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The Interrupted Move
by Gary Beck

My memorable move took place when I was a young college student living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, before it became known as the East Village. The neighborhood was mostly walk-up tenements, built in the 1930s and slightly one step above a slum. I lost my lease in a run-down five-story chateau and moved to a cheaper building. I got a friend to help move my mattress, dresser, table and chairs in his car, since I couldn’t afford a van. I had 500 – 600 books and he was no longer available, so I started moving them, in batches of 35-40, in a shopping cart. I made about 10 trips, then it got dark. I was pretty tired so I took a break.

I took more trips, took another break, and the next trip was close to midnight, through Tompkins Square Park. A police officer stopped me, demanded to know where I was going with a shopping cart full of books. He didn’t believe my explanation, and I couldn’t reach anyone to confirm my story, so he arrested me. He took me to the local precinct, booked me on suspicion of burglary and had me put in a holding cell. I spent the rest of the night in jail. They finally contacted my new landlord in the morning, who vouched for me. I was released without an apology for the false arrest, and I finished moving…But it took a couple of months before I could laugh at the night of the interrupted move.

PHOTO: Tompkins Square Park, night, New York City (Gene’s Travel blog).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and three more have been accepted for publication. His poetry collections include Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions (Winter Goose Publishing). Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look) and Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications) are also forthcoming. His novels include Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Acts of Defiance will be published by Dreaming Big Publications. His short story collection is A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes, and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City. Visit him at garycbeck.com.