Hunger, by A.R. Morlan (epub/Kindle/pdf)

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When David Farley came to New York City, he was a hungry man. In all ways. The job he landed proof-reading junk mail quelled one form of hunger; David was a small man, anyway, and rice, beans and pasta dishes were his forté since college. And being a careful man, conservative in his tastes and habits, he thrived in his poverty, living cheaply, but proudly. One room, hot plate, bath down the hall.

With autumn came the chance to apply for a job at a real magazine; sf fiction, major news stand distribution, subscription base, and paid lunch hours. Proof-reader, and part-part-time assistant to a senior editor. David applied, and another pang of hunger was silenced. But old hunger was stirred: David’s scant income was cut by a third. He was demoted from hunger to near-­starvation. YMCA, roach motels extra.

Months later, come September, on an afternoon when fall still seemed months, years away, David was hurrying back to work, crossing West 49th at Ninth Avenue, his mind on the miserable toothache throbbing along his left lower jaw, and the fact that he had had to leave the dentist’s office with only an appointment he could never afford to keep, when he almost ran into…her.