The thing I want to tell the old woman in the wheelchair on the corner of Amsterdam and 101tst Street is that there is a camel on the blacktop of the Frederick Douglas Playground. I just saw two children riding it bareback, seated between the humps, making water.
The old woman’s florescent pink muumuu and blue hospital slippers aren’t the only items on the block arousing suspicion.
The thing is, when the girl throws the tennis ball at the old woman’s face, the old woman doesn’t startle. Her nerves are that dried up.
Across the street from the laundromat, from where I’m watching, I can see the old woman’s wheelchair. It doesn’t budge, and the girl throws and throws.
The thing they tell you to say in this situation is either: fumble, dammit or yell.
The old woman’s nurse is inside the laundromat, drying a bundle of linens. She can’t see the girl’s taunting, her sure fire pitch, this horsing around.
Across the street, in the park there are children playing in cages. When they bounce the ball against the chain-link fence surrounding the basketball court, the ball bounces back again.
Perhaps that is what the old woman in the florescent pink muumuu would tell me: there are few things in life that come when you call. When you ring the authorities to tell them that you have spotted a camel in the city, they accuse you of arousing suspicion, of riding bareback in your wheelchair, of running onto the 1 train and watching yourself scream to attract some attention as I do now.