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Casing out the Joint

(Listen to this piece on S2E6)


Marty should be scaling the fence any minute now. I check the street corner, but no one’s coming. Just a few rats as big as my sister-in-law’s left tit, sifting through overflowing trash cans.

“Caryle, you there?” Marty says from the other side of the rotted wood slats.

“I’m here,” I say back, rubbing my hands together in the February cold of New York’s Upper West Side. Two sets of footsteps approach just around the corner as Marty gets his left leg over the ledge of the fence. Uh oh. We got visitors. I’m tripping because I can’t believe any of these rich bastards is out this late on a Tuesday night.

“Hold it,” I hiss to Marty before sticking my hands into my coat pockets. Marty falls to the ground on the other side of the fence, and I turn to a trash can and start digging like a bum.

“You in the wrong neighborhood, buddy,” The pig says. Even if he hadn’t been wearing his uniform, I would have still detected the oink in his voice. I figure not responding would make the guy and his partner more curious. And with Marty on the other side of the fence, I don’t need this inconvenience to turn into a night in the slammer.

“Just getting something to eat,” I say, reaching deeper in the bin like I found something good.

“Keep it moving,” the fat pig says. I reach for a half-eaten tuna fish sandwich and pickle in a deli take-out container sitting on top of the trash like some passerby tossed it. I like tuna fish.

I keep my head down as I pass them, leaving Marty obscured in the shadows on the other side of that fence. But not before I start a whistle. A gravely hum of the “Friends” theme song. Our secret code letting the other know it’s time to go. No friends in this zone even though I wish there were. Marty and I will have to try somewhere else tomorrow night. I got bills to pay. I need to hit a lick.




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