I met her two years ago. It was the day they released Papi out of jail. Her name was Taylor. She was a Gothic Barbie. She was towheaded and her dark eye-shadow made her look like a panda. Or was it a raccoon? I don't remember. All I know is that she offered me a cigarette. "No, thanks," I said. "What are you in here for?" I asked. She stayed quiet for a while. Rude. "It's not important," she finally said. "I am out of here anyway." Not going to lie; she was attractive. In a desperate moment, I shouted my address. She ignored me.
Three months later, I noticed a girl who moved a couple of houses down from where I live. It was weird. She was wearing a Who T-shirt, ripped jeans, high-knee beige boots, Italian leather jacket, and sunglasses. I swear I know her face, I just don't know who she is. A few things set me off: the long blonde hair, the red lipstick, the raccoon/panda eyes. "Hey, sugar. Recognize me?" It was her.
“Yes, I will go out with you. Under my rules, of course.”
I just went along with it. The mysterious always fascinated me. She gave me her full name: Ridley Taylor Duchannes. She took me to a speakeasy in DUMBO, Brooklyn. She told me she’s from Nashville, Tennessee. I told her my parents are Dominican-Italian. "Exotic." She said. What does that even mean? Am I interesting because she finds me eccentric? I didn't express my conundrums aloud, but I couldn't help but notice that she looked nervous. She played with the streaks in her hair a lot. She spilled her Long Island Ice Tea onto her black pleated skirt and her Joan Jett "I don't give a damn bout my bad reputation" shirt. "Everyone here, freeze!" A police officer shouted. Chaos ensued. Bottles were smashed. There was blood from a single gunshot. My blood. Taylor and I ran to the Brooklyn Bridge.
“Taylor, what's happening?”
“It's a speakeasy! What do you think is happening?”
I must say, there's something about seeing a blonde running desperately with heels that is just hilarious; however, they trapped us from both ends. It was me and the Siren against the world. Or maybe just me. I fell to my knees. Handcuffs clicked around my wrists. I was doomed.
She looked at me with a sense of compassion so brief, that it eventually faded. Pity was what I saw in those blue eyes of hers afterwards.
“Sorry, sugar. It's every man for himself.”
She jumped. Never saw her again. Two years have passed and I am still in New York State Prison. The prison guard shouted my name:
“Yo! Angel. You got a letter.”
“I don’t know. Some Duchannes.”
Taylor. It read like this:
“Dear Angel: I am sorry things went this way. You are a good guy, but I tried to warn you when we first met. You didn’t listen. Perhaps you could call me your Siren. You should know that once you met me, you should’ve have run. You can’t get me out of your head. You are exposed now. Please don’t judge my actions. No one knows what it's like to be the bad man, to be the sad man. Behind blue eyes.
She is right. She still is in my head. I can still hear the Siren’s voice leading me to my demise.
"A Siren's Cry for Help" is based on the Joseph Cornell box pictured here.