William [on the left]

‘William, my name is William.’

‘Hmm..quite an uncommon name for a an Afro-Brazilian man’ I thought to myself as I watched him barely stand on his feet.

Yes he was drunk. As a matter of fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sober. He doesn’t even know my name. He keeps on calling me ‘Julio.’ He’s quite a comic book character. Most interactions I’ve had with him were the numerous encounters on Mansfield Road on any given day of the week, drunk as usual, crossing on red traffic lights and trying to climb on the cars that honked at him as a result; or of course, the encounters in the casino’s hidden bar, even more inebriated, with his sunglasses on (yes, indoors, yes around midnight).

However, the most memorable encounter I’ve had with him was as I having a late dinner with a couple of friends in a Turkish restaurant/takeaway. It must have been around 11:30 PM when I saw him enter the restaurant, drop down on a chair and mumble something in Portuguese. ‘Oh schnitzel, I hope he doesn’t see me’, I thought to myself as I was placing my order, but due to the uncontrollable forces of the universe he somehow ended up at my table; and he ordered food; and he obviously didn’t want to pay; when he was asked to pay for his food by the waiters he even denied he had food in the first place and then accused them of being racist when they prohibited him from returning. Yes, he started a quarrel and everyone was watching us , kind of expecting me to do something as he had explicitly and loudly stated on numerous occasions I was his good friend, Julio. As the quarrel intensified and the shopkeepers were on the point of calling the police, I agreed to pay for his food and get him out of the restaurant. Just as I finished paying, as what he had already said and done was not enough, he reached into his right pocket and got a pair of scissors out, aimlessly gazing around. I could see a couple of the waiters froze, as they went silent and just stared at me, again waiting for best friend Julio to stop him. ‘I don’t wanna get stabbed’

I tried telephating around, but still I asked him in Portuguese to calm down and come outside with me. ‘No!’ he mumbled and rushed to the closest mirror on one of the walls. And as he reached out in his left pocket, he got a comb out, and right there right then, started trimming his hair. ‘Excuse me!! This is a family restaurant..’ I heard one waitress shouting in a Turkish accent from behind the till. oh William..