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When Ben-Ben came to visit

There is a man who can often be seen walking along Route 4, usually with a bodyboard slung over his shoulder or an umbrella in his hand. Sometimes you’ll see him standing on the roadside near the Chalan Pago Shell station just watching traffic go by. One time he stood there clutching a small bouquet of flowers, smiling at the cars going by. His name is Ben. Ben-Ben, according to Addison. Ben-Ben likes to bring his board down to the boat basin, but he never goes in the water. “He’s a nice guy,” Addi told me when I asked about him. “He doesn’t talk much, but all the (surfer) guys are cool with him.”
Yesterday I pulled into the driveway and found Ben-Ben standing in our yard about 30 feet away from the house. I got out of the car and from the safety of the driveway I asked him if he was waiting for someone.
“Do you know Mr. Crawford?” he asks. Mr. Crawford is our landlord.
“Yes, but he doesn’t live here anymore.”
Ben-Ben smiles and says, “OK, I’ll just wait here until tomorrow morning.”
“Oh, OK,” I say and immediately go inside to call Addi.
“Be safe!” Ben-Ben calls out to me.
Addi tells me to call the police. I call my landlord to see if maybe he had asked Ben-Ben to wait for him at our house (our landlord often stops by to pick up tools and things). He tells me to call the police. “He won’t do you any harm, but that’s the only way to make him go away. There’s not much else we can do; he refuses to get medical attention.” I am suddenly overcome with compassion for the man, and I decide to wait for Addi to come home before calling the police. I look outside the window, and Ben-Ben’s standing in the same spot, licking the salt from inside a bag of chips. Maybe he just wants a ride somewhere. I don’t want to call the cops on him if it can be resolved by talking to him first.
Addi comes home and talks to Ben-Ben. Ben-Ben tells him his uncle kicked him off the ranch and he really needs to talk to our landlord about getting some work so he can save money for a plane ticket to California. His parents live in California. He has a little popup tent in his bag. He asks if he can stay until the morning when our landlord comes. Addi and I agree to let him camp in the yard for the night. Addi calls our landlord to give him heads up.
“Tell your wife I said thank you,” Ben-Ben tells Addi. “I’ll just stay here where it’s safe.”
This morning as I was leaving for work, I see Ben-Ben standing outside his tent.
“Are you OK?” he asks me.
“I’m OK, are you OK?” I ask him.
“I’m OK.” And then he smiles and waves goodbye as I back out of the driveway.
“Be safe!” I hear him say as I drive away.

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6 Responses

  1. Ri says:

    The guy sounds familiar, though the person does carry an umbrella sometimes, I never saw him with a bodyboard. I wonder if its the same person.

  2. Michelle says:

    That’s a nice story. I wonder if I’ve seen Ben-Ben around. Not sure, although I once was acquaintances with this homeless Puerto Rican guy that used to panhandle around Tumon. I haven’t seem him since I’ve been back, though.
    (And I like how Blacky’s kind of just checking out the tent.)

  3. Tasha says:

    He sounds like a pretty nice guy. Like Michelle, I wonder if I’ve seen Ben-Ben anywhere. Blacky seemed to have an interest in Ben-Ben.

  4. Josie says:

    Blacky is DYING to get in there and make that tent her own, but she doesn’t know what to do about the human inside it. She’s like that with new things we bring home. New magazine on the counter? She’ll lay on top of it. Cardboard box from Cost-U-Less? She’s inside it in seconds. Everything in the house is HERS. This includes the humans, the dogs and the fish.

  5. tom says:

    she’s casing the joint.
    cat burgalar?

  6. Sean says:

    be safe Josie!

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