A PAWN FALLS, THE QUEEN LAUGHS

EXT. – QUEENS, NY – DAY
It is the first weekend since the Astoria Paper Caper’s arrest. The sun rises over a tranquil neighborhood. Various landmarks are illuminated: The 59th St. Bridge, Silver Cup Studios, etc.

FADE TO:

EXT. – RESIDENTIAL STREET – DAY
A MAN walks out of his font door and, surprised, picks up the New York Times off his stoop. He scoffs to himself and smiles. He had forgotten this feeling. He is beginning to trust again.

CUT TO:

INT. – RORY’S LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
RORY reads the newspaper with a glass of wine. He is distracted by laughter from the building next door. He stares intently into space.

FADE TO:

INT. – RORY’S BEDROOM – DAY
RORY wakes up and walks past an alarm clock that reads 9:00AM.

CUT TO:

INT. – APARTMENT BUILDING – DAY
RORY approaches the front vestibule of his building. His newspaper isn’t there. Only a plastic sleeve sits on the ground.

CUT TO:

EXT. – RESIDENTIAL STREET – DAY
RORY walks feverishly between buildings on his block. All he finds are empty sleeves. He stops and looks around – a dizzying nightmare.

CUT TO: BLACK

Dear 2L Readers,

The above scene took place this past weekend. It was short-sightedness on my behalf that allowed me to convince myself and you that I had defeated what we can now assume is a full fledged newspaper-theft racquet. I am embarrassed with the self-aggrandizing article I wrote, and I apologize if its narrow conclusions led any of you to develop a false sense of security.

I know now that the feeling inside of me at the police station was not that of guilt. It was the still smoldering embers of a fire not yet fully extinguished. The petty criminal who stole my papers was merely a piece of the puzzle. But, he was a piece non-the-less, and it is around that piece that I will build outward until I come to an edge. And, it is upon this edge that I will stand as I cast those responsible over into the abyss.

If they think that my dedication will waiver or that my vigilance knows an end, then they have yet to realize the depths of my insanity. I may stumble, but I won’t tire. Being tired is why I have chosen to play.

Rory Corcoran, Editor in Chief

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THE PAPER CAPER’S END

By Rory Corcoran, Editor in Chief

Like many New Yorkers, I anticipate the weekend home delivery of The New York Times. For all of the advantages of digital subscriptions, the printed edition offers its own unique rewards. Namely, it’s the satisfaction of experiencing the news through the same medium as my father and his father before him. Perusing the printed page is largely a personal experience. Yet, when I look out on the paper-lined sidewalks of my Astoria, Queens neighborhood, I can’t help but feel interconnected with my neighbors.

 

This weekend rite was disrupted one Saturday nearly 3 months ago when my newspaper did not arrive at my door. I immediately called the New York Times to report the non-delivery. The Times’ representative on the phone could not have been more courteous. She apologized for the inconvenience and reimbursed me for the missing edition.

 

However, it turned out not to be an isolated incident. For weeks my newspapers went missing. Each time I called the Times and each time they accommodated me with a reimbursement. They reached out to their delivery person who swore that the paper was being delivered. I began to entertain the thought that this may not be a delivery issue, but, rather, an act of foul play.

 

The idea that someone was stealing my newspaper was so perverse that I hesitated to believe it was true. I decided that I needed proof. The next Sunday, I woke myself up before sunrise to ensure that I would intercept the paper if it was, in fact, being delivered. I rolled out of bed and shuffled down the hallway towards the front door of my building. There, on the vestibule floor wrapped in its signature blue plastic sleeve, laid the Times. I was simultaneously overcome with both delight and disappointment. My discovery all but cemented my suspicion that a thief was snatching my weekend editions. I suddenly had the idea to take the newspaper out of its blue plastic sleeve and insert the previous week’s paper inside. I left the dummy paper near the front door to see if it would be taken later in the morning. When I checked back an hour later, sure enough, it was gone. My disappointment evolved into anger, and I decided it would be my mission to catch the person responsible.

 

 

The next Saturday morning, I awoke at 6AM and decided I would surveil my building from outside in hopes of catching the thief in the act. I left a dummy paper near the front door as bait and staked out my building from the front lawn of a senior housing complex across the street. Two hours passed and there was no sign of the thief. My coffee cup, long empty, begged to be refilled, and I began to suspect that I, myself, was being watched by security guards from the senior home. I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a car window and realized I looked like a hipster Serpico. Saddened by my own futility, I abandoned my post and walked down the street to grab some breakfast.

serpicorory

When I circled back less than an hour later, I was stunned to see that the thief had stolen every newspaper on my block. I visited each building he had hit and noticed that he had stolen the main section of the paper, but left the supplemental sections and circulars behind. A few doors down from my building, my dummy paper was scattered about the sidewalk, discarded by the picky thief.

