They Killed Some Clueless Kid
Anyway, Just got back from the Yemeni bodega on the corner. Bought three packs Marlboro and the Lucky Star Dream Book they sell for $5 there to the lotto players. Open it at random and discover that dreaming of reading a magazine is a bad, bad omen. There's a lady in there speaking pretty decent Arabic with the guys, so I let out a "Hal anti tatakallimina al-lugha al-arabiyya?" Good move, I'm now a preferred customer instead of a leprous yuppie interloper now.
Then it hit me as I'm walking out: They shot some kid for drug debts around the corner from the Yemenis' a week or two ago. A few crappy candles and bottles of cheap booze, guys flying gang colors pulling up in their SUVs and scribbling on some soggy butcher paper hung up there. Drove by and shotgunned him while he was chilling at a street barbecue on the next block.
A week before that, Neuza, my wife, heard some loud noises in the street, stuck her head out the fourth-story window of our apartment, and saw two guys in the middle of the intersection have a showdown at the OK Corral, with Glocks. Saw one guy go down, pooling blood and stuff.
I've just been kind of glossing over this in my mind until just now, the first really quiet day I've had in months. The first thing was not neighborhood business, just people from elsewhere leaping from automobiles at random and going berserk. That can happen anywhere, at any time. The second, though, that's pretty damn close to home. The local drug traffic has up to now been very professionally run, completely on the QT, so's you almost wouldn't notice if you hadn't already lived in some dicey neighborhoods in your time. I got some good stories, ask me sometime. Lately, though, scungy hippie junkie freaks hanging around in front of certain tenements, sucking up, not taking hints. Bad for business, bad for the neighborhood, with its five Pentecostal tabernacles and the constant sound of praise, old ladies playing some mean Motown bass next door.
Good thing I've been too stressed out to think rationally lately or I might have been very upset by it. On the other hand, I've always been super careful and vigilant on the street. Not that necessarily will save your ass--every atom of creation has the potential to explode at any moment--but it's comforting, at least, to feel like you are managing your risk as effectively as possible. I really don't like to see the Brazilian bombshell (wife) going off to night classes at LIU-Brooklyn by herself, but then again, she's from Sao Paulo, which in spots concedes nothing to Baghdad. The key is to recognize and avoid those spots. Plus she usually bringsme back a brisket on a hero from Junior's, with cheesecake.
I keep thinking of this Time Out cover--or was it New York or something else? Glossy, at any rate--declaring Brooklyn "the new Manhattan."
Bleep that. Brooklyn is Brooklyn.
Who was it? Toni Negri? Said that the Third World is not a place any more, but an archipelago of floating zones attached to every First World place? Always makes me think of naked Indians beggin in traffic in the streets of Manaus, and "The Gods Must Be Crazy." Seems intuitively right once you leave the mall.
Our block is the Kingdom of God. Next block, the renovated Brooklyn Museum, with Basquiat currently enshrined. Next block, corpses lying the street. Once a year, in September, it all turns into Carnival Central. Everybody's eyeing the storefront for rent cattycorner from us. What moves in there could alter the equilibrium of the whole cultural ecosystem in catastrophic ways. ...