Sid and Nancy took the train back to New York where scoring drugs had become their major preoccupation. As their physical conditions deteriorated, so did their relationship. The beatings increased. At one point Sid bashed her in the jaw with a guitar, leaving a large bruise. It wasn't the first time he had used his guitar to beat her, an unidentified friend of the couple told the New York Post's Deborah Orin. But Nancy laughed it off in a phone conversation with her mother. As long as she was high, she felt no pain, but she failed to recognize the seriousness of such abuse.
Vicious now felt more vulnerable than ever. Though he already owned a collection of knives, he felt the need to have a larger weapon to protect himself from the street people who picked on him. Nancy bought him one. On Wednesday, October 11, 1978, Nancy purchased a five-inch folding hunting knife with a jaguar carved into the handle at a Times Square knife shop and gave it to Sid as a gift.
At about 9:45 p.m. on the night Nancy gave Vicious the knife, the couple dropped by Room 119 at the Chelsea where their friends "Neon" Leon Webster and Cathi O'Rourke lived. As reported by David Hershkovits and Lesley Vinson in the Soho Weekly News, Neon Leon felt that Vicious was despondent that night, holding his new knife close to his face as he muttered, "I have no more self-confidence. I'm ugly. I can't play bass." Nancy had brought along her prized collection of Sex Pistols clippings and Vicious' beloved leather jacket and asked Neon Leon if he'd hold onto these items for her. Vicious leafed through the clippings, commenting on how good he used to look. As reported by Ann Bardach in the Soho Weekly News, Vicious told the others that "he had no future."
Nancy taunted him, telling him to stop fooling around with the knife. She flexed her bicep and said, "Feel my muscle. I'm strong. I carried Sid up from the restaurant. I can carry him, but he can't carry me."
Vicious and Nancy left Room 119 at about midnight. Sid forgot his knife on the bed, and Nancy returned to retrieve it.
At 2:30 a.m., Rockets Redglare, a punk hairdresser, received a "frantic phone call" at his apartment in Queens. Nancy pleaded with him to bring her some "D-4s" (the street name for Dilaudid) and hypodermic needles.
Loud knocking on Vicious and Nancy's door at 3 a.m. woke the woman next door in Room 103. A man in the hallway was heard shouting, "Let me in. Let me in. I'm not playing." The woman in 103 did not get up to investigate and fell back asleep.
Fifteen minutes later Rockets Redglare arrived empty-handed, telling Vicious and Nancy that he was unable to find any D-4s. According to Redglare, Nancy was wearing a shirt over black panties. Sid was sacked out on the bed in black pants and a sweater. The couple was already high on the sedative Tuinal, which had slowed them down physically, but did not satisfy their craving for Dilaudid, which they intended to take intravenously.
Nancy was so desperate, according Redglare, she showed him her handbag. "$50s and $100s spilled out on the floor," he later said. She told him she'd pay double the price if he could get her 40 Dilaudids. She said that she had $1,400 to spend on drugs that night.
Neon Leon Webster, who was in his room, heard loud knocks coming from down the hall at about 4:15 a.m. A half-hour later he heard something fall on the floor in the hallway, "something that made a metallic, tinny sound. Maybe a knife."
Shortly before 5 a.m., Rockets Redglare left Sid and Nancy's room and spotted "Steven C," the couple's "regular Quaalude and Tuinal dealer," getting on the elevator in the lobby. At about the same time, the guest in Room 228 called the front desk to complain about all the noise coming from downstairs. The desk clerk sent a bellhop named Kenny to check it out, and he found Vicious wandering the halls, making a ruckus. Vicious challenged Kenny, who was black, using racist language. A fight ensued. Kenny beat Vicious into submission, bloodying his face. As Vicious lay on the floor, he looked up at the bellhop and said, "Is this what you do to a drunk?" At 5:15 a.m., the bellhop returned to the lobby. He didn't stick around to see where Vicious went.
At about 7:30 a.m., the sound of a woman moaning woke Vera Mendelssohn, a 48-year-old sculptor who lived in Room 102. She believed the moaning came from the room next door, Room 100. Mendelssohn later described the sound as "coming from a person who was alone." She said she was "very frightened" and stayed in bed rather than getting up to investigate. The moaning eventually stopped, and Mendelssohn went back to sleep.