Monday, December 26, 2016

Prophecy of Preecha Por Intarapalit

Every year the Bangkok Post features the yearly horoscope predictions in its Outlook section. Their 2007 forecast for Geminis was spot on the money or lack of money. Today's paper predicted good news Jan.-March, Obstacles solved April-June. Money flies into my pocket July but out for the next two months and then it's smooth sailing to the end of the year.

Thais are big believers in palm reading and stars.

My wife smiled upon hearing the good news. My mia noi less so.

"Not say you leave your wife."

Everyone interprets the predictions according to their needs no matter where you are on the feeding chain.

Recently 2bangkok.com published the forecasts of Preecha "Por" Intarapalit, the author of thousands of books.

Not much use to present day Thais who read two books a year, but his vision for Thailand in Pai Su Anakhot (Toward the Future) portrayed a nation where cars flew at rather low levels. "There were propellers on their roofs. Sports or private monoplanes flew in scatters here and there not unlike birds. All of a sudden, everybody sighted a huge train, with two tram-like carriages joined together, running at no less than 60-kilometres-per-hour on tracks about ten metres above Sukhumvit Road."

"One could see skyscrapers with at least 20 to 80 stories, the top floors rising into the thick clouds. Fluttering from the top of each building was the tri-coloured national flag. The crowds on Sukhumvit bustled by in a hurry, men in their suits and women in their one-piece outfits. The people of Bangkok looked not so different from the Europeans or Americans."

The narrator asked his son in a hoarse, shaky voice ...

"Tell me, Nop, is this Bangkok or Paris? How come all these cars and planes are flying like dragon-flies?"

"This is Bangkok, Father. This is Bangkok of 2007."

Por described rice fields, orchards and canals giving way to massive buildings and spacious roads; tap water was in abundance and Bangkok was lit up day and night by a pair of "man-made moons". The affluent would spend all day trading stocks and shoppers in supermarkets could shop "'til they drop" - just dumping stuff from the shelves in their trolleys and paying at the exits. The citizens of Bangkok would be dressed in Western clothes and speak English instead of Thai. Transport would come in a variety of forms - from taxis to flying cars, helicopters, elevated trains and personal jets. The sick would receive swift and polite treatment from nurses and doctors ("no more scolding, threatening, and back-slapping!"). Those over 65 would be put in beautiful nursing homes under the constant care of medical staff with four meals a day, and last but not least, everything would be free.

"To say we don't have money [for the welfare programmes] ... no, our government has long stopped saying such things," a taxi driver of the future tells the Samgler crew. "What we earn from selling oil is more than enough for the government to put into developing the country. We recently lent 30 billion to the United States. During my father's time, we borrowed money from the World Bank to restore our country. Now, it is the World Bank that has to send people to borrow money from us."

In Por's book, Bangkok - and Thailand - in the year 2007 has become a heaven on Earth, Asia's number one nation (with Japan in second place) and a land of everlasting joy and peace.

And this is probably where hilarity sets in. The more exuberant Por's depictions of Bangkok are, the more ludicrous and laughable the story becomes. There might not actually be much difference between how readers of 1967 and 2007 could gain amusement from Pai Su Anakhot. It is funny because we know, and have learned to accept, that most of what's described in the book could never be true. The gap between reality and fantasy remains, so why not enjoy the escape?

General Direk said suddenly:

"All right, have no doubts, Korn. We have indeed arrived in Bangkok of 2007. All these things have not yet happened, but we now have an opportunity to see them beforehand. And they will certainly take place [in the future] the way we are seeing them now. Aren't you excited, Kim-nguan?"

The Chinese man gulped down his throat.

"I'm going insane. How could we get to see what has not yet happened?"

Nikorn and Kim-nguan have good reasons to feel initially overwhelmed. The future Bangkok confronting them was beyond their wildest imaginings. By the end of the novella, though, every crew member grew to like their new capital so much so that they wished to return to it again soon.

What were the attractions?

