The boy wears a camouflage t-shirt, long sleeved, on a sunny day with a temperature that’s just over the line for sleeves.
“Twenty-five cent lemonade.” He’s not so much calling out to potential customers (there are none on the empty boulevard) as mentioning it to the air as he circles the telephone pole, careful not to step off the curb and into the street, which is currently torn up for construction. Location, location, location they say.
I’m warm. Even perspiring under my yellow pinstriped Oxford, also long-sleeved, though rolled up to the elbow. I still have a mile or so to walk, my grocery sack in tow. I’ll bite.
“Is it any good?” I ask, making a point not to let him see me smile.
“It is.” He makes his way to the back side of his table. “I think it is, anyway. I haven’t tried it. My cousin made it.”
Between long sleeves and truthfulness, I like the kid.
“Good enough for me. I’ll take a glass.”
He opens his red and white Igloo and pulls out a clear plastic pitcher of lemonade. It’s full. It appears business has been slow. He’s struggling with the cover, one of those fancy all-or-nothing contraptions. Every time he gets it loose, it comes off altogether.
“I’m very sorry for the wait,” he says.
“Not to worry. Those lids can be a hassle. And you don’t want it all coming out at once.”
He secures the open lid and pours pale yellow into a white styrofoam cup. We each extend a hand for the exchange. He with the cup, and I with a folded dollar bill.
“Do you want change?” he asks.
“Nah, keep it,” I say.
He folds it again and pushes it into his jeans pocket . “Thank you. Have a nice afternoon.”
I walk down the alley, take a drink a few paces in. I turn back, and raise the cup into the air. “You were right. It’s good stuff.”
Truthfulness: the twenty-five cent lemonade could have used a little less water, a little more Igloo.
Still, it was the single best dollar I spent all day.