The first time I ever saw a Mohawk was
in a cowboy movie. The second was pink and sat like a broom-head atop the lanky guitarist who, tipsy habitués said, played in the Plasmatics. He’d saunter in with a woman, the lead singer,
Wendy O. Williams, as it turns out, whose breasts were the pivots of intense speculation. Tupperware goblets never enmeshed
in much more than a leather cobweb.
Did she go to D’Agostino’s
this way? This speculation regarding their special pinkness, their resolute rouge fruitfulness, defying gravity, now included
the likes of me in Puffy’s, with a bartender so beautiful that her utter unattainability
made her comfortable to be around. Puffy’s sat in the grimy midst of Tribeca,
a region consisting of warehouses the size of wheat fields, where you could wander around in without ever encountering another
human. That was 1980. Each façade had its own peculiar mien of bewilderment. Check the
paintings of Charles Burchfield and you will see what I mean. By 1986, however, it was already a colony of Long Island – hot, desirable, bustling with the vibe of buzzards hovering over carrion.
It was in this outpost of authenticity that I first encountered the “Rum
Seer,” a woman with a nom de guerre of some duration and allegiance. She
was apparently someone Nice had caught more than wind of and attitude from, who had evolved, she said, they said, from drunk
to medium to “Rum Seer.”
She’d heard of me; me being more fact of a rumor, to some, than rumor
of a fact, from Nice as well as from others. We had even crossed paths a few times.
When I’d called she had proposed an old man bar on the Upper Westside, called the Shandon Star, part of a network of working-class Blarney Stone Irish pubs
known for their déclassé ambiences,
boisterous drunkards at 11 a.m., and their various platters of gray steaming gristle –
don’t worry about having to deal with trend seekers here. However, when
we met in front of the place it had been transformed – she swore overnight! – into a Burger King.
OK, down to the Blarney Stone, which had been transformed into the hyper-trendy Head Room which employed juggling bartenders
with post-punk hairdos [lured away from the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus with the promise of prime-time television coverage highlighting
their special talents] and gals in window seats with perms gleaned from the latest mini-series on the new Bandwidth Television
Network [BTN], all dedicated to promoting the art of self-indulgent singles with a high-end purchasing demeanor. The atmosphere
was somewhere between Caribbean, literary Dublin, and the
inside of a computer’s hard drive and their specialty is creamy frappé drinks courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s,
Bacardi or Jameson, and Bailey’s.
“This is not my New
York City any more.” She lamented apologetically as we entered
the classic 1930s revolving door. The fact that we were handed free drinks immediately upon entering certainly had something
to do with our staying for as long as we did. Her upturned white cleavage bedewed with a hint of perspiration [I’m reminded of a meadow at sunrise, July 16] absorbing an olfactory bouquet that
lingered somewhere between Poison, salty sea breeze, Garbo, and Opium certainly didn’t
hurt. The virtual reality 3-D Caribbean-Dublin atmosphere was somewhere to get lost in but the louder the music got cranked
the more you had to scream to be heard. With the 3rd gratis rum concoction the Rum Seer suddenly realized where
we were. Not a movie set, no, but one of a series of Trend-Oriented Bars [T.O.B] with locations in Soho, Tribeca, the East
Village, and along Columbus Avenue. They serve as the testing ground and stage for surreptitious actors who play live product-placement
shills who order Bacardi Rum cocktails loudly and conspicuously in these bars and then enthusiastically talk up their drinks
with their “friends,”
while other actors are trained and tailored to look hip while profoundly enjoying their drinks to the point of generously
offering total strangers free drinks – “Yo,
yuh gotta try one!” The conversation is peppered with fun facts and odd rum
recipes. These are the first of the virtual reality adverts and it’s
like you have just walked into an extended late-night TV commercial. Rum mixed with almost anything but usually with another
product from the multi-national owner of Bacardi. So expect Oreo Bacardis eaten with a long elegant desert spoon. It is all
the brain-child of ad agency Boors & Kwetsch, which specializes in cutting-edge promotional tactics. The actors work undercover
and are by contract prohibited from discussing their cloak and dagger, or Bacardi & Coke subterfuge. But under the influence,
loose lips sink whatever… The actors are encouraged to snitch on any turncoats in
order to receive bonuses including crates of the stuff…
We ultimately have to escape. Once outside she shakes her hair and her eyes are full of consternation. “I don’t need post-mod; gimme pre-modern any
day. To Puffy’s, then?”
