Part II: The Day Michael Dies
A gypsy cab rolls onto the sidewalk opposite us.
Its jet-black body, tilted as a sinking ship over the curb.
Sleek windows roll down like breathing slats in
a cardboard box. Slowly, a bearded man in a long white robe
and bright red kufi steps gracefully out of the drivers side door
into a thin cloud of steam from the hot dog cart across the street.
The string of prayer beads lassoed around his neck clack
against the cars plastic paneling. He tilts his head towards the sun,
screams wildly in one of the many languages that make
New Yorkers nervous. Just up the block, a woman walking
her bicycle stops dead in her tracks. This is itfinally,
dances across her face like a warm flash bulb. Other passersby
flood in panic, eyes alarmed into tea cups, shouts
clapping the air like nervous warning shots. Calmly, the man
reaches inside the car, twists the volume knob until
the speakers pop. Gazes flick his direction like a startled animal.
He pounds the roof of his cab, scolds the clouds with fistfuls
of prayer, flurries his legs into an awkward, unrecognizable rampage
of dust and cloth and sweatthen slowly, the creak of a forty-
thousand-year-old coffin lid followed by a choir of hoots and hollers
from a flock of passing tourists. The bass slides in on all fours.
One by one, a string of ghouled police officers, blue suit bankers
and street vendors form in the middle of sidewalk traffic;
uniforms shredded into split husks, thick yellow clay caked
around their sunken eyes, rivers of black rust leaking from eardrum
to neck. Facing the street, they zombie-rock back and forth,
their arms extended like two-by-fours; necks on Egyptian-swivel-funk,
shoulders on perfect oil drill, they hold their stomachs and balloon
with laughter before an audience of two hundred brilliant
glinting windshields. All car horns bark on the one.