William H. Johnson, "Street Life, Harlem" (c. 1939-40)
William H. Johnson, Street Life, Harlem (c. 1939-40)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

Crowded streetcorner, New York City, Fall. Peach-colored woman with permed blonde hair holds the hand of a fidgeting tall boy, who, although smiling, may or may not be happy. Car horns, shouts, diesel exhaust; there are so many people that it's like swimming in a school of minnows.

"Motherfucker!" Deep-voiced expletive from ahead to the left. It's a security guard, who emerges from a huge Save-Rite drugstore, gun in hand, a few seconds behind a wiry, running man in a t-shirt. "I'll shoot you!"

Wiry man believes it. Wide-eyed, he weaves and ducks through the crowd, keeping strangers between himself and the weapon. For a moment those strangers are the peach-colored woman and the tall boy, who stops smiling, but does not stop fidgeting. Shouting and cursing, for a brief second the gun levels right between his eyes, just long enough to make him think about the randomness of extinction in a world of sudden violence. Wiry man ducks behind parked cars, runs between moving taxicabs, and is lost in the sea of shimmering minnows.

Police and thieves in the street
frighten the nation with their
guns and ammunition...

Just another mad, mad day on the road.