“I know we agreed it was a bad idea, but guess what?”
Without giving me a chance to respond, Kyle answers her own question. “I bought a TV. Lina’s roommate is moving to Bushwick and selling it. I got a great deal! I couldn’t not buy it!”
It’s as if she thinks I’d make her take it back. But I’m in the midst of research for a swashbuckling period screenplay. I’ve lost patience with the insect-sized cast of Lawrence of Arabia marching across a desert rendered five inches tall by my laptop’s screen. I want a big TV.
Within minutes we’re online looking for a way to get the thing home from Lina’s apartment over on Bergen Street. It’s one of the last summer weekends, and there is only one rental car nearby: A BMW.
Kyle and I throw on flip flops and run out into the heat. Her hair is in a ponytail. I’m not wearing a bra. We are renting a sports car to transport a used television three blocks to our derelict walk-up apartment in the hood.
The deal is that Kyle gets to drive to Lina’s, while I get to drive home. We roll down the windows, pop the sun roof, and blare the radio. The Muppets’ rendition of “Mah Na Mah Na” is on. We’re okay with that. Two corner bodegas, a dollar store, and Adjua’s African Braiding Salon stream by – and then we’re there.
Kyle parks our sweet ride opposite a basketball court and we dash across Bergen Street. I press the buzzer. “Hey, Lina, we’re here! I have cash,” Kyle hollers over the intercom. Lina buzzes us in and we fly up the stairs of her tenement building. It’s as if slowing down might cause us to change our minds.
Just as quickly we’re back outside with our new behemoth. Teenagers loitering on the basketball court stare at the three white girls – one of whom is not wearing shoes – trying despite sweaty palms to wedge a forty-six inch television into the back seat of a Beemer.
The door clicks shut. I look to Kyle expectantly: this will be my first time operating such an illustrious vehicle. As she digs for the keys in her mirrored Rajasthani handbag, Lina touches the back pocket of her cutoffs. She looks up at both of us.
“I left my keys upstairs.”
We eat tacos on the stoop, waiting for Lina’s friend Omar to come over with a spare set. Neighbors spin Jamaican ska records, and the beat wafts down the block with the smells of their barbecue. The kids on the basketball court alternate staring at the car, then us, then back to the car. We stare back, pretending this is just another Brooklyn afternoon.