- Places, language, food, dress code, commercial billboards, greeting by handshakes and even boxing had literally become Americanised - "except for the presence of national flags, everything looks like New York ... which meant Thailand must have progressed rapidly, to become the world's superpower, on the same par as America."

- Every cabinet minister, "even the one overseeing the ministry of defense", was a civilian. "They served the country diligently, and there was absolutely no corruption."

- Every Thai citizen was well-educated - the two taxi drivers hired by the Samgler gang had university degrees in architecture and engineering; Bangkok boasted about 200 universities and no fewer than 5,000 primary and secondary schools did not charge for tuition, stationery or uniforms (a precise prediction of today's politicians' election gimmicks).

- Traffic problems in Bangkok were nonexistent.

- The Thai currency had the same value as the US dollar!

- The Thai economy was rock-solid: Rich oil fields had been discovered and Thailand suddenly became industrialised, producing and exporting everything from clothes to cars, planes and battleships. Heavy machinery was exported to China while China sent agricultural products and hordes of tourists in return. Also, Bangkok no longer had small-scale businesses or street peddlers that would allow developed nations to look down on it.

- Thai athletes had swept almost all the gold medals in the recent Olympics, which Thailand had hosted in 2002, and our national soccer team had won the World Cup three times.

- Every Thai farmer was a millionaire; each owned an average of 1,000 acres of land as well as tractors and private jets or flying cars.

- There were around-the-clock entertainment venues, some where all the staff, from chefs to waitresses and cashiers, wore practically nothing and had "attractive body with clean smell".

- The country had been free of war for more than 50 years: "The soldiers and policemen are brothers ... our country could advance this quickly because we Thais all share in our love and unity."

- The prowess of our defense was second-to-none: "In 2004, following a skirmish along the Thai-Cambodian borders, the three armed forces from Thailand placed Cambodia under siege within two days, but the United Nations as mediator asked us to pull out."

Of course Preecha "Por" Intarapalit wrote most of this book tongue in cheek. Kon yai didn't lthis ridicule and said the future will be the future just like he said and in some ways they weren't wrong either.

BOXING DAY ON THE BOWERY by Peter Nolan Smith

Every Christmas my mother cooked a 20-pound turkey, I mashed seasoned potatoes, and my sisters set the dining room table with yams, creamed onions, turnips, peas, stuffing, and all the fixings for my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmothers, friends, cousins, sisters, and brothers. Grace was said with bowed heads. Our plates were swept by forks and knives. Conversations were dominated by the retelling of old tales. Gifts from under a brightly decorated tree were exchanged before dessert of apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies. A fire burned in the fireplace. The wood came from Maine. We were one big happy family.

There wasn't much to do once the China had been cleared from the table, the pots were washed, and the silverware packed into a velvet-lined cedar box. My parents lived in the suburbs, which had been paradise for a teenager and a purgatory for a young adult in his 20s, especially since I had no car.

On December 26, 1978 I thanked my parents for another superb Christmas dinner and caught a southbound train from Route 128 to Penn Station. My hillbilly girlfriend was with her family in West Virginia and Alice wouldn't be back until the weekend.

I phoned Anthony Scibelli as soon as I reached my East 10th Street apartment. The photographer was a native New Yorker. We were both weary from pretending to be good boys to our parents.

"Suicide is playing at CBGBs." Anthony loved the subdued fury of Alan Vega and monotone drone of his keyboard player Martin Rev.

"I'm in." Suicide was a solid remedy for too much Christmas cheer, plus CBGBs was the only bar opened that evening in the East Village. "Come down to my place and we'll catch them at midnight."

"I'll get us a treat." Anthony lived in East Harlem. They had hard drugs up there.

I went out to buy beers from the corner bodega. Snow scurried against the brick tenements and I ran back home with shivers penetrating my spine.

Anthony showed up at 11 with a bottle of amyl nitrate.

"I couldn't find anything else."

"It's better than nothing." Poppers were beat, but the ghost of Santa Claus died on the first huff.

After listening to the Dead Boys on my stereo, we headed for CBGBs along 2nd Avenue to avoid the frigid wind tunnel of 3rd Avenue.

