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New York, New York

What We Said

Amid the chaos of Sept. 11, 2001, we sought human contact—to speak and to listen. Five years later, we remember what we said.

There’s a giant cloud behind that weird clock thing in Union Square.

Are they filming a movie?

I didn’t want to wake you up but something real bad has happened.

Perdóname, Sra. Rodriguez, pero me permite hablar con mi hermano? (Excuse me, Señora Rodriguez, but can I talk with my brother?)

You’re not kidding?

Baby? Baby! Get up.

Mom, it’s too early to be calling.

Do a lot of people work there?

That pilot was drunk.

Oh, fuck.

They’re bombing New York.

You don’t want to go to Manhattan.

Oh God, it’s real.

I can’t get through.

We have to go down there, we have to find Ray.

Don’t people know what’s going on?

Oh, great. They’re going to blame it on terrorists, and then they’re going to find out it was just a fire, and they’re going to look really dumb.

No, I don’t think we need to evacuate the school.

I’ll be back as soon as I can, have to go back to the old apartment and return my keys.

I’m an American. I can tell them what happened.

Who do we know who’s crossing the bridge today, or working near Transamerica? Or… Jesus. Everyone is on MUNI and BART.

This is actually the first time I’ve come up here.

Those buildings are bigger than you think. You can’t really tell from TV.

Is anyone’s cell phone working? What’s happening?

I have to get to work.

Where are you?

Here, here, take this! I have a signal!

You want some free water?

Oh my God. Oh my God! They’re falling.

This means world war.

Fucking God.

They said the lawn in front of the White House is on fire.

She doesn’t know. She can’t get through. Nobody can get ahold of anybody.

It’s a fucking terrorist attack.

Holy shit.

It collapsed?

Oh, shit, do I want to go home.

Look, those are office supplies.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I’m so sorry.

Where are your brother and sister? Where does Josh work? Where’s Scotty? Should we be calling right now?

We have a phone card with four minutes on it. Please. Take it.

She’s fine, she turned on the TV before she got on the subway.

Everyone’s going to know someone who knew someone who was in there.

Where have you been?

I love you.

I can’t believe how calm everyone is being.

The borders are closed? What does that mean?

Everyone I know is OK so far—but friends of friends…

Yeah, I talked with Jamie; he and Lori are OK.

United still shows that flight arriving on time.

Everyone’s being so nice.

Is the subway running?

We can’t let Margaret stay alone; someone has to be with her till she hears something.

Well, I guess this is what history feels like.

I can’t go to sleep.

I feel like we’re living in a war zone.

We are.

TMN’s Contributing Writers know where to find the purple couch. Long live the pan flute, mini mafia, and Michael Jackson. More by The Writers