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Mad dogs and me / 8 October 2012

photo of an elderly man sitting on a bench on 16th Street, Kansas City

Peter Street encounters 'Nam' veteran Mo. Photo by Peter Street

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16th Street, Kansas City the late summer heat was hitting 90. I walked a mile or so down onto Central Street where I was expecting hustles and bustles of every size and colour. It was a walk into a nothing; not one human being, cat or dog was in sight.

So I turned right towards the Mexican quarters. Ok my conversational Spanish is not as good as it should be; by that I mean, I don't really know any.

Still no signs of humanity. Determined to find someone I turned round and walked another mile the other way heading towards uptown Kansas City. It was now feeling freaky like I was somehow stepping into one of those Hollywood horror road movies where there is no one there to  help out with information of any kind. Mostly I just needed to know where every one was?

An elderly Vietnam Vet' just came out of knowhere and rested under the shade of a walnut tree. I talked to him and he guessed my accent was English. Trying to find out where everyone was his words began to slide out of his mouth: "This here is a blue collar area. They're all working, those who can't are in their house."

Introducing himself as Mo he then started to tell me about the war in 'Nam'.  I gave him ten minutes... Leaving him I am so sure he started humming "Mad Dogs and English Men..."