Snow trapeezed beneath the street lights. The temperature was in the low teens. We crossed 3rd Street and cut through the gas station to the Bowery.

A crowd of derelict was gathered before the Palace Hotel.

A man lay on the concrete sidewalk.

A groan signaled that he was still with the living.

According to witnesses the 50 year-old derelict had stepped out of the third-floor window of the SRO hotel.

The short drop had snapped the gaunt man's legs and arms.

A dingy sheet was draped over his naked body and blood pulsed from a jagged bone protruding from his leg. His chest heaved with rapid breaths and he asked with a pained voice, "Damn, where am I?"

"Where you think you are, you dumb drunk." A fellow misfortunate answered from the huddle of broken dreamers.

"Not the Bowery, please tell me I'm not going to die on the Bowery." His grizzled face strained into the air.

“No where else?” One bum chortled with a bottle of Zapple in his hand.

I lifted a warning finger for silence.

A distant siren filled the air.

Help was on the way.

I kneeled over the bleeding man and tucked the sheet under his wasted frame. I had been a math major in university and calculated his impact on the sidewalk and said, "You're not going to die, old man."

"Maybe you ain't gonna die, but you look like a used condom." His relentless heckler and the bums laughed at this comment. They were a tough crowd.

Anthony quieted him with a kick to the shin.

The police from the 9th Precinct showed up a minute before the ambulance and the cops cleared space for the EMS crew.

"If he ain't family, then move on. Same goes for the rest of you." The driver motioned for me to get lost.

I surrendered my spot and we walked into CBGBs.

Merv the doorman let us enter without paying.

The bartender Allison glommed us a round of beers.

Suicide took the stage before a sparse audience. I counted 19 people.

Martin Rev stood impassively at his keyboards and Alan Vega smacked the microphone into his face between stanzas of CHEREE.

Anthony handed me the vial of poppers.

My head exploded on the first inhale.

It was Boxing Day on the Bowery and tonight was as a good a day as any to be alive in New York City.

To see a live performance of Suicide playing CHEREE please go to this URL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRcHi5Nasn4

This video was filmed Merrill Aldighieri at HURRAH in 1980.

Friday, December 23, 2016

SKIN COLD AS ICE by Peter Nolan Smith

When Lou Reed died three years ago, a friend called to ask, if I had known the singer.

I said, “No."

El-Roy was a pussy hound and asked if I thought Nico was a good fuck.

“I don’t know,” I replied and hung up thinking one thing.

The Velvet Underground’s singer was probably great in bed an recalled that back in Paris during the 80s, I met a Nico lookalike.

Mirabelle was a blonde aristocratic junkie model, who had greater success ripping off rich men than getting on the covers of VOGUE or ELLE.

I was working at the Bains Douche as a doorman. Only the Palace and Le Sept rivaled the old bathhouse for the supreme destination of the night. The first week I was overwhelmed by the crowds. Les Bains was small. 500 people was the legal capacity. On the nights new wave and punk bands played in the basement, over 700 people packed the club. Fabrice, the owner, complained about the crush and explained everyone was hn worhal everyone wanted to be there.occupancy limit comfortable number of guests

At that time over 200,000 Americans resided in the French capitol. Most of my countrymen worked at banks or attended university. My job offered better perks than pay or wisdom, especially since the patron of the Bains-Douches had granted me the power to treat the French 'comme le merde que ils sont'.

Personally I liked the natives, however Fabrice was the boss and my restrictive door policy earned the hatred of

Many Parians hated me. I learned countless insult in French. None of the abuse mattered, because my friends and beautiful women received the Bains with start treatment.
Mirabelle was one of my favorite thanks my preference for skinny women.

One winter night Mirabelle accompanied me back to my flat on the Ile St. Louis.

We snorted some H and made love without satisfaction until the drug sang us to sleep.

Neither of us took off our clothes.

The next morning I woke to the bells of Notre Dame.

The windows were open and I shivered with the cold.

Mirabelle’s skin was ice to my touch.

