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Now, you listen to me. There's layers to this city. It goes utility lines, subway, sewer, Water Pipe. The Water Pipe is one big pipe where all the water comes from. And in the pipe is Old Jake.

Now, I've seen Jake once on a moonlit night, and I could have sworn he was a catfish, but Maria (rest her soul) told me that he was a slug. Who knows. He has to be pliable to get out of the water pipe, right? Like an octopus oozing through a cleft in a rock. Maybe he's an octopus.

Or maybe he's pure moonlight, 'caue I saw him glowing with moonlight, and Rosie told me she saw the glow of the moon from down the street on a moonless night. Although I'd take her words with a few grains of salt, because getting caught outside with him around is usually fatal.

Anyway. You  always ask me, Nonna, why does the Mafia never come to this part of Brooklyn? Why do the Russian gangsters not come? Why do the Japanese gangsters not come? Why do we not pay protection money?

You ask me, why are we poor? Well, now I tell you. Where do you think all our money goes? We have to buy eels for Old Jake. He eats them, and he is satisfied, and he protects these neighborhoods. We failed to pay him his eels, one year, and Mr. Hong's Three Jolly Luck Fish Shop vanished in the night, along with Mr. Hong.

That is not where the shoes go when they are thrown onto traffic lights. The traffic lights eat them.

 

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