I walk down the street that is speckled with drug dealers. homeless people, prostitutes, and various other people in between the convenience stores, the liquor stores, the phone booths, the cracks in the sidewalks overflowing with cigarette butts. Everyone eyes everyone – or averts – and there are people hidden in the cheap basements watching all. The gas station has a posse and they wear their baseball caps and i wear my sports shirt and ripped jeans and maybe they can't tell if I'm a man or a woman and i keep my hands in pockets and try not to carry pretentions. I have been here before in Miami in Chicago in New York in Buffalo in grafitt-filled graveyards amongst the dead and threatnening where suspicion rules. So many cars pass by and am i nondescript a man with an overflowing shopping cart beckons and i figure the street is busy enough that i dont need my knife and so i say "whats up" and he says something about a quickie in the alley and i turn to eye the girl on the oppositie corner whos whirling about frenetectically, ecstacingly, and i say im not working just walking to clear my head and he shows me his vcr and his sungalsses obscure his eyes though his skin is clearly native and his speech clearly slurred. he calls himself a conwboy and goes onto talk about just wanting to talk about just wanting to connect as man to woman without sex about just wanting to have a conversation. so we sit down on a blanket he says is handed down but i dont believe him becasue it looks storebought and i tell him my name is jane and i go into a mode of trying to be extra not-a -woman and i decide to give this conversation a go. so we sit. and he tells me of his travelling cowboy ways as if theyre heroic and representative of freedom.; hes been to texas and hes ridden bulls and explains his large hands which i suspsect is meant to attract me to them: what can these hands to to me; what can these hands do for me? his claims of "just talking" are innocent enough but unfortunatley i dont believe in innocence and i wriggle in there a story about taking care of a sick father and i tell him i would give him money but, really, i was just out clearing my head, and he complains about the city and the neighborhood and the gangs and the violence and i ask him about the huge scarified flesh running up his arm. he tells me of a rodeo fight and, once more, talks of the power needed to ride a bull and i take this to be a promise of sexual satisfaction. he tells me of my good heart and how he appreciates me just talking to him and how it feels good to have someone acknowledge him and it starts to rain. we are sitting on a main street. he fished an umbrella out of his shopping cart and it is valiant and chivalrous but yet an action to bring us physically closer. so he puts his arm around me and tells me how he hasnt been with a woman for three years because of his cowboy life and i tell him i only like women and this incites him to pay more respect to me yet he moves closer and tries to open up a possibilty of trying things anew and one-night occurrences and he pullls me closer as i speak about the care i have to give to my ill father as being my primary focus in life, not my own personal relationships. it is not yet feeling dangerous to me, as i may perhaps expect it to but i sustain my assertiveness as well as my lies in order to literally, after half an hour, take his arm from around my shoulder and walk away. i tell him i have to get home to make dinner for my father. he asks me for money, which i would gladly give to him but my pockets are empty and i pull them inside out to prove it. i do not want him to know where i live. he pulls out a towel and asks me to at least wipe my pussy with it and though this is odd and i am on a main street i stick the towel down my pants but i dont think it will do much good. as he sniffs it he says its not enough to do it some more and at this point i am in flee mode and "sorry, man, its not that easy and i have nothing to give you", and i leave him still asking as i run across thr street through traffic walking the back alleys in a round about way to my home checking behind me to see hes not following as it begins to rain harder.