Action, adventure thriller about Blacks, Jews and terrorists. A bungled mugging leads Black youth, BRAYTON JAMES, 24, to collide with terrorists delivering money for an arms deal. He escapes, but, he and pal CALVIN WATKINS, 23, are marked for death by RASHID ABISALEH, 45, the cell leader. Israeli agents, trained assassins; MOISHE MUSTANG, 55, ABE LIPSKY, 60 and ARTHUR PISKY, 58, arrive to destroy the cell and foil an assassination plot. In a dramatic conclusion, the Israelis and the youths reach a final encounter with the terrorists, but can they stop the assassination plot and destroy the shipping organization.
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Word Count 62,679
From the Book
The dawn of Man according to respected sources developed somewhere on the African continent. Its proximity to the equator caused the inhabitants genetically to develop dark skin pigmentation as protection from the sun's heat and ultraviolet rays. Thus, the Negro race was born, and consequently the rest of humankind. According to the Old Testament, one of the nomadic tribes known as “Canaanite's” settled on this continent. These people were called Hebrews and one of their renowned leaders, Abraham; a name meaning, “Father of the Multitude,” was married to Sarah. Unable to bear children, Sarah suggested that Abraham take her handmaiden, “Hagar, the Egyptian,” to bear him a child and heir. Hagar eventually gave birth to a son, and in a visitation God told Abraham to name the child “Ishmael,” he would subsequently become the father of all Arabs. Years later, God granted Abraham and Sarah a true born son of their own. They named him, “Isaac,” from whose seed all Jews would evolve. According to those Biblical passages; Abraham is the father of all Jews and all Arabs; the same father with different mothers.
The relationship between Jews and Arabs has been chaotic and violent for more than six thousand years. Even today, newspaper headlines scream the indignities and violent horrors visited upon these brethrened peoples. Over the past twenty-five years, the somewhat strained history between Jews and Blacks, particularly evident in Brooklyn where large concentrations of both groups reside, has continued and is growing worse.
Nestled among the Jewish population in Brooklyn, is the ultra-religious sect called “Hasidim,” these men are easily recognized by their beards and curly hair ringlets called “Payos.” Traditionally, orthodox Jews are biblically forbidden to shave. Other distinguishable Hasidic traits are their Fedora hats and mid-thigh caftans which they wear almost exclusively. Throughout the world, the total Hasidic population is approximately 200,000 people and 50,000 to 75,000 presently live in Brooklyn.
The Black population of Brooklyn, according to the 2010 American Community Survey is approximately 860,083 people, with a large segment coming from the Caribbean area. That number, which is even higher today, represents the largest Black population within all New York's five boroughs. As a group, black class structure runs the gamut from multi-millionaires and political statesmen, to the destitute and homeless. African-Americans are known as an evolving group of people who have earned pride and respect from all nationalities. Finally, America has its first black President; Barack Hussein Obama. Unfortunately, there exists an extraordinarily explicit phenomenon in the black community called brainwashing; the result of 400 years of slavery, and the systematic evisceration of the black egoic identity; negating the black family.
Crown Heights, a mixed Black and Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, where one summer's evening in 1991, a terrible tragedy occurred. A car carrying an Hasidic Rabbi spun out of control hitting a Black child playing in the streets, killing him instantly. There were conflicting accounts of what actually happened, African-American witnesses say the Hasidic ambulance, first to arrive, ignored the dying child and ministered instead to the Hasidic driver and his companion. The Jews say exactly the opposite. Regardless of which account is nearer the truth, later that night there was rioting, ending with the fatal stabbing of an innocent Hasidic student–by a young Black man.
Well then, here we are in Brooklyn, a place colloquially known as ‘The City across the river,’ as though the name “Brooklyn” couldn’t stand for itself, when in actuality Brooklyn is geographically larger than New York City. When people say “New York” they’re usually referring to Manhattan, and not any of the other five boroughs; The Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens, all five are collectively known as New York City. Brooklyn itself, however, is the one true gem of the East Coast, we've got it all, and we're damn proud of it. Three separate bridges lead in and out of Brooklyn; the Manhattan, the Williamsburg, and the Brooklyn bridges. Few structures are as famous as the Brooklyn Bridge; celebrating more than one hundred years since its inception and boasts being mentioned in more movies than many celebrities. In Brooklyn, we have some exquisite restaurants, every bit as good as the more expensive ones, our museums, zoos, and generally speaking, sightseeing, is as good if not better than anywhere in the whole country. Talk about class; what can be more upscale than living in Brooklyn Heights, with all its grandiose history, as ancient as New York itself. Actually, Brooklyn was the first municipality. None of the other four boroughs can boast of former live-in tenants like Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. We even have streets named after fruits, Cranberry, Orange, and Pineapple. Many young executive types move to Brooklyn Heights for the apparent snob appeal; who wouldn't be proud to brag about living in the Heights, especially if you live near the Promenade or the Brooklyn Bridge itself. Norman Mailer, among other well-known celebrities used to live there; he literally walked its streets every morning showing the residents he was proud to be one of them.
