92nd Street

As I walk my dog this morning a man appears ten paces or so in front of me, walking a bit unevenly. He’s the kind of person who talks to anyone and anything, unafraid of confrontation or judgment. He reminds me of Chris Tucker.
Walking toward him, I can tell that he’s going to talk to me. (How do I know this? Because he is presently talking about the trash bags at 194 Riverside to, well, nobody.) Conversations with loopy strangers are not on my morning to-do list, but I sense he’s non-threatening. He is clean-shaven and decently dressed, with a keychain hanging off his waist, so I suspect he’s not homeless or a beggar. Then again, he’s slurring his speech at 8:30 in the morning, so one never knows.
He spies me and Charley and turns around. “Good morning!” he says with abundant cheer.
I decide to go with it. “Mornin’.”
“Walkin’ the dog, ah?”
“Yes I am.”
He turns away, says something I don’t hear, then spins back and approaches me.
“Hey, can I ask you a question? First of all, happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and I wish you the happiest of holidays.”
Great, I think, here it comes. “Sorry, man, I’m not carrying anything.”
He pauses for a split-second, breaks into a huge grin, leans toward me, and continues:
“Can I borrow your dog?”