J. Urban stepped outside and was greeted by a slight breeze, probably pulling off the Hudson, wrapping itself through the vast corridor streets and finally rolling into his face.  Urban, genuinely excited by the day, looked down at his Rolex Submariner watch.  He had just bought it yesterday at an understated yet incredibly expensive uptown boutique. Of course, Urban dreaded going uptown or anywhere above 14th Street.  He was of downtown ilk, but realized, sometimes one had move outside one’s comfort zone.

Urban fumbled in his pocket for tobacco. Last evening’s carnivore fest begged him to smoke. He felt heavy, his hand hit a clutter of solid objects (a black crocodile Hermes key ring and loose change) as he jockeyed two fingers around his pouch.  The pocket contained leftover white remnants of a napkin, (probably a number of a girl whom he had brushed away at the most recent trendy meatpacking situation), some shrouded tobacco and a book of half-crushed matches from a late night snack at Pastis (where did not eat but instead drank a French martini).

Agitated by the effort it took to find his tobacco, Urban brushed the dirty remains off of his fingers.  The leftover crumbs of his pocket soon became another part of the grey city street.  He reached into his back left pocket and found nothing.  Now, his agitation mounted into frustration as his right pocket (finally!) revealed his Lion of Judah hempen rolling papers.  Urban meticulously shredded the right amount of tobacco into his paper, rolled up his cigarette, and put it in his mouth.  He mimicked the actions of Jean-Paul Belmondo from Breathless (even though Belmondo had undoubtedly mimicked James Dean).  Pop culture was undoubtedly derivative.  Urban deemed himself a derivation of a plethora of old school New Yorkers whom he paid a deep homage throughout his boyhood.

Urban reached into his front pocket, grabbing the Pastis matches.  He looked into the box and saw a single match.


As he lit, an unruly wind picked up and the torch flickered away, leaving the tip of his smoked singed and browned.

Fuck me, Urban muttered under his raspy, smoke infested voice.

Urban confused and now extremely annoyed, pulled his sleek, of-the-season Prada satchel (not to be confused with some cheap old school intimation from Canal Street) over his shoulder and fumbled around for a lighter.  As he looked deeply into his bag, he felt the slight vibration of his mobile (he never called it a cell phone because he had spent plenty of time in London over the years where they referred to their phones as mo-biles).  Brushing his journal and boxy Sigma camera, Urban pulled out his mobile.

-Yes…is Mr. Jurban there please, an inarticulate, pedestrian voice shouted.

-Um, no.  But this is J. Urban. Could I be of any assistance?

-Actually I’m looking or a Mr. Jurban, he was my cab driver yesterday and I left my wallet in his car.

Urban flipped his mobile shut, threw it back into his male bag and pulled out another book of matches. Good luck recovering your wallet, he thought.  Probably some Midwesterner, visiting the city, unable to work the subway system, had to take cabs everywhere.

How not cool.

Lighting the cigarette (finally!), Urban took a deep drag and exhaled slowly through his mouth and nose.

The city was sunny today and the shadows and angles of the buildings popped prominently.  A swift breeze picked up forcing Urban to grab his scarf (it was Armani or wait, did he pick it up at that small Chelsea thrift store?)  Who could recall?   Walking down the street, Urban realized he did not know where was going or what he going to do today.  That was frequently his city protocol and he reliably went along the principal of what happens, well, happens. Shit is shit.  You stumble and fall into things in a city like New York.  It is what made the city pulse.

In his twenty-eighth year, Urban continued his effortlessly cool run in New York City.   As he often gave thought to the events that shaped his days, he pondered the night before.  It almost always started typically enough.  In the mid-afternoon, after a late breakfast of café con leche and chorizo molettes (with fresh bread from Parisi bakery on Mott Street); Urban immersed himself in a busy day of writing.

While New York employed many writers, in fact everyone is a writer, Urban truly saw him as the writer (even though he had never been published). The problem with Urban’s work was he did not feel anyone was accomplished enough or capable of handling it.

Publications were any entirely different matter altogether. The New Yorker was far too popular, read not only by downtown literati wannabes (which Urban was not) but also by savvy investment bankers and lawyers who had majored in English and History.  He detested the idea of his work being seen in Harper’sThe New Republic was too scholarly for his taste.  Thus, Urban kept his small works to himself, on top of a cardboard box in his room.

No one had ever read his work.

© 2010 by Kate Donnelly