She urged. We headed for the #1 train downtown.
put on my prosthetic drinking devices.”
The Rum Seer had a Mediterranean mouth that dominated her face the way an awning ripped loose, flapping in a storm,
dominates a storefront. She was all bangs and mouth. Veil and orifice. Shade and suction. Mystery and force. Silence and glare.
On the way across Franklin I noticed from the corner of my
eye, a streetlight going the way of all previous black-eyes, descending into a sea of dark. I am here and decide not to point out my work.
In Puffy’s, one of the last outposts of veracity of a former time,
I had a Wychwood Hobgoblin, a strong dark ale with a thin creamy head. I followed that with a Piraat, a Belgian working-class
beer becomes an exotic call to solidarity – International Drinkers of Working-Class
Beer Unite! We discussed the pursuit of authenticity in a city obsessed with marketing a hyper-real version of reality, so
that every place was now a movie set version of some other neo-nostalgic reality. Not here.
from the Midwest.” I just knew.
“Yes, my boy. Originally. It’s the pancaked ‘A’
I bet. Born in Gary, Indiana, precisely 33 miles to Chicago. I know, that’s
how far I had to come for a life. I started goin’ there when I was 13 hitchhiking. I had
no fear.” You could tell she was enchanted by her own mythology as
Rum Seer and as one of the commandos in the Dame Brigade [part band, part feminist, part rabble-rouser, part ex-sex-worker].
“Hometown of the Jackson
“Not much else. Karl Malden. Steel town. My dad was a steelworker.
You know why I like it here? Cuz there’s no Pat Boone Drinkers, PBDs.”
“LITE beer lappers who even though they want to present you
with this rotting and wilting bouquet of just how sophisticated they are, still like any LITE at frostbite temps as long as
they maintain that slim exterior.”
“Lean and mean. ‘Slim’ in Dutch means smart. Any beer that hides behind the conviction that it needs
to be chilled is a fraud. You gotta drink beer at 50° Fahrenheit. At this temp. beer can prove
“Oh yea, I hear in Holland
you can order beer in McDonald’s. And that kids get handed condoms in
school when they are like 12.”
“I think so, I was born there but left way before my beer
and coitus days. If you ask me about breast milk and BREAST-feeding, then I could maybe tell you something. I mean that in
a non-lecherous way.”
“Con leche! I hear people drink like a gallon of milk a day
before noon and a gallon of beer before midnight.”
“Hmm. I guess I should go back to do some research.”
“And that you can drink beer when you’re 16. And that some schools let teenagers drink beer.”
“And that all women work in the Red Light District. And that
all men smoke weed all day.”
just sayin’ what I hear. I also heard beer and liquor is way cheaper.
Like you can buy beer for like a dime a bottle. Like five bucks a case.”
“Well, the only time I was back, was about 10 years ago and
that was in a non-research mode. But I do remember Pitt Pils at 5% from Helmond,
I remember the name cuz literally it means ‘mouth of hell’ is like a dime a bottle and is no worse than say Bud or Schlitz. You can get a Heineken for
a buck or so in bars.”
incredible. I heard their gin that you gotta gulp down before you drink your beer is totally different from English gin.”
like its been siphoned through a sock full of pine needles and tarragon and juniper. Ok, the genever, the gin is great, but Holland is not
where you go for extraordinary beer. Calvin and his ism had a way of shaving off all expressions of the extraordinary and
so it is all really good without being memorable. With some exceptions.”
