Friday, September 28, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
He longed to quit the 'nine to five' but had bills and the rent. Civil servants make peanuts, chicken feed. The more he scrimped, the more debt mounted. And his landlord didn't pussyfoot around for someone so light on his feet. A day late with the rent and he was out on his ass...Sure, he looked for other work. As a desperate measure he perused help-wanted ads in the Picayune over beer at Johnny's. No luck. Every possibility disgusted him equally; he couldn't fathom doing anything with relish...He grew disenchanted and existed in a lull. An utter failure in the realm of employment. At night, in bed before sleeping, grandiose visions danced in his cranium...Lofty pipe-dreams; the musings of a peon. Still he was young, unbelievably young. I do not speak candidly to illicit compassion on his behalf. Rather, I am illuminating the quandary in which he found himself awash as a triumph of sorts.
But fuck the groundwork; the groundwork can wait. It's the meat and potatoes I'm after now. It was a Sunday when the doldrums hit him. Sundays are useless entities- the only sensible thing to do is fritter them away as quickly as possible. Cyprian woke from his slumber at the crack of dawn and felt the noose begin to tighten. How many hours remained before he had to return to work? Ah, work! That's the idea that stuck in his craw. The death of tomorrow always lingers on the breath of yesterday. There's no hope for men who lack ambition. And in this world the multitudes will always be bound and fettered...
Monday, September 17, 2007
I arrived early at the venue and saddled up at the bar with a buddy, ordering whiskey and beer. The psychedelic swirling mayhem that ensued was all Meat Puppets. Cris was doubled over on bass, long frizzy hair flying everywhere as he rocked out like a creature from another planet. The crowd was enthralled as they played classic tune after tune from their repertoire, including selections from Meat Puppets II, Up on the Sun, Huevos, Monsters and Too High to Die. The seemingly spontaneous treatment and work-up of the songs was phenomenal. This show moved me like so few have in recent memory. Shit, I'm ready to drop everything and drive cross-country to catch another show! Still not a track performed from the new one... And I am convinced that those tracks will destroy you played live...
I foresee many albums to come and rub my hands together in anticipation of the Pups' next move. Until then, I shall burn myself out on Rise to Your Knees.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Bill nodded dejectedly and watched the burnt butt fly up and away from them and out into the windy swath cut by the traffic that flew by day and night. It bounced and bobbed along the pavement, somehow never completely coming to rest. He wondered just how far it could make it on the interstate. It was theoretically possible that it would go all the way to California via I-10, but it was just as probable that it would follow an alternate wind current and be carried up I-55. It all depended on the rate of biodegradation and the drenching rains that could carry it to the shoulders and wash it down the storm drains...although, rain might also cause it to stick to the surface of a passing vehicle... He thought on...
Bill turned to ask Frank's opinion on the butt's longevity and destination, but found him putting on the shoes. They owned one pair between them. Living in the back-country for eight or nine months, they had either destroyed or eaten their old shoes. Upon returning to the city, they'd acquired a new pair from a tourist's bag while the dupe got a sketch done of himself by a street artist. Both of them felt bad about having to steal, consequently they owned just the one pair of size eleven hiking boots.
Bill asked Frank where he was going, all the time watching carefully the ritual attentiveness that Frank put into donning the shoes. They were both dirty bums, but they had agreed to try to prevent fungal infections of the feet. Each watched intently whenever the other put on the shoes.
"You're coming with me. We're gonna get some shoes for you."
"But I like those."
"We'll get some like them. C'mon," Frank said, hopping up and crunching across the broken bottles and nail-driven slats of rotten wood that were strewn about under their cement cavern.
Bill followed, picking his steps carefully, looking like some sort of tic-tac-toe playing chicken in his nervous, jerky progression.
Hoofing it down Canal Street in silence, Frank went over his plan. First they would set up on two corners -- Frank on Decatur, Bill on St. Anne. Frank would run the shoes scam on a tourist while walking up the street. He figured it'd take about one long block to get to the kicker and start demanding the shoes, where, if the sucker gave him any shit, Bill would hop out and start agreeing with Frank as if he were a total stranger. They could both stand there and righteously demand the shoes off a mans feet if he played it right.
Frank explained the plan to Bill whose main concern was Frank's competence in picking out a man with a size eleven foot. Frank pointed out that his own feet were also size eleven and they tossed the idea back and forth, doubts and assurances flying like feathers around a cock-fight.