All in all, it's a unique and interesting place, offering neighborhoods so clannish and ethnically diverse that any of them could be granted sovereignty. The mixtures and textures of Brooklyn’s people panorama are universally and culturally diverse, loved, feared and perhaps even ridiculed, but not for excluding its poor and underprivileged. Yes, we have it all, the famous and infamous; the housing projects, the slums, oh yes, many slums, including those that produce subcultures of muggers, thieves and ingrates; stretching all the way back to the immigrations from Eastern Europe who arrived here in the late 1800s. Brooklyn also has the distinction of inspiring the infamous gang called “Murder Incorporated,” a gang of Jewish murderers who lived in the 1920s and 1930s.
Okay! Low-class, yes, but also high class; Brooklyn’s had it all; Barbara Streisand to Mike Tyson and Danny Kaye to the Lubovicher Rabbi; the head Rabbi of the Hasidim.
The Brooklyn waterfront with all its loading docks, an area where assorted kinds of merchandise and sundries are shipped to and fro the world over. This location was used for the movie “The Waterfront,” starring Marlon Brando and it's also where our story begins:
The Jehovah Witness tower clock reads four minutes past ten, it's a quiet Sunday night in April, the Brooklyn Bridge and right next to it, and promenade traffic is crawling at a bare minimum. Looking from New York into Brooklyn’s waterfront dock area, some 500 feet to the left of the bridge, there sits a small berthed freighter, the name “DIABLO,” is barely visible in the sparse evening light. She's being unloaded by two solitary men, who at the moment are straining and struggling with a crate obviously too heavy. The planked walkway groans and squeaks under their weight as they head into the warehouse, just beyond the dock. Red letters stenciled on both sides of the crate read: “CAUTION-NITROGLYCERIN.”
The two men silhouetted against the moon which is backlighting them as they enter the warehouse where floodlights now drench them in bright light; both men look Semitic; heavily mustached with broad beaked noses. The shorter man, with a full beard speaks, “Thanks be to Allah, we finish! I am so tired… stop Malik, stop pushing me…!”
Malik replies “… we must move faster Aza! Soon Rashid will be here, you must hurry, now move faster!” “I know, I know, just stop pushing me, I cannot move faster…”
Aza feels his left leg buckle, he stumbles and falls as the crate follows crushing his leg beneath its weight. Handguns and AK47 rifles fall out of the crate to the warehouse floor. Malik is stunned and frightened, not about the weapons, but about his friend Aza for being out of commission. Not hearing the approaching footsteps, Aza, his leg pinned beneath him groans mournfully and loud.
Two men stop in front of Aza and Malik. Rashid, clearly the superior male exudes a forceful, overbearing and cruel demeanor. His body language shows indifference, his intentions unreadable and hidden; the result of his years of discipline and training. A veil of abject fear instantly cloaks the men near him. Rashid is an excellent example of the poster child who proves by example the lack of love and insensitivity for all of his early life. One look in his eyes, if you dare, returns a blank disillusionment devoid of any compassion and he’s lacking any decent human values. Handsome, with Semitic chiseled features, Rashid stands 6'2”, 180 pounds of lean and defined muscle. His physique is not the result of laborious training or working out, but simple genetics. He has dark brown, almost almond shaped and piercing eyes; a large beaked nose looms over his manicured thin mustache which is shaped to the contours of his thick full lips. Rashid’s teeth are bright white, straight, and natural. His full head of jet black hair worn in a curly and messy ‘Alexander the Great’ style. He's a cruel and vicious young man who’s never uttered a kind word to anyone. His good looks mask the evil hidden below its unmarred surface. Without pause, he smacks Aza's face, jolting his head backward, while Malik begins shuddering in sweat filled fear.
Looking stridently into Aza's eyes, Rashid slowly says, “You dare being indifferent with such important weapons, the very tools destined for Holy Jihad? These arms and ammunitions are infinitely more valuable than your life! I will not allow such frivolity!” Aza cringes, raising his arms to block anticipated blows, “He rushed me, he pushed me, Malik pushed me too fast, so I fell!”
Malik, defensively explains that he was trying to finish unloading by the ten o'clock deadline, “I remember what you said, Captain Rashid, I was only afraid you'd…”
Rashid lifts his finger, silencing him instantly. “You permit fear to take control, like cornered vermin. We cannot allow that!
Two whole years, millions in bribes and untold lives have been invested in creating and organizing this shipping route. Navigating International waters, as well as alien and hostile countries has been more than impossible, but we have done it, thanks be to the will of our indomitable Allah, praise be his name. You, as our weakest link jeopardize everything.” Reaching inside the open crate he removes a .357 magnum, inserts two bullets and fires the gun into Malik's face. Brains, with bits of bone and blood splatter like strewn paint.
