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The Kid with the Silver Gun

Illustration by Tim Milk

Some time last year, I was in line at a smoke-stand to play lotto when the man ahead of me suddenly turned from the cashier and said: “Hey, do you remember me?”

I looked him up and down. A typical neighborhood guy, a deli and bodega guy, about sixty or so. “He doesn’t remember,” he laughed to his friend behind the counter. “Well, I remember you! A long time ago you used to buy cigarettes from me. On 14th Street! Remember?”

I squinted. I drew a blank. “You don’t remember? I can’t believe it. Surely you remember that day!”

That day?

“Not even that one day? Oh my goodness! That day! You were held up that day. Right there in my store! By the kid with the silver gun!”

It all came rushing back to me: a spring day, 1981. This guy had just sold me a pack of Camels when an audacious young voice arose from my side: “Hey mister, you got any money?”

I looked down to see this boy, not quite thirteen years old, with a face so angelic it belonged on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. “Well, not today,” I told him, “Sorry.”

The boy smirked. “No problem. I got money. Wanna see?” He then pulled from his pocket a whopping stack of fifties. He fanned them in my face so I could glory in his wealth. I had heard that drug dealers were making mules out of kids, but not until now did I make the connection.

“Wanna know how I got it?” he asked. Read more…

Speaking Out On Gun Violence

After two neighborhood shooting incidents this week, and amid the nationwide gun control debates provoked by the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, The Local sought out the reactions and opinions of East Villagers.

NYU Journalism’s Meredith Hoffman reports.