Whalley Avenue

The detective was walking through a boarded up tenement on Brooklyn’s lower eastside. Most of the other buildings were boarded up as well. There were several homeless families living in the condemned dwellings, but the detective wasn’t going to ask them to vacate. He was just looking for a young girl, Lisa Rodriguez. She was reported missing several weeks ago and someone said they saw her here on Whalley Avenue.

One of the families came out onto the crippled concrete steps and watched as the detective walked over to them. He showed the picture of the missing girl to them and they had not seen her. The woman was much older than the two young boys as they hugged her legs as an act of shyness. She appeared to be in her late 60’s. Perhaps she was their grandmother.

“Are these your grandchildren?” the detective asked out of curiosity mostly.

“Yea, they my babies.”

“Dumped on you?”

“Can’t turn my back on family no matter what,” she replied.

“State can’t help?”

“State doesn’t want to, they looking for the momma.”

The detective nodded.

“You ain’t gonna call them?”

“No,” he quickly replied as he headed toward an old condemned laundry mat next to a bodega with bars all over the windows.

He continued canvassing the neighboring streets, while the homeless watched on. Their eyes were burning into the back of his head, but he continued looking for Lisa Rodriguez.

The detective came across a teenage boy eating spoils from a corner garbage can. The boy looked up and his eyes were soaked with innocence.

“Sometimes people throw good stuff away,” said the boy.

The have and the have nots was the phrase that quickly filled the detective’s head. Living normal was like a fantasy for the people here on Whalley Avenue. Life was an illusion for them. The effect of that illusion was really profound. It was distorting as it does the natural way of life between the rich and the poor. Transforming it until it resembled a relationship more symbiotic than adversarial. The rich expects the poor to remain poor, and the poor expects to be poor and live hand to mouth. It was completely mystifying, but the boy eating out of the garbage can illustrated the position.

“Are you a cop?” asked the boy as tried to pocket a molded piece of cake.

The detective’s mouth opened to speak, but nothing came out. He just smiled and slowly turned away from the boy. Deep down inside the detective knew that someday that boy would make ends meet by selling drugs, or stealing. There was no happy ending for that kid. Ignoring that statement didn’t make him feel any better.

There was an old Cadillac Brougham parked in an empty factory parking lot. No front wheels, and the back just had rusting rims. That parking lot was once protected by a ten-foot chain link fence which has rusted and had fallen to the ground. He walked over to the parked car and looked in. At first it was difficult to get a clear view because of the clutter and filth. There he saw a child’s white print pants. There were blood smudges on it. He took out the photo of Lisa Rodriguez and noticed that the pants were hers. The detective quickly opened the door as he had to pry it open with force, and there he found the missing child. The girl was beaten to death with a tire iron. She had bite marks on her neck and was probably sexually abused. He wouldn’t know until he got back a full chemistry report.

The detective looked back at the tired, worn out looking families living like cave dwellers, and then back to the child’s body. The killer deposited the body there because misery needed company, death. The detective could not envision a murderer, carrying a child in his arms, wandering across several blocks of plight and condemnation just to find the final resting place for Lisa Rodriguez.

Placing the body here wasn’t strange or illogical. It made sense to leave it where no one wanted to be noticed. Whalley Avenue.

© 2012 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 33 comments

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Incredible hub, great, crisp, and draws the reader in! Excellente!

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks williams

LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Frank, this is a distressing and heartbreaking story! You laid it out so distinctly..... The discription is so vivid! Voting up and awesome.....

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you for the comment Lathing bless you

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Valleypoet 4 years ago

A disturbing discovery in a backdrop of desperate poverty and destitution. Vivid descriptions Frank, of a street in which crime and poverty go sadly hand in hand. You are on top form buddy :-))

b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Another Life- like tale of a place no one wants to visit...Sadly, people live there. Once again, a Sad story, which it had a Happy Ending. You are the Master of this Write!

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Gosh...so sad yet beautifully expressed that gave me a thump inmy heart.

jennifereve110 profile image

jennifereve110 4 years ago from New York

Nice hub.. Thanks for sharing this...Voted up

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

@ Valleypoet.. always good to see you my friend and thanks for reading Whalley Avenue.