Rashid turning to Aza says, “As you are in pain and cannot rise, Allah shall also set you free.” He fires into Aza's face, bursting his head which explodes like a watermelon being shot by cannon. Turning away from the carnage, Rashid hands the .357 handgun to Abu, his companion, “My dear friend…here! A present for you! Slightly used, yes; but for a very worthy cause…”
Abu el Farid, the Iraqi ship dealer, a man in his early 50s, slightly below five feet in height, rotund and flabbily overweight. He's bald with a trimmed mustache and goatee; both dyed black as night. As they walk away Rashid continues, “Perhaps you are willing to ensure me that my new tanker will be delivered…vermin free?” Abu grins at the insensitive but poor attempt at humor. Yet, he too remains impervious to the evil just perpetrated. With a high pitched, squeaky voice says, “Of course my dear Rashid … and many, many thanks for such a magnificent present. May I now beg your indulgence?” Rashid, with a slight nod of his head, grants permission. Abu continues, “Would you allocate a little front money, say one and a half million and, at a later date, the final payment of three and a half million, of course upon delivery of your, ‘vermin free’ ship?” Acknowledging, Rashid answers, “Understood and agreed, Abu! However, your question shows you have much deeper concerns with finances then the success of our Jihad… is that not true?”
He stops, turning to stare into Abu's eyes, “Then, you also help fuel the fires that weaken us! Do you see that?” A pregnant moment of deafening silence hangs in the dank air of the warehouse. Abu, with his mouth ajar, begins phumfering, “No, no, you misunderstand, I merely ask that…”
The point deftly made, Rashid interrupts, “What flag will my ship fly?”
Abu obviously flustered but also happy to be temporarily off the hook has begun to recompose himself. He knows he's lost valuable points with this insane man, and wants to finish this repartee and leave as quickly as possible, “Argentinean, just as you requested, Captain Rashid, sir, with two Iraqi crew members hidden amongst the sailors; men who will report to you any internal discordance. May I continue?” Rashid flicks his finger in assent. “Do I have your permission to return in, say, five days for the down payment, would that be acceptable to you?” Rashid, nodding his head affirmatively, yet silent for an extended beat, finally says, “You may! Nevertheless, make sure I never see your face again!” Why, my dear Rashid, why? I have found the perfect tanker for you at a price unheard of in today’s market, five million dollars for a Japanese built tanker, true it is used, but it’s in perfect condition. Your tanker holds 200 tons of cargo weight and forty-five thousand TDW (tons dead weight) it’s 135 feet in length and beautiful. It’s easily worth fifteen million; I reduced my commission from $500,000 to $150,000, Allah be praised, I am surely dedicated to your mission…
Rashid, as though he hasn’t heard one word continues walking, leaving Abu standing alone talking to himself.
Cranberry Street, one of three renowned “fruit” Streets of Brooklyn Heights, it’s poorly lit for 8:30PM, but then again there’s always been a shortage of street lights here. The entire block is empty of pedestrians, and unusually quiet, except for an occasional ambulance siren off in the distance, and a lone barking dog. Hidden in dark shadows, a man turns the corner walking briskly along the facades of residential buildings. He pauses in a doorway, partially exposed by the dimmed street light showing he’s a male. He’s fidgeting, furtively waiting, his eyes searching all the cars parked nearby. From a parked car window across the street, a cigarette ash brightens three times in succession; it's a signal. Bray James, a slender, tallish, black man in his late twenties, takes a ski mask out of his jacket pocket and pulls it down over his face. He then makes the “OK” sign toward the car, and runs into the alleyway between two adjoining apartment buildings.
The fire escape ladder hangs precariously from its moorings, and it’s just beyond Bray's reach. After two attempts at pulling it down so he can climb up, he searches for something to stand on. He finds a lawn chair with one missing leg that was partially hidden by bulging garbage bags and other junk.
Carefully balancing the chair under the ladder, he steps on it, as his foot crashes through the rattan seat, scraping his calf and ripping his pants. Losing his balance he topples backward off the chair into a plastic garbage can filled with recycled bottles, spilling them and creating a noisy clamor. He pauses, searching the surrounding windows for anyone who might have heard. Hearing nothing and not seeing lights come on, he continues. Now he’s standing on top of the plastic garbage can after first placing a metal trash can inside for support. He manages a one-handed grasp of the first rung of the ladder. Hanging there dangling, his right arm outstretched and strained, he thrusts upward three times before his left hand finally grasps the rung, and slowly moves himself a few inches higher. Navigating to the third and fourth rungs, Bray snags an iron spur tearing his pants scraping his thigh this time. Finally, with his footing secured; he reaches the second floor window fire escape. Using an old-fashioned glasscutter he traces a circle that’s just a little too small, he forces his hand through anyway scraping skin from the back of his hand as he struggles to release the window latch. Trying desperately to be quiet, he lifts the bottom window up and peers into the darkness. Suddenly, the top half of the windowpane slides down banging his head, and toppling him into the apartment.
