“She was beautiful,” Carmine said. “Since we were kids, she always liked me. I knew how to make her laugh.”
“Her boyfriend was a wiseguy. He and his crew, they were young,
we were all young, maybe twenty five or twenty six.”
“Whenever he went off to jail, she’d come over and knock on my door.
She’d say ‘Let’s party!’. She liked doing heroine.”
“He was crazy jealous. Whenever he got out, I’d disappear,
make myself scarce.”
“One time he gets out and he sees my best friend, Izzie, talking to her.
Next thing you know, he and his crew jump out of a car and they beat him
within an inch of his life. He spent two months in the hospital. He was never the same.”
“He got sent back to jail for that. And Lizette comes knocking on my door.
I wasn’t going to answer this time, but I couldn’t say no to her.”
“So, one day, I’m riding the Staten Island ferry to work
and there he is, with his goons. They all walk up to me and surround me.
I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Hey, Joey.”
“I don’t know why, I wasn’t afraid. He shakes my hand and they all
just walk away. Fucking miracle. That was God working in my life.
He knew I was making time with her while he was on the inside.”
Carmine had an idea
after watching an old reel
of men who leer.
His phone was attacked by spam
and it occurred to him
that someone was orchestrating this.
There were detailed maps, somewhere.
He heard peels of laughter
coming from his neighbor’s apartment.
It was the tar rats
peeking out from the asphalt below.
Carmine smoked Kool Milds and lots of weed.
Did the JB dance move like a champ.
The seizures would come in the middle of the night.
It was as though some malevolent spirit
had come to throw him a beating.
He’d emerge bruised and battered.
Seemed so unfair because he really was such a sweetheart.