Considering it’s book length, mebbe this isn’t a long snippet. I dunno.
I spot a man, hunched, hands in pockets, in dark clothing: a hoodie and a ski mask, cargo pants, sneakers. He approaches a homeless man sitting against a wall in an alley, nursing a Tim Horton’s cup, grey beard poking out of the hood of his army-green jacket.
At first the homeless man pays little attention to the dark figure. But as the figure stops before him, takes its hands out of its pockets, and bends to talk, the homeless man looks up, and I hear him feebly ask the man for change.
One dark glove points to the homeless man.
“You want my money?” the man hisses.
The old man’s lips move wordlessly, confused. He starts to reply.
“Get your own!”
He slaps the cup out of the older man’s hand. Dark liquid spills past the old man’s jacket, splashes against the wall, lands on the ground. The coffee cup rolls uselessly away.
“…hey…” The homeless man starts to protest, edging up against the wall.
“Useless shit.” The man spits out the words, his voice starting to carry.
The older man’s words come out muddled, I can’t quite make them out from my position.
“You probably can’t even get a job can you? I can smell the booze on you.”
I’ve seen this sort of scenario before. When someone’s itching to have a piece of you, and they’re running up against the edge of their own aggression, itching to make the leap to open violence. You can find the exact right thing to say, deflect their words with your own, or stay perfectly quiet, it won’t matter. Their words are running feverish in their own minds, it’ll come out almost like a like a monologue, a prologue, to their intentions.
“Piece of shit.” And with that he proceeds to pound into the homeless man’s face. The man crumples on the ground, uselessly trying to shy away.
“Fuck off and die”. He kicks and kicks. The old man coughs, spitting up blood, red splattering on army green.
“You fuckin’ stink, you fuckin’ piece of shit!” he says to the figure bleeding onto the concrete. He punctuates what he says with a downward punch.
“Fucking wino.” He continues to kick. Blood smears the homeless man’s beard.
“Waste of skin.”
More blood flows generously onto the ground.
He is spotted by passerby.
“Hey!” they yell.
He runs off, top speed. I follow.
Furtive, he makes sure he is not being pursued. Then he heads to a black luxury car. Tinted windows.
When the driver-side window finally comes down, I see him in a business shirt, neck unbuttoned.
A flushed gleam is in his eyes. His head lays back on the headrest for a moment.
I know that look. He hasn’t had enough; I saw the state of that homeless man back there. He beat him till he was near death. He didn’t get to finish him off… and he wanted to.