I’m in Greenpoint, the Detroit of Brooklyn, making my way home passing a furniture store. It’s not one that would normally catch my eye, since it looks like what my friend Camille would call, Early Bunker, but then something does catch my eye, two to be exact.
The biggest, brownest bedroom pair on four legs right in the heart of Brooklyn.
A pit the size of a Humvee is seated on a sofa like King Tut.
I have to go in.
“Are you the owner,” I purr, praying he doesn’t bite my leg thinking I’m a furniture felon.
This has nothing to do with his pit-hood. If he was a Yorkie the size of a squeegie, I’d still be cautious before holding out the palm of my hand, in a gesture of goodwill.
He hops off the couch, the perfect host, to sniff me from stem to stern. In other words, hand to crotch, before nuzzling me like a sexy sailor.
“Excuse me,” I say grinning, “but have we properly met?”
Just then a 40ish looking, large male pops out of an office and says, “Joey, rememba’ ya mannas’…youes’ a genelman’.”
I’m so charmed, I suddenly find myself seated on a futon in the shape of a grapefruit.
Only in Brooklyn.
Joey was rescued by Harry when he was about 8 months old, now 3. He was freezing in the cold by the corner subway stop when Harry was coming to work.
After giving him half of his egg and cheese sandwich, that was it, Joey became Harry’s.
“Why did you name him Joey?”
Joey Gallo was a friend’a my fatha’s, also kinda’ brave and dumb at da’ same time, with loads’a choom’ too so, hey, it’s a good’a name as any.”
Joey Gallo was a gangster who got gunned down in 1972, on his 43rd birthday in Little Italy, his face last seen in a plate of scungilli.
After regaining myself, kissing Joey on the head ready to leave, Harry says, “Ya know, everybady’s’ afraid’a him, and youes’, such a lady ( I have on ripped jeans and a hoodie with Jackie glasses that make me look like a large bee) just comes struttin’ in here. Can wes’ give ya a hug?”
Now before I can say yes or no, he throws his Popeye arms around me, hugging me so tight, I may have dropped a dress size, while Joey wraps himself around my legs.
Think ménage a’ trois’ with a sectional plus a tail.
And despite what it may sound like, it’s not a flirty hug at all, just an old-fashioned show of innocent affection I can’t help basking in.
When I’m at the corner about to go down the stairs to get the train, I turn to find Harry and Joey waving, making me wonder, just how that grapefruit might look in my living room.