THE KID MOVES HOUSE
Boxes on boxes, duct tape, and frayed baggage -the Kid readies to move, again. He fills a suitcase with clothing, a duffel bag with cd’s, and a cardboard box with his turntables. He douses the lot with foam packing peanuts. Kid never got a case for his two turntables, or his microphone, and so he arranges them neatly, softly, and then cushions the box with t-shirts and socks. The Kid is moving for the fifth time in a year and change.
He has moved so much in his life the process is a walk in a park, albeit a cardboard box and suitcase lined park. From childhood family moves after the events of 9/11 to sleepaway camps and boarding schools, the Kid has gotten down an order of operations that he holds to: - Collect all items in immediate vicinity. - Sweep said items into bag/box-like receptacles. - Jam lids closed and tug zippers tight. - Await car/van/truck with rolling suitcases at the ready.
The Kid’s last few moves were a bit more haphazard - sneakers falling out his bag on Canal street, couches in Tribeca, and running away from both his father and his mother’s house in the same night. This all feels like miles and minutes away as the Kid scrambles to ship off from his current stint in Brooklyn, back to the home isle of Manhattan, and to a ground floor one bedroom on St. Mark’s Place, East 8th street. The Kid is ready, in his heart, to get to anywhere that might resonate home a bit more strongly. Knocks at the door break the silence of the living room. “Mighty Movers!” Muffled shout from the other side.
“One sec!” Kid stubs out a cigarette into glass ashtray atop an unzipped suitcase. He crosses to the door. “Hey guys - perfect timing.” Two heavy dudes stand in doorway - leaner guy with a mullet offers his hand first - “Fred” - then the other, chiseled and stubbled - “Dirk”. “Fred and Dirk?” A beat. “Cool, come on in.” They amble in and hand the Kid some papers to sign as they look around the living room. It is a box with no windows, a kitchenette on one wall and a torn array of posters on the other. Kid’s bags and boxes are strewn out everywhere between. “Yeah, pretty much everything is out here, and, uh, ready to go… and I got the bed and frame in the other room…” Kid nods them in to the bedroom. Bedroom is a smaller box, but with windows this time - two! One has bars on it and the other is frosted, gentle street light shines through from the Brooklyn evening.
The Kid’s bed is against these windowed walls, as close to the light as can be. Between the bed and another wall is a glass desk, with a laptop and some rolling papers on it. Kid goes to grab both. “Oh yeah - probably need to break down this desk too. I’m not sure, the glass comes off.” Kid pulls up the glass panel. “Right, we can wrap that up in a blanket, no problem.” “Do you have a moving bag for that mattress?” “Is all this other stuff going too?” Kid turns to moving dudes with laptop and papers in hand. “Uh, yeah, it’s all going.” Fred and Dirk turn to each other. Fred rubs his hands. “I’ll start carrying stuff out.” Dirk turns. “I’ll ready the truck.” Kid shrugs and goes to stuff a torn backpack with the last it can handle. He carries it out after Dirk to the moving truck waiting out front - steely silver in the street/moonlight. “So you can sit up front with us Kid, because the back’s completely full.” Dirk and Fred climb into the truck, as the Kid shuts the gate to his old home. He goes around to the front of the car, and scales a step or two. He comes to eye level with mover dudes, who seem replete in their truck, Dirk at the wheel, Fred in the middle. Almost saintly. “Hop in Kid.”
Kid clambers in beside Fred and shuts the door behind him. The front seat is roomy, actually, and the Kid sets his frayed backpack down comfortably. He turns to look back - the old Russian landlord stands outside the Kid’s now-previous spot, jingling door keys by the gate. A young blonde Girl is nervously nearing with suitcases in hand. The Kid showed her in for a viewing once before. The Girl is from California. She is working her first job here in New York, at MTV. She seemed scared and excited. The Kid wishes her well and waves as the weight of the truck rolls forward, lurches, then departs. “Well, that wasn’t so bad,” Kid says as he cranes his neck to look back - all his furniture in tow, old home shrinking in the rearview. “Yeah we’ve had much, much worse.” “Much worse.” “Families of eight.” “Elderly couples with birds.” “Dog and cat movings.” “Fish tanks, entire aquariums.” “Right, aquariums, terrariums, geraniums.” “Five foot cactuses.” “It’s cacti, bro.”
