the clock struck five. the sun was eye level and had turned the bridge gold. i was in a fight for my life. i ran as fast as i could. he was standing there trying to look bored, a blade taped to his ankle, roll of cash in his pocket. just in time. i had my tights on beneath a canvas jacket. we walked along the homeless encampment with its tents and bicycle parts and indigents sitting around a smoking fire. i won’t take nothing if you’re not done yet. i told him i was. i had spent the last four weeks chained to a desk writing several thousand words a day. i pulled the manuscript out from under my jacket. he tried to stare at the cracks in the sidewalk because he didn’t want me to see his eyes light up. i took the money and bought myself a room for a week at the Citizen. i asked for a window to the park so i could look down upon the high fountain surrounded by benches…the cafe. Cesar Chavez had his back to me. i remembered when i was down and out, too. i situated my desk just so. it wouldn’t take long to tell the honest truth.