She loved Brooklyn like a fat kid loved cake. She loved the feel of it. The smell of it. The taste of it. Every single thing about it. It was everything to her.
She had always wanted to live in the city. When she was a kid upstate she would see movies and TV shows about young people living in the City and want to move there to get out of her hick town that was more of a prison than a home. She would watch reruns of shows like “Friends” and “Caroline in the City” and she would dream of coming to New York to be an artist. The problem was she wasn’t particularly talented. She couldn’t sing or dance or draw. A mediocre student she just didn’t have the skills. But she didn’t let that stand in her way.
Instead of Manhattan like Rachel and Monica she found her way to Brooklyn. It was much cooler than Manhattan. Cheaper too. Not by much but enough to get by. She had a lot of determination and she wasn’t going to let a lack of talent stop her from living the dream.
When the time came she moved down to Bushwick with a couple of her friends from high school. They all got bullshit jobs to pay the rent on the shoebox apartment they had in a dilapidated brownstone. Jobs in retail. Waitressing. Temp work. Make work. Just enough to get by while they searched for what they were looking for. If they could figure out what the fuck they were looking for.
They all wore a uniform. Not the fast food uniforms that she wore in McDonalds up in the little shithole town outside of Utica where she grew up. A different kind of uniform. The hipster uniform. After all she had to display her tribal markings. You had to have the look. It was the only way to belong in the big city.
So she had the ragged haircut. The ripped jeans. Tattoos. A nose and lip piercing. An iPhone. A bike that she rode to work. And an entitled attitude that flowed before her like the stink off a homeless guy’s asshole. She was a hipster and she was making no bones about it. It was their time. Get out her way when she rode her bike down Court St. Hipster coming through. If you were an old lady with a pushcart or a man with a cane you would get run down like a dog. Nobody should stand in her way.
The date with this dude she met on Tinder was just not working out. He was your typical pajama boy Peter Pan hipster. Older than her for sure. Chronologically if not mentally. In his thirties. He was wearing the uniform too. Male division. Well the “quasi” male division. Dirty jeans. Ratty retro shirt. Thin vest. Beard like a misplaced Amish farmer or the bassist in ZZ Top. And an attitude. He was all that and a bag of organic gluten free kale chips. Another wasted night.
They had met for a drink at a little bar right off the bridge on Carroll St near the Gowanus Canal. They had a drink. He had a craft beer. She had a mojito. He paid. So far so good. At least he wasn’t a cheap douche nozzle like the last five guys she had dated. They chatted awhile. Superficially of course. Without giving too much information. Just feeling each other out. She didn’t think they would be feeling each other up. It just wasn’t happening for her. Sometimes that’s how it works out. You never knew with Tinder. She had just had a bad breakup with her boyfriend of three years. She knew him from upstate and he had followed her down to Brooklyn. He had cheated on her with one of their friends. A friend that they had all mocked and made fun of. But he had no problem sticking his dick in her. What was worse was at the same time she found out he had cheated on her she had found out that she was pregnant. So she went and got a quick abortion. It was her third in the last three years. Not that it mattered to her. It was just a clump of cells to her. Like a wart or something. If she could get it taken care of at the Korean nail parlor she would have done it. It just pissed her off.
They decided to go for a slice of pizza at the pizzeria on the corner of Third Avenue. They had gluten free slices which was unusual. She figured she would get a bite and then walk back to her bike that she had chained up in front of the boutique that she worked at. This way she could brush off this dude and get home safe. She definitely didn’t want him to take her home. In fact she insisted on paying for the pizza so he didn’t get any proprietary impulses. It would be best to shut that shit down as fast as possible.
When they finished they said goodbye on the sidewalk. Totes awkward. A quick hug and a peck on the cheek and she scurried off down Carroll Street back to the store. She hustled along. She wasn’t afraid. She was never afraid. Her bosses at work couldn’t believe that she lived in Bushwick. They thought it was a war zone or something. But she was of the generation that hadn’t lived through the crack wars and the crime waves of the ‘70’s and 80’s. That Nazi Giuliani had cleaned it all up and she had no reason to be afraid. She could go anywhere and do anything and never looked over her shoulder.
The street was a little dark. It seemed that the streetlight was out right in front of the bridge. The smell was enough to guide you. The turgid water glowed from the chemicals in the Canal. They had been cleaning it up for decades. It was even a superfund site. But the Canal at Carroll Street was particularly bad. They had installed huge fans that pushed the water out of the canal and into the ocean. Unfortunately the fans were on the other side of the bridge so the water never moved on this side of the Canal. It was basically just a stagnant, putrid pool of slop. She quickened her step so she didn’t have to smell it.
There was a shadowy figure standing on the bridge wearing a hoodie. She wasn’t apprehensive. Well not really apprehensive. What was going to happen to her two blocks from her job? Just as she got close the guy turned and she could see his face in the moonlight. Shit. She know him. She relaxed. It was so stupid to be worried.
“Hey how are you? What are you doing over here?” She said. She smiled at him. He was always very shy. So she didn’t want him to feel bad. She never wanted anyone to feel bad if she could help it.
He didn’t reply. He just sort of ducked his head down. And took his hand out of his pocket. It held something shiny. What was it? A cellphone. No a knife. A knife?
He took the knife and slashed it across her throat in one swift practiced gesture. She couldn’t even scream. She just started to gurgle as her life’s blood spurted out in a rush. He grabbed her. Held her up. Making sure he was out of the path of the blood. He looked into her terrified eyes as her life was rushing out of her body. He pushed her against the rail.
Over. Her last thought as she died was how bad she was going to smell. She didn’t feel anything as she slid beneath the water.
The shadowy figure looked around. No one was out. He folded the knife and put it in his pocket. He walked away.