Gravesend (if any of you haven't yet) or Death Don't Have No Mercy and you'll find the romantic imagination of the kid in the essay has grown into the full tragic beauty of the author's work today.
CriMemoir by William Boyle
A couple of summers ago when I was home a guy got knifed coming out of a taco shop on Eighty-Sixth Street. We heard the sirens, saw the yellow tape, read that the killer lost his dentures at the scene, and laughed about it. Next day we walked up and saw where they'd hosed down the sidewalk. You could still make out how the blood had browned the curb under a parking meter. I'd never eaten there. Now I don't think I can. I'd worry about getting stabbed on the way out.
Crime beat stories occupied me. Michael DeBatt shot behind Tali’s on Eighteenth Avenue on Sammy the Bull’s orders. Hits at Joe & Mary’s and Gravano’s Bus Stop club. I clipped them from the newspapers and taped them into a marble notebook.
Once I saw Stevie Ceretti thwack Gene Villani in the face with an aluminum bat in Shady Park, not far from Spumoni Gardens. I can still hear the sound of the bat against his head across the distance of years, and it still makes me feel like I was a part of something big.
I live in the south now. I like how everything feels new, even learning about the past, but I miss being a kid in Brooklyn: the blood and concrete and pizza and how it was all wrapped up in wanting to be something that I could never be.