2004_11_billy_hobo.jpgThe Basics:
Age, Where are you from, How long have you been here?
Born April 18, 1949. From Little Rock, Arkansas. Been in New York about 15 years now, maybe a little more. Been on the streets about 5 or 6 years, maybe a little more.

How'd you wind up on the streets of Times Square?
All my folks, all my family live in Little Rock. If I was home, I wouldn't be on the streets. This ain't home.

What brought you to New York?
I travel all over. I go everywhere. And this isn't the first time I ever come to New York, but it's the first time I come here and couldn't get out. I've been trying to get out but every time I get the money to get out and I never get there.

Do you know you're a local celebrity?
I was on Dave Attell's show late-night. "Insomniac." People gotta pay to see me even on TV 'cause I'm on cable. He taped me over there on Broadway one night. You got cable? You watch Dave Attell's show? You watch the show you'll see me. They keep running old shows, you'll see me. Also I'm on the Internet. I ain't even seen me yet.

Well, you need a gimmick to succeed in New York. How'd you come up with the idea?
It took me a little while. I used to have a sign saying "I'll Work for Food." It didn't work. I did get a job at the post office. Not for the post office but working for them in construction.

What's the best thing somebody's said to you?
I'm gonna tell you the best one I think is good and it's shocking too. Two short little young girls told me, "You're too short to fuck, that's why you ain't got no woman." They were pretty young, that's what's shocking. I didn't believe it. Some of the young people come off harder than adults. They say things I ain't ever heard before. And I'll tell ya something else. The sign saves lives. I had a couple a suicides come up to me say they gonna kill themselves. I talked them out of it, tell 'em not to do it. Two guys. I see 'em both again so I know it worked.

What would you do if somebody else popped up with the same sign as you?
Already have seen that. One guy had a sign like the one I got but he was charging five dollars. I seen him walking around for a while.

Ever think of raising your prices?
I did raise the price. Used to be a dollar – first was a dollar, then I dropped it down to fifty cents. And they say that's too cheap. I had a couple people come from Europe, couple of women, they told me if I raise it to five dollars and they'd come back tomorrow and they'd give me five dollars. They want me to raise the sign to five because they figure if you're gonna be told off like that, verbally, you should get more money. The funny thing about it is the majority of the people think two dollars is too high. You're in Times Square and you don't got two dollars? I'm the cheapest thing here. I'm a bargain. I'm like a cheap psychologist. You get your frustrations off on me, and a real psychologist do the same thing I do he's gonna charge you five or six hundred dollars for just a few minutes of talking.

Do most tell you off or just give money?
Most people take a picture. Picture or tell me off, two bucks.

Where's the best spot to get told off?
Broadway. I like Broadway. It's hard to be there though, because the police run me off a lot of the time.

If you stand around and watch Times Square all day, you're bound to see some crazy things, right?
The craziest thing I experienced, not seen it. Some guy tried to kill me. You know, I usually sleep in the daytime and stay up at night because night, it's more evil at night. Evil is stronger at night. But there was a couple times it wouldn't have mattered if it was night or day because it was gonna happen anyway. It was a nut. A nut don't care if it's night or day.

Ever get told off by a celebrity?
I had one guy that played on "L.A. Law" that gave me some money. We talked for a while.

Was it Arnie Becker?
I don't know who he was but he told me he played a role on "L.A. Law."

Have you explored the whole city?
I used to go down the Village, but it's been a while since I been down there in the Village.

What do you think of President Bush?
No good. He's gonna get everybody killed at his expense.

How about Mayor Bloomberg?
No good either. I don't know there's just something not good about him. Evidently there's a lot of people voted for Bush, over a million. They must think he's doing something, so that means that all of those people feel that he ain't wrong so they're with him, because they want to see the places bombed. Maybe they feel those places are a threat and we should bomb them. Majority rules and that's a whole lotta people. I still like to know where all those thousands of people marching come from. They don't come from around here. Where they popped up from? You know what? He might have paid all them to come.

Um, right on. OK, the End of the World is coming, and you've got 24 hours left. What would you do?
I tell ya what, I'll try to get all the sex I could before I died, that's what I'd try to do.

Interview conducted by Josh Abraham.
F.Y.I. Tell him off, $2.00; Interview, $20.00.