A "Brooklyn Zoo" Story
Some Times the Bus Don't Stop
Flickering street lamps and police floodlights on the outskirts of public housing illuminate Hoyt Street. Candles tied with red bandanas along with empty Henny bottles honoring the fallen lay carefully in front of a corner store. Officers walk their beat. People in and out of the bodega gaze at the memorial. Some express disgust and frustration with inconsolable cries and fists to the sky. Old heads who babysat the deceased pour out malt liquor from freshly cracked cans, while homies peace their boy for the last time.
A young woman waits at a bus stop in front of a laundromat. Patrons exiting the wash'n'fold rolling shopping carts piled high with freshly folded clothes gawk at the young woman taking selfies. "Oh my God, I'm so excited to be in New York! This is going to be amazing." Checking her Apple watch for a third time, the perky traveler inquires of a passerby about the bus. "I have no idea miss, check the schedule", the passerby responds as they walk off. The young woman carefully examines the bus schedule before stepping off the curb and peering up the block. "Where is this bus?" Patiently annoyed, she takes a seat on the sidewalk, pulling out a book.
Midnight stills pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Runaway felines stalks rats scavenging about improperly covered trash and discarded food cartons. Men in dark colored hoodies posted up on a nearby corner reach at their waistbands as a white Benz with tinted windows slowly approaches. Crashing of bodega gates being brought down startle the young woman. Peering in the location of the noise, she settles herself when seeing the owner and his son closing up. "Excuse me! I have been waiting here an hour for the bus. I am from Vermont, and therefore, unfamiliar with the City but really want to take New York City transportation and get a bus map. Do you know when it's coming?" Indifferent, the owner continues to close up, ignoring the tourist. Tugging on his father's sleeve, his son calls to him. "Baba, baba!" "Shhhh", the father whipping around, covering his son's mouth, whispers. "Let's go... let that white woman alone. We must go now!" Bewildered, the young woman attempts to make conversation with the father. "I mean no harm sir, I just want to know when the bus is coming." The owner fastens the gate's padlocks closed, still ignoring the out-of-towner. He carts his son off into an adjoined residential entry, shutting the door. Doubling back in the father and son's direction, the young woman returns back to the bus stop. Police floodlights shut off. She checks her watch for an eighth time then her iPhone for the nearest train station. "Low battery". In mid scroll, bright lights appear on her clothing. "Finally!" Barreling down Hoyt Street, the bus races across Bergen Street onto to Wyckoff, it's bumper scrapping the pavement. Stepping out into the street, the young woman waves down the driver, "Hey, hey, I'm right here!" Refusing to acknowledge her, the bus driver blows by the stop, eyes fixed ahead. Taking off after the city bus, the young woman hurls curses at the driver and bus. "Wait, wait... damn it!" She continues her pursuit for blocks until stopped by a poorly lit street. Wearing a scowl of disappointment, she adjusts her sports bra, watching the city bus vanish into the night. "I don't know what that guy's problem was but... " A stomach-churning odor snatches the young woman's next words, choking her. Holding her mouth, she dashes to a nearby garbage bin. Chunks of vomit stream from in between her fingers. Flies buzz, converging upon the late-night feast. "Oh my God, what was that horrific smell! People actually live here!?" Labored breathing and the shuffle of heavy footsteps grasp the tourist's attention. She turns, wiping the puke for her mouth. A colossal, feral silhouette emerges from behind a gnarled maple tree. Elongating her neck and squinting her eyes, she strains to peer into the dense shadow. "What is that? Hello... are you OK?" She inches forward.