I'm walking Remus. His usual early-morning pee and a nice sniff around to see what's doing.
Sunlight hasn't yet reached our world down here. It's cold.
The van--black inside, rocking and banging frantically. Right in front of my house. I stand by it, pissed off. Sometimes they come to our end of the street for this--the quiet end, thinking what? No one lives here? Do they know, somehow, that before the loud and dirty highway was built, our antique house was right on the docks? That the Brooklyn waterfront is historically the place to be for these sad stolen activities?
Once or twice I find a used condom in the gutter, when I'm taking Hedgie to school.
I stand motionless staring my fury into the back of the van. One of them notices, I guess, my shadow, thrown over them in the beam from the lone street lamp, and there is a sudden movement. He crawls backward out of the van, opening the hatch, shedding light on the scene, zipping his fly, angry.
The hooker lies prone on the floor. Naked from the waist down, cheap clothes hiked around her waist. Four-inch red heels. I tell him to move along before I call the cops. He tells me to fuck off, but he's getting in the driver's seat. I tell him "you have 5 seconds." The hatch is slowly closing, and the woman stares at me, without expression. There's nothing in her face: no shame. No opinion. She doesn't even move to cover herself.
As they drive off he rolls down the window and shouts, "get a fucking life."
I don't feel the need to school him on the pathos and irony of this suggestion.
On the curb in the quiet dark regular Brooklyn morning, holding Remus' leash (he sits and waits), two thoughts go through my mind:
I'm not afraid of anyone anymore.
And I have looked into a dead man's eyes, and her eyes were just as dead as that.