Monday, March 1, 2021

Hipster Holocaust

Hipster Holocaust Chapter Six

Anna walked down Court St from her job at Brooklyn Leaf and nodded to some of her acquaintances as she maneuvered between the platoons of super-sized strollers that dominated the sidewalks of the brownstone neighborhood. Where once old ladies pushed carts full of groceries and kids ran and played there were only trust fund hipsters or the impatient Karen’s married to hedge fund Wall Street assholes. You used to have to worry about stepping in dog shit and now it pushed past you in designer sweat pants.

She had a small bag of Italian cookies and a coffee in her hands as she ambled slowly down the street. She didn’t have anything particular to do that day so she was in no hurry. She said hello to Nestor who was sweeping out in front of his bodega. She often went there late at night to pick up something or other. He was always very nice as was two out of his three daughters. One of them was a real bitch but that was understandable as she took after her Mom who was the Uber bitch and that wasn’t just because she drove for a livery service on the side. It was because she was just downright nasty.

Just as she got to the corner of President she noticed something odd. It looked like two cops were going into the plus size boutique on the corner. She didn’t know for sure that they were cops but she was willing to bet that they were based on their cheap suits and their attitude. That attitude was not something you forgot if it was ever turned toward you. She shivered. That was in her past. Let it stay on Long Island with the rest of her past life. She had come here to be reinvented and she wasn’t going to look back. Not for one instant.

As soon as she had turned the key in the lock and walked into her apartment on the parlor floor she head her land lady call out to her. “Is that you Anna?” she said in her quavering old lady voice. Oh well she needed some attention and Anna was glad to give it to her. She was her surrogate grandma. Anna never knew her real grandma and liked to image Celeste as her own little old Italian grannie. “Yes it’s me Celestine” she shouted as she leaned over the banister that led to the garden apartment where her landlady lived. “I will be down to see you in a minute. I brought cookies.” “You are too good Anna you didn’t have to do that. Come a down when you can I have something for you too.” “Ok be down in a minute.”

Anna put her keys and coffee down and put the bag of cookies where she would remember to take downstairs. She stripped off her work clothes and changed into sweat pants and an oversized t-shirt. Wearing her new Ugg slippers she walked downstairs carrying her bag of biscotti.

Anna knocked on the open Kitchen door frame. “Can I come in” she asked. “Of course, Bella, of course you come-ma right in. How are you?” “Great Celestine. I brought you some biscotti. Oh and I brought in your garbage pails.” “Thank you Bella. That Georgie is getting so muschada. Anyway I cooked up some eggplant the way you a like. You take some upstairs OK.” “Oh thank you so much. But I can stay with you and talk for a while if you want.” “That’s a nice. Let’s a do that. Come we a eat now.”

Celestine was a wizened Italian lady who met the cliché to a T. She wore a black dress and had a prominent mustache. She was only four feet six inches tall and round as zeppole that had been too long in the deep fryer. With all of that she was the perfect landlady. She always understood if she was a little late with the rent or had to pay in installments. So in recompense Anna would do little jobs around the house. Bring in her mail. Sweep outside. Take in the garbage pails. Go shopping to pick up the odds and ends or the specialty items that Celestine needed to whip up her delicious Italian food. In return Celestine would invite her over for dinner or give her a plate to take upstairs. She just had to be careful to watch her figure as she could seriously plump up if she ate too much pasta from her kitchen.

Not that anyone else was watching her figure. The downside of having her landlady so involved in her life is that she could never bring anybody home. There was anyone in her life and there had not been anyone for quite some time. Most of the guys she met at her job were no goes. They were either arrogant hipsters or clueless neighborhood mooks who were living in the 1950’s as far as their attitudes to women were concerned. She didn’t socialize much and really didn’t have any close female friends. Even the girls she met at auditions didn’t warm up to her. She thought it was it was because she was too talented but it could also be because she was too shy to strike up a friendship so she was considered stuck up and aloof.  Her only friend was a 70 year old woman in a black dress.

Celestine walked over to the stove using her cane to lean on as she had very bad knees due to her age and the weight she had put on these last few years. She lifted the top off of the pan on the stove and stirred the contents with a wooden spoon. She dipped the spoon in and took a little of the red sauce and brought it up to her mouth. She tasted it and smiled. “Bene it’s a ready. Get a plate and come over here.” Anna picked up the plate that had been sitting in front of her and walked over to the stove. Celestine took a ladle and scooped up a healthy portion of eggplant caponata. Rich tomato sauce with diced eggplant and black olives and her patented seasoning. After getting her plate Anna brought over the other plate to fill up for the cook and put it at her place setting. They both sat down. Celestine took the crusty loaf of Italian bread and broke off a piece and handed it to Anna. She sighed. This was like crack to her. She couldn’t say no. The rich spicy flavor sopped up by the semolina bread was heaven on earth. She wouldn’t eat lunch tomorrow. Or breakfast. A small price to pay for such a delicious meal.

“How was work today Anna.” “Fine. Nothing unusual. Very busy actually which I like a lot better since I get bored if nobody is around. Oh your friend was in again just the way he has been all week. In fact I don’t think he missed a day all month.” “My friend?  Who Vincenzo?” “Yes. He was sitting in his usual spot sipping espresso and holding court. How do you know him anyway?” “We went to school together. Sacred Hearts. It was a long time ago. I haven’t spoken to him in years.” “What does he do anyway? I mean I know he is retired but was he on the docks?” “It’s a better you don’t ask Bella. How is the eggplant? I added extra celery for you the way you a like.” “It’s great thank you Celestine.” “You a welcome Bella you a welcome.”

Anna sighed to herself. She guessed this was another of the little mysteries that were the stock in trade of old school South Brooklyn. She went back to the eggplant. At least this was the truth. In a saucy kind of way. She went back to the eggplant. At least this was the truth. In a saucy kind of way.



ndspinelli said...

I'm guessing your nonna made eggplant this way.

Amartel said...

Ruh roh, attitudinal cops going into the plus size boutique.