2005_11_6_braunstein.jpgThat Halloween fake fireman story just gets stranger, as if it were made just for a trial by tabloid. First we had the attack itself which was more than gruesome enough to produce the rage of the tabloids (of course, the Post sill managed to make even the initial report extra offensive, but that's why we read the Post isn't it?). Then the details got even more explicit: the shoes, the gas mask, the hours upon hours of torture. And then yesterday the News got the NYPD to admit that their prime suspect was missing journalist Peter Braunstein.

And so now we get a whole new set of crazy, made for tabloid stories. Remember that hooker on the cover of New York mag earlier in the year? Yeah she's connected to Braunstein (they may have dated and she was to star in his apparently awful Warhol play "Andy and Edie"). And what does Braunstein's dad thinks of all of this? Well, depending on how you read his quotes, he thinks his "charming" son is "disturbed" and just wants him to "turn himself in." Meanwhile the Post, smarting over being scooped by the News, makes the story about themselves by pulling up the Page Six column about Braunstein that first got him press (he fabricated a crazy story about an ex he had been stalking). They also, like the News, give the most space to the threatening phone calls Braunstein has apparently been leaving on his friends phones telling them not to testify.

In the end the tabs do an excellent job of making Braunstein out to be a, in the words of Edie Sedgwick's photographer, "fucking lunatic." We just hope that this guy really is the attacker, because we suspect the deal for his 18-month late second book, "Sin City," is, uh, over.

Photo of Braunstein from the Post.