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Blog of the Week

BrookNaw Canines #9

Updated: May 17

A Brooklyn Zoo Story

Brooklyn Zoo

Ain't no wolves in Brooklyn but there are werewolves. It's called Brooklyn Zoo for a reason! Clutch your pearls, build a brick house, and double-down because this story ain't for the faint of heart!

Tumbleweeds of weaves and dead leaves roll across faded intersections and walkways. Cotton clouds saunter through the celestial ballroom. A full-moon tip-toes from behind a cluster of clouds. Unusual chill gnaws through windbreakers and heavy sweaters, ailing bones without frosting breath. Pestilence crawling from storm drains and sidewalk burrows dine on discarded food along Wyckoff Street. Unlucky, the vermin migrate south to Smith, bypassing a community garden of compost and ripe vegetables. A 2014 black Toyota Camry pulls up to a red light at Wyckoff and Bond blasting Avicii. Cranking the volume moments before the beat drop, a clubhead en route to another party goes insane - instruments swelling; him, bopping erratically. Carefree. Quick movement in the community garden interrupts the partygoer's groove. Squinting, he rolls down the window, craning his neck out of the vehicle. Faint breath rhythmically from behind the garden's wrought iron bars. "What the hell"? GREEN LIGHT. A piercing horn from behind hurries the clubhead along. He sputters across the intersection, checking his rearview then peering out the driver's window. The breath growing smaller. Feral eyes made deceptively benevolent by amber irises rise well above the iron encasement from the ground. Alarmed, the clubhead continues gawking. "What the $%*&?!" A tailgating tow tuck fills his rearview, baring down on the Toyota. "What's this guy's problem?!" For blocks, the tow tuck remains within feet of the mid-sized vehicle before muscling his way past the clubhead, flipping him off.

Cozied in a window alcove of a four-story brownstone, little Peter battles sleep, awaiting his father's return. Perking up whenever headlights appear on the block. His leg in a cast, propped up, covered in doodles and well-wishes from family members, neighbors, and classmates - earned during last week's soccer game. Crutches perched against the window frame. His injury was no walk in the park but brought about grandma's butter cookies, no school, and a special gift from dad! Thrift store binoculars and comics positioned between he and the window. Pouted lips and a wrinkled nose reflect disappointment in a wall mirror. "Papa said he would be home in three-sleeps. Humph!" Little Peter's mother tucked in by a night-cap of Vermouth lay slumped across in a Wingback Chair. Saliva cascading from the corner of her mouth. Sneaking a jumbo-sized sandwich bag of grandma's cookies from under a pillow, Peter's eyes dart over to his mother. He focuses on her face and breathing, returning to his forbidden snack after confirming his mother's unconsciousness. Quietly peeling open the plastic baggy, Peter pulls out a cookie, devouring it. He stuffs another sweet treat into his mouth. "Mmmmmm."

Shaky, narrow light invading from an adjacent apartment of public houses startles Peter. Pulling covers over his face, he takes shelter under a thick quilt and airline blanket. Heavy panting. Slowly lifting bedding from his face, Peter peaks his head, investigating the source of the beam. Curiosity peaked! Straining to locate the light and its cause, Peter reaches for his binoculars. Round and round, up and down he searches until a silhouette in a dimly lit apartment catches his eye. It swirls and whirls, becoming more whimsical. "What is that...?" A little head pops into view. Arms raised, hands spread like claws; pretending to be a scary monster. "Roar!"

"Ahhhhhhhh!" Peter nearly falls out of the alcove from fright.

The boy in the window giggles, pointing. Peter struggles to gain his bearing. A scowl begets a smile after a warm greeting from the midnight prankster. Window kid waves, holding up yellow construction paper with the name "Tyler" written in red crayon. Peter returns the salutation, wearing a goofy grin. Hand oscillating left to right. He gestures over to his mom then leg, mouthing "I can't move." Peter thinks... writing his name on the window fogged by his breath. "PETER". Each compliments the other on heroic and fantastical pajamas. Peter and Tyler "exchange" snacks and play toys like Fifth Avenue mannequins come to life at Christmastime. They snicker. In mid chomp, Tyler drops his chocolate chip cookie. Eyes wide, body at attention, fear buffets glee right off Tyler's face. Peter puzzled. Tyler inches away, hiding behind a curtain. Peter now concerned. He rears up, grabbing his binoculars. Tyler hidden. His apartment light and flashlight switched off. Bewildered, Peter looks on, attempting to locate his new buddy in the darkness. Mother awoken by a charley horse and the urge to pee, hobbles and limps to the bathroom wincing. "Damn vermouth." Peter hurries under his blankets to safety. "Please don't send me to bed." Toilet flushed, hands washed, mom drags to bed. "Peter..." Peter stiffens like a board under his bedding, holding his breath. Praying. Hungover, mother shuffles to bed having not completed her sentence. "Whew!" Peter waits for his mother's bedroom door to close. Creeeaakkkkkk. The latch scrapping across the strike plate. Click-clack. Impatient and worried, Peter emerges from under the covers, searching for his friend. Nothing. Rustling of a curtain draws his eye. Peeping from behind the fabric, hand covering his eye, Tyler parts his fingers, peaking over to the community garden. He darts back behind the curtain, pointing in the direction of the garden. Peter struggles, pressing himself to the window, eyes straining to the left. Alarmed. Tyler's disposition elevates to frantic.

Growling and tearing of flesh heard from the community garden scatters returning scavengers. Leaping the wrought iron fence, a large werewolf appears from among shadow and shrubbery, gorging himself on a decomposing pig head - slurping up its blood. He shifts back to human form, still snacking on the suidae, devouring the brain. Flesh and coagulation dripping from facial hair. Another werewolf rushes ahead, arms extended. Hindquarters of the carcass launched from the garden make its way into the predator's arms. Crouched, the beast bares down on his prize, thrashing its head. A stern grunt sobers the playful nocturn. He transforms. Red eyes humanize, as a young man comes into view. Several men stroll down Bond, occupying the middle of the street. 90's Hip-Hop playing on a gray boombox carried by a dark-skinned man wearing a red Kangol bucket hat. Sinister, serpentine orbs, fortified by vertical black slits rests, exalted in the heavens above Gowanus Projects, scrutinize the pack. Whispered boasts and hurled accusations reach the BrookNaw Canines' leader. Alert yet unfazed, Matsi ushers along his pack, exchanging glances with the jeerer.


Dice abuela...

Say grandma,

Idle not & be of haste

For something lurks with an unnatural taste

Bring in your confections from the sill

Hold Red inside against her will

Regale her with tales of old

Anesthetize granddaughter with a spread, a sight to behold

Lasagna, arroz con gandules, garden salad; chicharrón

Pork shoulder, tender, fall-off-the-bone

A horror come to life

Once confined to screens & dreams

Do not let the full-moon catch you slippin'

Stay beneath your covers & don't even think about dippin'

Take refuge beneath blankets - sit real tight

Lest you encounter a terror of the night

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