Mad Tom

Certain angry people come to enjoy their status as frightening symbols, cf. the saying "We are the people our parents warned us against."

Mad Tom's obsessive form of self-expression was to mirror others to themselves on the street. On earlier occasions, he had had the opportunity to confront Paul Banner and Daniel Torrent when they passed his street-corner. Tom had described Paul to himself as an arrogant young emperor whose castle was built on sand; he had portrayed Daniel as a sleepwalker.

Another of Tom's tricks was to stand there shaking his dreadlocks, just inches from you when you turned around. "I am a man like you!" he would shout.

Just before the turn of the century, police responding to an anonymous 911 call at 3:30 in the morning found Mad Tom lying in a pool of blood on Third Avenue at 83rd street. He was conscious, and all the way to the hospital he mirrored the police and the EMS technician to themselves. He had been stabbed by a fifteen year old from the North Bronx who was arrested later, after bragging to his girlfriend and showing her the bloody knife. Tom died at three o'clock the next afternoon. He had no family--at least none who turned up to take responsibility for him--and was buried in Potter's Field.