NYScenes From a Midnight Runner

Written by Noah Wunsch on . Posted in Opinion and Column, Uncategorized.


Last night’s music: Chromatics 2010 CD, “In The City.”

New York City’s blocks are a series of thumb prints in my mind. I like running at night, the streets are quiet, which makes it easier to settle into thoughts, though often they wade to the basest memories. Or always. Stupidity. Shame. Sex. Oy. Veigh.
When I was 19 years-old I found myself desperately in love with a stranger. This wasn’t uncommon for me, and still happens on a regular basis. In this case she was the juicer at my local juice bar. Far out of my league, with avocado oiled skin that seemed to glow with the nourishment of her organic diet. In I would walk with my inferior skin, and try desperately to make conversation. She was polite, and often obliged. After my fifth visit, conversation escalated from small conversation, to mid-range, to a slip of paper reading,

“Would you like to get dinner sometime?

O Yes.

O Maybe.

O No, but I still think you’re cute.”

Miraculously, she ticked off yes and wrote down her number.

A week later – after an inappropriate amount of outfit changes for anyone of the XY persuasion – I made my way to her apartment. We were going to go to a great organic… ahem… restaurant just off Bowery. I was nervous. And excited. And sweating. And shit, I’m already messing things up aren’t I? Am I interesting? I’m interesting, right? Are my nails okay? Should I have painted them? Of course not. Men don’t paint their nails. But what if they do? What if that’s the new thing, and I haven’t read about it. I need to read more. Keep up with fashion. Fads. Trends. How else am I going to snag my dream girl? I won’t. I’ll be alone forever. So why bother? I should just go home.

“I’m just finishing up in here, should be ready in a minute.” Her roommate let me in, a pretty, perky blonde girl with a shark tooth grin. After a few minutes, Juice Girl came out. I should’ve painted my nails. She looked lovely. Glow on high. Me on high. “Should we have a drink before we go?” She asked.

“Why not?” A simple question, with a simple answer: because she only had organically distilled vodka. The wunderbitch of booze. The kind that either makes me vomit or go crazy, or both. To top it off, she didn’t have any mixers. Reflexively, my body shook as she handed me the brimming glass. I prepped for that rubbing alcohol taste, refusing to be a rude houseguest, and hoping, perhaps, that the devils brew might calm the nerves. I downed it. All of it. Let it swoosh and swill. Push and pour through my system, into my brain, round and round we go. “Do you want to come to dinner with us?” Juice Girl asked roommate. WHAT? No. Vodka was enough to fuck up my planned evening. A third wheel would… It would… Would… Fuck I was drunk.

Fast forward three hours, through an evening of three way conversation hardly remembered in my vodka daze. Roommate finally let up, and gave us a little alone time, during which, Juice Girl realized I was six years younger than her and whatever dusty hopes of romance I had, blew away, out from under the crack of my hollow mind. It was late and we were West. She said she needed to head home, and I insisted that I walk her to her train at 14th and 7th. It was late after all, and she was a beautiful woman.

We hugged goodbye, and I headed back to my parents place in Greenwich Village. I took out my iPod and tuned into my favorite “bad date” song: “The Promise,” by When in Rome. The night was balmy, so I took my button down off and walked comfortably in my V-neck, slinging the long sleeve over my shoulder. Drunkenly I shouted the words to the song, “I’m sorry nnn djust inking of the righ erds to say. I no they on’t soun tha way I plan them ta be. But you wait roun I make oo faw fer me. I PROMISE! I PROMISE YOU!” Two shadows loomed in front of me. Walked with me. Behind me. I looked back and saw two not so happy looking gentlemen, in the latest Ed Hardy couture and baggy jeans. Something clicked in my head. You’re about to get hit. But I laughed that off. Sure it was late, but I was not a beautiful girl. There’s no reason for them to-

The four knuckles slammed into the lower right part of my head, as another hand grabbed it as it shot forward, and slammed it into the nearest lamppost. To clarify, the “it” in this situation, was my head. Everything went black. Calm black. Nice black. But then my eyes fluttered. White. Then red. Then the street. Whoops and cheers down the block. They were still in my eye line, but had run almost all the way down the block. They were gone. Gone… What else was gone? I checked my pocket. Cellphone was still there. My back pocket. Wallet was still there. My ears, headphones still in, “When you need a friend, don’t look to a stranger,” playing from my iPod… Which wasn’t stolen either. I touched my forehead. It was wet with blood. I reached for my button down, hoping to clean it up.

But it wasn’t there. My button down was gone. I looked around my vicinity, thinking perhaps it had fallen off my shoulder, with the whirling head thrust, but no. It was gone. They hadn’t stolen my wallet, my cellphone or my iPod. They had taken my button down. I felt a confused rage, wanting to shout at them, “If you’re going to mug me! Mug me!” I was bleeding. Knocked unconscious. On the ground. In the city I grew up in. The only thought that could calm my nerves: perhaps this meant I was a beautiful woman.

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