I expected to have missed some small bits of drama during my time away from the barbecue joint, but I never expected anything like the story I’m about to relate.
When I walked in yesterday my boss asked me, “Hey! Did you hear about the brick attack?” I had no idea what the fuck he was talking about, so he told me, and along with the eyewitness accounts of those on shift and a few of thee locals I was able to piece together the details.
Last Tuesday night at 11:19 PM, one of our neighbors, a woman named Magnolia, was awakened by a repeating heavy “THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!” near her rear window. When she got up to see what was happening she was shocked to see a guy atop the roof of a building on 20th Street — right around the corner from the barbecue joint — hurling bricks for no apparent reason. Magnolia then called the police who showed up en masse, and the brick hurler quickly directed his attention to them, lobbing brick with an arm that would have made New York Yankee Randy Johnson green with envy; the guy was atop a roof several houses away from the intersection, yet he managed to nail one cop in the foot, bounced bricks off of the foot-cops’ riot shields, and crack a couple of police car windshields.
The barbecue joint’s waitress/goddess, Tracey, had just finished hosting the first of her Tuesday night Battle Hill poetry readings in the restaurant — drop in on the first Tuesday of each month and get some fucking culture, ya douchebag!!! — when she looked outside and saw a gathering of policemen looking up toward a rooftop. Fearless to a fault, Tracey went outside to see what was up, thinking it was the kids who live upstairs chucking wads of wet paper towels onto the sidewalk like they did last summer and noticed a police car with an enormous hole in its windshield. “Fucking great,” she thought, “those kids have graduated to throwing bricks at cop cars and they’re gonna be in a world of fucking MAJOR trouble!”
Ever the chronicler of local goings-on, Tracey whipped out her digital camera and began to snap away, having her husband, Brendan, pose next to the shattered window as though he had punched through it with his fist, at which point they saw a brick go flying toward the gendarmes.
The thrower was now clearly visible and heaping invective upon his victims. “Nobody protected my girlfriend!” he yelled as he retreated to the roof of the under-construction condo to replenish his supply of ammunition. Meanwhile, Tracey, Brendan and a few of the regulars gathered across the street in front of the convenience store for a ringside seat, utterly unworried about being pegged with a projectile because the thrower was specifically targeting thee cops.
By this time it was obvious that the guy was either out of his mind or on drugs, or maybe even both, so the confrontation escalated to include a searchlight-equipped helicopter and a fully geared-up SWAT team, complete with snipers. As he continued to chuck cement blocks from the rooftop battlements, the SWAT professionals drew a laser-targeted bead on his chest, only to be interrupted by the thrower’s mother who positioned herself between her son and the automatic weapons. “Don’t shoot! He is confused!” screamed his mother in a heavy Brooklyn/Hispanic accent, a diversion that allowed the masonry-flinger to withdraw the ladder he had used to access the roof, and he fled to another building, all under the fascinated scrutiny of Tracey and Brendan, who had themselves climbed onto another rooftop for an unobstructed view.
The fleeing masonry pitcher then used a shovel to break into another building in a bid to escape, but the cops had figured out where he would exit so the apprehended him and tasered the shit out of him.
The next day my boss came in and was surprised to see the remnants of the yellow “crime scene” tape across the barbecue joint’s front door. Upon getting all the details he went outside and retrieved one of the thrown bricks as a restaurant keepsake, an item that now sits on our shelf of oddball tchochkes — a bottle of Laotian snake whiskey with an actual King Cobra in it, a “barbecue Barbie” who looks like a twelve-inch trailer park chippie, a ceramic blackface Minnie mouse, and other hideous excellence — complete with the following day’s news story on the incident from the New York Post.