I was about to go online and research a new Harvey Pekar story I'm drawing for an upcoming issue of AMERICAN SPLENDOR when I hear a woman shrieking like a banshee outside my studio window. I jump out of my seat and throw open the window and see a truck roll by but no shrieking woman. It occurs to me that the screams could have come from the other side of the building as I run towards the stairs where there is another window that looks over the parking lot. I throw open that window and I see Kenny bleeding from the top of his face and staggering.
Kenny is a kind, older black man who lives on the street but was hired as extra "security" for the space that warehouses over fifty studios. There are figure-eights of blood everywhere as Kenny slowly serpentines towards the wall between two parked cars. I ask Kenny if he's okay as I dial 911 on my cell phone and he waves his arm up to let me know he's not going to die and stumbles to the ground. I tell the 911 dispatcher all I know [which is nothing] and give her the studio warehouse address. I grab a roll of paper towels and a coffee can and fill the can with water and, by the time I reach the street, Kenny is sitting on the steps of the warehouse doors and is bleeding profusely from the gash atop his eye. His jacket is slashed wide open, too, as white stuffing floats out from the interior of his coat into the wind. I press a wad of paper towel against his badly cut eye and ask him what happened. Turns out another derelict, a Spanish man, tried to steal his push cart full of stuff. The Spanish guy was with a woman. When Kenny tried to retrieve his push cart, the Spanish guy started slashing Kenny with a razor. The woman screamed and they ran, leaving Kenny in a state of bloody shock.
Within minutes the police came and asked pointed questions and a short while later a police van drove up with two suspects. Kenny nodded that they were the people that hurt them and the cops gave the van driver the thumbs up as they drove away to process the culprits. An ambulance showed up and started patching Kenny's face. I helped clean up the bloody mess by the warehouse door and returned upstairs to my art table a little bit shaken by Kenny's attack and started my work on AMERICAN SPLENDOR. I had to laugh as I considered the differences between my quotidian life and Harvey Pekar's.