I’m From Bohemia, NY.

by Ray Parisi

Satellite overhead image of New York State from Google Earth 2022

Ben and I jumped into the back seat of a taxi feeling the affects of the night’s drinking.  I blurted out our final destination to the driver and a drunken make-out session unfolded on the pleather.  I’m sure the cabbie had seen a lot worse in his back seat before us, but mid-kiss I could feel a piercing stare. When I opened my eyes I noticed my sense was exactly right.  Ben’s tongue still in my mouth, my glance forward revealed dark eyes fixed upon us and framed perfectly in the rear-view mirror.  The icy stare belonged to a 40-something, bearded middle-eastern man, the license posted on the plexi-glass divider revealed his name: “K. Hussein.”

Hussein’s intense focus was enough to abruptly kill my playful mood.  He finally shifted his eyes back to the traffic, and in hushed whispers, I alerted Ben to our disapproving audience.  I was sure K. Hussein would be happy to see us sentenced to a public stoning for our sexual transgressions.

But the same alcohol that induced that grim little thought helped wash it away as quickly as it had come.  Soon enough Ben and I were locked in another passionate kiss.  And in seconds it was back, this time we both felt it.  The piercing stare sucked the sexual energy out of the cab and left behind an air thick with uneasiness.

But relief is on the way, around one more corner and we’re home, where we’ll literally shut the door on Hussein’s judgmental glare.  He abruptly jerked the cab to the curbside in front of our building and quickly flipped off his meter, his dark eyes and stern stare once again perfectly framed in the rear-view mirror and unforgivingly fixed on us.  We fumbled for cash to bring the odd ride to an end when Hussein abruptly broke his stare in the reflection and turned his eyes directly on us through the cut-out in the plexi-glass divider.  Seconds felt like minutes, and through thick black facial hair his lips parted, he spoke in a strong accent,  “I like your porno.”

We couldn’t believe our ears. Dumbfounded and speechless, we watched the stern stare vanish from his face,  “I like your porno, I can come up with you in your building for more of this porno…together?”

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