 

Losing hope that my own vigilantism could stop this purloiner of papers, I called the police to file a report. A short time later, two apathetic officers strolled up to my apartment. Taking the risk of sounding like a man with too much time on his hands, I told them my whole story, dummy papers and all. I told them the days and time-frames within which the crimes had been committed, showed them all of the buildings that had been ripped off, and even pointed out security cameras on the block that I thought might offer some helpful piece of evidence. The officers responded by simply telling me that there was nothing they could do. They suggested that I cancel my subscription and buy the paper from a store. Rather than rebutting their suggestion with an explanation about the financial benefits of home delivery bundled with a digital subscription, I stood down and stayed silent. The officers’ unwillingness to take action ignited a fiery rage within me, but I calmly thanked them for their help and walked back inside my apartment. They had not even cared enough to ask me my name.

 

In my mind, this issue was no longer about me. It was about my neighbors. It was about the tradition I inherited from my father and his father before him.   It was about the desecration of the common trust we place in our fellow man. I saw the fabric of our civilized society unraveling before my eyes, and at that moment, I knew I’d have to stop it on my own.

 

I woke myself up at 5:30AM on Sunday morning. It was raining outside and as much as any normal 20-something year-old would want to be in bed at that hour, so did I. Determined not to prematurely abandon my post again, I prepared myself a thermos full of black coffee and went out to monitor my street. Just as I stepped out my front door onto the sidewalk, I noticed a moving figure out of the corner of my eye. I turned to my right, and that’s when I saw him. He was tall and dressed in a long black coat with a hood over his head. He was 3 buildings down and walking towards me. In one hand, he carried a large checkered umbrella that obscured his face. In the other was a large black plastic bag. Steps away from my door, his head lifted and our eyes met for a fleeting moment. He hesitated momentarily but turned away quickly and crossed over the street. His furtive movements may as well have been a signed confession. So like a blindfolded child does to a donkey, I gave him a tail

 

I let him have a block lead on me, and as I walked, I set my iPhone to video record. I followed him under train tracks and down side streets. Crouched behind the cover of an old Buick sedan, I peered over the hood and saw him make his first steal. He continued swiftly up driveways and into vestibules grabbing papers and magazines and tossing them into his oversized black bag. He seemed familiar with his route. He’d done this before.  

 

I wanted to get a clear video of him in the act, so I boldly stood feet away from him and aimed my phone into the vestibule of a large apartment complex where he was gathering up papers. Suddenly, he turned and saw me. I was frozen. How would this man react? Was he armed? Was he desperate enough to attack me? Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to find out. He fled hurriedly down the street as quickly as his burdensome bag of papers allowed him to. My cover was blown. I had no choice but to call the police. The operator on the line began to lecture me about the dangers of chasing people, but I ignored her, gave her the thief’s description and insisted the police get there right away. I hung up, and within seconds a patrol car screeched around the corner, sped up the block and cut off the thief who had no option but to give himself up.

 

I watched from a block away, but made my presence known to the police. A few minutes later they approached me, and I told them my story. They were more appreciative of my efforts than the officers from the previous day. They arrested their suspect, and I rode to the precinct in the back of a patrol car to go make my statement.

 

As I sat in the dilapidated waiting area of the police station, I overheard some police discussing the suspect’s previous criminal record, which included a prior petty larceny charge for newspaper theft. I laid my head back and my eyes scanned the tiled ceiling above. Rainwater dripped from several tiles and into strategically placed pales around the room. I closed my eyes and reflected on the systemic socio-economic problems that likely led this man to a life as a newspaper thief. While a small part of me took pride in having stopped the criminal who was ruining the weekend morning rituals of countless numbers of my neighbors, I felt a strange sense of guilt for having led the sting operation that ultimately ended in his arrest. That would be my cross to bear. I could only hope he learned some lesson in all of it, or, at least, would think twice about stealing my newspaper in the future.

 

I looked up again at the rainwater dripping through the ceiling tiles and into the strategically placed pales around the room, and it occurred to me that they might need a whole new roof.

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The Downfall of America

The Downfall of America will be a continuing series in which I highlight particularly awful aspects of our society.

Today, I’d like to highlight the WAIT FOR GREEN traffic sign.

Hey guys, this 3-colored signal thing has become just a little too confusing for me! Let’s face it – a red light is pretty much just an empty threat. But, give me a sign that clearly spells out its concept, and I might consider not blowing it. I mean, it’s not like a camera is going to take my picture and ticket me if I do.

