Walking to church with his family Sunday, Michael Amos Jr., 7, spied what he thought was a thermometer lying near the sidewalk on Moselle Street.
Before his father or mother realized what was happening, the child had jabbed his hand with the needle of what turned out to be a syringe presumably discarded by a drug user.
Now, Michael is undergoing a series of hepatitis shots and anxiously awaiting the results of an HIV blood test.
"He's a nervous wreck," Laura Amos said of her son, a second-grader at the Futures Academy.
She's nervous and angry.
"My 7-year-old may have AIDS and die from some junkie out on the street," she said.
Mrs. Amos' wrath isn't confined to drug traffickers who have turned Moselle, which runs between Genesee Street and East Delavan Avenue on the East Side, into one of the city's meanest streets.
City Hall, she said, has ignored her pleas to clean up the run-down residential neighborhood west of Bailey Avenue, where illicit narcotics are the principal commodity and dirty needles litter the yards.
Mrs. Amos said she got the runaround three times after calling the mayor's hot line. When the office of the Mayor's Neighborhood Impact Team was unresponsive, her frustration boiled over, since the team from several city agencies was formed to clean up such neighborhoods.
"I said, 'I'll just sue the city.' The woman on the other end said, 'Do whatever you want to do,' and hung up," she recalled.
"They've got these high-priced jobs downtown, and what do they do for children? Nothing. What it comes down to is, they don't care."
Michael Amos Sr. added: "The more they put you off, the more hesitant you are to call."
Moselle and nearby streets merit special attention, agreed Lt. Eugene Ziemba of the Genesee Station, where Mrs. Amos filed a report Friday on Michael Jr.'s accident.
"It's one of the worst neighborhoods for drugs," he said. "We have details patroling the area all the time. But as fast as we take (dealers) off street, they are replaced by competitors."
Meanwhile, Mrs. Amos prays for her son. The outcome of the blood test will be known next week.