The screams drifted in on the breeze through my third floor apartment window – distant and muffled but with a subtle crescendo. Initially I paid no heed. What with the church down the alley offering a homeless shelter and needle exchange services for the neighborhoods ubiquitous vagrants I had become all too used to raucous singing, belligerent bellowing, shouts and threats and their retorts and even blood curdling screams rarely got my attention anymore. R. and I continued our musing on politics or the economy or whatever it was but the shrieking continued unabated with increasing volume and frequency. Usually the roister below would die out after a brief call and response but this time the continuity piqued my interest. “Hold on,” I interrupted R., “Let’s go out on the fire escape. I think some shit’s going down.” Upon ducking through the window I saw before me what was at once a tragic and titillating scene. Lying in the crosswalk of 42nd and University was an unrecognizable mound of – presumably female – human flesh and a lanky, bedraggled street rat contriving in vain to hoist to its feet what had surely once been a human being but was now a suffering soul in the depths of hell. Although a handful of curiosity seekers had stopped to linger kitty-corner, the dozen or so passersby ambulating through the crosswalk exhibited valour of the most laudable and passed unperturbed by the seemingly invisible couple, deaf to the reproaches which were incomprehensible to me from where I was standing. After a moment the writhing heap of flesh rolled over to reveal a short crop of purple stubble upon a head which bore a handsome if not contorted face – all of this belonging to a generous but still well-proportioned body.