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October 25, 2002
a lesson

I took the bus at first and then walked from Bookstore to bookstore to my own library home. As I was turning the corner of Broadway and 95th street, I saw a high school girl running up 95th Street, towards Amsterdam Avenue. She did not seem very athletic and had no chance to outrun a man who was speeding after her. He was in his 40’s maybe, not too badly dressed, maybe of Indian descent. He was swinging a long metal bar. Obviously a weapon in this case. The girl was quickly caught and he began dragging her towards Broadway. He did not hit her, but his grip must have been so solid that the girl just screamed and kicked. And she was not alone. Her girlfriends caught up with her now. There were three more, all in High School uniforms. The metal bar worked well as a protection from their attacks. The man was swinging it so wildly that there was not a chance for the situation to really change. A seven foot tall boy joined the event. His huge jacket made him look even larger than he was. But he was laughing, he was not screaming like the girls. New Yorkers did not pay attention to the incident. The event here, even though it might sound quite strange, somehow possessed a logic of its own.
“They split open the skull of this boy, with a baseball bat last week.” said the doorman of the building I was standing by. “We had to drag the boy into the lobby, or they would have killed him. When the police car arrived, the guys with the bat just walked away.”
The man let go of the girls. They now screamed even louder, they made some screeching sounds, but there was an undertone of defeat. One of the girls slowly returned to the corner. She kept screaming as if to make sure that no ghosts followed her. She picked up a yellow bag. “They are all crushed!” It was a bag of M&Ms.
I later saw the man again. He is the owner of the newsstand on the corner of 96th street. “The kids always come and I give them candy. That is no problem. But today, this girl came up to me and...” he makes a movement as if he were pulling up his sweater... “ she exposed herself to me like this... what can I do, I know they are minors. I tell her not to do that. So she grabs a bag of candy and all her friends do too. I know they are minors, but you have to teach them a lesson, they can not just come by and start stealing things. This is my life. I got this location last week. I had one at the World Trade Center, but it is not there anymore. So now I am here, and I know that if I let them steal it once, they will come again. We have to teach them a lesson. If we do not teach them a lesson, nobody will.”
I congratulated him on the new location, I welcomed him to the neighborhood. I also paid for my candy bar.


my goodness... what a story....

Posted by: shauny on October 26, 2002 08:30 AM

Oh, thank you... I am sure this is just one first chapter.

Posted by: Witold on October 26, 2002 01:11 PM
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