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"You're not giving that coat away," the man said. 

"Nobody wears fur," the woman said. "It's stupid."

"For what I paid, you're wearing it."

She threw the coat at John, as if he were a hanger.

"Sir, keep this, okay? For a blanket? You need it, right?"

"Are you out of your fucking mind?" the man said. "You're not giving him that."

She patted John. "It's yours. Take it. Sell it. I don't care."

"You bitch," the man said. "You stupid fucking bitch."

"Get out of here," the woman shrieked. John had never heard a woman yell like that before. She took off her earrings and rings and flung them at the man. Then she was gone.  

The man gathered the jewels, looked at John and said, "Crazy fucking bitch."

"Yeah," John said, pushing the coat at the man. "I know how it is."

"Keep the coat," the man said."The crazy bitch."

The man walked away as John put on the fur coat. Now he was warm and felt restored, like a king, for he was not actually homeless but dethroned, falsely accused of domestic violence.

He started walking and with the whiskey moving freely through his bloodstream began to feel his height and moved with dignity, for the torn clothes were covered and all that could be seen was the coat. 

People seemed to clear a path when he walked toward them. He was sure that if he swept his hand from left to right whole crowds would separate, making room. It felt good to reclaim himself, to feel like a man and know now that he had won, that no woman could keep him down, that he was no homeless bum but a man whom people feared.

He came to Broadway and happened across some show that must have ended, for all the strange people in their strange eyeglasses hurried in all directions, shouting at taxis, making plans, pushing and shoving. 

"What's this?" some woman said.

He couldn't answer, as the question stunned him. Did the woman recognize the fur coat and wonder why he was wearing it?

"We don't wear fur," the woman said. "We don't do that."

"We don't what?" John said, but now a friend of the woman was also tugging his coat.

"Take it off," the new one said. 

Neither woman could have been five feet tall. And then a third woman approached and sprayed something at him, some kind of paint that stung his eyes. When he looked at his hands, he thought he saw blood.

"We don't wear fur," they kept shouting.

"Give us that fur, you fucking ni--" the third woman started to say, and then the first one said, "Jen!" 

They all stopped tugging and pulling and John stood there rubbing the paint out of his eyes. 

Finally when his vision cleared he looked down and saw the coat was ruined with paint, and then he looked up and saw the first woman jerking the third woman away. 

"Racism is worse than fur, Jen. Fuck!"

"I didn't -- I didn't say it."

"You were gonna," the first one said. "Just shut up."

Still partially blinded by the paint, John bumped into some kid who said, "You should take your coat to a taxidermist, motherfucker."  


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