the short story project


Krysta Natoshia

Exhibitionists in Brooklyn

     Goddamn my alarm is annoying. It’s Thursday, 6:30am. Do I have the strength to go to work? No. Shower. Put on suit. Slick hair, not too much. Eat the preprepared breakfast of grains, veggies, and fruits that Ben-Gymin has assigned to me this week. Ben-Gymin, his chosen spelling for Benjamin, as if his massive muscles and spider veins didn’t give away his Trainer status enough already. God, I miss breakfast burritos. Brush teeth. Jerk off to Adriana Lima. Leave.
     I take the same walk to the same train every morning. My job’s not exciting enough to go into. I work, I pay bills, I live. I see women, they’re fine but nothing to write home about. Hell, I’d even see men if I thought that could do something. This is my current thought as I’m walking down Fulton past the closed Applebee’s. I have the classical station on, a necessary step in order to refrain from killing myself and fellow commuters on the way to work. I pass the hardware store. There’s yelling. It’s Brooklyn, so that’s not uncommon, but this yelling is joyous. I take my headphones out and look around, it’s nearby. Look behind me and up on a third story fire escape are two naked people, dancing and shaking about.
     “Good morning!” The dude shouts, like he’s the town cryer greeting everyone to this new day.
     “We’re naked! Enjoyyy it!!!” The girl shimmies to emphasize her point.
     They go on greeting and dancing for all the passersby, wishing us a lovely day. How does one come to be naked on a fire escape at seven in the morning, simply to greet people on their way to work and real life? If it were another time, or I was another person, I’d go ask them. I’d ask them to take me on a night that leads to this.
     The night…
     ‘We Found Love’ comes on in the bar. Krysta freaks out, jumping up and down, splashing water all over the sink. She grabs a paper towel to dry it, and her hands, off as fast as humanly possible and races out of the bathroom, hoping to dance with Chris as the chorus hits. Alas, he’s asleep at the bar. And the bartender couldn’t be happier.
     “Hey, you know he can’t be sleeping.”
     “No I know, he’s fine, he does this. He’ll be wide awake in like two minutes.” 
     “He can’t stay here.”
     “I know, sorry, we’re leaving… Dobby, come on, let’s go home.”
     Chris perks up immediately, “Yep! Let’s go, grab the Ciroc.”
     Proud, “Already in the bag.”
     Chris stands and dance walks away, leaning heavily on Krysta but pulling it off. They gracefully stumble out the doors and hail a cab. Drunk and chatty, they become temporary best friends with Mohammad Mohammad, the most tolerating cabbie in the world. They’re a drunk mess but they’re kind, they ask Mohammad Mohammad how his night’s going, about his life and family, so he allows their singing and yelling out the window. They’re just complimenting people and wishing them a magical night. He actually rather enjoys the show.
     They head over the Brooklyn Bridge, windows down, wind raging, Sam Smith playing by request. Krysta has her head out the window. Well, Chris has his head out the window, Krysta has the upper half of her body out the window. Arms out wide, hair wild, singing, flying. Chris loves that Krysta is his free spirited best friend who loves the feeling of flying and the thrills of life, but he also wants her to sit her ass back in the damn car. As if hearing his thoughts and wanting to defy them– and gravity– further, Krysta sits on the window sill of the car, arms and hair still flying wild. Chris could kill her, he plays it off like he’s enjoying the fun but holds onto her legs. She’s completely unaware of his concerns or Mohammad Mohammad’s, who is really more impressed than anxious. Krysta is flying for all she cares, the wind the only thing on her mind. She looks back at the skyscrapers lit up in place of stars. I. Love. This. City.
     Chris and Mohammad Mohammad could kiss Snoop Dogg as ‘Young, Wild, & Free’ comes on, enticing Krysta to come back inside to join the party. She’s singing along but suddenly stops to gasp and grasp Chris’s shoulder. They look at each other knowingly.
     “Dolla Dolla?”
     “Dolla DOLLA!!!”
     “Mohammad Mohammad d’you want some pizza?”
     After pizza and a long, slightly more sober but still clearly intixicated goodbye, they over tip their new bestie and Mohammad Mohammad drives off into the night. They go up to wind theirs down, or so they think. Once inside, they immediately forget about finishing the pie as they are greeted by a familiar friend. A cheap yet ever so cherished, green glass bong. Princess Tiana. All their pieces and paraphernalia are Disney themed. Wouldn’t Walt be proud.