He bounces off an end table catapulting an ashtray in the air which he catches as he crashes to the floor with a loud thud. Mary and Sidney Kaufman were both fast asleep. Mary, startled by the loud noise, bolts upright in her bed tilting her head to listen, but hearing nothing she turns on her bed lamp. She's a short pudgy lady with dyed black hair. Her face is very pretty, and she has perfectly straight white teeth, all acrylic. Contrary to her good looks, she has the demeanor and gruff voice of an army drill sergeant. Sidney, her husband, is a large brutish man, but very gentle and easygoing almost to a fault. They're both in their late fifties and have Yiddish accents. Rubbing sleep from his still closed eyes, Sidney mumbles, “What was that Mary?” Leaping up off the bed “Come Sid, quick, let's give a look!” She runs, as he begins to shuffle out of the bed.
The living room lights snap on, catching Bray mid-step, in a crawling position on all fours. He lifts the ski mask up, showing his face and grinning in an inane attempt to appear innocent, he whispers “Hello, I'm sorry…I was just…” Mary screams out, “… son-of-a-bitch, bastard, you gonna die!” She grabs a broom and begins hitting Bray, “Dirty black bastard! Let's get him good, c'mon Sidney!” Sidney just stands there shaking his fist at him, thinking he looks tough; if only for Mary's sake. Mary still banging on Bray drops the broom and starts using both hands to deliver the blows. Floundering for any potential escape route, Bray accidentally crawls inside a hall clothes closet. Mary reaches in dragging him out by his hair. Whimpering, his clothes disheveled, Bray tries to stand, but can't help tripping over his own feet. Trying to get away he stumbles over a lounge chair and bangs his head into the wall. Mary, thoroughly convinced he’s escaping, picks up a lamp and begins hitting him with it. As her arms become more tired, she lowers the lamp and begins spiting at him, yelling, “Kick him, (ptoo) c'mon Sidney, (ptoo) If you don't kick him, I'm gonna kick you in your ass!”
Unaware, the three have moved from inside the apartment out to the hallway. Still warding off the blows, Bray's trying to maneuver near the staircase which leads to outside. Inadvertently granting his wish, Sidney reluctantly kicks Bray in the ass tumbling him down the stairs toward the front door. Bray, dazed and disoriented begins crawling toward the front door exit, still holding on to the ashtray. Mary yells from the top of the stairs, “Stay outta here you black bastard, you thief, crook…!”
Outside, Bray staggers down the steps heading toward the car parked at the curb, yelling, “Get moving, Calvin…go!” The passenger door opens and Bray collapses into the front seat.
Calvin Watkins, the getaway driver and Bray's best friend is a muscular young black man in his early twenties. They've been the best of friends since early childhood. Calvin, ever since his teen years, dresses in army camouflage clothes, he genuinely believes girls like it so much better. A more pressing social problem is his obsession with eating raw onions. Calvin says onions are like apples, in taste and texture, and he can’t understand why people avoid close contact with him. These two are inseparable, even closer than brothers with a deep abiding admiration, respect, and love for each other.
Fumbling with a stuck gearshift, Calvin asks, “What the fuck, you look like you fell off the roof. What'd you get Bray …huh?” “Calvin! Just get me the hell outta here, as fast as you can…please!” The gear finally locks in and the motor kicks over. The smoking tires screeching as they quickly pull away from the curb. “Are you shittin me?” Calvin says, “…a fucking ashtray? Man, we gotta do better than this, this really sucks… yesterday all we got was a black and white TV, and some stupid fake furs, I mean, c'mon! And now, after all this planning and preparation, all you get is an ashtray?”