I thought she was dead and grew hard as a rock realizing that realize the dead can't feel anything and shove my cock in her bony ass. My medical diagnosis was wrong. The first thrust woke her from the grave and Mirabelle said, "Plus profound.",then her lungs drew a shallow breath.

I closed the window and fucked her with the dawn.

It was like making love to a beautiful corpse

And she gave a death rattle as a moan.

"Good?" I asked from on top.

She simply pleaded, "Encore."

I gave what she wanted,

Because Mirabelle was very good for such a bad girl

And I bet Nico was the same.

A goddess best undressed in the cold.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fi Suay

Several years ago I nailed Xmas lights to the roof of my house in Pattaya. Ours was the only one on Moo 9 celebrating the winter holiday on Pearl Harbor Day. The rest of the farangs were too mean-hearted to pursue any happiness other than the emptiness of sex, drugs, and golf. I spoke to none of them.

Two days later I bought a blue plastic pine tree and explained to my 3 year-old daughter that Xmas was a Christian holiday lifted from the pagan celebration of the winter solstice.

Angie only spoke Thai. Her understanding of religion was limited to Buddhism and she said, “Fi suay.”

"Yes, the lights are beautiful."

"Phom lak Christmas."

I tried to explain the wickedness on the Church in my Boston-accented Thai. My wife frowned with disapproval, although my daughter misunderstood my garbled irade and I accepted my failure to enlighten her to evil of the Christian faith, for while I have rejected the deeds and words of the Catholic Church, I still appreciate the beauty of Santa Claus. Mostly since the image of a fat white-bearded man in a red suit flying a reindeer-hauled sleigh around the world a sleigh remains twice as believable as the Immaculate Conception, especially considering that the Virgin Mary gave birth four months after her impregnation.

If I were a god-worshipper Santa Claus would be my man. The ho-ho gift-giver was based on St Nicolas of Smyrna, the original St. Nick, who is also the patron saint of beer, which is why my friends and I celebrated Beermas rather than Xmas, however I don’t play Scrooge during any holiday and neither do the Thais.

Christmas lights decorated Pattaya’s shopping mall to lure western consumers and curious Thais. Buy Buy Buy. Tis the season to spend your money.

On Walking Street go-go bars were splashed out in red. Dancers wore cute caps and nothing else. Jingle Bells played everywhere. Whiskey bottles were cracked open by my friends and gifts were exchanged amongst our Thai neighbors on Moo 9.

All this despite there being no chance of a White Christmas.

Neither were people fighting over nativity scenes, because the War on Christmas doesn’t exist anywhere, but the UK and the USA and as much as I avoid Bible-thumpers I feel that everyone should be able to say ‘Merry Christmas’ as much as ‘Happy Holidays’ or nothing at all.

Santa will sort out who’s good or bad.

The Bible-thumper's God in the mumu gave up that job a long time ago.

My daughter wanted to see the lights and we got on my scooter, happy to be a family, because Christmas in Pattaya is lights, fireworks, red caps, and a good time.

Friends, family, and a good laugh.

It even got cold at night.

15 Celsius.

And atop Doi InThanon, Thailand’s highest peak, there were reports of frost. Maybe one year there will be a White Christmas in the Land of Smiles.

So Happy Beermas one and all.

Peace on earth and good will to men. Women too.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bad Santa And Worst

This time of year brings out the best of people, but not necessarily the best out of Santas.

Some drink too much and end up in alleys after selling their outfits in a crack den.

Others are arrested for holiday heresy.

Indecent exposure.

And they get nailed to the cross by holiday buzzkills.

Like the filthy police.

No one knows how to ruin the Holidays better than the NYPD.

The Last Christmas Tree

After Thanksgiving Christmas trees crowd the sidewalks of New York.

On the corner of Fulton and St. Felix Streets the holiday franchise has been run by Laurent and Amy, who have transported evergreens from the northern forest of Quebec for the last six seasons. We spoke in French with their accent a provincial Quebecois and my r-less speech betraying my Boston roots.

Last year they gave me a small tree for my bedroom at the Fort Greene Observatory. I called it Ole Tree.

