Empty space surrounds him. Passerby give him a wide berth. He is haggard and disheveled, his clothes tattered and stained. He wears a dog tag necklace and is missing his right arm. His cardboard sign reads, Please help.
Pearl Street’s shops and brick walkways are immaculate. Delicious smells waft from restaurants and bakeries. Children play near statues and fountains.
“Anything. Anyone,” the man pleads.
In response: Nothing; no one.
An emaciated cat limps from a nearby alley. People gather, drawn by the animal’s mewling. “How awful,” they say. Some stoop to pet the cat and feed it portions of their leftovers.