Confronted last night by a guy on the street, the usual proffered hand with a few coppers, the usual “I need some more to get a taxi.” But then, extraordinarily, he lifts his other sleeve to produce an arm absolutely soaked in blood, nearly gushing. “I need a taxi to get to a hospital.”
NYC trained, he generally walks right past with a shake of the head, but transfixed by a combination of amazement, disgust, and fear, he produces a tenner for the guy from his pocket. “Holy fucking shit, jesus man. Here.”
Both quickly walk away, the transaction completed. Once a safe distance has elapsed, he turns to see – nearly per expectation, definitely per the usual – the guy working someone else over, the same act exactly.
Lucrative desperation. Pragmatism. Cost/benefit analysis.
This morning, he considers the scene. The alleyway, the razor blade, the pain and the tension of potentially cutting it a bit too deep this time. Arterial.