(written by Sarah:)
I love Philadelphia.
I love my city in much the same way that I love really bad flash animations, frivolous lawsuits, and how-to instructions on bags of airline peanuts. They make me smile, even when I die a little inside each time.
One of the best parts of Philadelphia, apart from the open sewer system and total lack of tomato patches, is the crazy people. Today’s crazy person of note is now only a warm fuzzy memory. I was a freshman then; specifically, I was SarahTheGoodCatholicFarmGirl. I was pining for cows and pickup trucks and scared shitless of the public transportation system.
One day I found myself, after various Comedic Misfortunes, walking home from 30th Street Station well after midnight. The crazies were out in force. I got the whistles, the winks, the leers. I shuffled down into my coat and stared at the ground, scowling and trying to look unattractive (realizing even as I did so that this was neither very difficult nor especially necessary).
One crazy was particularly perseverant. He was oldish, blackish, and completely toothless, smelling of earwax and gin. He winks. “Hey sweetie! You lookin’ for a suga daddy? I sex you up, I treat you real good, pretty girl.” I walk faster. “Hey, what? You don’t believe me? You don’t want what I got? You goin’ regret it, I promise you. I got it all, baby, you wanna see, I show you.”
He grabs my arm. I turn.
He’s grinning toothlessly, pointing at the empty expanse in his face, making sure I notice, although what the appeal must be I cannot guess. And he says, still smiling, licking his lips and morbid gums: “See? Yeah? The better to eat you with, my dear.”
I’m moving to the suburbs.