There was this old man on the corner. His hands were leather and his soul was air. He smoked Kools while he plucked a guitar with his stubby fingers and half-sang, half-brayed a song of love. If any woman had understood it, their hearts would have been forfeit, and their virtue. It was like a spell. The old man knew that, and knowing was good enough usually.

There was a girl. She was soft on the outside, but what few years she’d seen had been bad and had made her guts like wood. She had delicate, fast hands, so skilled and deft. If she wanted to, she could play like the old man someday, play and enchant and steal hearts. Instead she used her hands to pick from pockets. And that was all she wanted to do.

The old man would look at the girl. He wanted her, wanted her soft body. He thought he could take it if he wanted. It was bad and he knew it.

The girl would look at the old man. She thought she could take his money and get away. It was wrong and she knew it.

And they would just look at each other. All day.

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