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Copyright © 2017 by Guy New York
Published by QNY
Cover image © Ben Goodwin
Interior design by Pronoun
Distribution by Pronoun
The Wild Girls
Luke’s, Heroin, and Old 45s
We Buried The Water
The Great Whore of New York
The Strange Window
This Morning in New York
Fairy Tale of the East Village
Lions and Gazelles
Stamps Her Feet
A Blanket of Color
Who Wants to Live Forever?
A Cold Family Morning
The Blur of People
The Longest Night
Smoky and Sweet
Wagahai Wa Neko De Aru
Everyone Wants a Tiger
My Darling Giraffe
I Heard There Was a Sacred Chord
The Fuck You Fairy
Must Love Nina Simone
That’s Not a Fucking Martini
A Smoke, a Fuck, and a Hot Dog
A Dream of Water
For the Love of Sally
The Night Time Stopped
About The Author
More by Guy New York
THE FOLLOWING STORIES ARE ALL snapshots of New York as I sometimes see it, often wish it to be, and on occasion long for. They are in no special order, and you should feel free to skip about until you find a title that is appealing. A few are sweet, some are rather risque, and a couple of them might even be disturbing.
Thank you for buying the book, and I hope you enjoy seeing the city through my eyes, even if just for a few moments.
Guy New York
The Lower East Side
THEY COME DOWN FROM THE roof at night, the Wild Girls, chasing each other through the open doorway of my building, down the stairs, and out onto the street for their brief visit to the ground.
I hear them most often in the early morning, waking from a dream to the sounds of laughter, and I open my eyes wide as I jump to the window hoping to get a glimpse of one. Their feet make almost no sound, their bodies used to the wide open spaces above. In the late hours it can look like they’re flying, leaping from building to building, the water towers and hidden gardens more their homes than any place else. Even as they pass by my door, their colored skirts trailing behind them as the glide through the inside, I can only guess at their nature. I can only guess at where they come from and why my building is the one they use to reach the ground.
Just before sunrise one morning, I awoke to the sound of nothing. I rubbed my eyes, listening to the noises in the night, before I saw a glimmer of color in the window. Without turning I trained my eyes towards the fire escape, and for just a moment I saw her face. Young and old at the same time, her eyes glowed with a brightness I had never seen. Her hair was silver and blue, trailing down her back around her crimson rags. With a smile she pressed her small hand against the window before leaping up into the darkness.
It was just a dream, I told myself. This Wild Girl, pausing for just a moment to see how we live. To see who we are with as much curiosity as we hold for them. And maybe it’s for the best. Maybe some mysteries are better left unseen and better let unknown. There are reasons some people choose not live on the ground.
But in the morning, coffee bringing back the memory in a flash, I looked closely at the glass, only to see fingerprints pressed into the pane. I smiled, wondering what truth it held. It would be a month before their return, but there’s no harm in trying.
Weeks later, I tied the small bag to the rusted iron outside of the fire escape. It was a weak offering, gathered from guessing more than any real understanding, but I closed the shade before I slept, knowing I had already seen enough.
In the morning when I opened the blinds to the bright sun, there was nothing left at all.
The fairies in Central Park are not inclined to give out favors.
In other parts of the city it’s easier to know what to offer, and I’m always quick with a lobster roll from Luke’s, a bag of heroin, or old 45s of the New York Dolls. But in the park it’s a different story.
Auntie Baba says it’s because they haven’t been urbanized. She says they have enough earth and trees to act like real fairies, while the rest of them may as well have moved into coops and started paying for cable. Auntie Baba says the fairies in Central Park are wild.
The list of traditional offerings don’t work for me: mince pies cut from children’s thighs, the tear of a virgin on her deathbed, and the first born child of one royal born. All are hard to come by and somewhat awkward to lug around. While I know some pie shops that are happy to mix up anything you bring in, and Rhyming Jenny is technically heir to at least two thrones, they just weren’t going to do.
But like a fool I stumbled into the park late at night with everything I needed to call them down. After years of it they’ve gotten used to me, but don’t think that makes them any friendlier. If anything, they’re more inclined to light me on fire, or curse me with something ridiculous for a month or two. But I sat in the brambles, lit the candles, and said the words, knowing they’d come whether they wanted to or not.
“We know your heart’s desire, and we’ll give it.”
I was startled by the voice, because while I had never met her, I recognized her instantly. She was less of a queen and more of a general, but her position was absolute. Nothing happened in the park without her word.
“What do you require?” I asked, trying not to shake. A price demanded was often larger than the one offered.
“We want stories,” she whispered, her tongue flicking the inside of my ear.
“I’ll tell you a story,” I offered, my heart lifting in my chest. Could it really be that simple? I could sit and tell them stories all night long if they’d grant me one simple wish.
“We want all the stories,” she said, her long fingers running through my hair. “Give them to us and they’ll never burden you again. Give them to me…”
I could feel my mouth tighten and my voice waver. I opened my lips to reply, but no words came. I tried to shake my head, and I tried to refuse, but no matter how hard I struggled there was nothing I could do. In sudden fear I stood and lashed out with my arms. I kicked over the candle and crushed the flowers beneath my feet. I ran from the park, the word “no” perched on the tip of my tongue.
When I reached 5th Avenue, I slowed down. It felt like I had swallowed cinnamon, but gradually my words returned and I bought a bottle of water from a cart on the sidewalk. I drank it all in one go, and collapsed onto a bench without a sound. I was safe, I was gone, and the deal was not done.
It took me only minutes to realize I had already changed my mind. It took just minutes to realize I had made a mistake and it took minutes to realize the offer would never be made again, and the thing I wanted most was forever beyond my grasp unless I was willing to pay a higher price.