RAIN 9/10/2001 by Peter Nolan Smith

September 10, 2001 was a rainy day in New York and the Weather Channel predicted precipitation throughout the afternoon.

.3 inches humid and wet.

I exited from my East 10th Street apartment at 9.13 and headed toward Velseka’s on 2nd Avenue. My breakfast of a bagel and coffee came to $2.11. I gave the waiter a dollar tip. My funds were low, but it was one thing to be broke and another to act broke.

Tony thanked my generosity and refilled my cup to the brink.

At least someone was happy to have me back in New York after a six-month stay in Pattaya.

My friends were busy setting up autumn projects or putting their children in school. They answered my phone call with trepidation. Few were in a position to lend me more than $20.

I exited from Velselka’s Diner and watched the NYU co-eds run through the rain. Innocent smiles suited their young faces. They had their lives were before them.

I hated their future. They were 18.

None of them would never be revolutionaries, punks, beatniks, or hippies, but no one wanted those careers anymore and I went over to Astor Place to catch the uptown train to Grand Central. I got off at 42nd Street and walked over to the Diamond District on 47th Street. The rain hadn’t let up and I bought a cheap umbrella for $4.99. It kept off most of the wet, but nothing could fend off the thickness of the moist air.

My old boss greeted me with a hug and I asked the diamond dealer if he had any work.

“Sorry, but there isn’t anything happening here, but my rent.” Manny lifted both hands in apology. “Why you come back from Thailand? I thought you had it made there.”

“It was a bullshit job.” Sam Royalle had failed to start an S&M friends’ website. Both of us were too vanilla to make it real.

“New York’s not what it was.” Manny read my soul like a ten cent comic book.

“I know.” Manhattan was overrun by Wall Street bankers and admirers of instant wealth spun from the roulette wheel of hedge funds and derivatives. These Ivy League nouveau-riche scorned the dedication of artists and writers. “If I could click my heels like Dorothy Gale in her ruby slippers, I would.”

“And end up in Kansas.” Manny loved THE WIZARD OF OZ. “I don’t think you’d like that.”

“No, you’re right about that.” I had never been to that straight-line state.

“At least it wouldn’t be raining.” Manny liked the sun. He went to Florida after New Years and that tan lasted the rest of the year.

“It’s monsoon season in Thailand.” I looked out the window. “This is a drizzle in Thailand.”

“Drizzle, mizzle.” Manny slipped a C-note into my hand. “Wait a few weeks and I’ll have work for you.”

“Thanks, comrade.” Manny was from Brownsville and I hailed from the South Shore of Boston. We understood hard time and as much as I could have used another C-note, a single hundred dollar bill was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

The rain was lightening up, but I could tell it would last the rest of the day. It was Monday. The Oyster Bar was only a few blocks away. A September day like this was a good day for a bowl of chowder. The weatherman predicted a pleasant day for tomorrow.

It would be 9/11/2001 and I liked that results of that equation better than the result for (9/10) /2001 = 0.000449775112.

Carpe cras or as no Roman ever said, “Seize tomorrow.”

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