Friday Night Write – There She Goes
There She Goes…
You haven’t lived until you’ve woken up face down in a puddle in an alley behind a Manhattan fish market in July.
I reared up and scrubbed my face with my sleeve.
I tried to stand but had to settle for all fours. My ears rang and the back of my head hurt like someone took a ball peen hammer to it.
The surrounding buildings swayed like slap-happy revelers singing, “New York, New York”, at the end of a bar-mitzvah. I focused on to the red bricks of the building to my right. All windows were shut tight against heat and stink. Air-conditioners rattled and whined.
There was a rusted gray door ten feet in front of me with the words “Fish Market” were stenciled on it. Trash cans lined the wall next to an cruddy dumpster. I could make out “Fish” on the side of the dumpster. “Market” left town long ago.
The stench made my eyes water.
Rotting fish guts blended with urine created an olfactory medley New Jersey or Staten Island would’ve been proud to call it’s own.
I fought to convince myself the metallic tang in my mouth was blood.
My fingers brushed against something warm and squishy and it took me a second to realize that I’d planted my hand right in the middle of the puddle my mug had been in just a couple of minutes before. That puddle wasn’t entirely liquid.
I traced the puddle back across the blacktop to the dumpster and a fresh wave of nausea hit me.
In my mind I let loose a manful stream of profanity as I snatched my hand out of the foulness and jumped into a standing position. In reality I screeched like a little girl who stepped on a bug in her bare feet.
My pounding head protested the sudden movement and damned near put me back down but now that I was up I planned on staying that way.
A quick check of my person revealed my wallet and keys where I’d left them. I checked my watch and swore some more. It was cracked and waterlogged.
The sky was as blue as it ever got over Manhattan so I couldn’t have been in that alley for more then an hour or so.
“There she goes…” I repeated the words, the last thing I heard before getting knocked out. What do they mean?
I took a couple of deep breaths and decided to give walking a shot. The headache made a comeback with my third step but I beat it down and kept going. After six or seven steps I had the hang of it. The sounds of city traffic cut through the fog. I followed the noise out to the street.
75th Street, just off Broadway.
I didn’t know who dumped me behind the fish market but my suspect list was short. I knew one thing was for sure. Someone was going to pay.