     “Darling Tiana, right as we left you.”
     “Full and ready for the taking, you naughty minx.”
     “Open the window so we can hear the rain.”
     “Should we smoke on the fire escape?”
     Together, “Should we smoke on the… roooof?! Roof!! JINX, you owe me a blowjob!”
     Up two more flights of stairs, the rain is pounding on the roof. They open the door to a perfect night. Leaving the blanket they brought up and the keys inside– the smoking tools they forgot– they wedge the door open and step out into the beating rain. Rain on a New York rooftop can arouse even the most muted of souls. This night is beyond what they could’ve hoped for. The rain is so heavy it completely fills the air around them, instantly soaking them through as if they’re underwater. Unfortunately, gravity still holds them down, however they are oblivious, they hug and spin around singing ‘Latch’ to each other. Laughing, holding hands, they spin in circles Titanic Rose and Jack style. They slow down before flinging each other off the roof but they continue frolicking, and it becomes clear to them.
     “I mean.. we might as well be naked.”
     “It’s the only thing missing. This is nature’s shower.”
     “We’ve skinny dipped and showered together all over the world, we might as well do it in our new hometown!”
     They both strip down to absolutely nothing and continue their rain dance. At some point, Krysta gets lost in the night again. Here in New York City, on Chris’s rooftop that will soon be her rooftop, the lights of the skyline dance in the rain and the distance, she looks over at her best friend, naked and laughing with her. She suddenly yells into the sky.
     “I fucking love you New York!!! I love you Dobby!!!!”
     “I love you Dobby and you beautiful bitch, New York!!!” 
     “Shut the fuck up, or I’ll call the cops!”
     They had both forgotten about other people in the world. Not only because they’re drunk and drunk people tend to forget about things like common courtesy or consideration of others, but because the rain is so loud they didn’t think people could hear them.
     “Oh come on. Seriously?”
     Krysta can’t believe that someone would ruin such a glorious moment. But this voice in the night isn’t kidding around because they immediately respond.
     “Shut the FUCK. UP!”
     “Fuck you, it’s my 21st Birthday!”
     “Shut the fuck up bitch!!”, a birthday greeting. 
     The two in unison, “You shut the fuck up!!!”
     Silence. Laughter. Back to Dancing. They do decide to be quieter though, just dancing and humming, and laughing, but quietly. Now, there are always cops on this street, every night, everyday. You get used to it. So they definitely don’t think twice when they see police lights flashing. They use them as disco lights, only encouraging the dance. The sirens aren’t on so it can’t be that serious, they forget everything but the rain and the wind. But there’s yelling on the street that brings them back to reality, it’s distant but persistent, they go lay down on the roof’s edge to see down below. They can’t see anything but it sounds like someone’s yelling “Fuck the Police” which makes Krysta picture James Franco running, slow motion in Pineapple Express bellowing those three words at lady-cop Rosie Perez. Krysta laughs out loud and reenacts the moment to the best of her abilities.
     “Fuck the Po-lice!”
     Chris knows exactly what she’s quoting and gives his own performance, “Fuck the Po- lice!!” They crack up.
     Standing, together, “FUCK THE POLICE!!!” 
     FLASHLIGHTS. Boots. Four figures. Four Flashlights.
     “What’d you say?!” 
     “Don’t move!”
     They both drop down, Krysta’s first instinct is scream. She does, loudly, instantly fearing the worst, thinking murders or burglars are walking towards them, not realizing these men are, in fact, the NYPD, and they want to know what the two of them were just yelling.
     “What did you say?” An officer clearly not amused. 
     “Huh, did you just say ‘Fuck the Police’?”
     Apparently they forgot about the classic James Franco scene and therefore do not find the quote so funny. Krysta has never had the natural instinct to ignore her first instincts and think things through before opening her mouth, and so now understanding who’s in front of them, her mouth takes charge.
     “Sexually! We mean sexually we’d fuck the Police.” 
     Well that one throws off all four policemen.
     Chris adds, or more slurs after, “Yes, Officers, we meant we’d sexually.. sex with… the Police.” Making hand gestures in case the cops didn’t fully understand them.
     The cops all start to chuckle and look at each other, “What do we do with this?” 
     “I don’t know, I’ve never had to deal with anything like this.”
     The drunken duo take this as their opportunity to do some sweet talking.