She took her forefinger, shaved off my Piraat head, put the finger in her mouth, said; “Look, a brewcut.”
funny. But you want extraordinary and memorable you go to Belgium.
The Dutch have better haircuts, the Belgians better beer.”
the judge. You’re the man.”
the man, Oh yeah!” I satirically grab my crotch. It is now wet from my wet
the rumor. Hope the inside of your head’s
more substantial and less flimsy than your hair.” She didn’t mean it in a disparaging way. But how did I know that for certain?
“I just never got nowhere to be. I never see anyone. I only
go out at night.” She needed another Bacardi and Coke. “I have always admired or been fascinated by good haircuts – how do you get one and where? Mine have always been groomed to provide me with plenty of ridicule. Humility, lotsa
“You can mix anything with rum and it’ll come up god.”
“God or good?”
“Both. I go for Bacardi, mild and dry. But when I’m
feeling flush I go for Rhum Barbancourt Reserve, aged 8 years in Haitian barrels, or when some guy is trying to flatter me,
British Royal Navy Imperial Rum. Obscure and expensive Jamaican rum. Dense and sophisticated.”
motor oil drained from a ’73 Plymouth Fury?”
“Anything shorta motor oil will go fine. God or good. It just
ain’t worth drinking well rum cuz cheap dark alcohol contains congeners,
toxins that are created during fermentation. Don’tchu know that? Congeners just spread
throughout your whole body while you’re drinking and basically cause the hangover.
They’re bad for your head nut if you avoid cheap darker drinks cuz cheap
means scrimping during distillation. So I go top shelf because I respect my head.”
“L’amour physique est sans
issue / Je vais je vais et je viens / Entre tes reins / Je vais et / je viens / Je me retiens.”
I walked over to the vintage jukebox, G-33, “Je T’Aime, Moi Non Plus,” Donna Summer.
“‘I just had to see who that was.”
“Donna Summer. It’s
a Serge Gainsbourg. It was a big hit with Brigitte Bardot. The Pope got worried about its explicit lyrics which go ‘Physical love is a dead end…
dudu duuuh… I go and I come between your thighs, and then I hold on’ and then it goes ‘I am
the wave you are the island.…”
blushing. And you know French too?”
“Well, I had a French girl friend who taught me the lyrics
to some pop songs like this one. I can sing Serge, buy a baguette, order a beer in French.”
“What else do you need in France.”
I went to the bathroom. In the urinal, three cigarette butts, grafitti at eye level: I will come again, and I will
be millions - Evita Peron. In the reflection of the chrome paper towel dispenser I tried to do something with my mop. Something
that would appeal to her, something to make my dishevelment into style-with-purpose, something less soft ice cream swirl and
more Joey Ramone-esque or somewhere between Johnny Rotten and Johnny Hartman. Grafitti next to empty paper towel dispenser:
Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun - Evita Peron (33) RIP 7.26.52 CANCER.
When I got back she had properly draped her leather jacket over the barstool and was sitting on it. So much of her
black T-shirt had been cut away that I wasn’t sure what was holding it together.
It revealed a generosity of skin into which my mind could plunge impetuously. It was hard to concentrate on conversation.
Skin like porcelain. Skin with a hint of glimmering dew. The small blond hairs like the soft hairs on some plants my mother
grows in her garden. Delicate yet capable of withstanding extreme temperature changes.
“So here we are, Grog and Magrog, ‘taking plunder and booty’ – tha’s the Bible – plotting the overthrow of the straight world.”
“Yea, like Laurel and Hardy, Sonny and Cher, Chip and Dale,
chips and dip, Frik and Frak, drink and drive…”
“Back to bar gripes: The wisdom of the spirits says avoid
bars with prefixes like ‘il,’
‘el,’ ‘le,’ ‘la,’ or ‘ye olde.’”
bars are good.”
even better... Sally’s, Dottie’s,
Lotte’s. I should tell you right now that I’ve NEVER had a tan, yuh know. Like never in my whole life. I am not like others.”
