it was new year’s day, nineteen ninety-five.
this was the nethertime after returning home to new york city after the frenetic six-thousand mile hop-scotch (more scotch than hop) from hawaii through LA, hollywood and manhattan beach, CA, to new york by way of at least four couches that i could remember, maybe more,….finding employment at an upper-east side restaurant where i used to be a customer when i was the smartest guy in the world; you know, like a banker or stockbroker of yesteryear, except i did it in an MC or buckskin jacket and had chains on my boots.
do bankers wear boots?
they ought to, considering how high the bullshit is they’ve been wading in, though i would strongly suggest they don’t adorn their boots with chains. (i wore boots with chains when i was in jail in el segundo)
those things belong on their ankles and wrists.
this fresh, crisp disgust might be because i picked up an issue of the new york times and saw a photo of ken lewis
oh, wait….that’s sniffles the mouse…..here;
you can see there’s something rodent-like about this guy, though.
i like sniffles (at christmas) better……
but i digress. i was talking about a crazy person fourteen years ago (me) but i can’t help voice a little bit of concern because with all the swine flu in the air, the bullshit with the banks aren’t getting the “eye-time” they deserve.
this was when i was a wayfarer who was wayfarer-less in terms of eyewear.
as a wayfarer, i was a person without a home.
worse, i was a man without a key.
(though for a moment, i had keys to my friend’s place but got drunk and lost them.)
he would ask me to leave.
i was hold up at the st. mark’s hotel for the holidays and the end of the year.
they held the key for me.
i would not go to my own bar for the holidays, christmas or new years, because i would be working uptown and when i wasn’t there, i wouldn’t be sure about anything else. i may have become autistic around then, just like temple grandin.
i ran on fear, just like she spoke about in the special i mentioned a few notes back.
on the night of new year’s day, i was off from the bar job uptown. i decided to wander to scrap bar. it was cold and snowy, i think. it was 9 or 10pm. scrap bar was closed.
i couldn’t believe it. when it was mine – it was no longer mine. nothing was mine, though it still was – we would close christmas and new year’s day and open at 9pm and make one-thousand-dollars. you could set your watch on it. but this was over, too. i stood and stared down the stairwell, my hands in my pockets against the cold. as i turned away to head back toward bleeker street, i heard a woman call my name. it was a girlfriend from a few years back. her name was nancy. she and i went out a while back. she was as crazy as she was good looking. she had become a traveling “feature performer” and was in town to visit me. we stood at the top of the stairs of scrap bar for a while and talked then decided to go out together. she had a polaroid camera and we took photos of each of us on macdougal street. i have the photos and someday, i’ll find them. she had a car, so we ended up out in brooklyn where i had bartender friends who would stake us a night’s drinking. we visited my friend paddy who sent me the money to get me back to new york. we ate and drank and she was dear and sweet and crazy and we went back to new york and celebrated the new year plus one in the saint marks hotel. it was terrible sad in my heart but i think she may have saved my life.
early in the morning, she would wake me and tell me she had to hit the road. she had shows to do. she kissed me sweetly. she knew that i had made it to a place of crazy that she understood. it was a different crazy, but that just meant a different road on the way to the same looney destination and she’d already been there.
she may have even gone beyond, what did i know?
what i did glean from her in those last moments was this; she felt sorry for me.
as crazy and insane as she was, i was the trainwreck and it saddened her.
i would not see or hear from or about her again until i ran into one of my old security guys about a year or two later who worked at coney island high. he said, hey i gotta show you something i got regarding your old girlfriend nancy.
it was a video. she had become a porn queen.
but that’s the end of the story. before that, in 1992, there’s the story of what happened one night after she left scrap bar with her kid brother and a gang of club kids headed to an after hours party and a guy who joined the party by the name of joe. it involves imprisonment for two days in a bronx motel, slavery, endless rape, beatings, escape, police and engineered street justice.
but i want to go back to the saint mark’s hotel after nancy said goodbye and i found a dream to travel into. i had the bladerunner dream, it may have started out as this scene from the movie;
….except, in the dream, rutger hauer wasn’t all bloody and getting ready to die.
he was in a suit.
and in the dream, harrison ford wasn’t there at all. i was.
i was a bloody, drunk, fucked-up mess laying against a curb, maybe like my irish grandfather i’d learn about thirteen years-or-so later.
i was too fucked-up to get-up.
and instead of the “i have seen things you people wouldn’t believe…,” speech, rutger hauer is telling me about all the things i accomplished and how amazing my life has been and how many miracles there are in life and that everything needs to end so new things can begin and i’m looking at him slack-jawed and bleary-eyed and tears are running down the outside corners of my eyes because i can hear him and i know he’s right but i can’t move because i can’t move and it’s raining, just like in the movie but thank god i’m not on a roof, i’d probably roll off if i could move and there’s people walking by, but you only see their feet as they slow down, almost stop and then walk away, like if i were an accident victim or something but no, just some drunk guy being administered to by a guy who looks like the bladerunner killer-guy in a suit, but i’m just supposing that because all i can see are people’s legs and shoes and i’m unable to rise-up and i don’t think i want to anyway and i feel the death and despair i felt when those atlanta EMS guys were gathered around me giving me the big exam before my trip to paradise. i basked in this dream as i lay on the cheap foam “mattress” in the cold room on the third floor of the saint mark’s hotel. there may have been the hiss of icy-blue steam rising from sewer grates, complimenting the final canvas i felt my life had become in this dream.
in the next few weeks, i would move out of this hotel and into an apartment on avenue B and 13th street. that’s where i’d somehow get back to after my last night at scrap bar in early february. that’s somewhere in the recent scrap chronicles. it’s the one with quaaludes, cocaine and psychotic breakdowns or other some-such pinball games i became.