Tuesday, June 03, 2014

We walked through the Coney Island station, Jackie on my shoulders. Above the bustle and the dirt. It was crowded on the sidewalk, too. With big people. Big kids. Big couples holding hands.

A lady with a haunted look panhandled listlessly outside Nathan’s. She might have been pregnant. Or her belly was horribly distended, like a Biafran child’s.

I peered at the go-kart track and wondered if Jackie was old enough to ride with me. Probably not. The sun shone so bright, you could barely see.

We got to the Boardwalk and everything seemed alright. People were having fun. But there was something funny in the air.

I spotted a large man, a biker type, with sunglasses and a goatee. He was clutching some kind of children’s plastic toy—an airplane, or a car, or a water gun maybe. It was made of that bright, brittle, translucent plastic. That material that can only be a toy. I believe it was pink.

Suddenly he threw it to the floor and crushed it under his heel. All the while looking straight ahead, tight-faced, seething. His woman ran up to him and swatted him on the shoulder, like he was a misbehaving boy.

“How could you do that?” she cried. “How could you do that?”