During the early summer of 1980 Calvin Watkins and four of his friends were standing just outside a small park enclosed by a chain link metal fence. They stopped playing to watch Bray James, his parents and their moving company bringing furniture into their new two bedroom apartment; the Brookline Housing Projects, located at 452 East 105th street, in Carnarsie, Brooklyn. Bray and Calvin layed eyes on each other for the first time, making a spiritual connection, when Calvin said, "We're going to be best friends." Truer words were never spoken, and now 21 years later, they’re still true. They attended James Otis Junior High School and Benjamin Franklin High School, two separate facilities situated in the same building, both schools were also non-co-ed. The school complex was only blocks away from a major road called, "Rockaway Parkway, Bray and Calvin used to walk along the parkway every day after school let out at 3:00PM. As teenagers in an all-boys school, it was their considered opinion that if women could see their penises, they would want them as sex partners. So, between them a new idea was born with both youths agreeing on a name; they would call it, "Dicks to Cars." The way it worked, they hoped, would be during the walk home, and only if they were alone, and outside visual range of any other pedestrians. Once it was decided they were alone on the street, they would whip out their penises and wave them to female drivers or female passengers in cars moving in their direction. It was great fun, they would laugh at the shocked faces and drop opened mouths, and soon they began to realize that no women showed any interest other than shock, disgust, and hurling curses at them. Finally, after doing it for nine days, a car screeched to a halt, and a middle aged man jumped out and began running after Bray and Calvin. The chase lasted for three city blocks until he lost his breath and gave up, returning to his car. They both shivered at the prospect of what the guy might have done if he caught them, they vowed never to do it again. Throughout Junior High and High School the two friends were inseparable, fortunately they had many classes together and lived in the same building; Bray on the third floor and Calvin on the sixth. Bray's grades were always a little better than Calvin's, but it never was used as a wedge between them, in fact, they helped each other with home work, and they always covered each other’s asses. Defending Calvin became more and more problematic, because he was always being picked on due to his foul bad breath. Bray, over the years, became somewhat used to it, but never completely. Upon high school graduation Calvin volunteered in the US Army for a two year enlistment, and was stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey. During his first year he re-enlisted, or as they say, re-upped for a third year in order to be accepted for Military Police training. Bray went to work in a local pharmacy delivering prescriptions, doing stock work and general cleaning until he quit one evening after refusing to clean the boss's dinner dishes. His next job was as stock boy, eventually becoming a clothing salesman for Goldberg's Haberdashery. The retail store was on Nostrand Avenue in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn, only blocks away from Carnarsie where he lived. After Calvin was released from the Army, they both went to work driving taxis for Jake's Car Service.
For those of you who fancy themselves students of the psychological, it would be fitting to include some background history about the parents of Bray and Calvin, where you just might find clues to their unusual behavior.
BRAYTON James was born three minutes before midnight on Saturday, October 20, 1988, at Bellevue's Birthing Center in New York City. Teresa (Sims) James, 20, had just undergone eighteen hours of difficult labor; unable to have a needed Caesarian section due to a skin condition called "Toxemia." Becoming toxic in her case was brought about by eating peaches treated with the pesticide known as Lanate (Methomyl) Carzol. Her rash covered abdominal skin could not be surgically cut, so the doctor said, and Teresa almost died in the delivery room.
Brock James, 26, Teresa’s husband; a stocky, burly, soft spoken guy had spent the last four hours in the hospital waiting room killing flies with a cut rubber-band. Brock and Teresa lived minutes from the hospital in a fourth floor walk-up, on Fourteenth Street and Avenue "B," one of the poorer sections of lower Manhattan. Brock was awarded a Purple Heart medal being wounded (shot in the knee) on May 17, 1987 when an Iraqi pilot accidently fired 2 Exocet Cali-ship missiles at his ship the USS Stark while on duty in the Persian Gulf.
Six months later, after rehab, he came home and married his long time sweetheart Teresa Sims. Teresa worked for Estee Lauder at the A&S Department store on Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn, where she was loved by everyone. Brock worked in Security for Allied Boron Security Services at Bellevue Hospital's loading dock, and to deal with his unending leg pain he became addicted to crack and alcohol. Over the years, he would lose control occasionally and hurl verbal abuse at Teresa. As the number of incidents increased, Brock began to physically hit her, not stopping until she was crying and begging him to stop. One night, unable to bear it another second, Bray got between his mother and father trying to protect her from Brock's blows. In a drunken stupor Brock believed his son had raised his hands to him, an act which was completely intolerable, and he ordered Bray banished from his home, never again to return. A few days later Bray moved into Jake price's home since he was already one of Jake's drivers. Brock never relented nor forgave Bray, even after attending his son’s wedding.
Betty Jean Adams, 31, married Dexter Watkins, 26, on November 7th, 1984. After two miscarriages, she finally became pregnant and delivered a baby boy, 6 lbs 8 ounces on April 26, 1987, they named him Calvin. Eight months later, December 13, 1987, Dexter was killed driving a newspaper delivery truck in Bergen County, New Jersey. Within a year, B.J. met and married Mozart DeRose, 24, he had a steady job working part time as lead man of the night waxing crew at the New York Life Insurance company, his hours were 4PM to 1AM. During mornings and afternoons, Mozart worked at a fruit and vegetable store on Nostrand Avenue. He picked up the nasty habit of eating onions watching his wife and step-son constantly eat any kind of onion. They would consume onions with such relish that he eventually joined them and once he began eating onions too, he all but forgot about the bad breath. Betty Jean, also known as B.J. a name given early in her school days and lasting for the rest of her life because she simply liked the taste of semen. She became a school celebrity spending her lunch time in boy's bathrooms giving blow jobs to everyone and anyone. It was the best way, she surmised, to avoid being ostracized for her bad breath; apparently guys didn't mind the smell coming from her mouth when she was sucking them off. Over the years, she became so popular that many of the other girls became jealous even though none or very few were willing to be seen with her. Even after her marriages, B.J. would still occasionally suck off strangers, men she just met at the supermarkets, drugstores and even the post office. In time those incidents became slightly less frequent especially after having Calvin. B.J. freely admitted how much she missed the sensation of a man's penis as far down her throat as possible when he ejaculated, she claimed her body would actually shudder, every single time.
