Night Encounter

Clive and Manny left the theater arguing over whether the movie had been worth the admission price.

"Beats me how George Clooney got to be a big star," Clive complained.

"Chicks dig him, I guess," Manny opined. "But give me old Bruce Willis anytime. He really kicks ass."

"Damn straight."

"How's about we check out the action at Donovan's Pub? I could use a beer."

Clive yawned. "It's too late. I just wanna grab some sack time. You go, if that's your thing."

Manny looked down the dark deserted street. "Better not risk it solo. Too much bad stuff goin' down lately. Like the girl that got raped a block from here last week."

"Yeah. The whole neighborhood's gone to hell."

They started walking toward their apartment building, as a figure lurched out of the shadows before them. Both men tensed for action, then relaxed when the street light revealed a thin bearded drifter swaying unsteadily. He stopped before them and held out something the size of a post card.

Manny took the card and read the printing on it.

"It says he's deaf and homeless and needs money for food."

"Like hell," Clive scoffed. "He wants to buy booze or drugs. Moochers like him belong in jail."

"Yeah." Manny returned the card and waved the beggar away.

But as he turned to go, Clive relented.

"Aw, I feel sorry for the poor bastard. I think I'll give him ten bucks."

The supposedly unable-to-hear man spun around in smiling anticipation, to catch Clive's fist solidly on his jaw.

"Don't these jerks know that people can see through their phony handicapped acts?" Manny wondered.

"Guess not." Clive leaned over the unconscious man and started going through his pockets. "Look at this." He held up a roll of bills.

"How much is it?"

"Dunno. Maybe two-three hundred."

Manny whistled. "His gig pays better than mine. Maybe I should get a tin cup and hit the bricks. Anything else?"

"Just this." Clive displayed a small clear plastic pouch filled with white powder.

Manny leaned forward eagerly. "Heroin?"

Clive put a bit of powder on his finger tip and raised it to his tongue. "Coke. Tastes like good quality."

"Hot damn! High times tonight."

They straightened up and started away. Manny looked back at their fallen victim.

"His head hit the sidewalk pretty hard and he ain't movin'. Think maybe he's dead?"

"Who cares? Let's go home and blast off."