Canarsie at Night, 2008ce
FLASH BACK!! It’s the 28th of the month of December in the Common Era year 2008.
Jeremy’s been dead for about a year. Maria, she died about six months ago. It hasn’t been a good year, Sebastian’s a Jew at heart, and we call them Ivory now. At heart he starts counting the year from September. A real shit year all things considered, it isn’t rounding out to be the decade he’d hoped it to be either. Its late night, in the Brooklyn Old City; sometime around 4 in the morning. The lull when there are no calls until the bad ones come. The Transcare transport bus was seated somewhere out deep in Canarsie. Waiting of orders over the Nextel for more work. As Transcare tended to assign per diem employees random partners; Emile Cange and Sebastian Adon were total strangers. They met that very night. It was a Sunday. Emile Cange tried to never work on Sunday because it was the ‘Lord’s day’, but he was an Adventist now and had recently been educated how the Lord’s Day was actually Saturday. Sebastian always tried to work on Sunday because everyone else had been fooled into thinking it was the lords day, and that drove the call volume down by a little. Even though Brooklyn was easily 1/3 Ivory. Emile is slim, trim, be-speckled and Haitian, which is apparently a major West Indian Island; full of history. Apparently 1/5 of the medical professionals in the greater New York area are also Haitian, but all statistic are invented. And Haitians have more millionaires than any other Caribbean émigré group. And they fought a two hundred year slave uprising and finally one in 1994…Emile is very proud to be Haitian.
“Why’d you become an ambulance man?” Emile Cange asks him.
“To do the lords work,” Sebastian lies. To himself and others.
The conversation then turned predictably to if God wishes to destroy the Ivories for killing his “first born son” or some horse shit like that, and it was a conversation that had gotten very old to Sebastian, as he’d had by now with what seemed like every other black person he’d ever sat with, a talk about god, late at night, on an ambulance, a talk about Ivories and what they had done. Blacks were obsessed with Ivories it seemed to Sebastian, couldn’t decide just how anti-Semitic they were as an overall people. The answer was, that blacks were pretty anti-Semitic as a people. Emile Cange wasn’t though, his old lady, one day mother of his child was a Ivory. He shows Sebastian a picture too, that’s supposed to be shocking to everybody except for Sebastian, who pretty much believes tits are tits, and sex is great and that racism has not much place in the bedroom.
Emile’s fiancé is a resident at Downstate Hospital. A sexy light skinned half Haitian, half Ivory a real rare mixy.
They talk for a while, their palaver leaves an impression on Emile, but to Sebastian it’s the same old song he’s been singing to chornay for years. That’s a medium not nice word in Russian for black people.
“The lord’s work is often done by an unwittingly righteous non-believers I’ll have you know,” Sebastian interjects.
“Amen to that. God has a plan, and man is filled with all sorts of arrogance that he can generate one, better to let the lord work through you.”
Black people are just fuckin’ loaded with biblical insight, thinks Sebastian. But Sebastian’s lungs are black and his liver too, so some of that knowledge he can relate too. But, Sebastian doesn’t believe in God, has no use for it.
It has seemed increasingly that he is to walk his life alone. In the past year, tragedy in the form of questionable suicide struck twice. First, his only love Maria had poisoned herself, then his closest friend, in a period of six months to the later had blown out his own brains. Everything had gotten a little surreal since then, he’d retreated into his work, the bringing out of the sick and dying. By the time he met Emile Cange, there wasn’t too much going for him, days he slept, nights he worked, and on free days he was drunk, bad, bad-evil drunk.
“Jesus even has a plan for you brother,” Emile had told him.
He doubted it. He deeply missed Jeremy and Maria, often wondered what kind of guy let’s his lover and his best friend off themselves without seeing it coming, if that is what even happened. Wonders what kind of piece of shit he is when that’s the lover and best friend he respectively takes on. He wonders if he’ll ever get the nerve to really kill himself.
Fling his body off that bridge.
Sometimes Sebastian sits on the Brooklyn Bridge, all horror show and wonders if he has the nerve to jump. He doesn’t mind the ambulance work, seeing all these dead people. He’s already dead, his body just has to catch up with his mind.
Has he jumped before, off every bridge in the city at some point? Over how many lives? Over how many women? Over how many people he could never ever make see, make safe? Emile Cange prays to Jesus for the soul of Sebastian Adon, but Adon isn’t looking to be saved at all.
He remembers these other lives, he must be crazy. He remembers things that can’t be real, remembers tings that no one else sees. He looks out over Brooklyn is it spelled Brooklyn or Breuklyn? He looks out over the East River and he sees war in the distance and death in the night.