@ b Malin yea another life's tale good comment bless you

@ Ruch.. good morning my friend good to see you on my page again bless you

@ Jennifereve.. you're welcome

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Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Frank,

This one broke my heart. Some say hell is here on earth. It certainly was for Lisa Rodriguez and the citizens of Whalley Avenue.,

Voted up and awesome

Have a great day. :)

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much sueswan for your comment bless you

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

This one speaks of the gritty heartless hopeless mean streets with a biting realism. The have nots in this case really don't even have the have nots. In other words they've sunk lower than the death valley Whalley Avenue is. You tell it like it is Frank, up and awe my friend.

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Alastar means alot to me coming from you bless you bro :)

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Vincent Moore 4 years ago

You are wandering into another of a 1000 stories in this naked city and using this imagery was perfect as a starter "One of the families came out onto the crippled concrete" The mean streets are full of misfits and down an outers, I know that first hand. To survive alone is a miracle, eating from the rich mans spoils keeps one alive for another day. To toss a body into this concrete jungle is often a daily, weekly occurence. Finding her battered body in an abandoned vehicle no surprise. However my talented poet/writer you descriptions and visuals are always perfect. You like I live the moment when we pen, we feel each word and you sir are a master. Bravo, voted up and shared.

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Well Vincent.. perhaps we do share the moment through our pens.. but I haven't reached the Vincent Moore Status yet... thank you my kind friend and bless you...:)

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Vincent Moore 4 years ago

My friend I have no status, I am simply a humble poet like yourself expressing how we feel and see life from our inner light. Much of it shines brightly, yet there are many ugly shadows that reveal themselves to us and thus we pen. You are a very creative writer, a master of mystery, Sherlock Holmes would admire your work as well. Keep writing and many will follow and keep reading your amazing scribes.

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Vincent when I meant status it's the style of high quality writing my friend.. we are all humble poets at heart.. :) bless you

epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

.....well I am not humble. lol

I just have to tell you man - you're my favorite writer - other than that lunatic at lake erie. lol

I just love how you 'deal' with so many dead bodies too.

p.s. - and the dialogue you create to enhance the narrative is awesome as well.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Very well-done Frank. The painting looks like a medieval painting, perhaps of one of Dante's levels of hell, yet somehow the colors and painting style are so perfect for this story. Incredible good visual choice. Sad, sad, sad of course. The phrase that jumped out and grabbed me was "crippled concrete steps." The phrase is perfect both in meaning and in sound.alliteration. Very well done. ~~Theresa

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you so much Unhumble Epi.. but very talented thank you for visiting my Whalley Avenue.. and thank you Phdast for noticing the little but important things bless you both :) Frank

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lovedoctor926 4 years ago

Poor girl. What a cruel way to die. Is there such a street called whally ave in Brooklyn? You would make a good CSI detective

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks Lovedoctor26 for reading my Fictional Whalley Avenue..:)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Very cleve and powerful my friend. Here's to so many more for us boh to share on here.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Eddy :)

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Frank, thematic treatment of your work is wonderful.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks alot Vin :)

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Amazing doesn't cover it. We can feel the desolation as our detective searches...then the heartbreak and indignation at what he finds....your writing is always more then worth reading and sharing! Vote up, Awesome and shared.

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Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much Til :) Frank

DDE profile image

DDE 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

You have shared a wonderful piece work here and, thanks for sharing this story.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much once again DDE

lorettacounty profile image

lorettacounty 3 years ago from Lisbon Maine

This is incredible and I really liked how you revealed what the detective was thinking when he looked at the little boy. Honestly many writers would have simply left it to describe how he looked at the boy and leaving the reading to illustrate the thought, but you brought us into his thoughts. Thank you. Really enjoy your writing Frank.

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Jane Arden 3 years ago

Your stories never cease to amaze me. Oh, it was so sad, and yet such a logical ending. """The killer deposited the body there because misery needed company, death.""""".......... I liked hearing what was going through the detectives mind! We always think the police etc 'get used to it' but hey, they are human after all. You are a brilliant writer Frank.

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Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Loretta and Jane Arden for reading my Whalley Avenue :)

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