The DJ's playing Katie Perry’s “Fireworks.” The beat and volume is overbearingly loud because of more than twenty speakers mounted high up on the walls, strategically placed to enhance the stereo sound quality. The club commonly called, “Flatbush Avenue Disco/Dance,” is one of the many unlicensed private clubs in this area. Tonight, the club's clearly over crowded, with more people than usual for 10:00 PM on a Sunday night. A hundred and fifty or more people, all black, are dancing or sitting drinking at a long makeshift bar. Others sit talking at typically small nightclub tables. The median age range is early teens to middle thirties; a mixture including; students, shipping clerks, delivery boys, truck helpers, office workers, and taxi drivers. All in all, just local Brooklyn fare, representing the poor, young, working class out searching for their individual identities, and maybe have a little fun along the way.
This club is one of this area's favorite melting pots, a watering hole where people come to relax and release their pent up frustrations. Here they can also show off the hottest new dance steps and latest clothing styles. This generation simply loves dancing, and watching others to learn the newest dances, there’s also a lot improvising. The overall mood is upbeat, noisy and very happy. Everyone here seems to be having a great time, even with an occasional brawl. Drugs, unfortunately, have their place here too, and generally speaking this is what typical good times on a weekend nights look like here in Brooklyn Heights. Bray's here too, dancing with his fiancée; Helene Price, 18, black, beautiful, smart and she’s dressed in the latest, hottest fashion; short skirt and high heels. She's a fabulous dancer, with long gorgeous legs and a stunning figure. From the back she could be mistaken for Kim Kardashian, with a large bubble shaped ass that simply defies description. Bray is wearing Calvin's camouflage clothes. Not only are the clothes too short and too tight for him, but they’re obviously causing him great discomfort, especially in the crotch area. Still feeling sore from the old lady’s beating he got just hours ago, he's not at all a happy camper, but his macho pride won't allow him to display any of the discomfort he’s feeling. For just about a year now, Bray's been the only boarder at Helene's family’s house. They began dating two weeks after Bray moved in, and became engaged about two months later. They hit it off almost at first sight.
The Price family; traditionally practicing Baptists, with Bray just going along with the program. Helene being more serious about religion than he adheres to a strict sexual code of ethics usually practiced by those fortunate enough to have a complete family unit to help guide them. In general, they have an honest and happy relationship with very few minor differences. As a couple, the most vexing problem they face is accumulating money; earning and saving it for their upcoming semi-planned marriage. For the past three months they've been pooling equal shares of their earnings, saving for a diamond engagement ring of at least one-carat. They’re figuring to spend about a thousand dollars, if they can save it systematically. Usually having insufficient money and lacking the funds to accumulate frustrates Bray, he feels justified taking short steps just beyond the law. Certainly, he’s not a career criminal, he's simply too immature to see that he can't win by stealing, and for that matter why his self-esteem is so low. Chris Brown’s “Look at me now,” has everyone up on the dance floor, and they're going wild. Seated up against the back wall, are Calvin, Suzy B, and Jenn. The two girls sit as far away from Calvin as possible, while he chomps away at a medium sized red onion; each bite he takes is in perfect tempo to the beat of the music. On the dance floor, Bray makes a spinning swirl, Helene bends backward accommodating his move, gyrating her hips, “That's good Bray… but you look like you're in pain, and for God's sake, tell me why you’re wearing Calvin's clothes?” He pulls her to his side. Helene smiles at his ‘putting it on.' “You're supposed to be my girl, so why keep nagging at me…I told you…I slipped in dog shit! Why is it you never believe anything I say?” Without losing a beat, Bray sneaks a peak to see if she's laughing. “Honest Helene…I really did hurt my backside, and my clothes got all messed up. So I figured, rather than disappoint you by not showing up at all, I went and changed