Venice at night.FLICKR

Venice at night.

FLICKR

After being pulled from the Bauer Hotel’s dock into a water taxi, deposited in a large tapestry-strewn apartment with some Philippine art patrons, and spit back into the winding streets, I happened to see a New York friend who runs a Chinatown gallery emerge from the empty alley, en route to his aunt’s apartment. A few minutes later, I ran into an artist who had me up to the roof of his pad to split an airplane bottle of rum in champagne flutes. After I left, a woman in a white head scarf came up from behind saying “walk with me,” claimed she was in town to work with the Antarctic Pavilion, and then peeled off without revealing her name.

Then, on the final stretch home, I started to see a pattern emerge on the street—red drops, stretching for a long period, splattered on the ancient corridors. There appeared to be a lot of blood on the street.

“Sangue! Sangue!” yelled two women who walked by, seemingly out of nowhere.

They were pointing and yelling the Italian word for blood.

“Sangue, sangue!” they yelled.

Had someone met their fate on the streets of Venice? With morbid fascination I followed the trail of droplets, well past my place to turn off, until I came to the end of the red. There was a white plastic wrapper of some kind, and a piece of wood that looked like a popsicle stick.