The Fatty Bacon

Sweat dripped down the back of my neck as I sat in the outdoor seating area of the local Bushwick diner. Alonzo and I were meeting with a filmmaker who wanted our help producing a series called “Jus’ Brooklyn.” It was a hot summer day, and I could feel the sun beating down on me, causing me to squint my eyes against its harsh glare. As I listened to the filmmaker’s pitch, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease creeping over me. Here we were, two Brooklyn-born and bred guys, sitting in a gentrified area of our neighborhood, being asked to produce a series about Brooklyn by someone who had only lived here for a couple of years. It all seemed so daunting, so disingenuous. The diner was crowded, and the chatter of the other diners blended together into a dull hum in the background. The smell of bacon filled my nostrils, and I watched as Alonzo’s plate arrived at the table, piled high with slabs of straight fat. It was a sign, a symbol of the gentrification that was slowly but surely taking over our neighborhood. I struggled to focus on the filmmaker’s words as I sipped my beer, feeling increasingly disconnected from the world around me. It was hard to reconcile the Brooklyn I knew, the one that was gritty and raw and full of life, with the version that this filmmaker was trying to sell us. Alonzo, always the optimist, seemed to be on board with the idea. But for me, the whole thing felt wrong. It felt like we were selling out, like we were being complicit in the gentrification that was changing our neighborhood beyond recognition.

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