Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Barney Johnson LIVING FOREVER

Last night I attended a wake for a fellow atheist. The service was at a Ukrainian Funeral Home in the East Village. Barney and I had met in 1978. He was my boss at Hurrah, a punk disco on West 62nd Street. He survived the era of erros to be a proudly gay man with beautiful boyish locks into his 60s. I would have killed for his colorist. I was shocked to see him lying in the coffin. Not because he was dead. Dead happens to us all in the Here-Before and to those in the Here-Now and the Here Beyond. More I was aghast at how the funeral beautician had swept his hair off his forehead. Fucking no way. But it was not my place to say anything. Barney was a good-looking gay man dead or alive. More disturbing was the Cyrillic Priest moaning about god and the after-life. Barney was more into after-hours than the after life. I had to flee the viewing room to grouse with my fellow non-believers. 3 out of 100, because the rest of the atheists were respecting the family's faith. I was giving homage to Barney's devout non-belief. After the homilies and tearful good-byes I said fuck it and walked to the coffin. "This man is Barney Johnson. He loved his family, his daughter, and his friends. We met at Hurrah. Barney loved the nightlife and he is loving it in the demi-eternity of the Here-Before." I related how Barney was still alive back then and alive in our hearts of the Here Now and will exist thanks to that love in the Here Beyond." I told a story about tracking him down. Barney was a recluse. I didn't mention that I was trying to score some blow from his dealer. It didn't seem the place or time. I ended my eulogy, but saying, "Barney was a gentleman and a gentleman is someone who makes everyone comfortable." I will miss him forever.

PIMPMOBILE Isaac Hayes

Great demo derby through LA from TRUCK TURNER, a 1974 blaxploitation film starring Isaac Hayes and Yaphet Kotto, Dig those bongos To view PURSUIT OF THE PIMPMOBILE please go to the following URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMO2Titwv88

Blonde On Pink

4-7-07. PHOTO BY BOBBY BUSNACH — with maya luz and bobby busnach photographe

Welcome To Zimbabwe

In 1979 the white Rhodesian minority lost its stranglehold on the landlocked African nation and the UNAC won the April elections. Power-sharing arrangements shifted in the coming years and Zimbabwe began a black nation on June 12, 1979. Since that time the country has been ruled by President Mugabe, who has driven the economy of the resource-rich land to ruin. Today the country's finance minister announced to the press, "Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 left in government coffers." $217? I have more in my bank, but tomorrow there might be nothing, so I understand Zimbabwe's pain, although I am ruled by the feckless foibles of Wall Street and not a demented dictator. I don't know what is worse, but I am only one and Zimbabwe has twelve million people. I don't even want to calculate how much $217 is when divided by that many. Not much. Welcome to International Write-Off Year.

No Rain In Sight

As far as I can ascertain from my research there has been no rain on the planet Mars for over billions of years, although the Xanthe Terra highlands on the equator shows signs of water flow. The heaviest rainfall on Earth has been recorded in the following locations according to Answers.com; LLoro, Colombia, averages 13,300mm (523.6 in) per year Mawsynram, Meghalaya, India, averages 11,873 mm (467 in) Mt Waialeale, Hawai'i, USA, annual average 11,684 mm (460 in) Cherrapunji, also in Meghalaya; yearly avg 11,430 mm (450 in) Tutunedo, Choco, Colombia, annual avg of 11394 (448 in) New York City weathermen predicted heavy rain for 5pm this evening. As we pulled the jewelry from the front window, my partner at Smith and Love Diamonds shook his head and said, "Fantastic, I get to walk home in the rain and I don't have an umbrella." "Don't worry, it will hold off." "How do you know?" Hlove trusted meteorologists more than me. "Because my fingers aren't crackling." I had fought about 200 times over my life. Not all of these bouts were one on one and not all of them were entered into the W column, but I always threw a punch. "Busted knuckles are a damned good barometer." "If you say so." Hlove is a guitarist, but he's also a fighter. "Clench our fist." "And?" "You hear anything?" "Nothing?" "So you'll get home high and dry." "I don't know about high." HLove's doctors had ordered him to take the cure. We had never drank together and I never say anything about his choice. It's life versus death and not a question of wet feet. "But if you say so I'll be dry." We shut the safe and left the exchange. I was the last to go, because it took me three minutes to find my cell phone. The train ride to Fort Greene was twenty-three minutes on the B. I exited at Atlantic Terminal and stepped outside onto Hanson Place. The rain had yet to come and looking out my window at 8:05 there's none in sight. High and dry. Except my the glass of wine in my hand is expecting a downpour. "The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling." Lucretius Same goes for wine, since all liquids find the fastest path to the sea.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Beauty Most Fair Yo-Landi Vi$$er

Weebly.com is holding an online vote for most beautifful woman of 2013. Some of the women are familiar from screen, TV, and music. Others are succubus from the other side of a generation gap. Sadly none meet my citerion for beauty. Not Aishwarya Rai, Angelina Jolie, Nurgul Yesilcay, Adrina Lima, Mahlagha Jaberi, Miranda Kerr, Candice Swanepoel, Tuba Büyüküstün, Doutzen Kroes, Megan Fox, Irina Shayk, Alessandra Ambrosio, Mila Kunis, Ana Beatriz Barros, Jessica Alba, Katrina Kaif, Slita Ebanks, Maryam Zakaria, Haifa Wehbe, Claudia Lynx, Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson, Tyra Banks, Catherine Zeta Jones, Beyonce, Jacqueline Fernandez, Dia Mirza, Candice Boucher, Minka Kelly, or Cheryl Cole. Aishwarya Rai received 9,359 votes, but I placed my vote for Yo-Landi Vi$$er, from the South Africa White Trash rap band Die Antwoort. Let's make my one vote many. To do that go to the following URL http://2013mostbeautifulwomenintheworld.weebly.com/

Brigitte Bardot you bet I would

And I would have loved to drive that car. Probably more than Brigitte Bardot. But driving both? Someone had to have done it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

BLESS ME FATHER by Peter Nolan Smith

My First Holy Communion and Confirmation of Faith to the Catholic Church took place at a church in Maine in 1960. My mother dressed me in white to symbolize the purity of my soul, although she had me wear a red jacket with a black velvet lapel. I had a fight with my best friend Chaney after the rites. Not really a fight, but I must have said or done something bad, because I remember his crying and my mother telling me to apologize. Afterwards I confessed this sin confessed to the parish priest. "I had a fight with my best friend." "That falls under the THOU SHALT NOT KILL COMMANDMENT." Father Murray had heard worst. "Say one Hail Mary and one Our Father." "That's all." "It's not like you killed anyone." I came out of the confessional and said the two prayers. "What was your penance?" Chaney asked, as we walked home to Falmouth Foresides. "One Hail Mary and one Our Father" "Sounds like you got off light," Chaney said on the church steps. "I'm sorry." I couldn't say it enough to him. New England Tel & Tel was transferring my father to Boston at the end of the school year. Next year I would be attending a Catholic school. "Forget about it." Chaney undid his tie. I did the same. We were best friends. A month after my family moved to the South Shore of Boston Chaney drowned in Sebago Lake. I stopped believing in God, but couldn't tell that to my parents or nuns without earning the wrath of the believers. At school I studied the Baltimore Catechism and at church I served as an altar boy with a family friend, Ray Howell. Latin was our first foreign language. We went to confession together. "Bless me father for I have sinned." My sins were always the same. Disobeying my parents and taking the Lord's name in vain. The penance was always the same too. "Five Hail Marys and one Our Father." "What about you?" I asked Ray. "I made up things." He was a good boy. "Why?" I was eleven. "Because the pastor can't believe that I am not without sin." Ray was ten years old. "And are you?" My repertoire of swear words was very small. "I think so." "Me too." I could not recollect Ray ever breaking a Commandment. By freshman year in high school I had violated eight of them. Murder and adultery were out of my league, but one of my transgressions was stealing wine from the sacristy. It was sweet. Two slugs gave a good kick. Ray never drank any. My last time inside a confessional must have on the other side of 1970, although Ray Howell became a priest out of high school and last summer at a family barbecue in Boston the monsignor asked me, "When was your last confession?" "Long time ago." My sister and her friends were in the pool. "You're still a non-believer?" Ray was wearing the black. "Yes." I was in denim shorts and a Red Sox shirt. He frowned and filled our glasses of wine. "Think of all your sins." "That wouldn't be easy." I had done worst than disobeying my parents and taking the Lord's name in vain in the last court decades. "Think hard." "Yes, Father." I watched my younger brother cannonball into the pool. His splash created a tsunami. I was seven years old again. "Are you sorry?" Ray was serious. "Yes, Father." I truly was sorry for most everything, although not cursing at New York Rangers fans or not believing in God. "Then you are forgiven." "What about the Hail Marys and Our Fathers?" "I think we said enough penance in our childhood. Now drink up. In vino veritas." In wine there was truth and Ray Howell was a priest for my own heathen heart. "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maximus culpa." The Latin Mass I am truly most sorry and I raised my glass. We drank together and he made the Sign of the Cross. Lightning struck neither of us dead and we clinked glasses. I hadn't been so blessed in a long time, but then a wordless confession at a BBQ suited me much better than a dark closet in a church. In wine there was always truth.