“Bars with literary allusions like Hemingway’s like Faulkner’s where they got a bronze plaque that
says ‘Civilization begins with distillation • William Faulkner’.”
touchy. You know, like I come alive after sun down and breed in basements and wine cellars.”
“Like a B-movie.”
I couldn’t claim as much. The overhead fan spun at the same velocity
as my head and her thoughts. ThuWack ThuWack… I heard choppers in Vietnam…
“Just thought you might wanna know. I don’t usually tell people about myself. The less said the more there is to contemplate.”
“In Holland they got a place called Drinkland. It’s like Disneyland for drinkers. They got everything: 300 kinds of beers, maps,
advisors, check lists, recommendations, Mandarine Napoleon [don’t ask],
Famous Grouse, Drinkland champagne, Calvados Chauffe, Springbank 25-year malt whiskey for 105 bucks.”
Her audacity – mystique as personal PR – left her a couple up on me. Her skin did, indeed, seem to reject all light. I shouldn’t stare at her chest for too long. As she unfurled ever further to the marrow of all matter
– fixing clasps and straps –
she suddenly spotted this biker, a menacing hulk of hair, leather, and grimace with keys dangling from his hippie-tooled belt.
Like he’d been on the run since Altamont. Did all those keys still
own keyholes? I was skeptical. You can berate someone like this quite cleverly inside the safety of your own brain…
got like 130 tattoos. The asshole of god like a tornado funnel being just one.”
“I started to once. Upon his insistence, of course… Don’t even start me... Stopped at his belt
and just guesstimated from there. He talked me up. ‘Go ahead, keep counting. You get it right
I buy you rounds the rest of the night.’ Up and DOWN, UP and DOWN! Every time
I come in here it’s the same shit. He thinks he’s got some kinda Charles Manson allure over women or somethin’.
‘What you drinkin’?
What you drinkin’? Always tryin’
to get me tanked. And after awhile he thought that by proximity – us both
hangin’ out here –
that I’d become his. Just cuz I counted all the above-the-belt tattoos
and took1 ride home on his Triumph. Once. I ain’t a fan of speed. Bullets and premature
ejaculation. I prefer pleasure boats, epic novels.”
“Well, I figure, all YOU gotta do is act like my husband and
he’ll keep his distance.”
The fan blades caught my umbilical cord and the whirling tangle drew me up toward the ceiling. Close as I’ll ever get to heaven.
“Like just ignore you? Get it? As in married?”
“OK, yea. No, here’s
the scene: recently married couple, still in lust. He’ll respect that – I think. I hope. Cuz despite the look, most bikers are actually quite traditional.”
“And if he don’t?”
deal with that as it comes.”
“Or my face will.”
And after three more drinks and one Rum Rebellion [tippytop shelf, dusty bottle of rum] each on the house, we were
lit like a hothouse on fire, like courage under fire. The kind of drunk where all phenomena,
all distraction, all entertainment, all sensory stimulation are all integrated fluidly into your soul and for a moment
everything, all lyrics, all road signs, everyone’s comments, all methodology, all waitressing
styles, every cabby’s route from here to there all made ecstatic sense for a
minute and you are as happy as you will ever be ever.
She hacked into the reverie by leading me through a series of dramatic entanglements and ever-bolder embraces. “Just stroke me here.”
Yes, yes, all human endeavor is ridiculous and rapturous. The curving waist between hip bone and lowest rib. Nothing any furniture
designer or architect or sculptor has ever come close to getting just right. Her humid breath flushing my face. Sonny Boy
Williamson on the juke singing “Moonshine”: “Now moonshine will make you think you / the policeman instead
of just every boy / Moonshine will make you think / the streetcar is just a silly toy.”
