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Friday, November 13, 2009


The stain is yellow and subtle now, on the concrete between the hotel dumpster and the dirt path. At the time, two young guys, university students maybe, had stopped there. The first held his bicycle upright by the seat. The other's bicycle lay, pedal aloft like a claw, on the ground where he knelt. They were softly talking but looked up as I passed by, registering me at the moment I registered the spatter of fresh blood between them. “Oh damn, are you OK?” I could see no wounds, and their bodies were at ease. They smiled; they'd forgotten how bad this must look. “Yeah,” said the lower one. “Just bit my lip.” It was an accidental reenactment of a minor sacred act, routine as these acts have been for centuries, one giving, the other supporting, a pittance of blood the best they could think to offer. He spat another tablespoon into the small puddle, which, however accidental, glowed with intention.

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