HISTOIRE DE MELODIE NELSON by Serge Gainsbourg

Music sucks in Pattaya. Old farangs sing HOTEL CALIFORNIA and bar girls dance to boy band love ballads, while Thai bands play dinosaur rock for drunken tourists.

Nothing's wrong with a bad reprise of SMOKE ON THE WATER, except I once hung out in nightclubs and bars in which music meant more than a tune you can sing while drinking beer with your mates, hoping the Viagra will work with your new missus. Pattaya certainly doesn’t have a bar close to Max’s Kansas City, where you could see the Jam, MC5, or Iggy.

Not even close and none of the geezers here care, because most Pattaya farangs are so low-class that their mental playlist is whatever was playing on their car radio i.e. muzak for 9-to-5 existences and none of them ever heard Serge Gainsbourg’s HISTOIRE DE MELODIE NELSEN.

And that’s too bad, because this 26-minute masterpiece set a high-water mark in 1971.

Forget the sexy French lyrics.

Forget Jane Birkin’s breathy interpretation, for her daughter was sexier in LEMON INCEST.

Dig how the guitar and bass weave a groove unattainable in this modern world on pre-packaged CDs, as Serge croons his tale of a Lolita sans the fear of moral outrage. This concept album wiped the floor with the Beatles’ SERGEANT PEPPER.

But they were no longer a band in 1971, but they must have spun this record and said, “We fucked up.”

Horrible to know you will never write anything as good as HISTOIRE OF MELODIE NELSEN.

Worse is to copy the LP like Beck, a talented plagiarist, because he’s no Jean-Claude Vannier, who arranged the 33 rpm disc for Serge, who was the ugliest man in Christendom, yet ended up with Jane Birkin as his sex slave.

The two of them might have had Jimmie Page play lead guitar. That’s the rumor, but the riff sound nothing like his solos with Led Zeppelin or the Yardbirds.

Understated and raw leaving you asking for more of 15 year-old girls on bicycles, Rolls-Royce, defloweration and a dirge about Melodie dying in a plane crash.

Not 9/11.

It was genius and I advise anyone with any musical taste to pick up this chef d’ouvres, for a song with the line ‘une poupée qui perd l’équilibre, la jupe retroussée sur ses pantalons blancs… (A doll who lost her balance, her skirt pushed up over her white leggings) isn’t getting any radio play in America.

Not this year.

But I got it on right now

Midnight. Gin-tonic. Dark outside.

Melodie Nelson.

The LP should have been a big hit, except French music has failed to dent the charts. The only excursion into the Top Ten was by the Singing Nun with her 1963 hit DOMINIQUE. The language is a problem. No teenager wants to dance to music whose lyrics need subtitles.

Tant pis or too bad, for French music has produced hundreds of great songs by Alain Bashung, Jane Birkin, Manu Chao, Julien Clerc, Etienne Daho, Jacno, Jacques Dutronc, France Gall, Françoise Hardy, Indochine, Marc Lavoine, Vanessa Paradis, Les Rita Mitsouko, Alain Souchon, Les têtes raides, Tahiti 80, Téléphone, Sylvie Vartan ad infinitum.

And of course Serge Gainsbourg.

Recently I searched to find their names of the musicians and someone added them to Wikpedia.

# Alan Parker - guitar
# Herbie Flowers - bass
# Douglas Wright - drums
# Alan Hawkshaw - piano
# Jean-Claude Vannier - arrangements, Orchestra Director
# Jane Birkin - vocal parts (and posed for front cover art)

A belated thanks to them for the hours of listening to a gem.

To hear Melodie Nelson go to the following URL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X5LwFCHNe4

Hate/Love l’Histoire de Melody Nelson

I have always considered L'HISTOIRE DE MELODY NELSON as one of the most provocative pop LPs of the 70s. Serge Gainsbourg's opera musically melanged JG Ballard's CRASH and LOLITA into an opera of sexual authenticity. The accompanying video is a gem with Jane Birkin playing Melody to the hilt. I was thinking about her and wondered if Serge was a voyeur. I googled his name and voyeurism, finding this 2006 internet entry by Melita Teale; Why I Hate l’Histoire de Melody Nelson Fuck Serge Gainsbourg, that fucking voyeur pedophile satyromaniac. What sort of man writes a concept album about knocking a teenager off her bike with a Rolls, giving her piggyback rides, deflowering her, and mourning her subsequent death in an aeroplane accident? What sort of a worm of a Svengali records his young girlfriend Jane Birkin having a shockingly piggy orgasm on track six to flesh it out? Not to mention having her photographed with the most lamentable cameltoe in rock ’n’ roll history for the album cover – while she’s topless and holding a teddy. Talk about objectification. How can he so objectify a fifteen-year-old with a line like ‘une poupée qui perd l’équilibre, la jupe retroussée sur ses pantalons blancs... (A doll who lost her balance, her skirt pushed up over her white leggings)’? With his googly eyes and hideous looks, of course Gainsbourg would have fantasized about some poor disinterested ‘agréable petite conne’ of a virgin who would fall hard enough for him to let him take advantage of her. And he sang on the album about as well as Leonard Cohen sings now. Except Gainsbourg actually tried to carry a tune. Melita didn't hold back any punches, but then went on to write the following; Why I Love l’Histoire de Melody Nelson My god, Serge Gainsbourg made an enchantingly beautiful album about being a voyeur pedophile satyromaniac. I’m reminded of a story about Paul McCartney making a bet about being able to write a song about anything and coming up with one from Picasso’s obituary. Except it embarrasses me to compare Melody Nelson with anything that came out of Paul McCartney. Can I recommend an album this evil? Well... I recommend it like I recommend Italian strippers or hash oil. You’ll feel dirty, but if it’s your sort of thing you’ll like it. Outside of Jane Birkin squealing there’s nothing pornographic about its sounds; the lines quoted above are the naughtiest. I don’t write that to defend the album; I write that to exclaim over how the world of longing here is all the more artful for not being solely physical. Not one wasted word or note – they all take you right into the heart of a hard but besotted man who believes the girl he’s obsessed with is both a straightforward simpleton and an unearthly, irresistible force that he can never understand. His voice, crappy though it is, manipulates. In the "Valse de Melody", where he carries the tune as well as he can, the seconds where it breaks and snaps show us more desire than Ang Lee managed in three boring hours about star-crossed sheep herders sniffing each other’s shirts. And the arrangement is flawless. This being Serge Gainsbourg, the hero of French pop, and it being the '70s, he got an orchestra to use as a simple backing to his vocal crackling and to the three piece band that drives the action and the tune. He uses the orchestra not wastefully, but as one big ambient instrument helping beautifully bury the listener in the narrator’s perturbing emotions, letting the whole thing seem like a desperate quest not just to possess but to love. Right on Melita with the love/hate thing, because Serge Gainsbourg is too complicated to simply choose between love or hate. Moi, je l'adore.

Jane Birkin on Proust

My mother was right: When you've got nothing left, all you can do is get into silk underwear and start reading Proust. - Jane Birkin Personally I wasn't able to read past the opening line of À LA RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU. “For a long time I used to go to bed early.” I never went to sleep early in my youth, but if I did then it was to dream of Jane Birkin in a silk underwear. Even better was to dream of her with nothing at all and that included Serge Gainsbourg, because something tells me that the Grand Pif was no voyeur.

The New GOP

After the GOP's defeat in the presidential and senatorial election Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal criticized his party for promoting a platform based on stupidity and not electability. “It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments -- enough of that,” Jindal told Politico. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.” Recent bills brought up for a vote across the States have suggested that the GOP has declared its recommitment to being the Party of the Dumb According to pathos.com a group of Arizona Republicans have proposed House Bill 2467, which would require public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate: I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God. No atheists need apply. Another GOP state legislator demanded that Tennessee cut food assistance to kids with bad grades, while Governor Rick James has vowed to arrest any federal officers attempting to enforce a gun control law. Stupid? You bet they are and they like playing 'dumb' too. If only we could get them to roll over and play dead.

Howling At The Moon

Susan Hannaford on Berlin posted on Facebook that this evening's full moon was known as the Wolf Moon. The title comes from Native Americans of the Northern Forests, because of the lupine choirs heard around their villages and encampments in the depth of winter. The Sioux called January the time 'when wolves run together'" Th howling of wolves cast a chill into the marrow of humans, since the howls are often sounded to assemble for the kill. In ideal conditions a wolf howl can be heard over 50 sq. mi. according to Wikipedia. As for howling at the moon this legend arose from the Neolithic coupling of wolves with the moon and the hunt, although the Seneca believed the moon was created by the serenade of wolves. My father had a favorite joke, which could be told to all ages. What's gray, howls at the moon, and is made of concrete? Most people are stumped by the query and are angered to hear the answer, "A wolf." "But why the concrete?" And here comes the punch line. "That's to make the joke harder." Ha ha ha.

Finish Line in Thailand


"I finish only with you." These words almost sounds true coming from the lips of a Soi 6 short-timer. She doesn't know your name. Your penis will be forgotten shortly after the apres-sex shower, but farangs inevitably ask, "Really?"

"You #1. Big too." This compliment can earned her a tip for a man, whether he be Thai or Farang, since we like compliments about performance as much as a woman enjoys foreplay.

"Really?"

Saying the right thing could earn another 100 or 200 baht.

"You make me finish. Never finish with man before."

And this is almost the truth. My friend Ort worked Soi 6 and she said, "I never finish. Not one time."

Ort was cute.

She had customers all the time.

