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Working in the Village in New York City puts you in pretty close contact with all walks of life. You come across the salt of the earth as well as the pepper. I have seen and heard things that most people couldn't dream up, and this picture is about one of those instances. This story happened to Tim and I sometime in the fall of 2011, I am guessing, based on the date that I scanned this picture into the computer (that date is January 18, 2012. That means it took me a year and a half to color it in. Looking at the timeline of these drawings sometimes makes me think about the years that people would spend on one painting. I never understood that until now). So, Tim and I were standing outside of the Loup and Tim was complaining. He had this thing on his hand, a swollen, red bump that may have been a spider bite or a rash of some sort, but it was painful and itchy. As we are discussing this, a man walks right up us and says, "what's the problem?" To this, Tim shows the guy his hand and the guy whips out a switchblade and says, "I could lance it right now!" To which, Tim and I backed off and said something along the lines of, "Whoawhatareyoudoingdudeputthatknifeaway." The guy chuckled and said he was just kidding and that he just wanted to use the bathroom. We let him in the restaurant because we were a little shell shocked and maybe thought we didn't have a choice. This guy only looked a little homeless and the stunt with the knife had caught us off guard. Well, we were laughing about the whole thing, and then we thought, "Oh no, this guy is probably robbing the place, and we let him in!" so we look through the window, and see him coming out, so Tim decides to retaliate with a joke of his own. As the guy is coming out the door, Tim pretends to rob him! We all laugh and the dude starts telling us a story. His story goes like this: His name is Richard and he lives in the neighborhood. He's been carrying the switchblade on him for 30 years, since back when the neighborhood was a little dicier than it is today. Back then he thought he needed a little extra protection, and then when his kids were born, he thought they might need a little extra protection. I realize that there are people out there that believe they have to be armed to walk around the city, but I had never been confronted like that. I have been jumped, but those dudes were just kids without weapons, and sure they made me bleed, but the incident didn't make me think I needed to arm myself to walk around the city. So, we hear all of this talk from this dude, and then we invite him in for a drink. He says he'll come back another time, and as we are exchanging our farewells, he leans over to Tim and says, "Oh, and your hand? That'll clear right up tomorrow." And you know what? It did!
Well, I was amped after that whole thing. I went right inside and broke out this triple dupe pad. It already had that Batman rip-off guy on it, so I thought Richard would be a good foil to that. If the Batman character was Good, then Richard would be Evil or vice versa. I think I got his likeness pretty spot-on, from his shit-eating grin to the army surplus jacket. The only thing I did wrong is he is holding his knife backwards, the lock should be on the top. My favorite part about the drawing is the Tim character whose hand is all swollen up and Richard is about to lance it. Tim drew the face of "himself" earlier, and I merely added the arm and body. It worked out perfectly. The rest of that drawing filled itself in pretty steadily over the course of a month or so, until I finished it up in mid January, 2012. We never did see Richard again. Maybe he cut his hair or trimmed his beard. Maybe he was really just a well-maintained homeless guy. Maybe he moved. Or, probably, he was just one of the 12 million people that cross your path every day in this city. Only, this one time, he stopped to talk and give us a little scare with a switchblade.