On the Sidewalk Bleeding

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"On The Sidewalk Bleeding"
Author Ed McBain
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Tragedy, short story
Published in Manhunt magazine (1st release)
Publication type Periodical
Media type Print (Magazine)
Publication date 1956

On the Sidewalk Bleeding is a short story by American author Ed McBain, also known as Evan Hunter. The story was first published in Manhunt magazine in 1956.[1] Its protagonist, a sixteen-year-old boy named Andy, bleeds to death on the sidewalk after being stabbed below the ribs by a member of a rival gang. The story is commonly used as teaching material in high schools and colleges.[2][3][4][5] According to Evan Hunter, this was one of his most anthologized stories, together with First Offence and The Last Spin.[6]


The story takes place during the last minutes of the protagonist Andy's life. Andy is a member of a gang called "The Royals", as shown by a purple jacket he's wearing. He left his girlfriend to buy a pack of cigarettes and is stabbed by a member of a rival gang, The Guardians. He is slow to realize the severity of his wound, too proud to have taken a hit for his group. However, Andy soon notices that he is slowly dying. Due to rapid loss of blood, he is too weak to clearly speak. A drunk man comes down the alley and assumes Andy is also drunk and staggers off, telling him he's lucky he won't call the police. A young boy and girl fear to help him because he is a Royal and do not want to become involved in gang wars. An elderly deaf homeless lady passes by but does not hear him because of the rain splattering the trashcans. In his final moments, Andy realizes the Royals jacket costed him his life. With the last of his strength, he shrugs off the jacket and dies. A few minutes after his death, Laura–the girlfriend he was to marry–finds him and quickly runs to find a cop. The cop simply looks at the jacket and says, "A Royal huh?". Laura answers, "His name was Andy". The cop ignores Laura and says, "A Royal," and continues to write on his notepad.


  1. ^ E. E. MacDonald; Ed McBain and Evan Hunter (2012) A Literary Companion. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers: Jefferson, North Carolina.
  2. ^ Jay Cline, Ken Williams (1969) Voices in literature, language, and composition, Book 3, Ginn and Company. p. 103
  3. ^ Rose Wassman, Lee Ann Rinsky (1999) Effective reading in a changing world, Longman. ISBN 978-0130115799, p. 99
  4. ^ Brenda D. Smith (2005) Bridging the Gap, Longman; 8 edition. ISBN 978-0321416759 p. 191
  5. ^ Barbara Ruth Johnson (January 1975). "Resources for the Teaching of English: 1975". The English Journal. 64 (1): 84–85. 
  6. ^ Ed McBain (2006) Learning to Kill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0151012220, p. 452