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Blog of the Week

Fried Hard & Chopped Up #5

Updated: Jan 2

A "Brooklyn Zoo" Sketch Story

Chinese Takeout

An "open" neon sign in the window of a neighborhood Chinese restaurant flickers as moths drawn to its glory quickly find themselves cornered and trapped. A large spider encroaches. Cautious, flies buzz wildly, maneuvering away from the deathtrap. A tender breeze wharfs culinary fragrances all about. Positioned at various stations, multiple cooks execute an array of orders. One yells out in their native tongue to another, requesting they pass the star anise. Manning the counter, a young woman organizes packets of soy and duck sauce. Hakim steps into the eatery. "Aye yo miss, lemme get pork fried rice wit four chicken wings - fried hard and chopped up... barbecue and hot sauce. Nooo ketchup tho! Last time you put ketchup on mah joint!" An older woman carrying groceries approaches the counter. "Hey mami... lemme get wonton soup with an extra crispy noodle."

"Anything else - no spare rib tip, pork fried rice, barbecue and hot sauce, and dumplings?"

"No, I'm on a diet."

Ryshawn, Hakim's homie pulls up, banging on the thick plexiglass, "Aye miss... lemme get small French fries wit barbecue sauce, hot sauce and ketchup, he payin'!" Hakim looks at Ryshawn sideways. "Nah boi, you buggin'... I got you last time." Ryshawn steps back, throwing up his hands, "So, what up then!" The two slap-box, prompting the food counter attendant to bang on the plexiglass. They ignore her, continuing with their playful skirmish. The counter woman pounds on the reinforced plastic, pointing through a cutout. "This no zoo, take that outside to the projects." Ryshawn diverts his attention to the food counter attendant.

"What chu mean miss? We just playin'."

"I no care - this no zoo!"

"Zoo... you callin' us animals!"

"Uh-uh", the woman with groceries reacts, snatching up her bags. "Mami, you can keep the food... these kids was just playing." Waddling side to side as to not upset her gout, the woman gingerly steps down onto the sidewalk, vanishing into the adjacent projects. Packets of soy and duck sauce splatter across the plexiglass, and wall as the counter woman slams her fist down, crying out, "You cost me money... see she leave! You pay four-fifty!" In vain cooks attempt to calm the woman.

"Who you screamin' at miss... I'll slap fire out chu!"

Hysterical, the counter attendant runs to the back of the establishment... silence. She emerges with a young delivery guy by the wrist. With distain, the young man eyes both Ryshawn and Hakim as he listens to his co-worker's lament. Nostrils flaring, he calmly slips out from the kitchen, locking the iron gate behind him. "Come on, you two have to go." Exclaiming in defiance, Ryshawn poses in the middle of the restaurant, arms crossed. "Nope! We want our food." Pointing at Ryshawn and looking at Hakim, the young delivery guy's face recoils like an accordion. "Get out - leave now! Your friend causes trouble every time he's here!"

"You must have yo' ni**as confused, I mainly go to China Hong."

The delivery guy inches closer to Ryshawn, eyes locked onto his. Head down, Ryshawn tilts his up, smiling at Hakim before launching a haymaker. His blow connects with the jaw of the delivery guy, sending him stumbling back. Irate, the counter woman and cooks rush to aid their co-worker. Two cooks give chase. Hakim and Ryshawn book it, splitting up, as one races down Hoyt Street, turning onto Wyckoff, and the other runs straight into Gowanus Houses, taking shelter in a building. His pursuant gives up the chase.

Hot on Hakim's tail, the second cook extends his reach, clasping onto Hakim's collar, bringing him to a halt. Spiraling 'round, Hakim punches the cook in the face. They begin fighting. Family and friends join the scrap, scaling fences and hopping benches after realizing it's Hakim fighting. Drawn to the chaos, a pair of sinister eyes appear, suspended in the window of a neighboring brownstone. Shrouded in pitch, its fixed figure outlined only by an aura of deep darkness; its breath filling the top-half of the window.

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