Wendy’s tits defy logic? Like you wanna burp’m. They’re pumped full o’ silicone. Someday they’ll shatter
like teacups from China.” Just stroke her, come on, clutch her, own her. She’ll be forever indebted to you. [Ed: They had no way of knowing that Wendy O.
Williams would commit suicide some years later using a shotgun to the face.] “Get
rid o’ him sniffin’
around my backdoor.”
“You know it’s silicone?”
“I used to go-go for businessmen, babe. Strip in a cage to
Yma Sumac – my choice – at the Melody. And MINE are real. They move the way men’s feasting eyes desire them to. So real they’ve
had men in tears.”
She gave a very brief show – a preview? – something that resembled a parody of Gypsy Rose Lee or something. And in our need to look
intimate we became precisely that. The centers of her pupils were like marbles I played with, looked at lights through as
a kid, like miniature galaxies that obeyed the laws that defined interstellar black holes. This can happen: Beer or rum or
opium can all serve as a telescope into other philosophies. She claimed that she could read people’s bodies like a blind person reads Braille. She had elaborate theories [I only later learned
that “her” theory
pretty much seemed to match the findings of some British psychologists who were hired by a British barkeep association to
help them identify problem drinkers through their bodily actions].
“Guys in dull clothes might suddenly perk up with a few drinks
and become real characters. Women are much subtler. But as we both know, yuppie chicks have decided that liberation means
being free to act as boorish as their male partners…”
nothin’ worse than chicks who feign interest in male sports and
hang around discussin’ football like they’re
“Well, famine and war are probably worse, but anyway, look
at Mr. Power-tie over there – shit, what’s this place comin’ to?! Next thing you know there’ll be a crew with their own personal pool cues in nifty teak monogrammed cases
– he coincidentally represents Stance #1 perfectly: Defiance and
provocation, chest puffed and swaying hips, holds his beer with a certain pugilistic flair, protecting his face with the glass
and ready to jab away with it as well. Meanwhile, there’s Mr. On
The Move, he’s obviously the recipient of plenty of hollow flattery for
his numerous award-winning ad campaigns – brilliant Darrel! He’s got stance #2 down pat: Look, self-assured and open with his drinking arm at a right angle
to his swaggering body, non-glass hand loosely on his hip. Always scouring for ears to bend, for more room, for an opportune
moment to buy a round. The guy over there is taking all this down. He embodies Stance #3: the chronicler who wishes he were
#2. He’s thoughtful, pensive, bordering on self-referentiality.
“Be careful with this one. I feel empathy coming on.”
say head for the head and do it there. He fondles his glass, avoids eye contact, is more interested in the intercourse between
himself, the glass, and his thoughts. Stance #4 is the popular pose: Eyes buggin’,
arms swingin’ Free spirit. Would shoot up the ceiling if his team won.
Hides his uncertainties behind escalating bravado. Having too good a time. Could
turn ugly if the team fails to perform and he has another round. The nervous guy over there; he’s some petty bureaucrat or something, paper shuffler, he’s got Stance #5: Protects his glass with his arms, holds glass close to his heart. Is disappointed that drink doesn’t work the promised magic on his ability to have enlightened or entertaining
conversation with the opposite sex or same sex, for that matter. Potential isolated brooder might turn ugly if he blames a
particular woman for snubbing him. That guy over there leaning against the wall, face in the shadow. He’s an outsider, doesn’t recognize a song on the jukebox…”
“Shit, he looks like my stunt double!”
“Look, how he keeps his glass close to his chest and under
his chin. He wants to crawl inside the glass. He’s awkward in his own thoughts and skin.
He’s faint-hearted and blames his mousiness on others. Could turn ugly
like some David Berkowitz or Bernard Goetz type.”
“The problem with me is that I’ve felt and looked like all six – simultaneously!”