4 a day. 5 days a week. 200 men a year.

Not one orgasm and I believed her, since a survey by the condom maker DUREX revealed that 54% of Thai couples failed to reach satisfaction.

"Men only care about men." Ort told me. "Uh uh uh. Finish. Not care about lady."

"I want finish I tok-phet." This was Thai for how a lady masturbate and has something to do with a duck. "Or maybe have other girl help me. Not gay. Not lesbian. Sometimes want finish too lazy to do myself."

"What about with me?"

"You different. I know you long time. We have sex many times. I finish with you because you know what I want."

"I'm a stud." I like hearing the lie, but if you spend 3.9 minutes more on foreplay according to that survey you can be a stud too.

But why bother?

I am a man.

Cleaver Penis Pants

Eldridge Cleaver had a troubled youth in LA, but a rape spree earned the 18 year-old a long sentence to San Quentin and Folsom prisons. His book SOUL ON ICE was published by Ramparts Magazine. Controversy followed his stating that he initially raped black women in the ghetto "for practice" and then embarked on the serial rape of white women. He described these crimes as politically inspired, motivated by a genuine conviction that the rape of white women was "an insurrectionary act" He never expressed any contrition for these crimes and upon his 1968 release from prison Cleaver joined the Black Panthers as Minister of Information. A failed ambush of police officers in Oakland forced him to flee the country to Cuba and then Algeria. His return to the States in 1975 was timed with his conversion to born-again evangelism. Many within the radical movement questioned whether Cleaver had been police plant within the Black Panthers. While in France Cleaver tried his hand at fashion, inventing the penis pants, which allowed a man's cock to hang out of his trousers in a sox. "I want to solve the problem of the fig-leaf mentality. Clothing is an extension of the fig leaf -- it put our sex inside our bodies. My pants put sex back where it should be." I can't recall anyone wearing one. Certainly the police have never mentioned them when looking for rapists, although Bas Kosters Studio are selling penis leggings costing $151. The print has thousands of penises on them and are a little square in comparison to Clever's penis pants. their website notes, they are "also available for men." But I wish I had a pair of the Cleaver Classics, but none were for sale on ebay, meaning either that no one bought them or anyone who has them isn't through with them yet. Classic.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

DISCO INFERNO The Tramps

The Phillie group The Trammps burned up the charts and dance floors with DISCO INFERNO in both 1976 and 1978.

A friend posted this another white boy's story on his Facebook page about DISCO INFERNO.

Back in the day I went to the Boston Arena to see the Trammps. I went with a friend. We were the only two white people in line. There was a huge crowd outside (without tickets). Someone grabbed my ticket out of my hand and ran into the crowd. I tried to follow him the crowd ganged up on me. A policeman broke it up asked me for a description. Realizing the futility of the moment, the officer escorted us to Mass Ave. We were upset so...nipples to the wind...we scurried over to The Shed for drinks.

Within the next hour, at the directive of the Tactical Police Force, the bar went into lock down with the few of us inside. There was a huge riot, as the unruly crowd without tickets tried to force their way into the Arena and went on a rampage through the neighborhood. Same thing happened at the Music Hall when Labelle played there.

Other than a couple of bruises, I was fine and ended up having a great time at the bar. We got SHITFACED with the bartender. I kept my crackah ass outa that area for a long time after that. See what you did to me with that post Bobby?......(I hate that fucking smiley face) But I'm smiling so there it is...IJS

Even the Trammps weren't all-black.

Their horn player was white to get them gigs at white clubs.

That's the way it was in the post-apartheid era in Amerika.

To hear DISCO INFERNO, please go to this URL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-opY4qcidFk&feature=share

THE BOUQUET OF RUINS by Peter Nolan Smith


Dec 1982

Some cities are best defined by songs such as APRIL IN PARIS or AUTUMN IN NEW YORK, but Hamburg defied music, as the North Sea's winter besieged the harbor city with endless rain, cold, and darkness. Every day the night conquered a few more minutes of light and our once-popular club on Epperdoffer Weg was deserted by the attractive youth, the esoteric intelligentsia, and the wicked rich, who sought comfort in their homes rather than BSirs.

The sleek nightclub had been designed to mimic CLOCKWORK ORANGE's milk bar.

THe fashion people of Hamburg had loved it throughout the summer, but they had been replaced by pimps and off-duty prostitutes from the Reeperbahn. Neither liked to pay for their drinks and my share of the profits shrank to nothing.

Henri, the DJ from Paris, and I were counting the days until we called it quits, only I wasn't telling management about my departure in case I wanted to come back after the holidays. Good-paying jobs for foreigners without the proper papers were difficult to find in Europe.

Only one person deserved an 'auf wiedersehen'.

I had been seeing Astrid since early October. The blonde twenty year-old was studying fashion at the University. Her dramatic overbite and an aquiline nose stole any chance at being called beautiful, but Astrid was very accommodating in bed.

"I may be leaving," I told her after a lengthy session nearing dawn.

"Are you going for good?" She dressed conservatively for school and stuffed her night clothes in a large leather bag.

"Yes." I lay in bed thinking that I'd miss her in Paris.

"And you are not coming back?" Her body belonged on a runaway model.

"Not a chance." I had had enough of Germany for this year.

"When?"

"Soon."

Claudia kissed me on the lips and I returned to sleep.

That night SS Tommy showed up at the bar early. We had few customers. All of them avoided the six-foot enforcer for the GMbH. Astrid stood at the door dressed in a fur with very little else underneath. She normally never showed until after midnight.

"What's this." The total came to almost 10,000 DMs or $6500 US.

"A bill." His scarred finger jabbed the top of the 'rechtung'.

"I can see that." I had learned German in high school. The list consisted of charges for sex. "What's it have to do with me?"

"This is what you owe for the nights with Astrid." With his long blonde hair and steroid muscles SS Tommy resembled a monstrous transvestite bulldog.

"Astrid? I didn't know she worked for you."

She smiled at me with a crooked grin. I hadn't seen this coming.

"Not all our girls work the Eros Center." His gang ran a string of 200 women on the Reeperbahn. Each one had sex five times a night. 200 DMs times five times two-hundred women came to $100,000 a night. SS Tommy owed three Ferraris. "Is everything in order?"

I checked the bill again. Each act was itemized by date.

"She never said anything about working for you," I said in rough German.

"Everyone in Hamburg works for someone." Zuhaleters were well-known for their violence and SS Tommy had a well-earned reputation for a short fuse.

I had to offer him a gesture.

"Here are the keys to my car."

SS Tommy took the car keys for 5000 DMs. I had paid 7000 six months ago.

"Where's it parked?"

"At the mechanic shop."

Two days earlier I had driven the orange VW into a tree. The mechanic said last rites over the chassis. It was a total write-off,

"Warum?" asked SS Tommy.

"Just getting a turn-up." It was an easy lie to tell.

"Das ist gut, but morgen 5000 more." SS Tommy grabbed my arm in a claw grip to insure that I had to pay him the rest of the money tomorrow or else.

"Of course." My shoulder muscles went dead, as his fingers dug into my flesh. The pain radiated through my body. He wanted money not a car.

"I'll give you a free night with Astrid." SS Tommy clicked his fingers. "Stay with him. I don't want him running out on me."

"Jawohl." She was good at taking orders as are all Germans.

I told the manager that I was going home early. I rubbed life back into my arm, as we left the club. Everyone avoided me, as if I had the plague. No one had friends, when SS Tommy was your enemy.

Back at my apartment Astrid acted, as if nothing had changed between us and I suppose that it hadn't, except I had 5000 DMs were under my bed.

SS Tommy wasn't getting a pfennig.

Neither was Astrid.

After a glass of sekt she went to take a shower, promising me a night to remember.

"Maybe I do 1000 worth."

"That would be nice." I smiled sipping my glass of pesudo-champagne.

As soon as the bathroom door shut, I grabbed my cash and wrapped a wire hangar around the doorknob, trapping Astrid inside. Within minutes I packed a bag with my clothes. I didn't have much to show for six months in Hamburg, but I didn't need much in Paris.

I heard thumping on the bathroom door.

Shouts followed.

"Chus," I shouted heading for the door, leaving a note on the kitchen table to SS Tommy.

The bed, chairs, table, and everything else were his.

I liked this deal better.

I bent over to take Astrid's underwear. I liked her smell.

A minute later I caught on Mittelweg.

"Bahnhof." It was only ten minutes away from Mittelweg. No one was in the station. The night was cold. I bought a ticket for the 2:34am train to Paris.

After that I hid on the platform like a spy fleeing Nazi Germany.

The southbound train pulled out of the station on time. My compartment was empty. The train stopped at every station. The towns sounded like battlefields. I didn't sleep until we passed through Dutch customs.

Dawn brightened the gray skies on a landscape of ruined steel factories of the Low Countries. These industries had been destroyed by Japanese competition. The decay stretched from border to border into Belgium. The wet of the winter carried the corruption of rust and concrete. It smelled of death and I pulled out Astrid's panties. They were French silk.

The conductor announced our ETA in Paris was 9:23am.

After arriving at Gare Du Nord I took the Metro to St. Germain, where I booked a room at the Hotel Louisiane and then breakfasted at the Cafe de Flore

Cafe du lait, croissant, and a Calvados said Paris and I sang APRIL IN PARIS to myself. SS Tommy would never find me here.

