New York Tales from Curious Borough Dwellers

020 : Kit Born at McCrory’s store on 63rd Drive, Queens
Born 1977 in Rego Park, NY . Kit Born currently works as a dad/husband, educational technologist, lecturer in Japanese popular culture, writer and part-time student. Why New York? I grew up there He digs the following Gotham bits: 2am Chinese food runs, the sounds of summer in Times Square, the Strand Bookstore and Canal Street. He is, however, a bit miffed by garbage juice, Alphabet City, pigeons, Mayor Bloomberg and anything to do with cars. For more info on Kit Born you should send an email or visit doshiyo.com .

image: Alvin Yeung

“Danny busted out a bottle of Brut 33 aftershave...”

My friend Danny and I always got into trouble, but what did you expect in 5th Grade?

We were supposed to go back to his house. We had spent the afternoon at my house, which was typical, and it was time for him to go home for dinner. We decided to go back to his house in a very circuitous route. Instead of heading southeast, we decided to head northwest, past our church, past the LIRR tracks and down to McCrory’s.

Danny and I each had five bucks.

We decided that it was time to become spies. We got to the store, passed the crowds of old ladies and plastic flowers, and picked up some Zebra pellet guns (Airsoft has nothing on these!) These guns came with 200 pellets and a sweet shoulder holster – perfect for hiding under our private school cardigans. We rushed for the checkout counter, plunked down our cash, and hit the street.

On the way home, to complete the spy image, Danny busted out a bottle of Brut 33 aftershave, which he insisted on us splashing ourselves with, all over those tight, wide-striped polo shirts.

We weren’t very good spies, as we decided to go back the route we had come, and just as we were about to pass by my house again, there was my mom, waiting, as was Danny’s step-dad. Mom wanted to know why we weren’t at Danny’s house, and where we had gone. I told her we stopped at McCrory’s on the way there, and she reminded me that McCrory’s was in no way on the way to Danny’s house. Moreover, where did I get the idea to spend money without asking her? Sure, I had some money in my piggy bank (which I thought was mine to do with as I pleased) but it was not to be used without permission.

Mom saw what I had bought, marched right over to the trash can and threw it in. This was to by my punishment for not going to Danny’s house straightaway and for spending money on useless, random stuff. Plus, I think my mom didn’t want us playing with guns. (At that time, I never would have thought that as a dad I’d side with my mom now too.)

So ended my career as a spy.

Danny had been a much better spy, as he was wearing his gun under his jacket already. He had no visible evidence. His dad drove him home. I took the heat and spent the next week “in lockup” if you will. Danny brought his heat to school each day and would shoot plastic pellets wherever he pleased when no one was looking. I remember picking up little yellow plastic pellets off the floor and telling myself, “Man, if only I had taken my gun out of the package on the way and hidden it like Danny did.” Over and over, I got to thinking: If only I could go back and do the mission again.

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017That's when I knew I wanted to live in New York: in the midst of those fragile bralets and bodysuits.— Ling Ma

016The guns, we tell the police later, were black like ice.— Tara Deal

015...my own talisman against the folly of my youth.— Andrea Jarrell

014Y'all in a band'r somethin'?— Abraham

013Perhaps it was the lanky teenager with the bright red book-bag that made me think I saw Adam.— Carrie Teicher

012I remember flattening myself against the streaky windows of the PATH train like an insect.— Erin Fisher

011I glanced up to see another shape hit the sand.— Ken H. Judy

010Vibrating almost imperceptibly in the breeze like a woody tuning fork.— Rob Giampietro

009Then the jazz stopped and the radio said the war had started in the Middle East. — Roland Kelts

008Shirtless Boris Yeltsin’s skin reddens as he reads a book.— Michael Maiello

007Port Authority was there with open, non-judging arms.— Khoi Vinh

006His almost-loss was my almost- nonexistence.— Matthew Rand

005On the cold hard floor of the orphanage, I sang, longing for the day that they would come and rescue me.— Jen Egan

004He was a lawyer, after all.— Kristin Gardner

003The parking lot gate was open, and we ran in with the skateboard.— Lorraine Martindale

002We arrived on completely Russian streets, with Russian signs and a familiar rudeness.— Kseniya Melnik

001...the hourly clicking of Oxfords and high heels across the parking lot.— Tam Nomgum


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