At length they arrived at St. Anne and Canal. Bill sat down at the granite foot of a forty story edifice and waited. Frank walked comfortably to Decatur St. while Bill picked at the dirty bottoms of his feet, unruffled by the looks of passing strangers.
After a spell, Bill spotted Frank walking toward him with a barrel chested man who was dressed like a cowboy. Blue boots with pointed toes and a big heel. Some kind of snake pattern on them.
They were engrossed in a spirited conversation as Bill watched them walk by. Frank kept shooting him looks and waving wildly behind the big man's back. Bill didn't move, instead chewing on his yellowed thumbnail and looking around dumbly.
Frank and the tourist walked together for another block before big Mickey Gilley finally pushed Frank roughly away and took a stance like a bull, giving Frank the eye. Frank cowered away and stalked back to Bill.
"What the fuck, man!? I had him! Why didn't you back me up?"
"I don't like cowboy boots", replied Bill, deeply interested in the sidewalk.
"Well, shit, you never said you were so particular about shoes before, your highness."
"No cowboy boots or sandals."
Frank took up his position on Decatur again.
People of all shapes and sizes went by. He stared down at their feet and waited for the right combination. The dupe had to be a tourist, wearing size eleven, and now, apparently, not wearing sandals or cowboy boots.
Twenty minutes went by during which time four perfect ones went by wearing sandals or cowboy boots. He thought about just going for one and letting Bill have the hiking boots. He dismissed the thought, however, as he had no intention of parting with the fine hiking boots. They were arguably the most comfortable footwear that he had ever owned.
He kept watching the crowd.
Inevitably, a sucker arrived. This time it was a nervous looking kid of about sixteen walking fast and smoking a cigarette. Frank sidled up, walking in step with the kid.
"How ya doin' fella? Can I get a cigarette?" Frank asked in one breath.
The kid looked at him like a hunted animal and quickly produced a pack from his breast pocket.
Frank took the pack from him and took two cigarettes, placed one behind his ear, one in his mouth and handed the pack back. "Light," he commanded.
The kid produced a pack of matches and stopped to wait while Frank lit his cigarette.
Before discarding the match and while still looking down his cigarette, Frank said, "I bet you I know where you got those shoes."
The kid raised an eyebrow and reached for his matches.
Frank snatched the matches back and looked the kid in the eye expectantly.
"Ok, what would ya like to bet?" the kid asked.
"I'll bet your shoes for my shoes."
The kid looked down appraisingly at Frank's fine boots and nodded. "Ok, it's a bet." he said. "Where?"
Frank tilted his head back and inhaled deeply from the cigarette with his eyes closed, savoring the moment. He mumbled, "where you got those shoes, let's see..."
"Well where? Ya not getting out of this bet now," the kid threatened.
Frank smiled to himself. "Size eleven, right?"
"Uh, yeah...", the kid said, taken aback a bit.
"You got them on your feet, that's where you got them."
The kid stared at him, mouth agape, for a full ten seconds. Frowning, he turned and started up the street.
Frank tossed the cigarette after one last hit and jogged after the kid, marveling to himself at how well things were working out.
Bill watched the kid moving quickly up the block in his expensive tennis-shoes. "Now that's more like it, Frank" he thought. He rose and stepped right into the kid's path.
"Stop that kid!", yelled Frank.
The kid looked back nervously and ran into Bill with a full head of steam.
Bill fell to the cement crying "Ohhh, hell. Oh damn, that hurts." He made a show of it, rolling around on his back and grabbing at his tailbone. The kid just stood and stared stupidly down at him, stealing a couple of furtive glances at the more curious of the working-class folks who mostly hurried by clenching their teeth and fixing their gaze straight ahead, ignoring the debacle.
Frank's arm appeared around the kid's shoulders.
"Hey, hey Kid! Slow down buddy. You're gonna kill someone!"
Bill, lying flat and still, let out a low, agonized moan.
"Aw, hell. I know this guy. He hurt his back in Vietnam. Remember Vietnam, kid? No, I guess you wouldn't."
The kid mumbled something about school, but Frank didn't hear him because Bill had really started pouring it on, screaming as if he were being eaten alive by wolves. It was all either of them could do to keep from laughing. They had to avoid eye-contact with each other.