Astrid's panties were still in my pocket. I stole a whiff and inhaled the fading fragrance of cinnamon and sweat with a tang of herring. We had had a good thing for a few months and I smiled thinking that I would never see her crooked smile again.

And that was a good thing for this winter, especially since I couldn't see that far into summer.

For that was Hamburg's season to shine.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fantico Im Deutschland

Go see the show. Jorge wears g-strings.

Madonna At 18

Three years later Madonna came to sublet my apartment on East 10th Streeet. The walls were as smooth as lumpy pancakes. The bathtub was in the kitchen and the WC had an overhead chain. "I'll think about it." I never heard from her, but she was in my apartment for ten minutes. I bet she has no memory of that moment, but I remember everything, even though she wasn't as cute as this photo.

A STEP INTO TOMORROW by Peter Nolan Smith

Back in the 1970s rebellious young people fled their hometowns to find solace with like kinds in the East Village. The last decade had depopulated the Lower East Side and we found new lives in the forelorn tenements. In 1976 I escaped Boston in a stolen car and my hillbilly girlfriend joined me from West Virginia in Spring of 1977. Her best friend, was another aspiring actress from Louisiana. Mine was Anthony a photographer from Long Island. We didn't go out on double dates, since Susan was living with a film maker in a Chinatown loft. Alice was funny and pretty. She looked like Shirley MacLaine in THE APARTMENT. I tried to be faithful, but working at a punk nightclub, I ended up being a philanderer like Fred McMurray. I pretended that she didn't notice the perfume and lipstick on my shirts. The best lies are those we tell ourselves. With the coming of warm weather in 1978 Susan and Alice decided to run a movie night atop the four-story building on Chrystie Street. The double-feature was FROM HELL IT CAME and TWO THOUSAND MANIACS. I thought that the event would be a flop, but the two women attracted men like snakes to a hot rock, plus entry and popcorn was free with cans of Schlitz $1 each. Her foppish emcee David was dressed like a carney barker and welcomed each guest with a biting diatribe. "And here's Steven Kramer with the fabulous movie star Patti Astor." She was the darling of the B movie set and he played naked with his band the Wallets. By show time over a hundred people were crowded onto the roof of Tom's loft. They represented the high society at the downtown art scene and drank with an abandon reserved for an Irish wake. The first movie was screened against the back of billboard on the lower neighboring building. It was like a drive-in without cars. Pithe comments and screams enlivened the night as did Susan and Alice who had dressed up as vampish zombies for the occasion. David kept up a running commentary over the movie's dialogue. He was very funny. After THE END Tom spun records for the crowd. My pseudo-sister Kim danced with her beau Amos to James Brown's SEX MACHINE and Alice pranced across the tarred roof with Susan. This was their evening and I sulked against the wall with Anthony. We worked together at the nightclub and he said, "Let them have their fun." "Why not?" I grabbed another two beers and dropped $2 in the donation bucket. Handing Anthony his beer I noticed a round-headed man get up on the retaining wall. On the other side was a thirty-foot drop. He danced on the narrow top. Anthony looked at me and we grabbed him off his perch. "Leave me alone. I do this all the time." The man looked a little like Orson Welles' thin doppelganger. "Stay off the wall." I recognized him as a musician from The Wallets. They were a fun band, but Steven's dancing on the edge of the abyss was not my idea of fun. Alice came over to join us. Her hazel hair was damp around her angelic face. Her skin glowed with breathlessness. The evening was a big success. My friend Klaus had agreed to perform at New Wave Vaudeville, another one of her projects. The B52s and Blondie were scheduled to headline the event. I was going to be security with Anthony. Tom segued from Sly's SEX MACHINE to Otis Reading'S SATISFACTION. The roof wavered under the feet of the dancers. New York spread out beyond this building, but this had become the center of our universe and that cosmos shrunk the moment Steven got back up on the wall. He was dunker than before and Alice said to Anthony, "He's going to fall." Her last word nudge him over the brink and he disappeared from sight. None of us heard the thud of impact. "Damn." Anthony, Alice, and I rushed to the wall. Down below a man was sprawled facedown on the roof. His leg looked funny, but not in a funny sense. Blood was gathering around his head. A woman screamed. It was her wife. The blonde came from Ohio. She hit hysteria quick. The emcee joined us as did Tom. "Shit." This wasn't good. "Call the police." I told him. "What are you going to do?" Alice asked shivering with fright. "I'm going to help him." I wasn't a hero, but 911 wouldn't get the cops here fast and the body beneath us was lying with a pool of red. The scaffolding behind the billboard was six feet from the roof. I had leapt nineteen feet to win a AAU meet in Boston. That had been eight years ago. Six feet was within my reach. "I'm coming with you." David stood beside me. He was wearing white bucks. They had good traction. "He's my friend." "I'll go first." I ran across the roof and jumped into the air. I caught hold of the struts and swung onto a plank of wood, then turned to stretch out my hand to David. He might have been a little timid in real life, but he fearlessly flew across the gap between safety and danger. I caught his arm and he said, "Thanks." We had an audience and above the applause Steven's wife was screaming like a pig with an electric prod up its ass. David regarded me and said, "Women." Within seconds we descended to the roof and hurried to Steven. "Damn." David hugged himself to fight off his queasiness. His friend was fucked up. Steven's face was flatter than Kansas. He was drowning in his own blood. Sirens neared Chinatown. They were coming here. Professionals wouldn't be here fast enough. It was up to me and David. We crouched over Steven. He was breathing bubbles into his blood. "Steven, can you hear me. It's David." A painful grunt was his answer. "We can't leave him like this or else he'll drown." My paternal grandfather had been a surgeon in WWI. I had read his medical books. "Steven, can you move your feet?" That got a feeble wiggle from him. "His back isn't broken, so we have to turn him over to keep from suffocating in his blood." I wasn't asking, but telling and David nodded before grabbing hold on his friend's crimson-stained shirt. "One, two, three." The two of us turned Steven onto his back. "Steven, move your feet," David begged with tears in his eyes. Steven obeyed his command and then swooned into a deeper depth of unconsciousness. Flashing lights splattered against the walls. The FD and PD were here. A woman kept scream above. It was Steven's wife. "Do you need anything?" Anthony yelled from Tom's roof. I looked at David. "Beer?" He nodded in agreement. "Two beers and tell that woman to shut her hole." A minute later the police took control of the scene. The firemen strapped Steven to a gurney. EMS said he would live. David and I climbed the billboard back to the roof. Tom and Susan were relieved to not have a death on their hands. Anthony and I drank more beer. Alice wasn't much of a drinker and never said anything about Steven's fall. Monster Movie Club became a monthly event at Club 57 and New Wave Vaudeville was a big success for everyone, but me, since I had fought with the band members of Blondie. They were even more of an asshole than me. Alice and I broke us at the end of 1979. I was at fault for not knowing what I had. I ran into Steven Kramer several times. He stared at me with distrust. He couldn't place me in his universe. One night at the Mudd Club he hobbled up to me. The fall had been bad enough that Steven resembled Truman Capote more than Orson Welles, mostly because he never gained Orson's weight. "I know you from some place." "No, not really." "No, I want to know." I refused to answer him, but he grabbed my leather jacket and repeated, "I want to know." "I was the person who turned you on my back." He looked in my face and walked back to his wife without a backward glance. I related the story to Anthony. "Just goes to show you that all good deeds will go to be punished." And that's the damned truth.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hail To The Chief

My Man. President again. Yesterday I tried to name all the presidents. I got George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Willima Harrison, Andrew Jackson, John Tyler, Zachery Taylor, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanon, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysess S Grant, Rutherford Hayes, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama. That was only 38. I was missing a few. Like James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, and Grover Cleveland. Maybe some other too.

Fox News Shutdown

Today the Borowitz Report announced that Fox News Channel would shut down for what it called “routine maintenance” Monday morning at 11:30 E.T. Fox News president Roger Ailes explained the timing of the shutdown, which will be the first in the history of the network: “We wanted to pick a time when we were positive nothing would be happening that our viewers would want to see.” Mr. Ailes said that Fox had considered shutting down only once before, exactly four years earlier on January 20, 2009, and later regretted the decision to continue broadcasting that day: “It turned out that no Fox viewers wanted to watch TV that day. And I mean none.” According to Mr. Ailes, for the twelve hours Fox News is off the air on Monday the network will broadcast a continuous photomontage of white people. “Regular viewers of Fox probably won’t notice anything unusual,” he said. After the routine maintenance is completed, Mr. Ailes said, Fox News will return to the air Tuesday morning with its regular broadcast schedule: “For Fox viewers, it will be like Monday never happened.” It was a joke. If only the closing of Fox News was a truth.

All Inclusive

In his 2008 inaugeral speech Barack Obama declared that the USA was a country of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and non-believers. "Non-believers." I hadn't ever heard anyone mention 'non-believers' without adding 'hang em' and for the first time in my life since renouncing the God of my ancestors I realized that I was part of the mix of this great country. Today Obama righted another inequity by announcing from the steps of the Capitol, "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall." Stonewall? The first rebellion of gays against the repression of the straights. Squares throughout America asked themselves, "Did he say Stonewall?" They didn't have a chance to get an answer, because the President upped the ante by saying, "It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well." The Tea Partyers asked themselves, "Did he say 'gay'?" And the answer is yes, because we are America. All of us together. E pluribus unem.