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10 Reasons Why I Like David Duchovny

By Sean Corcoran & Teddy Graham, Potpourri

1. The X-files. I loved this cult television hit with Duchovny perfectly portraying the cerebral, conspiracy-laden Agent Mulder. I’ve read that Duchovny was responsible for manufacturing some of the more outlandish character traits of Mulder. Was Mulder’s penchant for pornography a signal for Duchovny’s burgeoning sex addiction? You be the judge. Clue #1 for impending sex addiction.

  • 2. Workout Attire. My friend, who resides in the Upper East Side in Manhattan, recently spotted Duchovny getting some repetitions in at his local gym. I’m pretty sure David keeps an apartment there as well as in Milan, Paris, London, and Los Angeles. Anyway, Duchovny works out in plain black, and yes, he keeps his sunglasses on. Presumably, he catches an organic brunch afterward in the same gear.

  • 3. Pescatarian. At some point in the mid-90’s, David upgraded from vegetarian to pescatarian. The guy is nuts about fish! Duchovny has often extolled the virtues of the oils and amino acids found in fish. Fuel for creativity? Most definitely. Other notable pescatarians include Ted Danson and Conor Oberst. Need I say more?

  • 4. JV Basketball at Princeton. Scholar-athlete anyone?! Allegedly, he’s no stranger to the baseball diamond there either. It’s a shame Natalie Portman didn’t attend Princeton in the 1980’s because she would have been Duchovny’s 3 o’clock slop on a Saturday night (probably after a long night out with his buddies from one of the prestigious eating clubs).

  • 5. The Larry Sanders Show. The most memorable guest appearance on a program in the history of television. Duchovny plays himself, but with an uncomfortable fatal attraction towards Larry. And who can forget the hotel scene where he mimics Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, giving Larry a bird’s eye view of the “gentleman.” High comedy lovers only. I’m not alone when I say Gary Shandling has David Duchovny to thank for that final Cable Ace award.

  • 6. Californication. I’m pretty sure this was one of the first reality television programs but was spun as a scripted series on Showtime. If it wasn’t reality TV, Duchovny obviously had difficulty discerning make-believe from reality after filming ended. Clue #2 for a man in the depths of a sex addiction binge. Is there anything sweeter?

  • 7. Red Shoe Diaries. This groundbreaking, psycho-sexual drama on Showtime put the “erotic” in erotica. Guess who narrated the series for several years? You guessed it: David Duchovny, or maybe just David Duchovny’s libido, which is a tangible, living entity capable of mind-blowing creativity or of salacious, blush-inducing bacchanalia. Clue #3.

  • 8. Sex Addiction. This guy put sex addiction on the map. Jesse James, Tiger Woods, Michael Douglas: those guys are amateur hour. Duchovny commented to Playgirl magazine in 1997 “I’m not a sex addict.” Who says that!? To Playgirl magazine?! That’s like Richard Nixon saying “I’m not a crook.” This guy’s status is legendary around Hollywood, and he STILL kept his wife. I bet Gillian Anderson from the X-files was no stranger to his trailer…you could cut their onscreen sexual chemistry with a hot butter-knife…you just can’t fake that kind of thing…

  • 9. Magic and Technology in Contemporary Poetry and Prose. This was the title of Duchovny’s unfinished doctoral thesis (not to be outdone by his undergraduate thesis The Schizophrenic Critique of Pure Reason in Beckett’s Early Novels). Who is this guy!? I wish I could sit under a fig tree, with Duchovny dressed as Plato, teaching me about things beyond my comprehension.

  • 10. Kalifornia. Are you ready for a dark, twisted roadtrip with Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, and various taboo sexual undertones? Do you think sex and violence each have one hand in the other’s pocket? David Duchovny does! I can’t not watch this movie. Ever. Although not very good, I like to fantasize about the behind the scenes interaction between the actors. I picture Duchovny as some cult-like ambassador for a radical underground sex scene, leading a young Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis into a Clive Barker-esque fantasy world.

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    Flynn on Flynn’s

    By Brendan Flynn, Ski and Boating

    Hello, 2L. I have to admit, I have been suffering from a serious lack of motivation in regard to submitting my first… submittal? Thank you to our very own Ian Lanz for lighting a fire beneath me with his debut. Not only an owner of the only full leather leisure suit mine eyes have seen, fellow below average golfer, but also a surprisingly informed Hawaiian PGA Tournament activist.

    I do some things. Two of these things are ski and boat. Probably because neither take much effort. Gravity drives one, and good old fashioned horsepower, the other. Given the time of year I find it easy to decide which of my passions to start, what I’m sure will be a hateful relationship, with for my 2L debut.