I thanked them with a bottle of wine, which we drank together right before they returned to Canada.

"Merci." I was sad to see them go, but they said, "Next year."

We hugged good-bye and I returned home to adorn the two-foot tree with Buddhas, ribbons, and a silver star.

Most of our neighbors tossed out the drying trees after the New Year.

I kept water in the small bowl beneath the severed trunk and Old Tree remained green throughout the winter. AP's kids liked Ole Tree. We ate cookies in the Observatory, while I told them stories of the north woods. Lizzie and James liked my tales of lumbermen along the St. John's River. I had heard them from my grandfather.

The winter was a cold one and I told my landlord and his kids about burning Christmas trees on a lake in Maine.

"The ice is a foot thick and everyone brings out their orange-dry trees to pile them high. Someone tosses a match and the trees go up in the whoosh of flames. I wish they did that here."

Instead the city mulches the dead trees with a wood-chipper.

"Just what the city needs. A bonfire to burn down all of Fort Greene." AP was a good dad, but I had the feeling that Lizzie and James wouldn't have like to see Ole Tree in a bonfire.

"When are you throwing out your tree?" asked his wife.

"Soon."

January became February with March rolling into the city with a vengeance. April was also cold. Finally winter relinquished its grip in May.

Ole Tree seemed comfortable in my room, despite its needles turning orange.

"It's time for it to go." AP rightly considered the tree a fire hazard.

"Soon."

"You've been saying that for months."

"What if I burned it in the backyard?" A good fire was an honorable ending for Ole Tree.

"Not a chance. Those trees burn hot." AP had gone to RISD. He knew New England and New Englanders. People from cold climes are into flames.

In May I traveled to Thailand and visited my children.

Upon my return AP said, "My wife wants the tree gone. Actually she wanted it gone long ago."

"Ole Tree's a ghost of Christmas past," protested James. He was my good friend.

"Christmas was six months ago. Get rid of it."

I didn't want to say good-bye and a few more weeks passed, then the summer turned up the heat. AP was worried about instantaneous combustion and I had to admit Ole Tree presented a clear and present danger.

On a hot July morning I apologized to Ole Tree and carried it down to the street on my way to work. I didn't want to leave my old friend in the trash, so I walked to the corner and poised the tree on the wall of a church.

"You be good."

"I walked away, expecting never to see Ole Tree again, but upon coming back from work at the diamond store I discovered Ole Tree had moved to a stump on the sidewalk. James and Lizzie went outside to speak with Ole Tree. AP thought I was crazy, but he was a New Yorker and not a New Englander.

A week passed before Ole Tree hit the road and vanished forever.

It didn't leave a forwarding address, but winter will be back and so will Laurent from Quebec with a new crop of firs. A new tree will become this season's Old Tree, but I still think about the old Old Tree.

I love thee for a long time and will love the Son of Ole Tree just the same.

Bien Sur.

AN XMAS EVE TALE by Peter Nolan Smith

Three years ago the holiday sales plummeted to near-zero in New York's Diamond District 47th Street. The Greater Depression had robbed the middle-class of their imagined wealth and jewelry purchases had been sacrificed to pay mortgages and credit card bills. America as a nation continued to suffer from the banking debacle, the collapse of the car industry, and the two wars in Asia. Thankfully Richie Boy had rich clients and two days before Christmas we toasted our survival at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central with his wife.

"Well, we squeaked out another year.”

The three of us clinked glasses and a platter of freshly shucked shellfish arrived at our table. The wine was Austrian and the oysters had been harvested in New England. His wife was happy with both.

“A million-dollar ruby sale, a couple of rich guys buying big items, and a few lucky sales off the street.” I had sold an Italian suite of pearls and sapphires to a Swiss couple and the ruby to a woman from Boca Raton.

“We were lucky.”

“And we showed up to work every day.

“90% of success is showing up on time.”

“Or not too late.”

The next day was Christmas Eve. I arrived at the diamond exchange fifteen minutes after the opening time of 9:30 . Tardiness was my one perk after working there for twenty years.

"Morning, Manny."