FREEBIRD INDEED by Peter Nolan Smith

My youngest brother's health suffered a precipitous decline in 1995. The doctors at Beth Israel along the Fenway spoke about turning the corner on AIDS, but the experimental drugs failed to stem the ruthless ravages of his aliment. His life was shrinking from years to months, but in January Michael made enough of a comeback for me to contemplate of West Coast job offer. "We're opening a Milk Bar in Beverly Hills." The original club in New York had been a success lining my pockets with cash. "Swimming pools, palm trees, and movie stars." My brother painted a pleasant picture. "Something like that. Do you want me to stick around?" "No, I'll be fine." Michael was living with my parents on the South Shore. My father drove him to his radio station twice weekly for his show promoting gay life in Boston. "But if you see James Brolin, I want you to get his autograph." My baby brother loved swarthy men. "You got it." I left for LA and the futuristic club opened that March. Beverly Hills had never seen such a place and I earned four times more in tips than my salary. Everyone wanted to be inside, but by July the nightlife was taking its toll on my body and soul. I wasn't twenty anymore. It was time to quit and I had enough money to travel to Tibet for the rest of the year. The morning after the 4th of July the telephone rang in my rented North Hollywood studio. "Who is it?" Few people called me. "Me." It was my younger brother, Padraic. "Michael isn't well." "How unwell?" "I don't think he'll make August." "Fuck." The next day I was on a plane to Logan. My family was waiting at the hospice on the South Shore. I had seen friends die of AIDS. None of those passings prepared me for the sight of my brother's condition. His only nourishment was a morphine drip. I guessed his weight to be 120. Our family sat by his bedside. My mother patted his hand. My sisters wet his lips. My father faced the tragedy with a noble stoicism. He had done his best. Tears were for another day. My older brother read from the Bible. My youngest brother responded to none of this. I sat my his bed and didn't leave his side for days, except to eat in the hospice's canteen. They made a nice meatloaf. One night I entered Michael's room and my younger brother was playing FREEBIRD on his guitar. Paddy was a kind soul, but my youngest brother was more into show tunes and disco than southern rock. "You know Michael hated this song?" "I know, but in his state I figure that he would hear this song and know it was me." My youngest brother strummed his guitar and I joined his singing the song. I was more a punk than anything else, but I knew every word. FREEBIRD had been a huge hit for Lynard Skynard in 1972. If I leave here tomorrow Would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on, now, 'Cause there's too many places I've got to see. But, if I stayed here with you, girl, Things just couldn't be the same. 'Cause I'm as free as a bird now, And this bird you cannot change. Lord knows, I can't change. Bye, bye, its been a sweet love. Though this feeling I can't change. But please don't take it badly, 'Cause Lord knows I'm to blame. But, if I stayed here with you girl, Things just couldn't be the same. Cause I'm as free as a bird now, And this bird you'll never change. And this bird you cannot change. Lord knows, I can't change. Lord help me, I can't change. My younger brother put down his guitar and kissed his emaciated brother on the forehead. I kissed the other side. His skin was waxen. Michael had only a little further to go in this life. "Let's take a photo." "Now?" Paddy knew how vain Michael was. It was a family trait. "If not now, then it will be never." Michael had hours left in his heart. I positioned my camera on the bureau. The timer ran for thirty seconds. The camera snapped a shot of Paddy and me with my baby brother between us. He died a day later and we buried him in the town cemetery. I fled to Asia and mourned my brother at the holiest temples in the Orient. Upon my return I developed the roll of film from Michael's last days. I didn't show the shot on the bed to anyone, but Paddy. He shook his head. "What? You thinking about how thin he was?" I asked, taking the photo back from his hand. "No, just thinking about how fat we were." I looked at the picture and laughed at the truth. Michael would have laughed too and probably did someplace in the afterlife. He was out there somewhere in the Here-Before as we all are with the ones we love. FREEBIRD INDEED. To hear FREEBIRD please go to the following URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiB-MG49spw

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Cardiac Danger of Illicit Sex / Asia


Several years ago while surveying 5,529 heart attack deaths in Asia, Dr Wong Teck Wee discovered that 34 fatalities occurred during sex and 27 of those deaths occurred while the male was engaged in an act of illicit sex i.e. adultery. The Universiti Putra Malaysia cardiologist concluded from these findings that stress of illicit sex could lead to sudden death due to the narrowing of the artery and insufficient blood supply to the organs or even worse your merciless wife walking into the hotel room with a shotgun or machete.

That’s a shock to the system.

But all things considered kicking off in the sack is not a bad way to go as long as you come before you go otherwise it’s coitus interruptus fatalis, which is how Nelson Rockefeller, the former US President, departed from this mortal coil. On January 26, 1979 Nelson was riding male superior atop his mistress, Megan Marshak, when his heart overloaded from adrenalin, stopping almost every body function other than breathing.

Nelson was a big man and the 26 year-old aide had to squirm from underneath the portly politician, but rather than dial 911 for help, she telephoned her girlfriend, news reporter Ponchitta Pierce. Neither helped the ex-VP from his sprawled position on the floor as they discussed for the better part of an hour.

“To 911 or not 911.”

911 won in the end.

Too late for Nelson Rockefeller who expiated in the ambulance.

His corpse was cremated 18 hours after the coroner pronounced him DOA, mainly since his wife, Happy, was anxious that the Medical Examiner might find traces of sexual activity, however everyone in New York understood how Nelson went out of this world.

In the saddle.

I wish that his demise could have been at the hands of his wife Happy or a mob of rioting convicts, for Rockefeller's draconian laws have ruined millions of lives in the Empire State and his order to retake Attica prison resulted in many senseless deaths.

Law and Order.

For an adulterer.

Even better would have been for Nelson to suffer death by stoning.

That's the old punishment in the Bible.

And I would not hold my hand, for I am not a sinner like him.

Faithful to Mem forever, and not only because she dosed me with a Thai love potion.She swears that's not true, but I know better. She's the only one who I want to kill me with sex. And believe me we've tried and will try again. Love potions cost the giver too.

THE BLESSING OF THE LIZARD KING by Peter Nolan Smith

Monitor lizards are native to SE Asia. These carnivorous predators are related to the famous Komodo Dragon and varanid lizards are cooperative hunters like raptors in JURASSIC PARK. According to the Bangkok Post monitor lizards cluster in the city’s secluded water pipes and up to two hundred of the two-meter long beasts reside in each city district.

Many urban Thais regard the sighting of a hia or monitor lizard as the harbinger of bad luck in spite of the legend about warning humans of crocodiles. Down south on the Isthmus of Ka country folks keep the miniature monsters as domestic pets, for crocodiles still wander the mangrove swamps lining the peninsula.

”They keep increasing in numbers because these reptiles have few natural enemies, and their food is always plentiful,” a Thai reptile expert said, “Water monitors eat almost anything; fish, eggs, and even rotten meat.”

The only lizard in my hometown south of Boston was Jim Morrison singing 'crawling king snake', but in 1991 I stopped at Malaysia’s Tioman Island in the South China Sea, which the Lonely Planet referred to as a tropical gem. Jungles blanketed the hills and the sea was an invisible sheet of clear gin with beach sand gleaming white in the midday sun.

European backpackers overstayed their visits on this paradise. The beer was cold and the bungalows were cheap.

On my second week there I met a Swedish blonde traveler. She liked my poetry and we spent four nights together.

“This means nothing.” Velda was telling the truth. Nothing meant anything to devotees of the sun other than the next highlight on their world tour. On the fifth morning we were through.

“I want to sleep alone," the slim Swede announced on the fifth morning. Velda didn’t even kiss me good-bye and I expected that she would leave on the morning ferry for the mainland. I slept in late and hit the bungalow bar at noon.

“Beer for all my friends.” There were only three Germans at the bar, but I loved that line from BARFLY.

Before the beers arrived, a scream screeched through the trees.

Velda ran into the bar. Her long blonde hair was a Medusa snarl and her voice hit a soprano high on every word, as she explained, “There’s a lizard in the bathroom.”

The Malays working at the restaurant laughed about a lizard. Tioman was crawling with lizards and snakes, but I understood her fears, for my mother was scared of insects. If one got into the house, she would cry, “There’s a monster in the bathroom.”

I figured that Velda was just as hysterical as my mother and grabbed a broom.

“I’ll get rid of the lizard.”

“He's more bigger than Gecko.” The terror had stripped away her high school English.

“I’ll take care of it. Show me.” I followed her down the path to her bungalow. The A-frame stood in a palm grove perched next to a tidal inlet. Mangrove trees sank their roots into the brackish swamp water. It was good breeding place for lizards. The buzz of mosquitoes hummed from the swamp and Velda pointed to the bathroom door.

"He's in there."

"Don't worry, this will only take a second." I figure she had discovered a little gecko. Lizards were non-existent in Sweden.

“Be careful.”

“It's my middle name.”

I peered inside the room. The bathroom door was shut. I heard nothing and figured that the gecko had escaped through the ceiling. I tiptoed across the floor, broom in one hand. I yanked on the bathroom door expecting to find only a toilet, instead thick-chested monitor lizard bared slimy teeth with a hiss.

The broom dropped to the floor, as I slammed the door shut.

“That is a big lizard." I ran outside to Velda. "You want to stay at my place?”

“Yes, but no sex."

"None at all." I grabbed her bag and she moved back into my place for another week.

I thanked Jim Morrison the Lizard God for those extra days and nights.

