A Brief Encounter with Henry Kissinger


It’s 1985.

I’m a cook, a bike messenger, a performer, a young man out and about in downtown New York City.

Every morning at 5:30 I swim for near an hour in a pool on the far west side of Manhattan and 49th Street, up before sunrise, riding over the Brooklyn bridge in the dark to get to the pool, after, I tear crosstown on my bike, a 1961 Cinelli Super Corsa.

I’m always sprinting, accelerating or braking hard, very little in between; joyful young strength, I know what it is [as I recall it with joy even now].

My morning job, is kitchen prep, from 7:30–10:00; after that the courier work starts; I fly on my bike from the pool to the east side in the mid-50s.

After swimming, morning streets still deserted, at speed I fly past the Olympic Tower, the first super luxury building, built just a few years prior. 7 AM on Tuesday, 3 men, one of them Henry Kissinger, step out from Olympic Tower as I speed past at first light. Black helmet on, black wrap glasses on, not turning, head down, I scream, ‘fuck you Henry!’ and keep going. Not original, but it’s all I can come up with on the fly. 7 AM the next day as I speed past, I’m prepared with ‘War Criminal!’ which perhaps comes out shrilly; Thursday I’m tearing up the empty street when Mr. Kissinger— actually — Dr. Kissinger again steps out, I yell, ‘Murderer!’ at him and my bike slides out from under me when it hits the completely oiled roadway which Dr. Kissinger’s bodyguards had prepared for me alone.

As my head hits the curb, Dr. Kissinger stands over me and says in his singular accent: ‘choos another route’.

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