“Anyway, he...” Nodding in the general direction of
a #4 and he’s got a dragon on his forearm. BUT NO, NO, DON’T LOOK! The mouth of which is in the bend of his elbow. When he straightens
his arm the dragon roars with a ribbon of flame. He likes to hold that up to a woman’s
tits and make believe he’s scorching her. He thinks this means he has a sense of humor.”
Because I’d seemingly made eye contact with him she thought we’d better retreat to Barnabas Rex [a bar with a pool table way before the release
of The Color of Money] around the corner. Outside Puffy’s she was careful not to break our breathless clinch, placed my hand on the turbulent pleasure
of her firm full buttocks. “Better than poetry.” Is all I can come up with.
not far from the first paved street in NYC – Stone Street.”
“My ass reminds you of a paved... ?”
“No but, no BUTT –
it’s cuz beer delivery wagons kept getting stuck in the mud is why
they paved it.”
Nick. We dated until he ran outa heroic stories of how he overcame his addictions. Hug me now like you wanna really do things to me!” I did as instructed.
in a Rum Rebellion, anyhow?” I inquired in the scallop of her ear.
“Brown rum, the juice of one lime, brown sugar, ice, shake,
orange slice, and a little spirit of Che Gueverahahaha.”
Shortly after we’d molded with some corner in the Rex, her ass on the edge
of the radiator, serenaded by the clickclack of billiard balls, Biker entered, clinking like a silly – but dangerous – wind chime.
As he squinted in through the doorway she commanded, “And NOW,
Furman, kiss me!” As if cameras were rolling. My hand, by now, expertly playing
the keyboard of her backbone as I bent her back, flexible as an accordion.
She rewarded my act with a mouth full of rum, which she forced into my mouth, plunging it down with her tongue that
shivered like a fish in my throat. Was her tongue proselytizing? To win a convert? A convert to what? Rum?
“I saved a young dip by fallin’ in love with him. He’s got a Mohawk too like Jean Beauvoir’s – he was still the bassist on the Plasmatics
Beyond the Valley of 1984 –
and I allow his multiple personalities to mess with mine. It’s innerestin’ – like a cock fight – but it gets a little crowded in bed when we beat each other to a bloody scene from a movie
that’s never seen the dark of a movie theatre. A bloody writhing orgy
or fun or one and the same. So yer lucky you got one of my... manipulatable ditzy sides tonight. I can be done to.”
been a hero more’n once in my life.”
“A hero is someone crazy enough to do what’s necessary.”
“I spooked a snake once to make it cough up the toad it was
“No, I mean it.”
“Afterward I held the toad, covered in snake spit, in my palm.
I imagined it was a girl’s heart.”
I waxed as poetic as the situation would allow.
“I once saved a pigeon from the jaws of a black cat in Central
Park. Saving a rat with wings seemed to be beyond the ken of most of my crew. There was blood in the snow and the skaters
twirled by on the ice. Icy stares. But who cares?!” She added.
Every time she sensed Biker might be “makin’ menace” our way, with a look halfway between brass knuckles and
a cuestick to the face, she’d instigate further incursions into the
“land of amour.”
This led to nonscripted incursions I’d rarely ever taken in public. But with
the cover of a pragmatic conceit such as this, it became easier and easier. Play with her bangs. Kiss her nape. Gnaw on her
gumdrop earlobes. Mmm. Patchoulli? A voodoo candle? She placed my hand on her breast where I measured the volatile dimensions
of her condyloma nipples. Which set her to grinding her pelvis into me like the action of an old washing machine on spin.
“The other night I yanked this banker-yup outta 6th Avenue
busy with traffic. But in the process I mess up his shirt. He shows passersby his shirt. ‘Fuckin’ criminal what this guy’s done to my fuckin’ Versace shirt! $219.99 at FUCKIN’ Barney’s!’
This guy’s havin’
a baby over a wrinkled shirt! Never mind I just saved his life. And then he heads back out into traffic.”