I had seen the Doors at the Boston Tea Party in 1968. I didn’t tell that to the Swedish girl. Velda didn’t realize that I was in my late-30s. The twenty year-old's skin was as smooth as river-polished stone. After her departure to Koh Phi Phi, I spotted the monitor lizard lazing in the sun.

I bought a dozen boiled eggs from the warung and fed them one by one.

It was the least I could do for a cousin of Jim Morrison.

Anything else would have been bad luck.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Singapore NO NO

Back in the 1950s more adventurous western travelers to Singapore frequented Bugis Street to view the Pearl of the Orient's notorious cavalcade of beautiful transvestites. The laissez-faire atmosphere of the sex entrepot was an affront to the city-state's puritanical President and by the late 1980s Bugis Street had been sanitized of perversion and by the 1990s Singapore was considered the least sexy city is Asia. Tai-pei came in a close second.

In 2004 I missed a connecting flight in Tokyo. The passengers from my 747 were transported to a Narita hotel. We were given drink and dinner chits. I dined with two attractive Singapore business women coming back from New York. We drank several beers in the bar and I asked the about their lives at home.

"We work and ship. That's what Singapore girls do?" Suzee had lines growing in the corners of her eyes. She was pushing 35.

"What about boyfriends?"

"No boyfriends." Suzee shook her head in disgust. "We work too hard and Singapore men work too hard to have time for us."

"Do you go to clubs or bars?"

"No, we shop, we eat, we sleep and in the morning we go back to work." Suzee's friend was in her late-20s. Something about her thin lips said that she had never been kissed by a man or woman.

"And what about when you were in New York?"

The two laughed together and Suzee fingered the rim of her beer glass. "We worked, shopped, and ate, but not too much, because we don't want to be fat like Americans. Sorry."

"Nothing to be sorry about." My countrymen were verging toward a majority in obesity, but even the fat people were having sex. "What about another beer?"

"Sorry, no, we have to go work a little before we sleep."

They excused themselves, giving me their extra drink chits. I went to bed with a good buzz and in the morning caught an early bus to Narita to catch my flight to Bangkok.

Singapore gained further attention for their inherent prudishness when Singapore Airlines announced that sex would not be tolerated in the luxury suites of the new Airbus A300.

"Passengers will be asked to refrain from sex," an official explained to a press member examining the double beds in the giant jet's 12 luxury suites. "All we ask of customers, wherever they are on our aircraft, is to observe standards that don't cause offence to other customers and crew. Nothing different applies for our Singapore Airlines Suites customers."

This proclamation must have disappointed sexual adventurers seeking the thrill so eloquently described in Erica Jong's novel FEAR OF FLYING.

"So they'll sell you a double bed, and give you privacy and endless champagne and then say you can't do what comes naturally?" Tony Elwood said while flying with his wife with aboard the inaugural flight from London to Singapore. Julie Elwood added, told The Times of London. "They seem to have done everything they can to make it romantic, short of bringing around oysters. They shouldn't really complain, should they?"

People have been having sex in airplanes without the luxury suites.

Mostly in the bathrooms, which are very cramped quarters like the backseat of a VW, only you can't stand in a Bug.

The ban is useless, because people will do what they want and the beds in Airbus A300 have already been baptized by Airbus employees.

They are French and Paris is tres sexy.

If Singapore Airlines is serious about the sex ban, then they will have to hire sky marshals to enforce their edict.

Impossible?

Not for a city-state that requires everyone to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and where the police have dogs to sniff out violators.

The canines could easily be trained to sniff out something else too.

The crime of high-altitude sex.

Bad people.

Woof-woof.

Other Singapore laws

No chewing gum

No spitting

No jay-walking

No gay sex

No bungee jumping

So obviously no chewing gum to work up a spit to lubricate your gay partner's nether gate before engaging in sex whilst bungee jumping.

Very bad people, but they were fun and sexy too.

Maybe one day the past will catch up to the future.

$500 Million Painting

An art dealer friend of mine received an email from a 20-year-old Singapore artist asking $500 million US for his painting THE BRAIN. Here is the email: Half a Billion Dollars for a Painting is a World-Record* “If any artist has had any precedence in history, his art would no longer be unique and thus, he should not command a high price. I am new, and launching my first piece that is refreshing, unique and outof this world, therefore my art should command the highest price possible compared to anyone else who has had a precedence in the industry. Making history is more potent than precedence in history.” It is the most powerful painting in the world. The work is extremely thought provoking with a depiction of the human brain in an abstract form, against a surreal background. The Brain, an acrylic on canvas that measures 1.5 meters by 1.2 meters, will be up on the market for GBP 333,000,000 (over 500 Million Dollars) from the 12th of December this year. Kean Hughes, a fine arts dealer from London, concurred; “The Brain is simply beautiful.” AMAZING BUT TRUE My friend asked if it was a joke. Singaporeans are notorious for their lack of humor and as a diamantaire from 47th Street I have to ask, "Is that the best prie?"

GRAY VINYL LP RELEASE PARTY

In 1979 New York was an open city for artists and the greatest rising star of the downtown scene was Jean-Michel Basquiat. The iconic grafittist branched out from painting to form GRAY, a noise band with friends Shannon Dawson, Michael Holman, Nick Taylor, Wayne Clifford and Vincent Gallo. They played at Max's, Tier 3, CBGB, Hurrah, and the Mudd Club. I saw GRAY more than once and more than once was enough for me, but the band had a dedicated following and their music was featured in the film Edo's DOWNTOWN 81. The band dissolved as the members pursued various paths; Vincent Gallo to Hollywood, Michael Holman to hip-hop impressario, and Shannon Dawson to play trumpet for KONK. GRAY faded into the woodwork of memories until Nick Taylor and Michael Holman resurrected the group for a performance at the New Museum on the Bowery. I attended the concert expecting the worst, but was impressed by impact of the the Holman/Taylor collaboration in resurrecting GRAY through a collage of images, movies, voice recordings, and live music proving that yesterday can re-exist today. This Sunday GRAY will be released a vinyl LP I sadly will be upstate pruning an apple orchard. The things I do for money. But if you have the time, check out GRAY. GRAY VINYL LP RELEASE PARTY! SUNDAY, JANUARY 20TH! 9PM-2AM @ NURSE BETTIE, 106 NORFOLK STREET (BETWEEN DELANCEY & RIVINGTON) F TRAIN STOP “DELANCEY/ESSEX” STATION (917)434-9072) $4.00 DRINKS, FREE ADMISSION, SIGNED LPS ON SALE FOR $15.00! D.J. HIGH PRIEST & MONEY MIKE HOLMAN WILL BE SPINNING RECORDS ON THE ONES AND TWOS! HOSTESS: BRYN

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Old Bill Next To Me


The Plaza Hotel in New York has been a world-famous destination for decades and its 2008 reinvention as a condo-palace and demi-hotel failed to tarnish the reputation of Grand Lady on 5th Avenue.

While the newly opened Retail Plaza in the basement was an abject failure, the Oak Bar continued to attract power brokers, celebrities, and faces seen in the pages of the newspapers and magazines.

When Susan Lucci, the soap opera queen, entered our subterranean jewelry store, my young 'work wife' asked the diminutive TV actress, "Does anyone tell you that you look like Susan Lucci?"

"All the time." Her mouth expressed a sweet smirk at my blonde work-wife's innocence.

"Are you Susan Lucci?" Vanessa gasped like she had been thrown out of the Space Shuttle into zero atmosphere.

"Most of the time." Susan Lucci's beauty emanated from beneath her botoxed skin.

"Congratulations." My work-wife stammered out her best wishes to Lucci being Lucci. Her face was a nice color red.

"Thank you." Susan waved good-bye and wheeled a turn on her spike heels. Without them she would have been less than five feet tall.

We later told about this encounter with the star of ALL MY CHILDREN to the other salespeople trapped in the doomed Plaza Collection.

They laughed at my work-wife's offering 'congratulations'. Her husband loved her for more than her smarts.

"I didn't know what else to say." Vanessa had worshipped Susan Lucci from her couch for years.

One afternoon David Beckham and his wife Posh visited the hotel. The paparazzi rioted outside the entrance. Fans screamed out his name. The madhouse lasted for hours.

Celebrity has its perks, but power demanded different accommodations from the public and one evening in February the Secret Service locked down the hotel for the arrival of Bill Clinton, the former president of the USA, who had a table reserved in the Oak Room.

Agents in black suits roamed the hotel. They surveilled guests and workers with suspicion. Bill had been a popular president, but men in high places retain their enemies after retirement.

The secret service agents ignored me, obviously judging a fifty-five year old diamond salesman to be harmless. They were right. I was no assassin.

I thought about going up to the Oak Room to gawk at Clinton, but customers kept me busy during his visit. As the closing hour approached I went to washroom at the rear of the Retail Collection. The owner of Leather Spa said that the ex-president stopped for a shoeshine.

"He tipped Segundo $10."

"He wore handmade loafer from England." Segundo knew his shoes.

"A good tipper." A shine cost $4 at their stand. "Is he still in the Oak Room?"

"Far as I know."

"Maybe I'll stop up there for a drink after work."

I headed into the men's room.

There wasn't an attendant on duty, but the facilities were clean.

I stood at a stall and unzipped my fly.

Two seconds later a taller man joined me. His shoulder almost touched mine.

