Midnight in Brooklyn - NYC
♫ No problems, no problems, ya’ll bitches don’t want no problems ♪ blared the vulgar lyrics from a speeding truck. Artie and his bodyguard, Herman, shook their heads as the truck raced past them and vanished into the night.
“Fuckin savages and their jungle music is what it is Boss, I’ll tell you!” Herman swore as the two men walked down a desolate block to Artie’s accounting office. “Plus there’s a full moon tonight, see?”
Artie glanced up, eyed the lunar glow and smirked. “Yup, red moon too. Do you know what that means Herman?”
“Umm, I think so Boss, means the crazies are out tonight, right?”
“Ha ha, no! People out tonight ain’t crazy,” Artie replied, not missing a step. “They know exactly what they’re doin, just like you and me.” He picked up his pace, leaving Herman behind.
“Well, ok Boss. I’ll take your word for it but- ggggghh-” Herman gurgled in mid sentence.
Artie, a few feet ahead, turned to find out why Herman stopped talking.
“Hey, what the hell did you sa- Holy fuck!”
Artie gaped at Herman standing with his mouth wide open. A long blade jutting out of his throat. The attacker, hunched behind Herman, then ripped the blade from his neck. And without a word Herman collapsed in front of Artie, his body convulsing.
"Oh hell no!” Artie gasped and pulled a gun from his waist, but not in time.
The attacker thrust forward and sliced the pistol out of his hand, and in one motion, plunged a seven inch blade through Artie’s heart.
“Gaaah!” Artie growled and dropped to his knees while the attacker tore the blade from his chest.
Blood gushed as Artie fell on all fours. But he raised his head to glare at the black clad assassin to ask, “W-Why? *cough*...what’d I ever do to you?”
The killer never answered as Artie collapsed on his face, and bled out on the concrete, under the red moon.
The Next Morning
The second period bell rang at St. Mary’s High School for Girls in midtown Manhattan. In a freshman class a confident new math teacher, Mr. Dan Capra, wrote his name on the whiteboard. As the students hurried to their seats they giggled and gossipped behind his back.
“Yaa! The new math teacher’s a cutey! I know girl! Sssh, he can hear you!”
After writing out two word problems on the board Dan smiled and introduced himself to his new class.
“Good morning ladies, my name is, umm, please take your seat, thank you. My name is Mr. Capra, and today is my first day-”
Immediately ten girls put their hands up to ask a question. Well that’s a first. Dan wanted to continue, but didn’t want to appear rude. He pointed to a student in the front.
“Um, how old are you? Hee hee,” she asked and hid her face while the class giggled.
“My age?” Caught off guard Dan frowned. Oh, I see. I think I’d better nip this early.
“Yeah, about that. Ok ladies, here’s the thing. I’m passionate about math and teaching in general, and since you guys are professionals in training,” he pointed at the class as they chuckled and blushed, “I think it’s best we keep the conversation about math, and not personal. Is that ok with you guys?” he asked with a smile.
The students all turned and looked at each other with confusion and then fired back, “What? Nooooo! We want to know more about you Mister Capra, like what’s your first name and stuff?”
“My first name?” Dan shook his head with a smirk. Ok, this is not how I wanted to start the class, but, ah! I know!
“Alright ladies, let’s try this. I’ll maybe answer that question if you ladies can help me with the first problem on the board and show me where you’re at since summer break.”
“Aw, that sucks!” whined the class, “And you’re mean!”
Dan chuckled, “Heh heh, life is hard ladies! But like I said, if you help me, I’ll help you.”
“Yaaan!” cried the class.
But Dan stood firm and pointed to the whiteboard, “So let’s take a look at the first word problem: One quarter of compet-”
A student raised her hand in the middle row. But when Dan turned to call on her she locked eyes with him, and he remembered her. Oh, it’s this girl. The black haired latina who arrived to class early and stared at me. He reached for the seating chart and read her name.
“Yes? Miss, Rica Reyes?"
The student, Rica, offered a smile and answered, “The first word problem is twenty four, and your age, Mr. Capra, is twenty six.”
Dan paused while every girl spun to face Rica.
“Eeeeh? Ricaaaa, how’d you know that info about him, he just got here? You stalking him or something?” the girls asked.
Rica smiled and shook her head, “No, I’m not stalking him. But still, not one of you silly girls read the newsletter the school emailed last night?”
The class shook their collective heads at her, “No! Why should we read it?” they chorused in harmony.
“Well if you did you would know that Mr. Daniel Capra here spent three years in the military after high school,” she answered with a playful tone.
“Really? Is that true!” gasped the class as they turned their attention back to the blushing Dan.
“Heh, yes class, I served in the army, and I now see there’s no privacy in this school,” he joked.
“Nope, no secrets here!” said Rica as she continued, “So anyway, if you left the military at twenty one, add that by four years of college, plus one year teaching in your home state of Pennsylvania, and that makes you about twenty five, twenty six,” she said staring in his eyes. “Does that simple math sound right to you, Mr. Capra?”
Dan squinted and smiled at Rica. Well she’s a bright one!
“Why, yes, Miss Reyes-”
“Just Rica is fine, Mr. Capra,” she said, causing an uproar of giggling and gossip until Dan settled everyone.
“Alright ladies, Rica is correct and now you know everything you need to know about me!”
But the class protested, “Eeeh? No we don’t! We’re just scratching the surface! Do you have a girlfriend? Why do you have Asian eyes if your name is Capra?” and other out loud questions.
Dan bit his lip. This is unfortunate, I didn’t want to raise my voice the first day of class but I need to get these students to focus-
“Nicky, Emma, Donna, enough already!” cried Rica, chiding the three students causing the most commotion.
All three girls, seated near Rica, instantly shut their mouths and the class noise lowered to nothing. Dan now stood before a room of silent smiles and all eyes on him. He glanced back at Rica, who stared back at him.
I see. Miss Rica is the ‘Alpha’ female here. Cool, good to know.
“Thank you everyone. And to prove to you that I’m not an evil teacher I’ll tell you what I’ll do. You help me with the next three problems and then I’ll shoot the breeze with you guys for a minute, ok?”
“Yaaa!” the class cheered, “But are you gonna let us ask you personal questions?”
“Heh heh, sure, doesn’t mean I’ll give you an answer!”
“Eeeh? Why? Are you hiding things?” the class chorused.
“Nope, but the next word problem has some hidden things going on, so let’s go over it, shall we?”
With the students finally settled Dan managed to teach a few first time problem solving concepts. And in turn, they learned more about Dan Capra.
What a great first class!
After work Dan reached his small apartment nestled in the Inwood section of Manhattan. Although he taught at a rich school, his modest salary could only afford rent in a not-so-nice-but-not-too-bad neighborhood. He didn’t mind.
As he washed up to cook dinner he watched the news:
“Police still have no witnesses or motive for the murders of Artie Salbon and Herman Rey in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn Sunday night. The two men were found on the sidewalk stabbed to death. Police say property was stolen from the scene-” Dan changed the channel.
Wow, I know New York is the safest big city but I’ll certainly stay alert.
He reached in an unpacked box and pulled out a holstered nine millimeter handgun.
Because you never know what can happen to you here.