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where the elms atEmptying. Airmail: the garbage parts flutter and glide and plummet, thrown out in a sweet, athletic arc. They drop through morning sunlight into shade. The bag pulls its ripcord: disintegrates. Cans’ flat bottoms wink sun back, flash-flash, end over end: C and C Cola, Cerveza Rheingold, Raid (do not incinerate), CafĂ© Bustelo and Spam. One 25-watt bulb that sizzles like a small maraca. Eggshells, crusts, fat-absorbent Bounty towels: all orts of breakfast. Bill-less, an old Mets cap brakes its fall, the vacant cranium taking in air. Garbage hits the historic roof below, bonging off the original hand-hewn shingles, circa 1640. Things round roll, faking yawn noises with their hollowness, down/into an aluminum gutter, circa 1976. Con Ed bills, second-language homework, sheets of La Prensa descend in pendulum jerks, tick-tock, tick-tock. Then, persuaded by a breeze, they flock southeast, away from the roof of Van Lynxx Manor, over the rose garden, over the cemetery, over the thickset, grouchy chapel, over the disheveled orchard, toward Hollis and Forest Hills. Tap-tap: garbage can edge on twelfth-floor balcony rail. An afterthought of brown apple gets pitched from the low-rent altitude, fine arm action and follow-through, hooking leftward, sharp slider. It hits the ancient chimney, bounces, bursts to mouthfuls, which bounce, burst, and are gone.

Beadel Debevoise asserts: The preceding is the first paragraph of D. Keith Mano’s Take Five, first published in 1982. Quite likely the greatest Queens novel ever written (by far, in fact) it ranks highly on the all-city scale too. Without dogging a jillion know-little jokers, let’s say Take Five should be read by all with an interest in, say, Don Delillo’s Underworld (1997) & Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude (2003), as well as Meredith Brosnan’s more riotous Mr. Dynamite (2004), not forgetting many books by Brooklyn’s Gilbert Sorrentino & at least three by Wallace Markfield. (Can I add Thomas Pynchon’s V., from 1963?)

BZA asks: What might we be doing in Elmhurst? New York’s boldest blogger knows!

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