clothes at Calvin's, because it was closer to here…” “…Bray, I just don't understand how you could wear clothes that tight… didn't you look in the mirror?” He shrugs, scrunching his face in dumbfounded resolution. Helene laughs, pulling him closer, now dancing to a slow song with their bodies touching in sensual promise to the relentless and melodic beat of the music. With ever-growing discomfort, Bray wiggles his ass trying to free up a little more space in his crotch area. Helene's getting a kick out of his jerky antics, but she's also sensing something more serious, something’s different tonight, yet, she can't pin point it. Looking deeply into his eyes, peering into his soul with something like feminine intuition, or maybe a touch of that old black magic, she hopes to spot a clue. She says, “I can't put my finger on it, but I just don't believe you Bray.” Staring a guess into his eyes, “You've been stealing again…right?” He stops dancing, feigning outrage and indignation, “Girl! Hold it right there…you hear me? I do know right from wrong… So don't be acting like my Mother, yelling in my face, embarrassing me, you want to keep on being my girl?” “Bray, I don't want to hear that old song and dance, you know how much I love you… but it ends the minute you get sent to jail… are you listening to me, lover boy?” “That isn't gonna happen to me… look Helene, I can't be driving a cab forever! There's no money in it. How can I save enough for us to get married if I don't have the balls to make our lives better?” The song ends, Helene's clearly distraught by Bray's immaturity. They applaud the DJ and head back toward their table. Helene turning to Bray, affirming, “I just can't accept the idea that my man is a common thief, I'd rather be without you Bray…I mean that!” Knowing he's dead wrong, he defends himself“… don't be calling me no crook! I'm not a crook! I take what I'm entitled to, my share, that's it!” While walking back, he steals a pack of cigarettes from an unoccupied table and jams it into his tight pants. She sighs, shaking her head, knowingly. At the table, Helene's still trying to hide her feelings, “Hi Suzy B, hi Jenn, how come you gals didn't get up to dance this last set? I saw Calvin sitting here drooling over you, so don't tell me you had to stay to entertain him. You won't be meeting any guys sitting here! At least on the dance floor you'd be seen.” Calvin ducks below the table, “I bet I could sell tickets for what I’m seeing here…” Pulling their miniskirts to hide their nakedness, both girls glare at Calvin. As Bray sits he knocks over a drink, soaking his crotch. He jumps up, wiping himself with napkins and pulls out the crumpled wet pack of cigarettes, they all laugh at him. Helene points at him, “See fool… what you get for stealing!” Unwilling to respond Bray sighs lifting his arms in exasperation. Calvin asks, “What she talkin’ bout, bro?” Bray makes a gesture silencing him, suddenly becoming aware of a strong odor. In unison, everyone at the table waves away the stench, except Calvin, who's impervious to his bad breath. Jenn finally answers Helene’s moot question, “I'm not looking for a guy anymore, I met this here guy named Ed at the gym, he's kinda handsome, but he’s not black he's Argentinean and Jewish, what a combo huh? I'm not so sure about the Jewish part, and besides; I'm getting tired of white bread!” Suzy B says, “Yeah, me too, cept my guy is a homey, Jeff’s his name with his beautiful black ass. He delivers tomatoes on a route he says he owns, and he makes really good money. He says he wants to take me out in high style, and you know I'm gonna let him!” Calvin says, “You girls are just wasting valuable time tonight. Whadya say we split for that nightclub “Plato’s?” I'll pick up the tab, if either one of you will do the old ‘In and Out' with me.” Sliding his fore-finger in and out of his fist, laughing. Jenn says, “You're repulsive Calvin, and you really do stink from onions…” Suzy B adds, “… go finger yourself, I wouldn't even go to Heaven with you!” Jenn's just about to throw her drink at Calvin. Quickly, Bray rises, pulling Calvin away from the table, “C'mon Cal, time for fresh drinks.” Jenn calls after Calvin, “You dumb, skinny, bad breath, bastard!” Bray says, “Cal, why do you insist on pissing them off?” “It’s because those two stuck-up bitches never give me the right time, they won't even look at me, what am I, invisible?” “You can't blame them Cal… chicks don't like guys whose breath smells like farts!”