The kid was horrified. Frank could feel words pouring from his mouth while Bill wailed on the sidewalk. He could see the kid getting closer and closer to his boiling point. It reminded him of sex in a strange way. Finally, the kid looked like he might just bolt and Frank heard his mouth close the deal...
"...and if you give up the shoes I'll see to it that the authorities don't have to be called in and that the old general here gets the medical attention he needs."
The kid was shaking and looked at Frank.
Bill kept sobbing and groaning, but looked up at the kid expectantly.
Frank looked from the kid to Bill and back at the kid.
The shoes came off in a flash, not even untied, and the kid disappeared across the street and into the crowd wearing only white tube socks.
"Well, that was easy." Bill said, hopping up and dusting off his backside.
"Yep." said Frank, bending to light his last cigarette from a businessman's zippo. He nodded his thanks and followed Bill who was babbling excitedly about washing his feet in the fountain up the street and trying on his new shoes.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I drove around the neighborhood looking for a cheaper place to rent. I hadn't brought in any money in weeks and was starting to get worried.
The neighborhood was an old one and had recently been invaded by yuppies who fixed up their old houses with a vengeance. It actually looked pretty nice but still had some fairly affordable rents if you took the time to look.
After copying down a few numbers within a block of my place, I turned up Opelousas and scanned around for signs. It was about 3:30 and school kids from the near-by parochial school filled the street.
The old fire station stood there, stoically watching the proceedings. Next door to the station was an antique shop with a few Victorian chairs in the cracked front window. At this window there were three little girls dressed in their catholic school clothes apparently admiring the old things in the window.
As I drove by I thought how picturesque that little scene had been. Before I had gone ten more feet, I heard one of the little girls yell, "FUCK YOU, WHITEY!" As soon as the first one did it, the other two joined in a chorus of profanities.
Going as slow as I was, it wasn't a problem to take the next U-turn. That scared them. I slowly drove up on the antique shop and they started screaming at the top of their lungs and falling over themselves to get through the doorway. I looked around and saw an old black man sitting on a lawn chair across the street. He observed the whole thing silently and without moving a muscle. With his watchful gaze upon us, I felt confident and stopped the car.
I got out and walked up to the shop. The screaming little girls had made it into the shop where they were screaming and pointing at me and imploring a confused looking older lady to do something about me.
"Hi, I'm Duane Carter and I was just driving by..." I extended a hand and began to explain.
"What have you done to these girls!?", she asked, stepping forward and shushing the girls behind her counter.
"Nothing, ma'am! I was just about to explain to you that they had been yelling obscenities in the street and..."
She sent the girls to the back of the shop and they went, sticking their tongues at me and one even lifted her skirt at me in an obscene gesture.
"Look, ma'am. I just thought I'd let someone in charge of these girls know about their behavior. Nevermind." I said as I turned to leave.
"Stop right there you mother fucker", the old lady growled from behind me. She was pointing an old pistol at me and dialing the telephone. I didn't think she'd use it, so I turned back toward the door and took a step.
She shot me right in the back, somewhere near the kidney area. The pain was excruciating. I fell to a knee with the floor spinning under me. My head wobbling on it's perch, I spotted two of the little girls poking out from behind the counter and grinning as if someone had just wheeled in a cake before I passed out.
I came to strapped face-down to a paramedic's board being lifted into an ambulance. Once they got me in and got the van moving, a nurse of some sort stuck me with a needleful of burning liquid and I passed out again.
"So you're up?" a police officer asked from a foot in front of my face.
"Yeah", I croaked.
"You've caused quite a bit of trouble, sir."
I just looked around the hospital room. It was a nice one. I wondered who was going to pay for it.
"You want to tell me why you were chasing those little girls?"
"Yes Mr. Carter. They have all stated that you chased them up the street and into the antique shop with your penis in your hand."
"My what?! What the hell are you talking about?" I nearly fell out of the bed.
"Calm down, the restraints are for your own good." he said, indicating the straps on my ankles and wrists. "The girls say that you got out of your car and came running at them with your penis in your hand. Do you disagree with this story?"
"You're damned right I do! I was just stopping to tell their mother that they were yelling obscenities at passing cars! They yelled 'FUCK YOU WHITEY' at me fergodsake!"
"You do understand, Mr. Carter, that these girls are all Caucasians themselves."
"I didn't say it made sense! I just thought their parents should know and then that old lady shot me!"
"The lady said that you were going for a weapon."
"I don't carry any weapons. I was leaving because she looked like she was going to believe her little darlings before me."
