Between March 5th and today I spent a total of 20 days in Staten Island, NY.

FOUR separate times, while driving around late at night or, more often as not, when the dawn was breaking, I saw something weird through apartment windows.

Hold on. I just realized something.

I was able to glance through so many apartment windows as I passed because there seemed to be a lot of ground floor apartments. Motel-style apartment buildings with the doors just open to the street.

That might sound kind of dangerous, except for this fact:

Through four of the un-shuttered windows, I was able to see, hanging on walls…samurai swords. Japanese combat weapons, always more than one, arranged on mahogany racks and hung on the walls. Hanging, sharp and ready, in ground floor apartments in Staten Island.


Shintauro Ishimura, Humble Blade and Righteous Strike of the Peony Court, suddenly appears in a mini-mall parking lot on Hylan Avenue in Staten Island.

“By the gods of blood and honor, I seem to have stepped into some sort of time-spasm, and been catapulted forward centuries, to a strange, frightening world of the future!”

“Holy fuck! A Jap in a dress! You look like that Crouching Dragon asshole I saw in the movie!”

“Citizen, this one would know what city I find myself in.”

“This is Staten Island, Mr. Miyagi. And I ain’t a citrus. I’m Tony.”

“Why does the air smell like breaded pig?”

“”Cuz it’s lunchtime.”

“Is that your domicile?”

“What, you looking at my window? Yeah, that’s my Pussy Palace.”

“Am I correct in perceiving a ceremonial trio of combat blades on your wall?”

“Them ninja swords? Yeah, I won ’em at the fair. My cousin worked out this killer system for when you’re shooting water in the clown’s mouth to blow up the balloon on his head. I also won a beer mug that says, ‘If it smells like fish, eat it.'”

“What is the magical, glowing window beside them?”

“That’s my plasma screen.”

“Are those gods which cavort within it?”

“It’s DANCING WITH THE STARS. Those ain’t gods, they’re fags. And Penn Jillette.”

“Citizen, this one fears that sky dragons are fast approaching. Truly, this is a land of dark wonders and glittering dangers. Will you join me in blooding steel with the un-righteous?”

“Uh…heh-heh. I guess that sounds cool. But my girlfriend…my GIRLfriend, right? Who I fuck all the time? She’d be pretty pissed if I just, uh…heh-heh…went off with you. I mean, I’ve got a GIRLfriend and everything, so I, uh…no. I can’t. Okay, I gotta go.”

“Citizen, you are unaware of your destiny…”

“I GOTTA GO. Okay? I gotta go. I can’t…I’m not saying you’re not strong…but…girlfriend. Girlfriend!”

“Take my hand…”


He runs to his SUV with the Black Crowes decal in the back window. For a moment, his flailing legs cause his cargo shorts to hitch up, revealing the phoenix-shaped birthmark on his left thigh.

But Shintauro is unable to see it. As Tony drives away, Judas Priest blaring on his stereo, a sky dragon materializes behind the time-lost samurai. As the sky-beast flares its flame-glands, Shintauro mutters a prayer to the Winter Sun and draws his blade.

Vincent Faurino, manager of the Male Ego hair salon, watches from his front window, and realizes his recurring dreams were prophecies.