He pushed the heavy shopping cart by leaning forward and resting all his weight on the metal handle. The cart was specially heavy today because they had loaded it with many extra supplies which they intended to use for trade. His woman had found an abandoned baby stroller just a couple of days earlier.
She was so happy when she came running up to him in the late morning, right when he was sitting among a group of friends close to the old smelly tunnel covered in moss and moist with old rain water. She ran right up to him and said: "I found something good. You have to come and help me get it!" but he was too aware of the looks that the other men gave each other as she approached, so he replied: "I don’t have to do nothing woman. I am free as a bird. That’s what makes us special. That’s what keeps us going! Look around!" and he signaled to all the men that sat around him, with their eyes bubbling up red and crisscrossed with sharp red veins and their blackened gloves which protected their blackened hands and their pants that smelled of old sweat and piss and shit and their chins still dribbling with beer and all of them nodded back at her, acknowledging their freedom, their carefree lifestyle which allowed them to do as they wished, and he nodded once again, looking back at her: "See, free as birds and you don’t tell me what to do!" Right then she realized her mistake and slid backwards a little and she whispered, as if to nobody: "I know where it is. Just tell me when you feel like getting it. I can wait." And she walked away and sat by a tall tree and slowly chewed on an old chocolate bar that she had been saving in the side pocket of her old ripped up pants.
About an hour later, he came over to her and said: "Don’t ever pull something like that again! You know that we have little, but at least we have our reputation!" and she nodded and agreed that she had made a mistake and then she led him to where the baby stroller was hiding, where someone had thrown it away in the middle of a web of branches that hung over a pit of trash. He saw it and smiled and nodded to her and he could tell right away that it would come in very handy for them, so he said: "Look after my cart and I will climb around the trees and will get it."
All of that had been a couple of days earlier. The next two days they spent begging pedestrians on Haight street for a little change here and there and they bought old things from other beggars and they scavenged through trash bins and they looked in the metal bins outside of the houses and they even stole a few beers from the local liquor store and finally they were ready. They wrapped it all in bags and loaded up the shopping cart, which always keeled over to the side because one of the wheels was bent, and they loaded up the baby stroller which she had found and he had managed to rescue.
When everything was ready, he said to her: "Now we will go for a long walk, you understand? I know you haven’t been with me long, but now you have to walk with me." She was still fixing the baby stroller just right so that things wouldn’t fall off when she pushed it. When the sound of his voice came to her, she looked up at him, clearing some thick dark snot from her nose, "Sure thing… but where are we going?" He smiled and looked at her with sharp eyes, "We’re going all the way to the beach. There’s a whole other crew over there and I’m friends with some of them. They always have some good stuff, it’s easier to get it over there, but other things you can’t get at all. So we will bring them some of this stuff and they will go crazy happy and then they will give us some of what we want." She nodded, "You sure? I wouldn’t want to go all the way over there for nothing." He frowned and leaned over her, suddenly terribly disappointed that he had shared this knowledge with her. "Look, I’m going all the way to the beach, I’m going to see the crew that’s over there, they’re friends of mine. You can come along if you want to, or you can stay here and wait, or you can go to hell for all I care…" She looked up at him with wide eyes and he was breathing hard and looking down at her with a smirk in his face, and his cheeks were stained with grease and old dirt and his eyes were bloodshot and his chin was all gooey with trails of saliva. He took a deep breath and then he talked again. "Look, it’s better if you come, because I can’t push the cart and the baby stroller at the same time, and now we have more shit, so we have more responsibilities… you can push the stroller, I will push the cart... are you ready?" She shrugged and stood up and said: "Yeah, I’m ready. I don’t have nothing else to do right?" "Right," he said and they started on their way.
Now they were just over a third of the way there and he couldn’t say out lout what he was thinking because what he was thinking resembled too much what she had said: "What if they don’t have nothing? What if they’re not even there?’ and the sweat was dripping over his face, and down his back, and his arms were hurting and his legs were hurting and he was pushing as hard as he could but the heavy cart moved so slowly that it sometimes seemed that it wasn’t moving at all. She was quiet next to him, also drenched in sweat but not as bad as him, and pushing on the stroller and looking ahead, all the way to where a sliver of white and blue outlined their final destination.
They came to a corner and stopped while a loud truck passed by. He grunted and gasped for breath and she said: "You alright?" and he said "Yeah, I just need to rest for a bit." She nodded and took a deep breath herself, looking up at the trees and at few birds that were flying among the branches. "Let’s rest a little, but let’s not stop too long. We have to make it all the way to the beach today. You said so yourself." He nodded and grabbed onto the handle of the heavy cart again. "Yeah, I know I said so and we’re going. I can rest a bit later. I think we’ll make it today." She nodded and pushed the stroller across the street. "Oh, we will. I know we will. You said so yourself." And they slowly crossed the corner, and kept on slowly making their way to the beach. "You said so yourself. You sure did…"