Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More news from nowhere

A new character has appeared on our block. He's an old short fat round guy with typically east European features. I first passed him Sunday as I was walking to the liquor store. He was propped up against a tree eating cake with his fingers. It had white icing and some kind of bright red filling. The white and red were smeared all around his mouth and on the tip of his nose making him look like some kind of debauched clown. Crumbs and a few large chunks clung to his shirt. That's a bit different, I thought. Brooklyn rules.

When I passed him again on the way back he was lying on his side, his puffy right hand stretching for the remains of the cake just out of reach. He wasn't moving but he wasn't dead. Some kind of dull life was apparent in his eyes. I called 911 when I got home. You never know. He was probably just drunk. But maybe he had had a stroke or heart attack. Anyway, it was cold. He could get frostbite or freeze to death. I've heard stories in which a lot of people witness someone in trouble and everyone just assumes someone else called it in. The paramedic told me that several others had called it in, though. Good for them. Brooklyn cares.

I think I've mentioned that at any one time we have two to four ethnic meat markets on the commercial strip between my house and the subway. This is Brooklyn, so there aren't a lot of back alleys. It's not the least bit unusual to see big guys in blood soaked white aprons lugging skinned sheep, goats and other large haunches of meat between the curb and whichever meat market. The kids used to think it was really cool, but these days they don't even notice. Me too, but just when you think you're used to that kind of thing, something new comes along. The other day it was snowing. I half-noticed the guys carrying the skinned sheep. Then I saw a garbage can leaning up against the truck by the curb, one of those big green plastic jobs. It was full of internal bodily organs. Mostly livers, I think. They were kinda sloshing around. Vibrating like. Then, the truck started moving. The garbage can full of livers got hooked on the back of the truck. It looked like it was going to tip over. I instinctively went for my camera. I could see the livers sliding across the snow in a small river of blood. Man, how I wanted that picture. But one of the guys with a sheep caught and steadied it. At least he could drop the sheep. But no. Still, it was a sight to see. If I ever make a big budget movie, I'll find a way to put a garbage can full of livers in it. You can be sure.

The mystery store that's replacing one of the 99 cent stores was finally revealed. Not another 99 cent store. Not a storefront church. Not another Chinese or Mexican restaurant. Not another Russian drugstore. Not a porn palace. No, and this was a giant letdown, it's a T-Mobile store. In retrospect, I should have added that to the speculation. There have been at least three cell phone stores that have opened and closed in the last few years. But this one is big--there are six cash registers--and is only T-Mobile. What a downer. Meanwhile, a few other little stores have gone out of business and we can spend at least a few of our dreary moment wondering who will replace them. Maybe nobody, eh? Maybe the new economy is catching up with New York and these streets will turn into the urban equivalent of abandoned strip malls. We've got a new Ikea nearby. Dominoes are appearing all over. Papa Johns is making a big advertising push. It seems there just can't be too many banks or drugstores. WalMart is knocking insistently on the door. MacDonald s eats our babies. The future seems bleak.