"Uh huh." he just nodded.
"What the fuck do you mean UH HUH!? I've been SHOT! Aren't you going to do something!?"
"I'll be right outside the door if you need me. In the meantime, I think you'd better calm down." he said as he walked out.
"Don't I get a lawyer?" I yelled at the closing door.
"Not until they arrest you, you don't." said a voice from the other side of a curtain that I hadn't noticed before.
"Huh?" I squinted at the curtain.
"You don't get a lawyer until they arrest you. Right now, you're not going anywhere, so they haven't arrested you. This way you don't get a lawyer until it's too late and you've said all manner of incriminating things."
"Oh. And who are you?" I tried to peer through the thin curtain to no avail.
"Just another prisoner."
"Where are we?""This is the police ward of Charity Hospital. They'll hold us here until we're well enough to be arrested. You might be here a while...
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
I learned early on that Christianity was a joke. Ten years of catholic school saw to that. It seems to have all started with a popular/powerful mystic back in the post-caveman days. A man of learned science could blow up into magical/divine legend in a generation or two. To die well was an art in those days.
With such things whirling in my head, as well as a host of the finest chemicals a high-school student could possibly get his hands on, I set out on my own.
I decided on my trek one morning after a particularly exhausting LSD experience. I lay in my bed sleeping for what seemed like 10 blissful days after finally coming down to my copy of Pink Floyd's "Wish you Were Here".
My Mother at the door.
I gain awareness.
She informs me that it is Sunday and demands that I go to church.
I grunt acquiescence and roll over.
She bangs and beats from behind the locked door preventing me from sleeping.
I get up, naked, and plug my pawn shop electric guitar into my old beat Radio-Shack stereo's MIC input and press record on the tape deck. Recording levels all the way up, I start jamming the only two or three bar chords I know in a rhythmic mantra I had devised the evening before in my silent room.
She rants and raves, me drowning her out rhyme for rhyme, note for note, almost mocking her with my sophomoric guitar styling.
I play tentatively and go off on a melodic/punk lead.
Suddenly the guitar dies in my hand. The lights go out on the stereo.
I feel the stereo's side. It isn't hot, no smoke. I wiggle the guitar cord. No sound at all.
I hear my mother screeching her victory like a harpy. She screams, "Fuse box!!! I won't let you break that guitar Goddammit! You still owe me one hundred seventeen dollars and eighty-one cents for that thing!"
I continue to jam on the now acoustic (barely) electric guitar.
She begins to realize that I will not be 'saved' today.
She bargains, telling me that if I don't go to church, I had better give her some money for the collection plate. I have no job and she gives me only 10$ for lunch each week. I wonder what makes her think I have any money since the school's lunch program provides for $1.25 lunches a day and I supposedly eat these lunches. I don't, but she didn't know that.
I was a fat kid and my method to lose the weight was drugs and alcohol and starving. I kept the 2$/day, starving, and bought the other two in whatever quantities I could muster for my meager cash.
Soon I wised up and began getting together all the money I could. With this I procured quantities for sale to my friends who used like I did. I cleaned up.
I was standing next to a stack of bills from the party the night before.
With friends, I went to a party filled with people on another type of acid. I talked a while to another dealer like myself and we each took one of the other's acid. we liked what we saw and traded three hits for three hits. He subsequently gave away/sold the acorn to his friends. He had given me Black Dragon which I distributed to my associates...
The room tripped a while and suddenly word of mouth went. I started getting people asking me for golden acorn. I had quite a lot with me as it happened, but I was tripping really hard with a bunch of people I didn't know and only a few I did.
I asked one of them to step into the kitchen of whomever's house it was and he obliged. I had a film canister filled with about 70 individually wrapped hits of LSD. The handling involved was minimal and therefore the quality wasn't compromised noticeably. I was exactingly careful with each, using tweezers caked with the greasy LSD juice soaked into each square of paper, so as not to degrade any hit's impact.
This guy bought 4.
I looked him in the eye and knew he planned on all four himself.
I had a goldmine on my hands here. I had charged him $5/hit even though he had bought four. At school or to friends, if I sold four, I'd have to drop to $4 or $3.50/hit, but here this guy didn't mind.
At that point I knew I could get rid of all of this acid tonight. If these people didn't do it all, they'd buy it up to sell to their friends, or keep it for special occasions.
