The thrill of stealing beats the joy of friendship for this generation of street denizens.

If you think street sex workers would want to give good service in order to have repeat customers, you would only be right part of the time. There are many people who seem to be addicted to hustling people. They have to leave each encounter feeling like they took advantage of the other person. I have told you about going downtown because an isolated person, like me, can freely join a group of homeless acquaintances on the sidewalk. When I was homeless I never sat with people on the sidewalk. Now that I have a place I don’t mind sitting with the same people I avoided. Psychoanalyze that, if you want.

Better theft than charity

One day I went “into town” as we say, and I found a woman I can be friendly with until she inevitably attempts to screw me over. This time she succeeded in getting the better of me. She declined my offer of $20, only to trick me out if $20 within half an hour. How’d she do it? The digital scales people use to weigh drugs are the same scales that can weigh coins. I have started a tiny collection of gold and silver coins. I asked the woman if I could borrow her scale to see the difference between a regular ounce and a Troy ounce. She agreed. Why did I take my eyes off the scale? It’s like I can never anticipate specific hustles. I know in general to be careful but the particular application of this knowledge escapes me. The scale was gone when I looked back to where the scale had been in front of my legs as I sat “indian style,” which I am sure is not the modern expression but I don’t know what is. In fact, she pointed out that the scale was missing, now that I think about it. I asked her to check her bag and she said she did not need to bc she knew she did not have it. The scale had been in my possession so there was nothing else to be done but offer $20. A couple of days later she texted she’d found the scale. Did I want the money back? Like that would ever happen!

Most people “out here” would not have paid her. She had to consider me decent enough to care that I had mislaid her property. Decency made me a target. Steady honor lacks the thrill of unanticipated deception. I bet she knew I suspected the truth but would not break my moral code. Ain’t we got fun! There are no friends in the dope world–not always true, but mostly.

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