“Oh, right.” Dirk drives with a steady hand atop the wheel, the other on his chin stubble, fixated on the road. Fred sits comfortable, rolling up a cigarette from a tobacco pouch between his legs. “Oh, can I roll one too, if you’ve got enough?” Fred looks up. “Oh, yeah, definitely man, go for it.” He hands the Kid the pouch. “There’s papers and filters in there and everything.” “Awesome, thanks.” “No worries, I’ll just add it to the bill.” The Kid looks up. Fred pauses before licking his roll-up. “I’m kidding, Kid.” He licks up the top and stamps it down, then wipes down his new cigarette. “Right.” Kid grins as he begins to dig into the tobacco pouch. “I was wondering about that actually - how much will this run me?” “Good question.” “Not sure, really.” “No clue.” The Kid looks up at the pair again. They glance back. “Jokes man.” “Yeah, how much did Mighty Movers quote you?” “I’m sure we’ve got it on paper in the back there.”
The Kid slides a filter into his tobacco filled paper. “Right, well, yeah I just need to hit an ATM once we get into Manhattan.” Fred taps out his cigarette on the dashboard, small specks of loose tobacco shake out. “Sure, no problem. Dirk takes two hands to the wheel as he turns on to the Williamsburg bridge. “Here we go boys.” “Bye Brooklyn.” “You care if I smoke?” “Not at all man.” Fred takes out a white lighter, clicks it once, twice, and sparks his rollie. He hands it to the Kid, just as the Kid flips up his own to finish. He holds it up to the light - a perfect cylinder. Dirk rolls down the windows as the Kid lights up. “Get some air in here.” The wind rushes in all at once and the Kid has to hold his cig down so as not to be wearing it. The bridge slopes up and up and the borough of Brooklyn peels out from underneath them - sand lots and sugar factories splayed out there beside the river. Manhattan comes to view as the Kid takes a drag, and he exhales into the night breeze flying by. There is a moment of silence as the three sit atop the bridge that is something like transcendence, briefly. The Kid coughs. “So you’re moving up, huh Kid?” “To the big city.” “Old Mannahata.” “The island.”
Kid looks at the movers with reddish eyes. “Uh, yeah, I’m moving back, actually. Back to Manhattan.” “Oh, ok.” “Back, I see.” “Well, you’re almost home then Kid.” “Yep, almost there.”
Fred stamps his butt into the cigarette lighter under the dash as they pull into the end-of-the-bridge/beginning-of-Manhattan traffic. Fred tosses the butt out the window, past Dirk’s face. “Watch out dude.” “Shaq at the free-throw over here.” The Kid laughs as they slowly slope down into Manhattan, and he does feel more at home the moment they touch pavement off the bridge. It’s just a stone’s throw further to St. Mark’s. The Kid feels his chest light up. “Shall I test my free-throw skills past you too Dirk?” Kid holds the butt, aiming. “Uh, huh..” “Do it Kid.” Kid aims, pulls back, and darts it. It flies past Dirk’s nose and through the open window. “Huh wha?” “Nice Kid.” Fred holds up for a high five. Kid meets it. “We’re almost there.” Dirk turns east onto St. Mark’s.
Neon signs and masses of people greet the three atop the truck. Faces and places on every corner - the Kid is alight with the energy. Everything blurs into one as the truck continues on down to second avenue, rolls to a stop. “So it’s between second and first, right Kid?” “Right, oh look there’s an ATM right there, out that shop - maybe I’ll grab the cash and meet you guys down the block?” “Cool, we’ll find a spot for the truck.” Kid grabs his backpack and hops out the truck as the light is turning green. He shuts the door behind him and runs over to the ATM outside of a deli. He thumbs his card in and takes out all the money he has left in his account - three hundred dollars. Kid runs back over, down the block, and meets up with the truck right outside of his new home building - 52 St. Mark’s Place. He looks it up and down, then turns to the truck. Fred and Dirk are already out and unloading the Kid’s life. “Right, oh, let me get the door.” The Kid walks over with Fred behind him - carrying one of the turntable boxes. The Kid slides key into front door, and pushes it wide open.