I had been getting really good acid for weeks and it was always a different type, which helped to make each trip something special and keep me happy with the types of acid that went by me. I had good connections in nice, calm, crowds.
I asked the guy if I could put one onto his tongue to satisfy myself of his, and his friend's validity as acid heads and not cops.
He consented and I stuck it on his tongue.
He swallowed it and stood there for what seemed to me to be about 30 seconds.
He laughed and turned and left the kitchen.
A second patron entered. 6 to him at $30. Still $5/per hit. I wanted to get the line moving before the stuff was so plentiful that people tripping really hard started giving it away. Already I had 10-15 hits floating around about 25 people. They had their Black Dragon too. The next guy reassured me by buying 10 hits. I gave it to him for $45. This started people moving toward me.
One by one, they filed into the dark kitchen where I doled out individually wrapped hits of fantastic LSD to them. They mostly took it right there in front of me too. I figured that had less to do with me and more to do with the fact that taking it in the livingroom would prove difficult as there was forming presently, a line to the kitchen, with much jostling about and some wrestling, all in good acid-fun of course. No one wanted to mar the beauty that I had wrought on this little gathering of trippers.
Their Black Dragon was for the most part, a very cerebral LSD, while my Golden Acorn simply erased your word-thinking consciousness and blew you away with phantasmagoric hallucinations incomparably better than any fireworks display, art museum, movie or computer graphic. They loved the stuff, and they bought me out.
I left with a greasy stack of ones, fives and tens four inches thick. I rolled it with a hairband borrowed from a little hippie girl and soon drove my friends home from the party.
I drove perfectly and we even went driving for pure pleasure as the sun came up. I took the ferry across the Mississippi and we all ran to the rails to get the cold wind in our faces and see the sun rise draping the New Orleans skyline.
We drove through the french quarter and watched the drunks finding themselves in the morning.
We watched the homeless walking around to keep warm enough to live.
We watched the shop keepers opening their businesses, sweeping sidewalks, rolling up awnings.
We watched through our mock ray-bans and laughed and cried at the raw humanity of it all.
I finally brought them home and went there myself, tiptoeing through the livingroom to my room where I could sprawl and light my bong. I did so, and finally slept.
Until seven in the morning, when mother woke me with her church rantings. I decided to give her ten dollars. I slipped it under the door and screamed at the top of my hoarse lungs to give it to the needy.
She cried in the hall ranting her love for me and went to her room to dress for church. On her way, she turned on the religious channel on the TV, where Jimmy Swaggart, in his heyday, was preaching the gospel of money to unsuspecting widows and divorcees, like my mother.
She cranked her fine stereo TV and Jimmy boomed through the house and especially through my sensitive ears. I played Iron Man on my powerless guitar until she had dressed and left for church, Jimmy still blaring. I stormed out of my room as soon as the automatic garage door had closed.
I slapped the TV off and went to the fuse box. I turned my room back on and decided to reek out the house with marijuana and play my guitar.
These things I did for about two hours. I had allotted myself this amount of time in advance and set my alarm to stop me. It did.
I turned off my guitar and went to sleep.
I awakened in the night and found mother still (again?) gone. I figured I had slept 16 hours.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I vowed not to repeat the error of my ways when I discovered the preposterous release of a new album by the Dolls in 2006. Preposterous because it couldn't be. How could the Dolls put out a new album? Billy Murcia, the original drummer suffocated to death in a London hotel bathtub in '72 (after copious consumption of drugs and alcohol). The band broke up in '77. Thunders overdosed in '91. Jerry Nolan, the second drummer died in '92. The bassist, Arthur 'Killer' Kane died in '94.
And yet there it was: a new album. The band's name, New York Dolls written in cursive across the cover in fuchsia lipstick be proof of it. How's it possible? Who's left? Two dudes: singer/writer David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain. They melded seamlessly with a new group of guys to create a solid new unit. This isn't the New York Dolls of old; it's the new New York Dolls. And when I say I'm in love, you'd best believe that I'm in love...L-U-V.
It's a raunchy rock n' roll exposition in the classic tradition but with intellectual musings interjected throughout. “Ain't gonna anthropomorphize ya, or perversely polymorphisize ya!” isn't a typical lyric for the genre. Nor is the satirical debate of evolution versus creationism in the guise of a rock song typical. Oh sure, some stiff prick might address the subject, but Dance Like a Monkey is a fuckin' rockin' song! They manage to be jejune and bright at once.