As a minority, an American in Casco Viejo, I’m often faced with the fact that many people know my name yet I don’t know theirs. A number of these people are either squatters, gang members, or homeless folks but seeing as though it would be totally rude to ask them their formal names now, after about two years of saying hi to them on the street, I sort of adopted in my mind individual nicknames: names not that anyone would recognize them by, but rather that I’d simply use to sort them out in my head.
1. Mr. Wilson Fancypants: Lives on Calle Boquete, always sits in his chair just by the front door and watches who passes (which is not many people since he’s on a quiet side street).
2. Pierre Tin-Hat: Always drunk and has something on his head, named for the time he was seen on Plaza Herrera wearing a disposable metal tray on his head.
3. Ol’ Barb Stab-You-Quick: Almost always drunk and happy, but occasionally hungover and aggressive, unpredictable but overall a good gal.
4. Sweet Daddy Seco: Rarely seen without a bottle of seco
5. Horus, the Bird-Headed Fool: Definite drug addict, stole several things off my car and then returned them, head is reminiscent of an oriole or finch (including beak).
6. Roadhouse Ogilvy and Sons: Guys who do metal work on Avenida Central just off Plaza Catedral, always drinking on their little street-side porch
7. Giancarlo, Master of the Metal Trapeze: Grey hair and full beard, not sure if he’s a very poor or very wealthy man, seems European and would be good as ringleader of a circus.
8. Orphaned Reynaldo, the Child with Haunting Eyes: Lives on Avenida A coming into Casco Viejo, appears as though he’s staring into space when he’s actually looking into your soul
9. Reynaldo Reynaldoson, Who Will One Day Kill His Father: Son of a respected squatter man in Casco Viejo but reckless and addicted to drugs
10. Abuelo Jimmy (name assigned by Jesse Levin): Lingers the corner of Central and 9th, very abnormal to find him not drunk or at least buzzed
11. Honest Amelia Dirt: Woman with two cute kids, very compassionate and often asking for money (yet very understanding when you tell her you have none).
12. Meep Meep, the Italian Tailor: Older man, sits on a chair on Avenida B between Plaza Bolivar and Café Havana.
13. Stun Gun Jones: Frizzled hair looks as though he’s been stun-gunned a few times, often found cleaning buckets
14. Prostate Davy (aka Enrique): Old man, speaks great English, has a limp, sells cigarettes for profit.
15. Mickey the Assistant Manager: Young guy who works at Manolo Caracol, transports large packages of produce from the car to the restaurant
16. Chicken Nugget Will: Although he claims he has no money, always eating something and is fatter than
anyone else in Casco Viejo. Sits near 4th street asking passersby for cash.
17. Manuel Pants-Too-High (also known as Flaco): Bonafied crack head yet up and coming artist
18. Sir Francis Drank: Taxi driver by day, alcoholic by day too
19. Mariah Duckface, the Beaked Woman: No available description
20. Cranberry Sauce Antonio: Used to be great boxer in Panama, now helps parking cars for the opera, named for one time he had devoured a can of cranberry sauce given to him by myself.
21. Shapeshifting Demon: Crackhead, drunk, the pinnacle of Casco Viejo oddballs. Carries a cane and can be anywhere from really friendly and talkative to devil-like.
Late addition: Henry