You walk towards me determinedly, with a strange expression, a mixture of barely concealed disgust and self-conscious virtue. You fumble ostentatiously in your expensive handbag, and fish out a fat purse, from which you extract a coin or two. Maybe enough for a cup of watery tea from the fast food place, though I'll have to drink it outside. They don't like me to sit at a table - it puts off the other customers, they say. I do try to keep clean, but it's not that easy. And sometimes...well, it doesn't seem worth the effort.
You hold your hand out to me - the rings glitter in the sunshine. I'm glad of a day without rain for once.
You are saying something...What was that? With a condescending smirk: "I'm not sure if I should give you this, you know. You're not going to spend it on drugs or alcohol, now are you?"
Smile. Shake head. Look suitably grateful.
Scream inside my head.
And if I am? I want to say. Don't I have the right to escape from this world for a little while? (Not that the few coins with which you are so reluctantly parting would get me far in the direction of oblivion). But you want value for money, you want your small change to buy you a reinforcement of your superiority, an image of yourself as the gracious lady treating the poor down-and-out with a careful and moderate compassion.
The men who leer and proposition me are more honest. The trade they offer is for my body only.