i am walking past the man. he is looking at me. i think, not today, please not today. he shuffles towards me. i look at him while trying to not look at his eyes. he says to me, 'could i have some money, lad?'
i move my hand around in my pocket until i find forty pence. i give the pence to him. i touch his hand by accident. he grabs my hand like the jaws of a dog clamping down on the neck of a smaller dog.
he says to me, 'can i borrow your coat and scarf and shoes?'
i say, 'OK.'
it is a cold day. it is snowing. i stand in front of him for a second before moving my hand out of his hand. i dramatically uncurl my scarf from around my neck. i give him the scarf. he says, 'now the coat.'
i unbutton my coat all the way down and then take it off and give it to him. he is holding my coat and my scarf over his arm the way in which a waiter holds a napkin. he says, 'the shoes lad, the shoes.'
i kneel down and undo my shoes. i take them off my feet and stand in the snow. the snow is melting onto my feet and making them cold. i give the man my shoes. they are resting on top of the coat and scarf.
he says, 'can i borrow your trousers and shirt and socks and underwear?'
i shiver and say, 'sure'.
i take all of my clothes off and stand in front of the man. he is holding the clothes. he says, 'thanks lad.' i say 'no problem, lad.'
he walks over to a large sleety puddle and drops my belongings into it. i am shivering in the cold. snow is landing on my body and melting. my breath is a mist. i am shaking. the man walks back over to me. 'now fuck off' he says.