What Would You Do?

A few minutes ago a man approached me in a city street. He secured eye contact, moved in close,  closer, a craft securing its mooring.

I’m on the streets.

A lined face, folds of loose dark skin, lightly whiskered, serious. I recognised the approach; he’d be after money. I felt in my pocket for the two dollar coin, a lazy two dollars.

I’m looking for money for a room for the night. I need forty nine dollars.

This was something new. The quantum, specified. It rang true.

We held each other’s gaze. The man neither shrank nor dramatised himself. He added, The room is booked. I need to find the money, and something for a feed, some laundry…

After a pause I asked – unaccountably – How much is the room?

Eighty-nine dollars. I’ve got the rest.

Two dollars felt too lazy. I found a large note, handed it over.

The man looked at the note: God bless you, mate.