     “Officers, we are so sorry, it’s my 21st Birthday and we just wanted to dance in the rain.” 
     Krysta had begun to stand to demonstrate their thinking but remembers she’s naked and ducks back down with Chris, who takes over.
     “You guys I’m so sorry, we’ll go back inside, and we won’t come out.”
     “Do one of you live here?”
     “Yes, I live here! And she’s moving here. So it’s about to be our apartment.” 
     “Ok let’s go down so we can see your IDs.”
     The four police officers escort the two naked drunks to the blanket, which Chris wraps around himself while Krysta stands there, still nude, giggling with the cops.
     “You see what I have to put up with? Just takes the blanket for himself?”
     Playing along, the cops agree, “Should we arrest him for you?”
     They laugh at, and with, Chris as he realizes he’s left Krysta standing there covering herself with her hands. The two wrap themselves in a Siamese cocoon and giggle down the stairs with four cops trailing behind in disbelief and bewilderment. Their church giggles are at an all time high as they finally get the door open and scramble about to find their IDs. No, first clothes, then IDs, first clothes, then… something, IDs!! 
     They are giggling, hot messes, running around, looking for things they can’t remember. They don’t even notice Princess Tiana, out loud and proud where they left her on the table. There are empty bottles, empty glasses, thongs, bras, everything indecent, everything except their IDs. The cops, having lost all hope in the two of them finding anything, simply chortle at them, they ignore the bong and ripe smell of marijuana, and hand the still barely-covered pair another blanket from amidst the chaos. They just ask for the names of these two drunk idiots they can’t help but find amusing.
     “Christopher Jay.”
     “Krysta Natoshia.”
     “Oh Chris and Krysta.”
     Together, “We get that a lot.”
     “Ok Chris and Krysta, thanks for the entertainment but this is your warning. No more on the roof.”
     “We promise Officers!” 
     “Thank you, bless you guys!”
     They wait a decent amount of time before finding Tiana, cracking up at the fact that the officers definitely got a nice view of her, and toasting to the four cops with the greatest senses of humor ever.
     “I can’t believe we got away with that because you said we’d fuck the Police.” 
     “I didn’t even realize what I said until you started backing me up.”
     “Cheers to them not being assholes!”
     “Amen, thank you Universe for this night!!”
     “It’s not over yet. They said no more roof. They never said anything about the fire escape…”
     Their best Spice Girls’ accent, “What’re we waitin’ for?!”
      The sun is risen, it’s a new day, the first of Krysta’s 21st year, and she and Chris have embraced it as only they can. They look at the sun rays cascading down on their momentarily quiet street. Chris puts on a little music as Krysta lights up a spliff, she passes it off and turns the music up so their dance can continue in full swing. Side by side, arm over shoulder, arm around waist, they dance and let the sun wash over them. It’s warm. Familiar. Daring. They both know what it’s daring them to do.
     People begin to make their morning commute to work, or home, or to their next stop, and some look up to find two naked people holding each other and dancing on a third story fire escape. As they become aware of people becoming aware of them, the two exhibitionists wave to their spectators. The two decide to give them a show, they dance with vigor, shimmying and shaking everything they got.
     “We’re naked! Enjoyyy it!!!”
     “Good luck at work and remember these babies!!” Showcasing both their chests.
     I wave back at them.
     “Ah Dobs, look! He’s waving! Hello!!! Have a beautiful day, we send our blessings to you!”
     “Yes, many blessings to you, Good Human!!!”
     They go back to dancing and I’m back on my way to work. I hit the Nostrand station right at the corner, my go-to dollar pizza place right ahead. Down to the train, I make the A. I can’t stop seeing them. Not because they were naked, I mean yes that was shocking, and pleasant, but not the reason I can’t get them off my mind. I think about them the entire ride to work.
     Get off at West 4th. They triggered something, something deep down. Walk up the steps, head down 6th Ave past W 3rd. I admire their freedom. Somewhat reckless, somewhat indecent, even somewhat childish, but I haven’t felt free for too long. I haven’t felt that free since I was a child. But at what cost does it come to live like that? But, then again, they are living. What am I doing?
     Turn around, back up 6th Ave. Back to West 4th Station, down the stairs. I walk up to the MTA employee behind the glass, looking as miserable as I felt this morning.
     “Hi. Good morning and blessings to you! Is LaGuardia or JFK closer to here?”


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