Street Dreams Eps. 15 and 16 by Ken David Stewart

Episode 15:

Tony Barrows lived in a basement bachelor apartment on Spence Street. This area of Winnipeg is well known for its poverty and high level of crime. Tony fit very comfortably into his present living situation.

This young man was heavy, but his excess weight was more than compensated for by the significant amount of muscle mass in his upper body. Tony had wide, powerful shoulders, strong pecs and bulging biceps. He liked to show off his upper body mass by wearing an assortment of tank tops and skin -tight tee-shirts. For his daily attire, Tony favored the color black as it emphasized his upper body mass and deemphasized his slight beer belly.

Tony was very proud of his impressive upper body strength, but he had come by it honestly. He didn’t have a great deal of self-discipline, but what little he had, he applied to his physical training regimen.

Tony did not like doing housework or cleaning. There were more important things on which he wanted to focus his time. As Tony lived in a basement apartment, noisy, sweaty heating and plumbing pipes hung from the ceiling. Although the ceiling pipes made his apartment appear even more dumpy than it already was, this cosmetic defect did not really bother Tony.

Tony was thirty-three years old, but he didn’t really have goals or ambitions that society would hold in high regard. The last few years Tony lived in the present, one day at a time. This expression would have made Tony laugh as ‘one day at a time’ was a slogan used by most twelve step groups based on the original program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Tony walked over to a small kitchen. The walls were covered by faded strips of a sickly shade of light green paint.

Making himself a smoothie was the way Tony liked to start his mornings. He, of course, had to begin his routine with a large cup of strong Tim Hortons and a few hits from his vaping pen. Tony had sold some weed to one of his friends in exchange for a high -quality nicotine vaporizer. As far as Tony was concerned he had succeeded in quitting smoking tobacco, although he still loved his cannabis.

Tony really didn’t care that much about following strict healthy lifestyle. He wasn’t one of those guys who wanted to live to age eighty. Forty years of age would satisfy Tony if he could enjoy all the forbidden pleasures of life. He only stopped smoking when he concluded that heavy smoking was contributing to his long and frequent bouts of bronchitis. When Tony suffered from a serious upper respiratory infection, he usually had to put his weight training regimen on hold for two to three weeks.

Tony had watched part of a documentary on the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes and vaping. One day his friend Rod showed Tony the new vape pen and he bought at The Toke, a store that sells both tobacco and vaping supplies. Rod had a sepia colored vaping pen that produced a huge cloud of vapour. When his friend demonstrated how his new nicotine delivery system worked, Tony was immediately impressed.

Episode Sixteenjohnny ramone 1

Tony’s smoothie recipe consisted of milk, a banana, a handful of frozen fruit, a cup of protein supplement and teaspoon of peanut butter. All he had to do was turn on the blender, wait about a minute and then pour himself a giant glass of his freshly created smoothie.

Tony alternated drinking from his black coffee mug with a Ford logo and his maxed -out size smoothie glass. Usually he had enough for two large smoothie drinks inside the blender.

Tony appeared to be a health nut, but he had a dark side to his personality. The narcissistic side of Tony’s persona gave him the drive to build up his body. Tony liked girls and knew that most of them preferred tough looking characters with athletic physiques. Tony had one straight, nerd like friend that was always amazed at how quickly and easily Tony picked up the hottest girls. His friend, Herbie once asked Tony about the secret of his success with the opposite sex. Tony was more than ready to educate Herbie on the facts of life.

“This is how it works, Herbie. Women are not turned on by nerds. Most nerds are nice guys, but this is a negative when it comes to getting the attention of hot chicks. The babes like guys who are tough and give the impression that they can look after themselves. Chicks like to feel protected and they would rather go with the guy who spends an hour per day in the weight room compared to some short, skinny four-eyed nerd who spends his free time using hybrid parts to build a super deluxe computer,” Tony explained

“Yeah, I hear what you’re saying Tony, but aren’t most greaser types, ‘losers’, present company not included, of course?”

“You got a point there, but most girls don’t think that far ahead. Sure in a few years they’d probably be in the market for a conservative, successful nine to five lifer who loves kids, but that’s light-years away as far as they are concerned. Right now, they are into what they call ‘cute guys’ with an attitude and a bit of an edge to them,” Tony answered.

“Yeah, but what does a girl get out of this type of relationship?” Herbie asked

“She gets some street cred and it creates some drama in her life. Look at it this way. Which guy would a woman rather talk about to her friends? A clean-cut straight arrow who spends all his spare time building over-sized computers or a guy in a black leather jacket who will pull a knife on a guy who looks the wrong way at his girlfriend?”

“So, it’s the excitement factor that tips the scales in the favor of the rough boy?” Herbie inquired.

“You’re starting to get it, Herb. It’s the pure adrenaline rush of having a boyfriend that appears to be dangerous. The woman feels safe when she’s with this kind of guy. It also gets her friends jealous and she likes that.

“How did you become so smart and articulate, Tony? You quit school halfway through grade ten? Didn’t you?” Herbie asked

“That’s true, though I was born with much more intelligence than the average person. Last time they tested my IQ, I scored in the genius category. I’m kind of a part-time greaser, but I read a lot. It’s not unusual for me to read two to three books a week on the average. I also have access to digital copies of all the current and relevant magazines with my subscription to Texture,” Tony explained.

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