I live in Astoria.  And there are reasons why I live in Astoria.  1.  The cheap rent.  2.  The quiet streets and relative lack of pigeons. 3.  The beer gardens.  Reasons 1 and 2 are easily outweighed by reason number 3.  I would live in a $3,000/month, 5 floor walk-up if it was within walking distance of an outdoor space in New York City where you could drink beer and smoke at the same time.   Anyway, my point is that it is generally very quiet where I live.  Not too much fuss.  Every now and then, a new internet cafe or manicure shop will pop up, but it will undoubtedly close again a couple of weeks later.

Today, the most gorgeous Spring day New York has seen this year, I was on my way home from the gym (That has no relevance to the story whatsoever – that I was on my way home from the gym, but I was.  I worked out today.  About 45 minutes cardio and then some weights.) when I spotted Isahuuc (eee-sah-hewk), my super.  He was standing outside of our apartment building looking like he was looking for someone.

A few words about Isahuuc.  I’m not sure where he is from but I do know the only language he speaks is Spanish.  He knows three phrases in English “Maybe tomorrow” and “Eet’s not working.” and “Hi.  How you?” That’s it.  That….is….it.  I know the man has been in the country for at least 7 years because that’s how long I’ve lived in my building.  His rebellion to learn the language annoys me, especially when I’m trying to schedule a repair for next Tuesday and it undoubtedly gets rescheduled for “maybe tomorrow.” But at this point, you gotta give the guy props for avoiding all conversations, media, and any written word for this long.

Anyway I was on my way home (from the gym…I also did some crunches) and Isahuuc was outside looking for someone but he was not alone.  There was a curvy, middle-aged black woman standing near him.  She was decked out in a skin-tight mini-skirt, 4 inch heels and about 8 pounds of gold jewelry.  I have never seen her before, and wasn’t sure if she was a friend of Isahuuc’s or not because they weren’t talking to each other – just sort of standing in the same vicinity.  And Isahuuc was obviously looking for someone else.  I walked past them into the building and said hi to him.  “Hi.  How you?” he replied.

I live on the first floor in a rear apartment.  My bedroom window looks out on a small back alley.  I was sitting on my bed about 4 minutes later, dabbling around on my computer when I saw Isahuuc, the curvy mini-skirt, and another hispanic dude I had never seen before enter the back alley.  They proceeded to go down into the basement through the alley entrance.  Now, I must admit, it did cross my mind that this woman could be a hooker.  But it seemed improbable, only because, she looked so much like a fucking hooker!!  It was too cliche to be true.  And we were in Queens!  We were in my building!!  We weren’t in Times Square circa 1976.  No, this woman could definitely DEFINITELY not NOT be a hooker.

A shockingly short time later, I heard shouting in the basement.  I never knew you could hear so clearly what happened in my basement…partly because a hooker had never gotten stiffed in my basement while I was home.

“NO!  You don’t disrespect me and I won’t disrespect you, you understand what I’m saying to you??  I came here!  I did my business!  I need to be paid!  Don’t you think I don’t have people that will come here and take care of this? “

Now, at this point, I lost a bit of respect for Isahuuc.  I can understand getting together with an old friend to get blow jobs from a hooker in a basement.  But really Isahuuc?  Are you not going to pay the woman?  Then I heard this…

“You’re little friend there ran off and he got his, so I need to get paid.  You the only one here, so I’m lookin’ at you Pedro.  I don’t care that you didn’t get none.  I don’t know what we gonna do, but we stayin’ here till this works itself out, do you understand what I’m sayin’?”

I, of course, knew he didn’t understand what she was saying.  I felt sorry for Isahuuc now.  He wasn’t an ass hole.  He was just a very, very good friend.  And his friend and just left him with a bill for a prostitute fresh out of a Gary Marshall film.  I knew what I was going to hear next.  And I braced myself.

“Maybe tomorrow.” Fuck.

MAYBE TOMORROW?!?” she screamed “OH NO PEDRO, I DON’T THINK WE UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER!  YOU THINK I DO THIS SHIT FOR THE FUN OF IT YOU LITTLE, BALD MOTHER FUCKER!?  I WILL GET PAID, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.  TODAY! NOW!!”

I’m not kidding here, I actually reached for my wallet.  (It was right there on my dresser cause my gym card was in it.) If this really was as cliched of a situation as I assumed it was, it couldn’t be more than $50.  And I knew Isahuuc didn’t know what she was saying.  I was headed out my front door when I heard “THANK YOU!  That wasn’t so hard was it, Pedro.” I assume out of pure fear, he just threw as much cash as he had at her and hoped she would stop screaming at him in English.  I sprinted, sprinted to my back window and saw what I knew what I would see.  Big, curvy, hooker lady strutting up the basement steps in her 4-inch heels looking satisfied with herself.  Everybody wins.

It’s very unusual to have such a stereotypical New York experience in an often bland outer borough.  Here’s a tip of the hat to Queens.  We might not have the swinging night life of the East Village, the park access of the Upper West Side, or the originality of DUMBO.  But, we evidently house the last living high-heel wearing, pimp-having, fake-gold-donning hooker left in New York.  And she was here.  In my basement.

So anyway, that’s what happened to me today…after my workout.