It seemed logical that the only veterinarian in the entire NYC area qualified to care for an oversized iguana was located on Jerome Ave. & 176th St. Right in the heart of the boogie-down-Bronx. Other than that, Mitch would have to drive all the way out to Westchester to find the medicine that Hubert needed. Cool, calm and collected, Mitch thought to himself. He closed his laptop, took out his phone and dialed his roommate. Yes he was just in the next room, but with today’s technology, who actually spoke to each other any more? The text read: “Need to drive to the chester for Hube. Wanna go? We’ll stop off by the mall.”
Almost instantaneously, from the next room, Mitch heard his wild roommate scream back, “Sure! I have no classes, but practice is in five hours, so we need to be back by then. And stop texting me when you’re five feet away…we need to maintain what little humanity we have left!” Raül was afraid that machines were taking over the world, what with all of the Droid commercials, mechanized factories and electric bicycles. He was nervous that if we weren’t careful, if we didn’t feel every bit of life, we would lose our grips on reality. Mitch couldn’t care less. As long as he could keep texting people in the next room, he was happy.
The two of them descended the 3 short flights of marble steps until they reached their sprawling foyer. Today, the doorman was standing outside enjoying the sun and a bit of fresh air along with his cigarette. Hence, there was no one to direct the two visitors who just meandered into the building. The limestone structure acted as host to their 1,600 square foot, four-bedroom apartment along with 23 other apartments, mostly students, artists, young entrepreneurs and others of the sort.
They found Marv outside, and, after informing him of the waspy couple inside who seemed to be lost, Mitch and Raül got into Mitch’s black Honda Accord and drove off towards Westchester, via the directions on his blackberry. As they drove, Raül continued his always-ongoing rant about how blackberries are replacing everything, even maps now! In the end though, Raül gave in, took the blackberry, and read the directions to Mitch as they drove along Mosholu Parkway past various crime-infested neighborhoods.
Finally, they arrived at The Westchester, White Plains’ premier shopping center, where, after securing the third closest spot to the entrance, Mitch made a beeline to Hubert’s pet shop, Pet-o-rama, with Raül in tow. “Do you think it would have been wise to actually bring your iguana so they can diagnose the problem?” Raül did make a good point, but Mitchell didn’t just drive 45 minutes to be discredited by his roommate. So he responded, “No, you dunce. These guys are the best, they don’t need to see the pet to assess the problem.” Inside though, Mitch was nervous Raül was right. Oh well, even if they don’t know what’s wrong, the two of them would enjoy a day on the colossal grounds located just off of Bloomingdale’s rd.
The two best buds took the escalator down to flights, and stopped only once to check out a down vest in the window of Burberry. Finally, 55 minutes after they left their apartment, they arrived at their destination – pet-o-rama. Much to Mitch’s dismay, before he even finished his question, the sales clerk cut him off, and told Mitch that they would need Hubert there to determine why he wouldn’t eat. There were too many reasons for why a full-grown iguana would simply drop 10% of its total weight. “But,” the sales clerk told the two companions in their quest for everlasting iguana-health, “we have another location 15 miles closer to the city. In the Bronx. They’re a bit unconventional in their methods, but they get the job done.”
Mitch knew of this other shop, had in fact known about it since before they left the apartment earlier that day, but would much rather not have to drive through the ghetto to find a cure for his beloved giant iguana. He would sooner drive back to the apartment, pick up Hubert, and then drive right back to The Westchester. “Let’s do it,” Raül said. “If we don’t go to the shop in the Bronx, they win. The machines will have had their way with us, kicked us out the morning after and wouldn’t even offer us so much as a consolation call!”
Mitch had no clue why, but here they were, standing in the middle of the loudest store in the mall, with birds cawing on his right, hamsters squeaking on his left, and Raül screaming on the top of his lungs about machines right in front of him. He didn’t care where they went, but he wouldn’t be able to keep his calm for much longer in the midst of this madness. “All right! We’ll go the Bronx,” Mitche finally complied. And with that, they got back into the car and put in the address for 173rd and Jerome ave.
As the owner and operator of the black Honda Accord, Mitch got behind the wheel as Raül accepted the role as radio jockey and began fumbling for a station. Finally, he settled on some alternative-rock station, and turned up the volume. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to push the terror out of Mitch’s mind. The fact still remained that they were about to be driving to one of NYC’s most crime-ridden suburbs and there was nothing anyone could do to change that fact. As Mitch glanced at Raül out of the corner of his eye, as he pretended to play the drums on the car’s dashboard, Mitch couldn’t help but wonder why Raül didn’t seem to be fazed in the least bit.
After twenty minutes of driving along the thruway, the two companions took the exit ramp and immediately understood why many people didn’t like to come to the Bronx. Graffiti was sprayed on every visible purpose and there were gangs of anywhere between four and twelve men patrolling the streets as if they enforced the law. Except their uniforms didn’t resemble anything a police officer would wear. With their pants down beneath their buttocks, the majority of their undergarments were available for the world to see. Mitch quickly drove the last 1.2 miles to the pet shop, parked the car around back, and told Raül not to get out under any circumstances.
Raül got out of the car and went around to the driver’s side while Mitch entered the pet shop jumping at the slightest sound that wasn’t pet related. He was utterly petrified of anything and everything in this land which was unbeknownst to him. Our protagonist made his way into the gloomy shop, inching his way along the defiled back wall of the shop, keeping one eye on the sales attendant at the end of the shop and one eye on the entrance from where he came. He budged closer and closer to the sales clerk until, all of a sudden, there was a loud racket from the very area his right eye was trained on – the front door! Raül came running in at top speed followed closely by three African American chasers with bats and chains in their hands.
“Mitch! Out the back exit! Run!” Mitcc tried to process what he was witnessing but the enormity of the situation overtook him and suddenly, he felt faint. The last thing he remembered was Raül grabbing him underneath the armpits, and two scruffy black men grabbing each of his legs and dragging him out the back exit.
When he awoke, Mitch found himself in a small bathroom where the tiles were falling off the bottom half of the wall and the wallpaper was peeling from the top half. He himself was in a tub full of ice and his entire left side was in an overwhelming amount of pain. Pasted to the side of the mirror, Mitch could make out a small note. He struggled to read it, but his eyes just wouldn’t focus. After exhausting all the possibilities which would explain where he was and what had happened, Mitch gingerly arose, his naked body shivering in the cold air, and walked over to the mirror. The note read, “Mitch. Your kidney has been taken and you have been poisoned. If you would have stayed in that bathtub until someone came to get you, the solution in which you have been bathing would have been the antidote. However, since you stood up to read this note, you have negated the affects of the potion and will become severely ill in 90 seconds.”
Sure enough, right on cue, Mitch keeled over the rust-ridden toilet right beside him and began to spew forth vomit until there was none left in him. Mitch had retched and vomited so strongly that he had simply died from lack of innards. And that is why Mitch hated the boogie-down-Bronx.