    Boats. I love them. Come to think of it, it’s the culture that I really love. Cool breeze, salty air, mixed drinks, beach bums, tan girls, the list is as long as my vocabulary is short. I dig chicks. Chicks dig boats. I love day drinking. Spending an afternoon on the water with the sun shining down and a cool buzz is truly unbeatable. All this is great.. but what I wish to divulge is the trashy grind party that is Flynn’s Fire Island Reggae parties.

    Rocket fuel.. Not only means to outer space, but also a frozen concoction that will get you to stagger toward the dance floor to rub on some strangers while the semi-okay reggae beats through your insides. Last I remember, the 30 something I found myself falling in love with was probably 20 lbs. overweight and most likely the ugliest of her small group of ugly friends. I cared not, as several Rocket Fuels turned this never would happen into a ‘sure thing.’ As evening turned to dusk I found myself wondering if I had the wits about me drive across the Great South Bay from Flynn’s Ocean Bay Park to Flynn home, Long Island.


    Waking up face down in the sand with the morning tide change on the verge of taking me to sea, I felt an overwhelming sense of pure regret. Not only had my reggae love-monster thrown me, literally, to the fishes.. But my only transportation home had it’s anchor ripped from the bay bottom landing several beaches away. Friends lost, lover never had, boat gone, and half dressed I forced myself to my feet in order to gain some sense of location.

    Two hours later, boat found swaying on a sand bar I began my trek back to the mainland. Sun rising to the East and cruising at a cool 20 knots.. I knew the following Sunday would bring me back to Flynn’s.

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    Books That Disturb Me (3 by Sean&Teddy)

    Sean and Teddy/ Potpourri
    By Sean Corcoran and Teddy Graham, Potpourri

    The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq

    This nihilistic, brutal novel follows the disintegration of two brothers into adulthood. One brother secludes himself in the work of molecular biology, and the other loses his job as a school teacher as he falls into the throes of sex addiction. Of course, these characters have mother issues, leading to their introverted and protracted livelihoods. When Houellebecq isn’t graphically describing sex with prostitutes or online sex chat rooms, he fills some space with 1960’s California satanic death cults, their orgies, torture, and child sacrifice. I assure you he spares no detail! Certain to shock!

  • Sexus by Henry Miller

    The lascivious lothario, Henry Miller, begins his Rosy Crucifixion trilogy with this misogynistic, smutty masterpiece. When I think of the 1920’s and 30’s, I imagine a simpler time filled with picnics, jazz, a twenty percent unemployment rate and sex solely for procreation. Boy was I wrong! Chronicling the author’s “awakening” from the doldrums of existence, the novel follows Miller’s quest to become a writer by way of sexual conquests, philosophical musings and general penury. The book, basically a pornographic biography, is shocking even by today’s standards. Banned for several decades, Sexus remains a ribald read!

  • Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.

    Holy smokes this book is messed up! Incidentally, Lou Reed claims it’s his favorite book. Composed of six separate parts, the book takes a bird’s eye view of 1950’s lower class Brooklyn. And what a view: transvestitism, prostitution, gang rape, hardcore drug use, and domestic violence are just a few of the upbeat topics Selby explores throughout the novel. Written with sporadic punctuation and King’s county colloquialisms, the book paints a vivid yet disturbing picture of the underbelly of society. If you want to take a look through the forbidden keyhole, buy this book and prepare to be changed.

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    The Life & Times of T. Graham, Gentleman

    By Sean Corcoran, Potpourri

    I found him slumped in the corner of a teamsters bar in the southwest corner of Brooklyn, a crumpled ball of one-dollar bills in his hand and several coffee stained OTB tickets protruding from his jacket pocket. The place smelled of stale sweat and the pungent aroma of Pall Malls, a sickly sweet mixture that attacked and then numbed the olfactory senses within minutes. An hour earlier, this hirsute character had been noodling his way towards the decolletage of an unwilling patron, spilling his cheap scotch down the backleg of her pants. He was one of the many monsters that appeared here at 6 every night, but he was also one of the best journalists in New York City, a spot-on reporter with ink stained fingertips, unwashed hair, and an unwavering dedication to his craft. Having never met Teddy Graham, I kept my distance, and saddled up to the bar for a Bud and a shot of some lower shelf gut-rot.

    I read the Daily News as I waited for my contact. I was a relative unknown in journalism, staking my fledgling reputation on some union nobody who was selling a story on corrupt HUD deals in Brooklyn. So far, he wasn’t showing. As I turned on my stool to depart, I spotted Teddy rising from his alcohol induced slumber, a disoriented look covering his ashen face. He soon started towards the bar, gaining more traction and stability with each step. In a matter of moments his left paw was draped around my neck as he ordered 2 Buds and 2 shots of whiskey. He turned to me with his drink raised and said “From one journalist to another.”

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