Before I turned from Third Street to Main Street I was warned by a police officer to be cautious of undesirables who might try to grab my phone and run. I have the phone clipped to my chest and it is also connected to a string around my neck. All night, in some shady parts of the city, few came close enough to touch the world, the dog or me. I walked to the end of Main, turned east at Liberty, north on Reading, up the long hill to Gilbert then picked up Montgomery Road thru the section of town where only "tweakers", prostitutes and dealers in bass thumping- chrome wheeled classic cars with tinted windows go late in the night, without incident.
The few moments I did have walking in the dark streets of Cincy, interacting with the late night locals, were more entertaining than dangerous. On the first few blocks of Main we stopped outside of a nightclub. The women working there cooed and massaged Nice (the dog) on the red carpet outside the entrance. I told my story while the bouncer snapped a few photographs with the proprietor and I. A drunken patron came running from the rear entrance smoking area, jumped and hit the world. Luckily Nice (the guardian of the world-dog) was preoccupied with his his belly rub. After a testosterone filled- alcohol fueled exchange discussing personal space and etiquette he returned to his night of drunken debauchery. We continued on. We rolled down the middle of the road. The curbs were choked with parked cars of the bars and clubs. It was easier to stay off the narrow sidewalks.
Further on I passed a high-rise with a bench lined green-space. At night, it seems, it is the gathering space for the "home-bums" to drink their bottles earned by panhandling. Like stirring up a nest of bees, our passing roused them from their calm inebriation and they were quickly "abuzz" with slurred remarks. A few of the more energetic of them started to rise from their lair of landscaped seats, hidden from sight by the dark night, and loudly called out what they thought were original lines... "He's got the hole world in his hands" ,etcetera. As a few began to walk toward the street one of them yelled out the name of a daytime television soap-opera, "As the World Turns". With my best "southern" accent I called out, " If you don't want no drama, there won't be no drama!". It was like the bee-keepers'"smoker", they went silent and sat down. We walked on.
Now thru the bustling downtown, we came to Reading Hill and joined paths from when we walked to Pittsburg six years ago. Then we had walked to Cincinnati from the Kentucky side. This trip we had crossed the Ohio River from Louisville and walked across Indiana to get there. I felt a chill where the two paths met, at the base of the hill is facade of a castle. (I get caught up in symbology sometimes.)
Nice immediately knew the familiar landscape and began marking and sniffing every tree and fire hydrant. Six years ago, one daylight, we were taken into The Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. They had fed us and gave us a break from the summer heat. Nice obviously remembered. When we walked past the entrance to the building he pulled for the doorway, tail wagging, looking for someone to let us in. He seemed downhearted when I continued up the hill. It was one o'clock in the morning, the office was desolate.
Over the top of the long hill the setting changed starkly to... less maintained scenery and disparate nightlife. A group of young "tweakers" with blackened-teeth approached, talked for a minute, but were much too busy to linger. A woman with her friend called from a side street that I should give her the world, that it would look good in her living room. She was holding a bottle wrapped in a paper bag. She lost interest when I said I would be glad to let her have it, but she would have to roll it to Pittsburg first. A policeman stopped to take a photograph and ask about my story as two scantily dressed persons came to inquire the same. I gave the officer, the woman in the tight dress and the cross-dresser, the short version. They all left agreeing that walking was a good idea and wished me good luck. A carload of men with stiff brimmed caps and gold jewelry rolled to a stop to ask what "the----is that?" They all piled out for a picture. Two of them had lost family to diabetes.
Around four in the morning I had crossed to the edge of Norwood where I sat at a bus stop. I was exhausted. The bench was next to a fenced area under development. Six years ago I remember these acres were a complex of tree and buildings for some social organization, a Moose or Elks lodge. I suppose the property was much more valuable than when they purchased it early in the last century. It will probably be an office park soon. I remember sleeping at the base of a large tree there, six years past. I had walked the same rough neighborhoods, I was exhausted then also.
At five A.M. the corner store opened and I got a cup of coffee then worked my way to Norwood as the sun came up.
I had made it thru the Queen's City unscathed and touched a few with a message that they would not soon forget.