New York stories 1980-1989. All true.


1.  I'm walking down Sixth Avenue around 55th street, and a guy comes up to me and says, "Excuse me, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?"  I have waited all my life for this line. Flustered, I say, "Just up there, turn left, you'll see it in front of you."

2.  I'm waiting for a bus, carrying a cake in a white box.  I notice that my shoe is untied, kneel down, put the cake beside me on the sidewalk, tie the shoe and look around.  No cake. A moderately crazy looking woman is staring at me, holding my cake.

"Could I have my cake back  please?" say I.  

"I found it.  You should give me a reward," says the moderately crazy person.

"But I didn't lose it. You stole it."

"Are you calling me a thief?" shouts the crazy person.

"No," I say.  I give her five bucks. She gives me the cake.


3. I'm waiting in line at the cash machine on Christopher Street on a Sunday afternoon.  Big guy comes in, points a huge gun at me and says "Gimme all your money or I'll blow your head off."  I consider explaining that the reason I'm standing in line for the cash machine is that I have no cash. Instead, we shuffle patiently along in the queue until it's my turn. I withdraw $50, ask if that's enough, and give it to him.  He says, "Sorry about that," quite politely, takes the money and runs away.

4. One night, around 3am, I hear an actual gunshot in the living room of my tiny apartment. I wait and wait, finally gather the courage to investigate. No sign of break-in. Nothing.  I shiver in bed, awake, all night. The next morning I notice that my bike has a flat tire. Overfilled with air, it exploded in the middle of the night.

5. A dinner party at mine. Everyone's drunk. We're talking about the paranormal. I say, "I'm perfectly willing to believe in all that stuff, I'm just waiting for a sign." I go to the kitchen to make some coffee and note that there are ten inch flames coming out of the soap dish by the sink. I think, huh, soap's on fire. Put out the flames and go back to the table. "Anyway," I say, "so until I get a sign, I can't exactly believe, can I?"