Leggz tells stories. Three dudes went Joe Mauer on him from behind. That's why he has no teeth.
His mom paid an assassin $55,000 to kill the then-15-year-old in Newcastle, Texas in 1991 via a car bomb, which explains why he's lost his legs.
These are the realities:
The City of Lakes bustles at the start of the work week beneath a melancholy sky. The morning feels like autumn, but doesn't yet smell like it. The stump of a torso belonging to 40-year-old Steve, a.k.a., "Leggz," is propped on a long board at the intersection of South Lyndale Avenue and Dunwoody Boulevard not far from Blake High School and the rarefied air of some of Minneapolis' swankiest neighborhoods.
Leggz hops off his board, leaving the safety of the median when a driver hands off a snack pack of Oreos.
"I got sores on my ass from doing this shit," he says, smiling.
Leggz prefers his nickname to his birth name. His step-niece coined it. How else would a child remember an uncle who's missing both legs and an arm?
The Texas native has panhandled at this spot for two weeks. His buddy Zimm told him it was productive.
Minnesota beckoned three years ago. Leggz has been homeless almost that long. He had a nephew here who's now in jail. Minnesota also sounded good because Leggz wanted to learn to snowboard.
"I can do anything on a board," he says. "Anything on a board that doesn't require legs. I heard Minnesota was a good place to go snowboarding, so here I am."
Forget what Zimm said. Business is sluggish today. Whatever the earnings, Leggz will be here until around lunchtime. He'll then roll south on Hennepin Avenue to Lake Street, where he'll work an intersection by McDonald's until about three o'clock — or until "I got enough money for a hotel and something to eat," he says.
Leggz doesn't weigh much more than 100 pounds, yet boasts, "I can lift eighty." He owns only the clothes he's wearing. Locals should forgive the black New York Yankees hat that cover his near-hairless head. It was charitable donation.
He lives in a tent beneath a nearby overpass. He dismantles it every morning "so I won't get arrested, so they think that I've moved on," he says.
Losing three appendages warrants $650 a month in disability from the federal government. Leggz works doing "anything" he can, like painting and detailing cars — in addition to "signing."
"It's sad," Leggz says of panhandling. "I don't feel like doing it, but I need money. I don't get enough to do anything."
Right now he needs clothes. He hasn't showered in "way too long."
Working on staying warm and finding a safe place to sleep has a way of keeping a person in the present.
He doesn't know what he'll do when the weather turns Minnesota. Perhaps he'll learn to snowboard. In the meantime, he's feeling Minnesota.
"I know how it is," he says. "People don't give a fuck. They're busy and got more things going on in this city than wanting to pay attention to someone like me."