Letter to the Times Sq “Person of Interest”

Dear Mystery Man,

This is a really difficult time for you, huh? I bet you’ve called in sick to work and you’re at home drawing the curtains. I’m sure you aren’t answering the phone. You’re probably thinking about whether you’ll ever walk out the door again. I know, it sucks. You were hanging around Times Square (God knows why) in Shubert Alley (who knew it had a name) just minding your business and like most anyone rocking layers in weather upwards of 80 degrees, you started to strip. That one decision – to remove your outer layer – is going to haunt you for years to come, isn’t it? In that very moment you were caught on tape by a nearby security camera and unbeknown to you* the gears of a terrorist plot had begun to turn. The NYPD Police Commisioner Ray Kelly and the Department of Justice were eager to find someone, anyone, as they investigated yet another attempt to harm New Yorkers (or tourists, more likely). So what happened? You were in the wrong place at the wrong time and you were hot. Now a low-res image that shows a whole lot of nothing is out there starring you and it’s been played over and over on television news programs across the world.

Looking at the video, I can’t tell if you’re the guy who made my coffee this morning or not, but I bet your bowling league buddies picked you out in a jiffy! Some of them probably already made up their mind that you did it, I mean, you were always a little “strange” ya know?

I’m terribly sorry. This must be an entirely new experience for you, being white and all. At least if you were Black on the NJ Turnpike or Latin@ in Arizona, you’d be ready for something like this. Instead, you’re probably shouldering this burden alone after law enforcement officials “said they were reviewing surveillance footage that showed a white man who appeared to be in his 40s walking away from the area as he looked over his shoulder and removed a layer of clothing.” (NYTimes). WHY did you have to look over your shoulder? Were you listening to Mariah and Trey Lorenz channel the Jackson 5? Did you see a T-shirt vendor wearing a Vietnam vet hat and wanted to send a twitpic? Did you see a chick with a nice rack? This is NYC and you were in the most sensory-fuck part of the city – I can imagine how one could get a little distracted. Sucks for you that your overactive sweat glands and glance over the shoulder proved to be enough evidence to condemn you in the court of public opinion.

I remember watching Greg and Rosanna on Good Day New York struggle to remember that you were not a suspect. They tried emphasizing the whole “person of interest” line but what is that really? Bottom line: the authorities are looking for you in connection with a terrorist plot in a post-9/11 world. Don’t be ashamed, I wouldn’t go outside either. I’m sorry you’ve been forced to become a recluse for fear that the FBI will probe your ass but real talk Mystery Man, you’ve got to take a little responsibility here. Commissioner Kelly said you were seen “shedding a dark colored shirt, revealing a red one underneath…looking around a couple of times in a furtive manner.” (Aol.). WTF are you doing looking so “furtively”? That’s your bad.

If you want my advice, I say you continue to lay low for a bit, at least until they find some of Faisal Shahzad’s co-conspirators. Then you should come out of nowhere like “Oh hey, heard you guys were looking for me!” Frankly, it’s all a circus right now. I’ve got bets on the Vendor Death Match sure to emerge out of Orton v. Jackson.

*I don’t know, maybe the guy DOES know something. I’m just saying… Does anyone know why that surveillance camera didn’t pick up shit about the person who actually got OUT of the driver’s seat (facing the camera)?