Or maybe this is how our landlord plans to get rid of us

We have our own roof deck. It's pretty great. We tell people in Brooklyn that we have a private roof deck, and they look at us like we just admitted that our home is made of titanium and the walls are covered in jaguar pelts. Any other part of the country, you show them a deck this size and they're like, "Wait, how do you fit your above-ground pool on that?"  Then we tell them we only have one bathroom and they try to fling themselves off the deck. It's not that high up, guys, you're just going to break something.

Anyway, I went up there this morning to do a little watercolor, drink a little coffee, feel superior to those poor deck-less schmucks around us, the usual. I was going to paint the view, or the birds, or whatever, but what I ended up painting was...this.


This, in case you can't read the caption, is the Mysterious Chimney that Belches Black Smoke. I call it that because it's a chimney, it belches black smoke, and we don't know why. Mystery! It's not part of our building, or we could ask the landlord, "Say, landlord--what sort of carcinogenic substance is being horked out of that chimney of yours every few minutes? Incidentally, how long do we have to live?"

I have never seen anything like it. Every twenty minutes or so, smoke starts to billow out of it, and you think it's going to stop, but it gets blacker, and then you're thinking, "Hold up, that's unreasonable," and then it gets blacker, and you're like, "Say, me, should I run until I can never stop running?" and then it gets blacker still, and then a solid mass of blackness gloops out and up and dissipates in the air and spreads across the sky above you and then you're probably inhaling alien spores and will soon become a Space Zombie. (I've been watching Doctor Who with Henry.) It's…unhealthy-looking. I'm surprised and grateful that we don't have Black Lung Disease. Yet.

The one bright spot in this weird chimney-that's-eerily-adjacent-to-our-home-and-ps-will-kill-us-all problem is that whenever we have visitors on the deck and it starts, we get to see their reaction. They go from surprised to concerned to horror-vomiting, and it's so fun! P.S. Not really clear on what "fun" is. Is it when you get to use a mop?

Seriously, it's been an area of concern, but the good news is that ever since Spring arrived and we've been back up on the deck, we haven't seen any black smoke. None. Which means the chimney was cleaned up, or they've stopped making human-meat-pies (the best pies in Brooklyn!), or something. Or they're not ready to announce a new Satanic Pope yet.  I'll keep you updated.