Always in a New Town

Jake turned a corner and was surprised at what he saw. He was expecting a park, but it was just a back alley. The park had to be around there somewhere.

Somehow, Jake found himself facing the back door of a butcher shop. The sign read “Satriale’s Meats and Cold Cuts,” and then a pretty little caption that said “DELIVERIES.” He figured he was close to 3rd and 22nd, so he pressed on, but emerged on 15th and Broadway. The streets must have shifted again.

Jake took out his GPS-enabled phone, but the thing was still useless. The batteries were dead.  He got back to the alley. Just as he was passing Satriale’s, the back door opened and a middle-aged Italian-looking man stepped out for his cigarette break. He was wearing a bloodied apron over a turquoise jump suit.

“Excuse me.”

“Yeah?” the Italian man said with New York toughness, but also professional caution.

“Uhm, could you tell me where the nearest subway station is?”

“Sure,” the accent was part Bronx, part Jersey, and part generic street thug, “You take a left, go down three blocks, and take a right there.”

“Thanks. Sorry to bother you like that. I got this disorder. It’s like dyslexia, only with streets. I get lost all the time. Even though I’ve lived in the city for, like, 20 years.”

“Yeah,” the man was not amused, he looked like he was expecting something bad to happen, watching Jake’s hands all the time. “Well it’s gotta be interesting. Like you’re always in a new city all the time. Always on holiday.”

“Yes,” Jake nodded, “I’ve heard that before. It’s a nice way of looking at it.”

“Irregardless…” the man was inviting Jake to leave.

“Thanks,” Jake walked away, wondering if it was really pig’s blood on the apron and what kind of trouble he could have gotten into this time.

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