The Ecstasy & The Agony

The day started off good – at 8 AM I found a shopping bag full of luxury ladies shoes on the sidewalk near my brother’s apartment in Greenpoint. Prada, Robert Clergerie, Stephane Kelian; red suede, khaki, calfskin.

For a second I thought I must still be sleeping, dreaming the perfect dream. But I knew immediately they were too small. They always are. Still, I gathered a few choice pairs up – maybe my brother’s girlfriend? She can walk anywhere in heels, and they looked closer to her size, seven.

I clutched them to my chest and then remembered: bedbugs, the scourge of New York City. Was the shoe bag a dirty trick, the result of an infestation? Someone’s powerlessness turned to anger to a chance to play God? Was the infestee at this very moment up at her window with a morning cup of coffee, cackling at any fool stupid enough to grab herself some soiled high-end bounty?

Or maybe the bag was fallout from a breakup – a jilted lover reaping his revenge, hitting his gal where he knew it would hurt the most?

I took a closer look at the shoes, being careful to hold them away from me, and weighed the possibilities. They were definitely several seasons/years old. Probably a closet purge that took a benevolent turn when selling on eBay or through consignment seemed like too much trouble.

And I was so happy to be back in the city with all its stories, all the possibilities. I’d missed New York.

* * *


Me? I looked up at the garbage truck shuddering to a stop next to me at the light. “Me?” I mouthed to the red-faced driver of the truck.


What had I done? Yes, I’d gotten on the eastbound L.I.E. in error and had just exited and was sitting at a stop light. But where had the garbage truck entered into the equation? What had I done to piss this guy off?

And the word “Bitch” carries the weight of intent and that confused me even more. Whatever wrongs I’d committed had been carried out unconsciously. His use of the word was making me feel doubly bad.

The guy continued to honk and scream and I raised my hands, a question, what did I do?

This only enraged him more. “THAT’S RIGHT – YOU! YOU FUCKING BITCH!!!” He mimed a steering wheel in his hands – I’d been driving. That was my crime.

My look of shock and dismay only set him off more. All that time in France had made me as placid as a Limousin cow. “FUUUCK YOOOOUUU!” he yelled, and raced off as fast as his dilapidated piece of shit garbage truck would take him.

I caught my breath and made my turn.

Yeah, I’d missed New York.

12 thoughts on “The Ecstasy & The Agony

  1. Poppy Robbie

    I always give those types a smile and a thumb's-up. That always set's them straight.One time a guy was in front of me, slamming on his breaks, motioning in his rearview for me to take the exit by pointing right. I pointed for him to go left into the oncoming traffic.He got bored or confused and sped away…

  2. Lindsay Hutton

    If you got his plate number I'll quite merrily track him down when I'm out there and foot his NY bahookie. See if he can sit comfortably with an actual steering wheel sticking out of his rectum sharp end doon.

  3. Lindsay Hutton

    Fly, I am available for all manner of retribution in relation to disrespect in any country where such crimes are being committed. Life's too short to put up with that malarky. And I bet that both Eric and I can curse better than any Noo Yorker too. I'm sure Amy will concur on that score.

  4. Amy

    Picked up your book at Word in Greenpoint, Caryn – really enjoying it. Donuts next time for sure!Love the idea of you giving the guy a good telling off Scotland-style Lindsay. Now if I can only figure out what 'sharp end doon' means.I don't know if it's my imagination Fly but trucks in Europe take up a disproportionate amount of space on the road so I can imagine having run-ins to be quite common – I did very little autoroute driving in my time in France.Americans have a distorted view of the UK as the land of gentility, Lindsay!You've got it, Rosie – that pulse-racing and pounding in the ears that reminds you you're alive…do the cows ever get that feeling?

  5. Lindsay Hutton

    Ha ha. "sharp end doon" would mean that the actual steering wheel would be – for want of a better expression – "introduced" to the cavity first and then the stalk or shaft at the broken end would be the thing that would be in contact with the driving seat.Now if I could only figure what "gentility" means…?

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