If you're going to get gold caps on your teeth, you have to first get them filed into V shapes so the cap can slide on and fit properly. I know this because of Angel who lives across the street. He used to have caps on his top four front teeth, but had to sell them. I don't know when things started going down hill for him, but last year around this time he was taken away in the back of a police van because he was being belligerent, knocking on people's doors, telling them they were being watched and that they'd better be careful. He screamed when they took him. He yelled, "I'm just trying to help" and "They're going to get them" and "It's on the roof". When he came back, he had gained about a hundred pounds and a thousand yard stare. Now he just sits outside drinking beer all day and watches the neighborhood, his head tilted to the side, his shirt barely covering his stomach.
I think about him because he is always there in front of his house or walking up the street from Bob's corner store swinging his black plastic bag with two 40s clinking. I think about him because he knows my name, even though we were never introduced, and occasionally calls out to me from across the street. I used to think it was creepy and weird and I wouldn't turn or wave. I'd just walk into my house with my head down, feigning distraction. But then I started thinking about his name and how he's always there, and how, like me, he's a champion time-waster and people-watcher; and I thought, if I do, in fact, have a guardian, then, at least while I'm living in east LA, of course this is what he would look like.