Male toilet manners require strangers neither touch nor talk to another man during their time before the porcelain god, so I dropped my eyes to the floor, only to notice that my neighbor's shoes were highly buffed loafers with tassels.

It had to be Clinton and I left my gaze to the left.

"It was Bill.

He was peeing next to me. I checked the toilet area. There were no Secret Service agents in sight. Some things a man has to do on his own.

The former president smiled at me and I involuntarily peeked into his urinal.

Bill frowned and lowered his broad shoulder to block my view. He shook his member and then strode out of the men's room after washing his hands.

Exiting from the washroom I expected to be accosted by his security detail. The only people in the hallway were Segundo and his boss. They pointed upstairs to indicate the direction of Bill's departure. I nodded and returned to my shop.

Vanessa was ready to go.

"What took you so long?"

"I ran into Bill Clinton in the bathroom."

"Hillary's husband?" Women looked at men different from men.

"I peed next to him."

"And did you look at him?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know look at his schwanze?" Vanessa was a nice girl from Moscow, but she wanted to know. "My husband says all types of men check out him. Did you look at his penis?" It was a reasonable question.

She was my work-wife, not my real wife, so I told her what I would have told anyone.

"No." A gentleman never talk about woman's age and other things too.

And checking isn't a gay thing either.

It's just something you do.

Of course gays think that all men are part gay.

So you never know.

Chance Encounters of a Presidential Kind


Presidents run in high circles with world leaders, government officials, senators, financiers.

Most Americans will never meet their President. The layers of security are supposedly impenetrable with a phalanx of Secret Service agents preventing any unauthorized encounters, but the screen around Barack Obama failed at a state dinner in 2009, when two party-crashers gained access to the White House and once inside poised with the President and several VIP. The woman intruder got close enough to Joe Biden to play with his nipple.

This breech of security would have never occurred under GW Bush.

The White House was under a lock-down. Staff understood the nation was at war. The President was safe.

Bill Clinton never had his safety compromised during his two terms.

Unwillingly.

George Bush Senior was not so lucky in 1990.

The president was visiting New York for a find-raising dinner at the Sheraton on 6th Avenue. Police blocked off the area from protesters and I explained my rendezvous to the police commander at the barrier, who allowed me to pass. I was wearing a tie.

Security within the hotel was tight. Phillip Brooks was sitting at our rendezvous point. We watched executives and GOP supporters arrive for the event. After several drink we decided to go over to Times Square. It still offered sin back then.

The front entrance was packed with arriving guests, so I suggested that we exit through the parking garage.

The first line of police ignored us.

We were in suits.

The second phalanx was more alert, but we stepped through the Sheraton's revolving doors just as the presidential limousine pulled up to the curb. Secret Service surveyed the entrance. George Bush emerged from the back. He was in a tux. I had never been this close to a presidential and called out softly, "Mr. President."

Everyone's head turned my way.

"My sister-in-law says hello." She had worked for the CIA.

"Oh, really." George recognized her name. She had been his secretary while he served as director. "She's a good lady."

"I know. She married my brother."

"Well, you wish Patty and Frank my bests." George Bush shook my hand. His flesh was warm.

"I will, sir." I smiled that he could remember my brother's name. "Have a good night, sir."

"You too." The president proceeded into the hotel and a Secret Service man approached to ask who we were.

"Just private citizens that's all."

Philip and I left into the night without a backward glance, which is always best when the Secret Service are looking your way.

They know guilty and neither Philip nor I were close to innocent.

Guns For Everyone

Obsessed with twelve year-old Jodie Foster portrayal of the child prostitute John Hinkley saw TAXI DRIVER fifteen times in a row. He stalked the actress to Yale and wrote her many letters including this one from 1981. "Over the past seven months I've left you dozens of poems, letters and love messages in the faint hope that you could develop an interest in me. Although we talked on the phone a couple of times I never had the nerve to simply approach you and introduce myself.... The reason I'm going ahead with this attempt now is because I cannot wait any longer to impress you. On Monday, March 30, 1981 John Hinkley attacked newly-inaugerated President Reagan after a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel. Reagan was seriously wounded and his Press Secretary James Brady was severely paralyzed by the fuissilade meant to reward the shooter with a fairy tale ending to his erotomania. Reagan was surrounded by Secret Service and Washington Police. Each was armed to protect the President. They failed in their task and the only person to shot a gun that day was John Hinkley, who was later declared 'not guilty' on grounds of insanity. In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre the USA has seen growing opposition to sales of assault rifles and the resistance of the NRA to restrict access to such weapons. Their spokesman Wayne la Pierre has proposed arming janitors and teachers in order to prevent mayhem in our schools, since the creation of a no-gun zone around our schools has left an opening for a mass murderer. “With all the foreign aid the United State does…can’t we afford to put a police officer in every single school?” An excellent idea, except it might be cheaper to ban assault weapons or enforce existent background checks on gun buyers. The NRA doesn't see it that way. To their thinking guns save lives, even though four times more suicides by guns and accidental shootings occured than criminals wounded or killed in the act of a crime. No way do I think of Wayne Lapierre as innocent. But inane. You know it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Black Always Beautiful


"Black is beautiful." was a phrase coined by John Sweat Rock in 1858.

Steve Biko resurrected the words during his struggle against apartheid in South Africa and American blacks adopted the slogan for their liberation movement in the 60s and 70s, however judging from the lack of black models on the covers of fashion magazines any dedicated follower of fashion would have to recognize that the world's leading fashion houses are still practicing Old Dixie's color line when the choice comes to white or black girl to sell beauty.

Every day I take the C train from Lafayette Street in Brooklyn. I see beautiful sisters of every description, some of them are skinny as the runway models. Their faces resurrect the souls of Nefettitti.

If I weren't so old, I'd hit on them. Designers blame agents and agents blame fashion editors for this Jim Crow throwback.

"We're just following orders."

Fashion Nazis.

The Shine of Donyale Luna

America was white in 1964 from coast to coast, however New York fashion editors were reacting to the blowing in the wind. Malcolm X preached resistance up in Harlem and Martin Luther King was leading marches in Selma, Alabama. Nancy White, the Harper's Bazaar editor, spotted the face of a black teenage beauty from Detriot. According to Wikipedia Donyale Luna was 5-11, flat-chested and X-ray skinny. Her legs were as stilt-like as a Giacometti sculpture, her fingers extended and spidery. She had caramel-coloured skin, almond-shaped eyes, full lips and an oval-shaped face, which, in certain poses, retained an owlish surprise, as if she'd just been pinched from behind. Half African and half Quechuan from the Andes the black model rode the wave of change onto the runways of New York and Paris. London's Telegraph reporteed that Luna wrote a friend, 'New York is a dream… a man danced me down Fifth Avenue, and all up and down Broadway men were eyeing and whistling at me, and so many other unbelievable things. I'm really getting the works from head to toe by Harper's Bazaar's best! As soon as possible I'll send you a picture of the new me. I'll be on top of the world if it takes every breath I have, every muscle of my skinny body. I feel it, I know it. I'll be some kind of star real soon. Real soon." Avedon shot her for Harper. His photos transformed the school girl into a jet-set princess after a violent family tragedy in which her drunken father had been shot dead by her mother in self-defence. Luna took solace with high class friends, but defected to London. as her career languished in racist America. It was the city of BLOW-UP. She was a star for David Bailey, William Klein, Helmut Newton, William Claxton, and Dali. "She had no tits, but lots of presence," quipped her model friend Pat Cleveland in the Telgram article. "We'd walk down the street and men's mouths would drop open in awe. When we walked into restaurants people would stop eating and stand up and applaud. She was like a mirage, or some kind of fantasy." And like a mirage she vanished into the world of drugs. A young death in 1979 in Rome. A black beauty forever. ps America is no longer all white.

BAG OF NAILS by Peter Nolan Smith


Throughout the 70s Nickie Barnes ran a Harlem heroin empire under the protection of the Lucchese crime syndicate. His godfather 'Crazy Joe' Gallo helped Barnes create 'the Council' to run the trade north of 125th Street and Barnes earned the nickname 'Mr. Untouchable' for his skill at beating charges and evading arrests. Neither the DEA nor rival gangs could touch him and President Carter ordered his AG to bring down the drug kingpin.

The Feds were too square to catch Mr. Untouchable in a compromising situation, however a blonde-haired NYPD officer with a dirty reputation ensnared the gangster in a dope deal.

Facing multi-life sentences of Life Nicky Barnes served his time like a man, until he discovered that a council member was seeing his old lady and his investments were being sapped by his friends. He dimed over 150 of his associates as well as his girlfriend and Rudy Giuliani rewarded his snitching with a reduced stretch of 35 years.

The NYPD cop instrumental to the bust was given his gold shield and Johnny Z seemed destined for great things.

In the autumn of 1979 a sniper on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 10th Street had shot two people. One of them was dead. A cop had been wounded attempting to batter down the door of the barricaded apartment. The 9th precinct cordoned off two blocks and the precinct captain called for back-up.

I watched the confrontation from the back of the St. Mark's Church. It was a warm day for October and none of us had anything better to do than provide a target to a crazed sniper.

Help came in a black unmarked Chevy.

A tall blonde man in a dark suit got out of the passenger side and he was the mirror image of Clint Eastwood, if the movie star had rattlesnake blood running in his veins.

The nearby officers greeted him with firm handshakes. The captain put his arm around the newcomer's shoulder and then pointed to the sniper's perch.

