BROOKLYN– Legendary writer Keith Malek fell off of the Brooklyn Bridge last night following a night of heavy drinking at Down The Hatch, a West Village bar. Malek, who had cut off his left ear on Friday, had not left his apartment since Wednesday, when he announced his retirement from writing. Finally leaving his apartment on Sunday evening, a thick bandage covering the area where his left ear used to be, Malek met his literary agent, Tom Szaniawski, at Down The Hatch at around 7:00 PM. Four hours later, Malek asked Szaniawski if he wanted to go to a bar in Brooklyn. “I kept telling him that I didn’t want to go because I live really far uptown,” said Szaniawski, “but I felt bad for him since he only has one ear, so I agreed to go.” Szaniawski started to cry, and said, “We decided to take a cab. Halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge, we hit traffic, and the cab stopped. Someone had left a football in the backseat. We were both ridiculously drunk, and since traffic was in a gridlock, we decided to get out of the cab and have a catch. At one point, I threw a long pass to him, and he…fell over the railing.”
Due to Malek’s mental state at the time, many wonder if his “falling” was actually a suicide. But according to Owen Planchart, the bartender who regularly serves him at Down The Hatch, he didn’t appear to be much different than usual. “He wasn’t exactly in high spirits, which isn’t surprising considering everything he’s been through lately,” said Planchart, “but for the most part, he was fine. He drank beer until it was spilling down his chest, but that’s normal for him.” However, the police aren’t ruling anything out. “It sounds to me like it was an accident,” said police officer Lawrence O’Talloran, “but I will not rest until I find out the exact cause of death. After all, a great candle in the world of literature has been blown out.”
No body has been found.
October 2, 2006