Who Made New York?
(Flash Fiction)

Altenir Silva

NEW YORK CITY, 2019. The great meeting happened in the mind of John Brawl when he got out of Penn Station. Near the exit he saw four men looking around. They were Joe Papp, Arthur Gelb, Brooks Atkinson and Bob Fosse. They were talking about art, culture, theatre, and how New York became another place for them.

Then, John Brawl approaches them, but keeps quiet, just listening to what they are saying.

JOE Papp: “I understand all this shit, but I don’t get to sense it."

BOB Fosse: “Man, our city has been lost in our minds.”

ARTHUR Gelb: “I’ll never cry for all that.”

BROOKS Atkinson: “The city hasn’t any guilt.”

JOE Papp: “It doesn’t matter if something has guilt or not. I think that the whole city has been trapped in a kind of arrived-won-and-left."

ARTHUR Gelb: “I wonder if somebody who loves this city could get ever away from here."

BOB Fosse: “You’re right! It makes sense. Who’s leaving the city after feeling the smell of success? Just an idiot would make that shit.”

BROOKS Atkinson: “You all are being very emotional!”

JOE Papp: “Of course, this is our work.”

BROOKS Atkinson: “I'm a journalist. My reason is more important than my emotion.”

JOE Papp: "No way! You write about art, life, New York, and it’s too emotional. Mostly the reason for art is to get the right feeling. It's a heart thing and not a mind thing.”

BROOKS Atkinson: “Now, I’ll explain my point to you .”

BOB Fosse: “No, no, no. Let’s do something else."

ARTHUR Gelb: “We should end this conversation.”

JOE Papp: “What we should do next?”

ARTHUR Gelb: “My proposal is Sardi’s.”

BOB Fosse: “There?”.

BROOKS Atkinson: “What's the problem?”

BOB Fosse: “I don’t know… Coming back to Sardi's brings back so many memories".

JOE Papp: “Bad or good?”

BOB Fosse: “Neither bad or good, just memories from a time… a time that has vanished.”

John Brawl can’t resist and joins the conversation.

JOHN Brawl: “Hey guys, sorry! Let me introduce myself. My name is John Brawl. I’m a plumber. I was passing by…”

BROOKS Atkinson: “What do you want?”

JOHN Brawl: “Well… I was just wondering if…"

BOB Fosse: “You said that you’re a plumber, why?”

JOHN Brawl: “Because I am!”

ARTHUR Gelb: “Where are you from?

JOHN Brawl: “The Bronx!”

JOE Papp: “Hey fellas, let him…”

JOHN Brawl: “John Brawl!”

JOE Papp: “Mr. Brawl says...”

JOHN Brawl: “Thank you!”

BROOKS Atkinson:“Now, say, what do you want, Mr. Brawl?"

John Brawl breathes deeply.

JOHN Brawl: “The game is over!”

BOB Fosse: “What the hell are you talking about?”

JOHN Brawl: “New York! We’re that way because of minds like yours.”

JOE Papp: "We gave this city an image, a sound, and a movement.”

JOHN Brawl: “And?”

ARTHUR Gelb: “This city is what we wanted it to be.”

JOHN Brawl: “Just that?"

BROOKS Atkinson:“Yeah! Has logic or hasn't logic. That’s the answer!”

JOHN Brawl: “All right, all right! I got it.”

John Brawl looks at all of them.

JOHN Brawl: “I gotta go. Sorry. I gotta go."

John Brawl crosses the side street. He looks back. He does not see them. He walks by himself. But before Mr. Brawl reaches W35th Street, he meets two men: Frank Lloyd Wright and Raymond Hood. He approaches them and asks without hesitation:

JOHN BRAWL: "Who made New York?"

They walk along to Broadway, chatting about the lovely city, while a man passes them, whistling "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin.

 The End

Send Us Your
Comments On This Article

Share This Page

View other readers’ comments in Letters to the Editor


Altenir Silva - Scene4 Magazine | www.scene4.com

Altenir Silva is a Brazilian playwright and screenwriter. In 2019, he won the Best Feature Screenplay at Prisma International Film Awards in Rome with The Sunrise Man (co-written with Ben Fiore, based on a story by director Werner Schumann). This screenplay was also nominated as a Top Finalist, 2017, Hollywood Hills Screenplay Awards, CA, US. In 2017 his short-play “Friendship" was published in "One Minute Plays: A Practical Guide to Tiny Theatre” (Routledge UK). In 2014 he received the Award of Excellence from Shakespeare at The Burg Theatre Festival (Middleburg, VA) for the play "The Idea”. In Brazil, he worked as a scriptwriter for several TV shows at Globo TV, Record TV, CNT TV. He also wrote the feature films "Belarmino & Gabriela” (2007), "The Salt of the Earth" (2008), “Japan Connection" (2008), “Curitiba Zero Degrees" (2010) and "Moses and The Ten Commandments” (2015). For more of his writings in Scene4, check the Archives.

©2020 Altenir Silva
©2020 Publication Scene4 Magazine




July 2020

  Sections~Cover · This Issue · inFocus · inView · inSight · Perspectives · Special Issues
  Columns~Adler · Alenier · Bettencourt · Jones · Luce · Marcott · Walsh 
  Information~Masthead · Submissions · Prior Issues · Your Support · Archives · Books
  Connections~Contact Us · Comments · Subscribe · Advertising · Privacy · Terms · Letters

Search Issue | Search Archives | Share Page

Scene4 (ISSN 1932-3603), published monthly by Scene4 Magazine–International Magazine
of Arts and Culture. Copyright © 2000-2020 Aviar-Dka Ltd – Aviar Media Llc.


www,scene4.comSubscribe to our mail list for news and a monthly update of each new issue. It’s Free!

 Email Address

Please see our Privacy Policy regarding the security of your information.

Thai Airways at Scene4 Magazine