The floundering tapestry merchant scrapes his knee on the palm tree he’s come to take for granted since moving to Tampa. As blood begins pooling, he ponders if this will mean his end–as a tapestry merchant, sure, but perhaps also as a living organism, once free to scrape his knee wherever he so chose. But no longer. In earlier times he’d have easily become infected, luring death ever closer with his septic charms. How romantic, he thinks, to live in a time of no antibiotics, teetering between states of consciousness, vulnerable to roaming apex predators, begging kin to keep his fire burning instead of fending for themselves.

Standing there in the shade, the pain has already subsided, blood no longer rushing to cover the wound; just another in a long line of false alarms. Now he can get back to fretting over his inevitable bankruptcy and extended stay under a viaduct.

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