“Ah yeah, careful with that one, it’s delicate.” “No problem man, which door are you?” “All the way at the end of the hall there.” Fred streams in to place the box at the end, then comes back as Dirk files in with the other turntable. Kid stays holding the door. “Oh, yeah, careful - “ “We gotcha.” “No worries.” The Kid breathes. “Right, thanks, at least it’s the first floor, right guys.” The movers laugh and keep going, a steady stream until everything is either inside the Kid’s new studio apartment, or right at the door, and when it’s all piled up in the entryway and it’s late, the Kid is tired by now, they say they’re all done, that wasn’t so bad was it, and go to get the forms and check out of the truck. The Kid circles back outside with them, onto the street, the sounds of St. Mark’s still buzzing, lights flashing in the distance, and the Kid stands below the truck door waiting as Fred reaches under the dash. Fred seems so high up, to the Kid - his leg dangling down, a monkey in a tree. The Kid feels a great compassion for the dude that he wasn’t expecting. “Here’s the damage Kid.” “Gotta just sign a few things too.” Dirk hands over some more papers to Fred, and Fred hands the lot down to the Kid. Kid looks over pricing. The total comes to $290. “Oh, was it 290? I didn’t remember the quote.” “Yeah it just came up a bit with some of the extra packaging needed.” “And the mattress cover.” “Oh, right.” The Kid looks down as he fishes into his pocket. “Man, guys, I’m really sorry, but I’ve got 300. I took everything I had out of my account right now.” Fred reaches down to grab the cash. “Oh, ok.” He looks down at the bills and begins to count. “Man, ok.” “I’m really sorry.” The Kid looks up with the papers in his hand. “No, it’s no problem, really.” “Yeah, it wasn’t a bad job.” The Kid stands. Fred flips the bills into a rubber band and puts it in the dash. “It’s all good Kid, really.” Kid exhales. “Cool, right, thank you guys, really.” He hands the papers up to Fred. Dirk looks over. “You still need to sign those. Just to say we didn’t break any shit or whatever.”
“Oh right.” Kid takes papers. “Um, you got a pen?” Fred looks. “Shit, do we?” “Yeah good question.” Moment of scrambling. Dirk pulls one out. Hands it over to the Kid. Kid signs. “Thanks again guys, really.” He hands the papers back to Fred and Fred pulls his leg up and into the truck. “No problem Kid.” “Yeah, have fun out here.” “Let us know when you need another move.” “Yeah, thanks for using Mighty Movers!” Fred swings the door shut, and Dirk starts up the engine. Kid steps back up onto the curb, looking up. From through the window he sees Fred pull a rollie out from his ear and light it up as Dirk begins pulling out. Dirk coughs and rolls down the window, waving his hand, fanning. Fred looks down and sees the Kid. With his cig hand he takes a cool drag, steady eyes, neutral face. With his free hand he gives a small salute. The Kid waves back. The truck drives off. Kid turns to 52 St. Mark’s Place and walks down the stairs to the front door. He pushes through, and on down the hall to his new home. He steps over a few bags piled against the door and keys in. As he pushes a few bags topple over inside and clatter to the floor. The Kid steps in and over more bags and boxes, little bits falling here and there, until he can stand on free ground. In the center of the room he looks up. High ceilings, not bad, he thinks. He walks forward, and to a back door by the room’s sole window. There are two doors to this doorway - one industrial, with locks and bolts, and another wooden, with glass panes, put there by the previous tenant.
The Kid opens both, and is greeted by a small garden. It is mostly concrete, with a glass table in the center, and some plants lining the walls. Kid steps inward. There is another door on the opposite end - Kid shares this garden, with a neighbor’s whose lights are off and has long been asleep. The Kid will soon meet her out here in this quiet space, on a bright day. Now, though, the Kid sits at the table and looks up. He can see trees, fire escapes, brick walls, drainpipes, graffiti, vines, and leaves. He can see the sky, dark and whole and filled with night. He can see a star, or two. He can see a home within - in the moment - and his breath lengthens as his stomach loosens and his eyelids flutter, only the sound of faint traffic off Second Avenue whispering from afar like ocean tides.