I was standing by the window that early morning, just like I did every morning in those years. The sky was often dark and cloudy, the window streaked with last night’s rain. In the evanescent glow from the street lamps I watched the same impossible nightly show, the one where the hooligans in their gangster Borsalinos, their thirties Packards, their dolls and their dames all fought it out with Thompson sub machine guns amid snarling, teeth-bared violence. I asked whoever it was that I was with to have a look. All they ever saw was an empty early morning street, parked cars, the occasional wandering dog, distant headlights that created shadows dancing in the mist.
One morning, just like all the others, in the midst of the recurrent St. Valentine’s Day massacre outside the window, three runners came by. They were talking as they moved easily through the gunfire, laughing in the early morning rain; they were getting ready for the day.
I watched them from the living room window as they went around the corner, and then I ran back to the rear bedroom window where I could see them turn down the road to the beach. Their laughter hung in the breeze. The sound of their footsteps echoed through the house, like the whisper of an unseen tide.
I turned from the window, caught sight of a pair of scruffy runners on the closet floor, ancient mud dried to dust around them.
Window patrol, Charlie, she said, ain’t nobody there.
She shook her head and motioned for me to come back to the couch or the kitchen or wherever it was that we were getting high that morning.
Photos by Michael Lebowitz. All rights reserved.
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