Three young black men sit directly in their path to the bar. Lucas, the leader of the three says, “C'mere ‘Braybo' sit yo pretty self here… next to me!” He grabs at Bray's pants pulling him down to a chair, ripping open his pocket to the crotch. “Looks like you been doin real good, looks like you got enuf bread for dese new duds, right?” He looks up at Calvin, “You man, you got some stinky breath, so stay right where you is! Dat stink might be catchin!” He pulls Bray closer, “You got money to spend, huh?” Woody and Amos, Lucas’s stoned flunkys love the bullying show, Amos laughs out loud at everything Lucas says, while Woody just stares off into the distance, lost and stoned. Clutching at his torn pants, Bray says, “Hey Lucas, hi ya doing big guy? We were just coming over to say hello to you!” “I like dat…shows respect! So, why you been stealin off me den?” Woody brandishes a nine inch stiletto knife. “Lemme cut him a little, huh boss?” Calvin moves to Bray's defense, “Easy man, just mellow out Woody! We didn't take nothing Lucas. I swear to you…” “Shoulda knowed better, fool. Dis time, I’m gonna give you a fine, but next time, it be yo skinny ass spine. Pretty good rhyming huh?” Bray's pleads, “But we really didn't take anything that was yours Lucas, honestly!” To Calvin, he says, “This is all your fault, you picked that stupid candy store, I told you not to…” “Bray! You tripped over that fat pussy cat and broke the soda bottles…” Disinterested, Lucas cuts him short, “… it doan matter no how, cause you wuz dere, an dat's my personal candy store an dats enough. Now, you owes me $500 and I want it… right now!” Heartsick, with hot fear gurgling in his belly, Bray says, “Please man, gimme a break, that's all the money I got in the world. I saved up for the last three months for my girls Anniversary present!” Lucas, with his hand out to Bray, “Tough shit, bro, gimmie…”
It was one of those perfect days, Sun shining, birds flying and chirping, the sky sporting great patches of cumulus clouds lazily swimming in a sea of mellow blue. It's one of those lovely spring days, which brings out the lovers in the area to enjoy the balmy weather here in the lush greens of Cadman Plaza Park. While it's true this small park is not the most manicured in the city, it does amply serve its function as a local respite for the tired and weary, the dog walkers, and people including our seniors who just like to sit and watch the Brooklyn Bridge traffic. From every angle the view of the park is quite lovely, it sprawls the equivalent of some two football fields. The park sits directly across the street from the High Street train station which is the first stop of the "D" train in its underground journey through Brooklyn, on its way after leaving Manhattan. Rush hour in this area is really something to see, with so many yuppies coming home from work, it’s an exodus of these people scattering towards the high rise buildings along Cadman Plaza. At this point in time, the late afternoon sun is descending ushering in lower temperatures and the promise of an even cooler than usual night breeze.
Darkness has just begun to settle in and the Jehovah Witness Watchtower clock shows a few minutes past six PM. Most of the usual park people have gone home for the evening, and the dog owners; those that congregate in clicks have also left. There are always one or two stragglers remaining, and a few teens that have come to neck and pet. Back across the street, near the High Street train station, Bray James is seated, perhaps perched is a more descriptive word, at the edge of a concrete fountain’s lip. Every few minutes or so, he shifts his weight because his ass has become sore and achy sitting on hard cold stone; he's been waiting almost an hour for the right enterprising situation to come along. Just as he begins thinking about leaving along comes an attractive young woman ascending the stairs of the train exit. With each step up more of her is revealed showing she's wearing the uniform of the day, a business suit and sneakers; she also carries a shoulder bag and attaché case. Her body language testifies she's alone, a straggler. Reaching the top of the staircase, she turns right toward Henry Street. Making sure no one's watching Bray puts on a ski-mask and runs up behind her. Leaping upon her back, he grabs her in a headlock, his voice quivering saying, "Quiet Lady! … give me your money or …" At the instant she feels Bray's arms, her martial arts training kicks in and she braces herself shifting her body abruptly to throw Bray off balance, and also bash his jaw with her free elbow. Bray, barely conscious from the blow begins to fall down as his arm reflectively reaches up, tearing the front of her dress and bra; exposing her bare breasts. Infuriated, she screams, "You son-of-a-bitch, try to mug me?" She boldly rips off his ski-mask and kicks him in his testicles. Bray's eyes open wide with pain. She pummels him, reigning blows all over his head and face. Suddenly Bray realizes he has no chance of winning and begins feigning unconsciousness, hoping she'll either stop or slowdown. The woman’s feeling safer with the mugger unconscious; stops hitting and refocuses her attention on getting assistance, yelling out loud, "Can somebody please help me here? Damn it, somebody go get the police!" Bray, opens one eye, peeking upward he sees she's off-guard, he scrambles up making a grab for her bag and attaché case. Bray, escapes running like a bat out of hell. Taken by surprise she begins cursing after him, "Get your ass back here you stinking little coward!" Bray runs into the walkway separating the two buildings leading to and from the train station on Henry Street. As he's rounding the corner running flat out, he collides with two Middle Eastern men, one of them carrying an attaché case. The three-way collision knocks them all down, the bag Bray was carrying along with the attaché case, slide beneath a parked car. For a few seconds all three are dazed and stunned. Being first to recover, Bray picks the wrong attaché case and hurriedly runs off. Through a car window, sitting directly across the street from where the collision occurred, two men are watching. They spy Bray as he's running away with the attaché case. The passenger turns to the driver, with a heavy Yiddish accent saying, "Follow that schvartza!" (Black)
About the Author
Samuel Ornstein; born and raised in NY, volunteered for the Korean War and worked in retail Men’s clothing. Acted in summer stock, off-Broadway and worked for twenty-five years as a film and video editor. Divorced with three children, lives with significant other, two dogs and two cats in Marietta, Georgia.
Copyright 2013, Sam Ornstein
This post was written by Sam Ornstein