The Rat King

11 Thirty-five-year-old Julie Festinger was running with her dog on the border of gentrified Williamsburg. She turned a corner and a feral cat hissed at them from a brick retaining wall. The animal’s fur was sparse — more than three-fourths of it had fallen out — and its eyes were frosted. Her dog barked and the cat rose on shaking legs as if it were going to pounce. Julie … Continue reading The Rat King

We didn’t catch a break

8 We didn’t catch a break. That night, poor blighted “Alvin” hit the local news — anonymous tip, I was told — and the following morning, the entire investigation changed. Ollie was pulled into a phone conference with senior management ahead of a phone conference with the mayor’s office ahead of a press conference later that afternoon. Everyone else poked at their work the way Marigold pokes at food … Continue reading We didn’t catch a break

The police had taped off one side of the street

3 The police had taped off one side of the street. A patrolman directed a white delivery van around, and it slowed as I passed. Someone had hand-painted an irregular box on the asphalt in front of the grocer, twice as long as the van, with three-foot letters that looked like they were drawn in crayon. NO PArKInG. Red paper lanterns hung over the road … Continue reading The police had taped off one side of the street