Everyone who lives in Brooklyn seems to have a Hipster Grifter story. I haven't told mine. Until now.
It was the summer of 2008 and I was on assignment on Bedford Avenue. I was writing a story about beards and interviewing hipsters who had them. It was inevitable of course that I would cross paths with the hipster grifter. A few of my hirsute interviewees suggested I meet this woman who had an I <3 Beards tattoo. I thought why not? She's be good for a quote...or perhaps something more.
We met at the Charleston late on a Tuesday night. The Hipster Grifter, then known to me only as Kari, arrived wearing three unisex circle scarves from American Apparel in every suggested permutation that that store offers for its use and several I assume not sanctioned. Her chest tattoo glistened under the Coors Light neon sign. "You like beards?" she asked. "Professionally," I replied. "Let me show you mine," she said cheerily. With that, Ms. Ferrell pushed the fabric of one circle scarf to the side, revealing her now famous tattoo. I bought us rounds of PBR. Then Kari leaned in close to my ear and whispered, "I want you to throw a hotdog down my hallway." I said, Sure!
We ended up roaming Bedford for fifteen or twenty minutes looking for a deli that was open—it was at this point like 3 am. Finally we found one and I bought a six pack of Hebrew Nationals. Natch! I thought it was weird at the time that she would invite me to hot dog throwing and then make me buy the hot dogs. But, I thought in my drunken haze, I'm probably not going to stick around for clean up so, it's only right. I was such a sucker.
Kari and I went to the place she was staying, a classic South Williamsburg building. It was a walk up and the hallways weren't ideal for throwing hot dogs in. Kari took off two of her scarves and placed them on the tiled floor, one on one side of the hallway, one on the other. (By this time, she was only wearing one scarf. It was like the Seven Veils but less four and with less wriggling.) The idea of the hot dog throwing game was a little bit like horseshoes mixed with this Swedish game called Kubbspel. Kari began to sing softly, "Melmac is nothing, but worse than that/Melmac is really no place for cats." I said, "What are you singing and why so softly?" She said, "the theme song to Alf, and softly because it's almost dawn." I replied, "The correct lyrics are Melmac is NUTS but worse than that." She giggled, and taking the now lukewarm hot dog and sliding it down her tattoo said, "I want to give you a mom job."
I was just freelancing at the time and looking for steady work so I said, "Yeah, sure! Why not?" I thought maybe she had a connection at the NYPL an could get be a job as a librarian or perhaps she knew a photographer and I could be a prop stylist. But the thing she wanted to give to me was no job my mother would do (I hope!). So, upon hearing what it was that she had in mind, I fled down the stairs.
Only when I awoke in the morning, did I realize she had taken all my credit cards, stolen my Social Security Card, gotten my mother's maiden name from me (Her: I want to give you a mom job! Me: oh yeah, like the one Marcia Golin Stein has? Her: yeah. What's your birthday? Me: 09/06/1981.) But looking back on it and all the carnage she sowed with others, I'd say I got off easy.