The tall man pulled out a .38. He checked the cylinder and nodded to the captain.

As he walked away, I asked an officer whom I knew from the restaurant next to the precinct on 5th Street, "Who was that?"

"Johnny Z." The uniformed cop spoke the name with fearful reverence.

I had heard the rumors and followed Bobby Z from a distance. He didn't have to show a badge to get through the police line. All the cops knew who he was.

Standing at the 2nd Avenue Deli the renegade pushed back his blonde hair like he was going on a date.

Twice he looked at his reflection in the deli's windows before entering the sniper's building from the rear. Johnny Z walked like he had weights on his ankles, then climbed the fire escape with the agility of an escaped ape.

Within seconds he was in the building.

A minute later two shots rang out from the sniper's apartment. A rifle flew from the window. It shattered on the street and Bobby Z waved his hand from the building. His audience applauded his swift work.

Back on the street several officers patted his back, as he headed toward 1st Avenue. His glare toward the civilians warned them that they had never seen him. The newspapers never reported the incident.

Someone that cold has enemies and a year later Johnny Z raided a Harlem apartment and shot dead several innocent people. One of them was a grandmother.

THe detective protested to his superiors that his informant had given the wrong address.

The media suggested that the killings were an execution.

No one believed a rogue cop and only his previous heroics and numerous line of duty injuries saved him from prison.

Johnny's pension couldn't cover his debts, but the NYPD took care of their own and Johnny Z was unofficially employed by various precincts to enforce payments from dealers, gambling halls, brothels, and after-hours clubs. The killer also convinced wrong-thinking cops to maintain the blue wall of silence and his name was spoken by the cops of the 9th Precinct with a hush, as if he were a ghost, but he was no phantom.

In the autumn of 1981 the International on West 25th Street was an after-hours club in the city. I was working the door with Benji, a massive Jamaican street fighter, whose arms were scarred from Trenchtown machete wars.

I thought I was a hard guy just standing close to him. At worst I could take a punch.

The International opened an hour before the legit clubs' closing time. Scottie from the Ritz operated the bar. The registers sucked money like crooked slot machines. By 4am the converted garage was packed with those people not willing to release their hold on the night. Entry cost $10 and drinks in a plastic cup were $5. We paid no taxes. Customers bribed me with cocaine and money. I was rich every night and broke by the next afternoon.

Everyone wanted a piece of the action and the local precinct was insisting on a bigger cut from the door.

Arthur the owner thought that $500/night too was generous a donation and stiffed the bagman.

Crooked cops have their own value system and I was nervous about how they would right this situation in their favor.

The next night an unmarked car rolled down the deserted block. I nudged Benji. He recognized the ride.

"Police." The only time on-duty cops cruised the street was to get their pay.

"What we going to do?" A velvet rope offered little protection against the obvious.

We were running an illegal club.

"Are we fucked?"

"This isn't official." Benji read the scene with criminal vision. This Chevy had only one man behind the wheel. "It's worst."

"Worst how?"

"It's Johnny Z. This white boy tougher than a bag of nails." Benji muttered under his breath, as if the ex-cop could read lips. Benji's 300 pounds on a 6-2 frame intimidated most white people into crossing the street, especially since he was strapping a 45.

Bobby Z got out of the car with the engine running.
"Watch the car," he said to Benji. "I don't want no one stealing it."

“Where’s the owner?” Bobby asked me, surveying the street without seeing any threat.

"He's inside." I was in no mood to lie.

"Show me."

I opened the ropes and went inside the crowded club.

"Let me guess." Johnny Z scanned the room and then said, "The guy in the black suit at the end of the bar."
"That's him." I lifted my hand to warn Arthur.

"Don't be smart." It was the only warning I would get from him.

"Yes, sir. I showed him the way.

"I won't be long." Johnny Z went to the bar and slapped Arthur once. My streetwise boss fell to the floor in a slump.

“500 a night.” Johnny Z helped Arthur to his feet. "You got that? I'll be here every night to make sure I get it too"

"Yes." It was the only right answer.

The extra $500 came from allowing less desirable customers into the club for $20 each. 25 people might not seem many, but these entries proved to be trouble time and time again. Benji and I handled each intruders with force.

Johnny Z watched from the bar with amusement. All he had to do was tell the trouble-makers to leave. None of them ever questioned his command.

Johnny Z was bad news. His mission were mired in violence. He had a past, present, and future which he couldn't outrun. He was above the law, but Johnny Z misread the shitstorm coming our way.

The International was hot. The FBI were investigating police corruption. Arthur wore the wire for Internal Affairs. Our partners were Russian counterfeiters. The leader was going out with my ex-girlfriend. I was still in love with her. Benji thought I was a fool and so did Johnny Z.

"You." Johnny Z motioned for me to come over to him.

"What's wrong?"

"What's wrong? Are you blind?"

"No." I knew what he was talking about.

"You should get out of here before it's too late to leave."

"What about you?"

"Tonight's my last night. It should be yours too. One more thing. That girl is never coming back to you.

"Thanks."

The truth didn't sound any better coming from a bag of nails.

I gave my notice.

Arthur shrugged like I should have gone long before that.

I left for Paris within the week. I had a job at a nightclub in Les Halles. It was called Les Bains-Douches.

OVer the next few months I heard about the International from Scottie. Viktor Malenski's corpse was found outside the club and the FBI raided the premises a day after New Year's Eve. The Special Investigations Unit arrested two bagman for the cops. Johnny Z wasn't one of them. 30 precinct cops were dismissed without charges. No one was saying who killed Viktor.

I stayed in France for five years.

By 1990 I was out of nightclubs.

A friend, Richie Boy, hired me to work at his diamond exchange.

Part security, part schlepper.

Sleeping regular hours was a treat, although the money wasn't close to what I coined at the International, so when Scottie offered a job at his club in Beverly Hills, I accepted without reservation.

A free place to stay, good money, drugs, beautiful women, palm trees, the Pacific Ocean, and a chance to meet a film producer for my stories sounded like a dream come true.

The Milk Bar opened in January of 1995. Its New Yorkishness guaranteed an overnight success.

I met Prince, the husband of the Pakistani president, Mickey Rourke, and a good number of plenty drug dealers. My cocaine use was minute to minute. Our bouncer, Big Bernard, was a skyscraper of a Haitian. His big smile was a calling card to get into films. Everyone in LA was after the same thing.

Fame and fortune.

Bernard was a pussy hound and he had a tendency to disappear inside the club.

Scottie would come out to watch my back.

Beverly Hills was rich and soft, but gangbangers cruised the night looking for ripe targets and we were flush with cash.

Scottie was no gunman.

Neither was I.

We were in LA for easy pickings and so was our past.

One night we were talking about old time at the door, when I saw Scotty's eyes widened in disbelief.

"Damn." Scottie's mild expletive echoed Benji's 'damn' from over a decade ago.

"Let me guess."I didn't have to turn my head. Scottie's voice said everything. "It's Johnny Z."

"In the flesh."

"Damn." I turned around hoping Johnny Z was a mirage, although tipping 300 pounds the ex-cop was more a fleecy cloud. He walked with a limp, which could mean many things, but most of all that I could outrun him if necessary.

"What you looking at?"

While his blonde hair was retreating from his forehead, his voice had not lost the menace

"Nothing. I wasn't saying anything until I had to say something.

"I know you." The ragged face came from drinking for more than his health. The pummeled knuickles were the souvenirs of forgotten beatings. He was no pussy cat.

"That might be right." I kept my disatance.

"From where?" he asked with nervous apprehension looking over his shoulder. He suit shined from too many ironings.

Two well-dressed men were nearing the entrance. They looked like move producers with extraordinarily young skin from a thousand rejuvenation procedures.

"You busted Nicky Barnes," I said the legend.

"I was only small part of the operation." Johnny Z was uncomfortable that his past had tracked him down. Drug dealers had long memories. "Did you know Nicky?"

"No." Nicky Barnes was before my time.

"Think 1981."

"We had the International in New York." Scottie had never liked how Johnny Z had sucker-punched his best friend.

"That was a long time ago." The name of that infamous club jolted his memory.

"Not that long ago."

"A lifetime ago," the heavy ex-cop licked his lips, as he said, "I'm looking for work in films as a cop expert. No one out here knows about that shit. They think I'm a decorated cop. I am too, but if they were to find out other things, I'd be screwed."

"So you're asking a favor?" Scottie was fishing for an edge. Johnny Z might be over the hill, but he had friends here and in New York.

"Yes," he hissed in agreement to whatever we asked of him later.

"Then come on in. Your friends too. Free of charge."

"I'll make good for you." Johnny Z ushered in his friends. They tipped the bartenders with largesse. When he left alone, Johnny Z duked me a c-note.

"Can I ask you a question?"

"Depends."

"You told me to leave before the fed raided the International. That saved me a lot of trouble. Why you do that?"

"I did that?"

"Sorry, I don't remember you at all."

"I suppose that's a good thing."

"yeah, I guess it is." It wasn't easy being as hard as Johnny Z. Even nails get rusty and I wished him good luck> Scottie and I never saw him again.

Over the years I've read that he's got a good career as a consultant out in Hollywood, but I never collected his favor and I was better off for that, because no matter how out of shape Johnny Z gets, it's always best not to owe anything to a bag of nails.

THey have sharp ends.