Kabira “Brittany” Rojas, 19, and Nikki Silas, 20, danced at Show World, shared an apartment, dreamed of making it big. Then they were murdered.
As a young soldier in Vietnam, Cecil Ison saw something, something so horrific that he buried the memory of it for thirty years and swore he’d never allow it to surface again. Then, on March 20, 2003—the day after we started bombing Iraq—the past leapt up and grabbed him.
On Thursday, when I arrived in Bensonhurst, neighborhood people, cops, and reporters were milling on the corner where, the previous evening, Yusef Hawkins had been shot and killed by a crowd of neighborhood boys.
Patty rests fitfully in a hallway, the plastic bag with her and her sister Michelle’s clothes nearby. “I hate it when she falls asleep,” Michelle says. “Everybody goes through our stuff.” Patty’s tired. Patty’s “sick.” “She can’t go out,” Michelle says. “I’m gonna have to do it all now. Help her through the night.”
As a child, I courted simplicity and goodness. I’d fill a soup bowl with water, add leaves from the hedge, and eat it with a doll’s spoon, slowly, until I was calm. The world was gorgeous and terrible-lightning, God, my father in a suit, the mere thought of my mother asleep … My passions disheveled me.