I was walking along the beach of East Hampton when I first met Skittlepuss, well not Skittlepuss, rather Ollie. His family, well not "his" family, was working in the nearby cranberry field. His hands stained and young skin filthy, leathered by the sun.
You see, story has it (as told by Ollie), that his momma left him on the doorstep of an orphanage when he was just a couple of weeks old. Without even so much as a name to go by, the State of New York, referred to him as #0286.
He was taken in by a farming family, with the prospect of gaining another strong back to add to the workforce. It was up to this new family to name him.
"They said since the first number in my name was 0, they'd just call me Ollie," he recalled. "You got any spare skittles, mister?" he went on to ask me.
"Sorry," I replied, "Where's your shoes boy?!" to change the subject. "It's nearly freezing out here!"
"Pa said I ain't earned nuf yet, and I'm young anyhow. Don't really be needin em." he repeated.