He’s standing in front of my house when I step out onto the stoop. He’s looking back and forth from the basement apartment of my building to the one next door. He’s maybe 45, in jeans and an FDNY bomber jacket, salt and pepper hair. He’s too clean for this neighborhood, somehow. I can’t put my finger on it, maybe his jeans have been ironed. He looks up at me, sheepish, and explains, “I’m looking for my sister’s place. She just moved here with her husband. Latina girl? I can’t remember which one is her house.”
“Well,” I say, pointing to my building. “It’s not this one.”
“Great,” he says and stands in front of the neighbor’s with his hands on his hips. He’s not ready for the door yet. He paces a little as I walk toward the subway, and then gathers himself and walks through the iron gate. I hear it scraping on the sidewalk.
For no good or specific reason at all, as I turn the corner, I think: that man is an axe murderer.