets there the "market crazies".

As she tells it, she invited one market crazy back to her house to help her paint. He hung out all afternoon, and at one point asked for four dollars to go buy a pack of smokes. She pulled out her wallet, with more than a hundred dollars in it, and pulled it out for him.

Later in the day her boyfriend came home and asked to talk with her privately. When she came out, her friend said he was leaving, and took a bus home. The next time she looked in her wallet there was only forty dollars. She was pretty disappointed...it was rent money.

Today she worked in the market again. She called this guy and asked him to come down and visit her so she could talk to him. When I met her at the market, she was in the middle of this talk. She looked him in the eye and said that some money was missing, and she wanted to him to look her in the face and say whether or not he had taken it.

He acted surprised and said he hadn't. He asked how much it was. She told him at least sixty dollars, and he said that he didn't want it to be a source of friction between them anyway, and that he was sad that she had been put in the a bad position by it. He offered to help with some bills!

She assured him it was okay, and said that if he said he didn't take it she trusted him. She even told him the name of the bar we were going tonight, and said she'd be there if he wanted to drop by.

He was there when the two of us walked into said bar, looking a little sweaty and strange. He and Cara sat down, and I wandered over to talk to another friend.

He gave her sixty dollars. He told her some story about how he had met some guy, who had met an angel, and didn't want to ruin things with her. This guy had told him to give the money to Cara. Cara was a little puzzled...that didn't add up, really. He had even left a message on her answering machine saying that "he had found the guy who owed her money".

He stayed, and some other friends and I came and sat down. We all talked and drank beers for hours. At one moment Cara looked at him and said, "I bet that guy feels better."

"Oh yeah," he said with a smile, "he's so relieved. He was sick of being in his own skin."

In further conversation we learned he was undergoing Methadone treatment for heroin addiction, that he had four children with four different mothers, that his mother raised cashmere goats for a living, and that he called her "the queen of darkness". Also that he had '666' in the adress of his childhood home, his social security number, and other relevent numbers. He alluded to the fact that anyone might be Jesus, and anyone could be Satan.

I personally think he took a positive step towards the former on this fine evening.