This was how my résumé continued
to read as I felt my body crease across our corner in the Rex like a book folded back against its binding. She ran her calm
knee against the sigh of my fly. Introduced me as her husband to an acquaintance whose drink was directly adjacent to Biker’s. Was Biker hard of hearing? Thick? Persistent? Was he really a menace at all?
Was I the one who was thick? Thick as the heel of his Frye boot? Were we just imagining it all?
“Rum used to be the big motivator in the British Navy. Boat
hulls were filled with it. No rum, no America.”
“No beer, no pyramids.”
Outside the Rex I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care what movie this was. I didn’t
care that NYC had over 2.5 million trees. I didn’t care that half of them were dead. I
didn’t care that NY had more mediators than meditators. I kissed her
under the umbrella. I didn’t care. Under the noctiluscent sky, where
the hiss of the rain sounded like wind through a forest. The rain made the streets smell clean.
I caught a glimpse of Biker looking out at us from the Rex. He looked small like an Edward Hopper character whose stories about Altamont no one had listened to in a really long time.
We walked past Puffy’s... Will
make you get drunk / and walk out in the street... to her subway. Down a few steps in its maw she tried to coax me to
return with her to her “sous-sol.”
Her tongue scurried around my face and torso like a rodent. I suggested my place.
Then I remembered the dishes, the roaches, the sheets I hadn’t
changed in... Djuna, that there was no Djuna and then there was. That it was finally arranged, Mr. Times Square Ticker had
gotten me out of Djuna’s way. Had put a down payment on this place and now she could
be all his. It was just a few blocks up the street. “Meat District.”
That made her chuckle – meat.
“As in what hangs from hooks.” I thought of other places it hangs from.
“Whadda yuh mean?”
see. Come on. I got Slim Jims.” But she remained adamant about HER place.
And there we stood entwined, tug of war. Her body like an appliance on high. Chewing my lips raw, moaning, enveloping half
my face. Knuckles grazing meat hanging from bone. In a stand-off, a true filibuster of the wills, a mystical stalemate in
which we’d exchanged several pints of spit, we stood and constricted
and exhaled and sucked. Finally we broke our clinch, vowing a future “showdown.” Curious word, “showdown.” And with that she descended further into the subway hole.
“Down down, down. How brave they’ll all think me at home.” As she took
her A train to HER Brooklyn. A mind is a waste of time, a terrible thing. Had she just used biker as a ruse in a scheme and
was I a chump of a ruse of a scheme? Had I been compromised? I felt for my wallet.
The Delaware Indians as well as the Mohicans called this place Mannahattanink or Mannahachtanink, which derives from
the term for intoxication, as in island of general intoxication. “You
are the waves and I am the island.”
I walked through the wiggly hiss and hum of Manhattan, with throbbing lips. Up to my new place. I should explain. Yea,
I’m finally got out of the situation – with a little help from Djuna’s Mr. Times Square Ticker? He was leaving
for Japan for a year or maybe more and wanted to subsublet his illegal sublet garret in the Meat Market area. I don’t [want to] understand the details. I thought it was his place, as in he owned it. Djuna even put the two month deposit down on it. Freedom never came so cheap,
she was probably thinking. She can be so... generous or is it tender, when she’s
desperate? To some I say I moved out, to others that I was kicked out. Semantics is all about eliciting the right response,
placing one’s self-image in the right light. I read something like that
in the “Mission Statement of Methods and Motivation,” a 30-page photocopied treatise to guide Djuna into the next phase of her life,
where she can afford to end her latest roommate-from-hell misery.
I was unsure of what Nice had intended by this meeting with the Rum Seer. The blood on my lips tasted like a syrup
you might pour over flapjacks. I saw expensive plates from Limoges in a window and I thought of Rum Seer. As I unlocked the
four locks to get into my garret I saw a gangly shadow in search of a body. I got inside and closed the door just in time.