it was a seven-hour bellevue hospital-athon.
i was getting a tune up and damage assessment.
next week is the further-on, two-month, post-op exam. later for that.
the doctor told me he had seen the goodbye blue monday website and read some stories and was asking me about my experiences. he got a charge out of my madness.
when we got back to business, he checked this and listened to that. then he asked me when i last got “a booster-shot.”
a booster shot? i asked.
the first thing i thought of was being a child. i’m assuming that there was some kind of childhood trauma related to a booster shot.
a little, little me and that word and needle had a violent confrontation. i just know it.
i just can’t seem to remember it.
i think every child in america has a booster shot story.
i do however have a grown-up booster-shot story that i do remember. it revolves around the last dog i had before maxx got me as i walked past a bushwick pet shop five years ago.
it starts with a piano.
i had a grand-upright piano, very much like the one we have on the stage at goodbye blue monday. when we opened scrap bar, i looked for a piano mover and found bear.
the village voice was like russian roulette. it probably still is.
bear was a piano mover. he moved pianos BY HIMSELF. he was not only strong as an ox (or bear); he was crazy as a loon and mad as a hatter. he was from alabama and was like nuclear-powered white trash. when i gave him the job, he delivered the piano to scrap bar, carrying it strapped to his back, down the stairs, untied himself from it and proceeded to get psychotically drunk. the piano didn’t last long there.
a short time later i was looking at other businesses to open with a lawyer-friend who was the guy who incorporated goodbye blue monday originally in 1983. he was going to be our scrap bar lawyer and organize the corporate-change we needed in order to legitimize our business and make us totally legal. what was happening at this moment, this bear and piano moment, i had begun negotiations with the owners of a place called “the mod bar” on second or third avenue and 25th street. it was a corner place with a cozy bar and a dining area in the rear with a small kitchen. it looked like a done deal, so i called bear again and got him to move the piano out of scrap bar and move it to the mod bar. the owners began to change the language of the deal and we started to argue. the deal fell apart. my last words to them was something like, “well then forget it. and i stole your bartender.”
and i really did. her name was carrie and she was a six-foot tall nineteen year old who was as beautiful as all get-out.
but that’s another story.
the piano was left there, the business was sold and i didn’t look back.
i like to believe the piano i have onstage here is related to the piano i had to leave at the mod bar, what with everything related on this planet in one way or another, especially so many moments in my own time.
but i digress.
bear reappeared some years later with a van full of pit bull puppies and insisted that i accept this one as a gift. it was the last time i saw bear. he said he was “gettin’ real sick.”
that is doug the dog.
before i go on about this dog and my booster shot, i need to talk about the lawyer.
he would try to steal the business out from under us, but fortunately, he would become an insane drunk heroin addict and render himself null, void and invisible.
years later, he would get clean after being disbarred.
he would, almost twenty years later, contact me and make amends, then a few months later go out, get drunk and die in a stranger’s armchair with a baseball bat across his lap.
that, too, is another story.
the weave of this life has all these threads.
sometimes they return briefly and sometimes they never come back. other times, both things happen. he, my lawyer of once upon a time, my lawyer who gave me my first goodbye blue monday, incorporated corporate kit, slept away as his electrons zapped off the armchair and at this moment, they’re cozying it up with savannah and ralph waldo emerson out there on the eighth-electro-plasma-ocean of the ninth-dimension.
i lost the will to speak of booster shots and dogs, but will. it’s what i do.