In a jazz bar on the last night of 1937,
watching a quartet because she couldn't afford to see the whole ensemble,
there were certain things Katey Kontent knew:
the location of every old church in Manhattan
how to sneak into the cinema
how to type eighty words a minute, five thousand an hour, and nine million a year
and that if you can still lose yourself in a Dickens novel then everything is going to be fine.
By the end of the year she'd learned:
how to live like a redhead
and insist upon the very best;
that riches can turn to rags in the trip of a heartbeat,
chance encounters can be fated, and the word 'yes' can be a poison.
That's how quickly New York City comes about, like a weathervane, or the head of a cobra. Time tells which.