"What are you so happy about?" Richie Boy's father came to work on time.

"The end of another holiday selling season."

"Bah." Richie Boy’s father shared none of our positivity. Operational costs and bills from his son arrived faster than our profit, but Richie Boy deserved every c-note.

Without him the firm would be another dark window on 47th street.

"Did you see this?" Manny brandished the print-out of the bill from the Oyster Bar. He must have had my work wife check the credit card expenditures. Deisy shrugged innocently. She was just following orders.

"No."

The dinner had been Richie Boy's treat. He walked into the store and his father asked the same question.

"Yes, I signed for it."

“$4 for an oyster? They sell them at Doc’s for $1 at Happy Hour.” Doc’s was his local bar on 34th Street.

“Happy hour ends at 7 and we were here until 7:30. And only two of them were $4. Willapas as big as your palm.” Richie Boy had been disgusted by the size. “The goy loved them.”

“Almost as much as the clams casino. Oysters wrapped in bacon.”

"A dozen oysters was $20?” Manny hated spending money on luxuries.

“Maybe more.”

“And you had to have them?”

“We were celebrating getting through another Christmas,” answered Richie Boy.

“Now is it not the time for celebrating.”

“We saved the firm.”

“By luck. Maybe next year we won’t be so lucky.”

“Why are you so miserable?” Richie Boy wasn’t allowing his father to ruin his holiday. He was heading up to Vermont and then off to St. Bart’s with his wife for the New Year’s. Richie Boy had a good life and his father ruined every success with a bucket of Grinch.

“I’m not miserable. I’m running a business.” Manny reviewed our sales, as if each was a dead loss. He pointed a finger at me. “You should have got more profit for the jewelry suite.”

“I’ll take $20,000 on a $50,000 sale any day.” The commission would pay for a flight to Thailand to see my kids.

“Big hero. I would have let them walk” He thought that I should have hit them for 70K.

"Better something than nothing."

Richie Boy and I sat at our desks and ignored Manny's gloom, as the old man schlepped every dealer to the last minute. He chided my co-workers for every supposed fault. I told Richie to give us our bonuses before his departure to Vermont, otherwise his father would divine some way to stiff us.

“I’m out of my here at 2:30.” Richie Boy distributed our pay and Xmas bonuses. He had wanted to give me a G. Manny cut it down to $800. I thanked them both. The previous year Manny had given me nothing.

“Manny, let them go home early. They’re goys and have family.” Richie Boy cared about us, although not enough to stick around to insure an early Christmas Eve closing. He had a long drive in front of him and was eager to leave behind the grumblings of his old man.

“I’ll let them go at 7.” The exchange closed at that hour from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

“Funny.”

Only Manny wasn’t joking about his remake of Dicken’s classic Xmas tale. Everyone wanted to go home, but he was Scrooge and I was his Bob Cratchit.

“Manny, could you at least let Deisy go home early? She has a baby and needs to go to church,” I pleaded between muttered curses.

“She’ll go home at the normal hour.”

And we sat there for another two hours without a single customer entering the store, so I went out and bought some beers to drink. I didn’t offer Manny a sip. He kept his head down and crunched numbers on his ancient accounting machine.

“Fucking mean old shit.”

And I started pulling the back showcases.

“It’s not seven yet.” Manny tapped his watch.

“Then buy a new watch. The computer says 5. My watch says 5. My phone says 5. The clock in the back says 5 and you had the landlord retime it five minutes slow to get another few minutes of shopping time. We’re closing.”

“Since when did you become my boss?”

“I’m not the boss. I’m a goy and we celebrate Christmas.”

“You’re a non-believer.” Manny remembered my many rants against the Church.

“Not today. Deisy start pulling.” My work wife didn't move. She obeyed who paid her.

“Deisy, don’t do anything.”

“Manny, give it up. We’re going home.”

“Why don’t you go home and don’t come back?”

“I can’t, because Richie Boy asked me to look after you.”

“I don’t need anyone looking after me.”

"Really?" All his friends were dead and his girlfriend lived in Miami.

"I have my work."

"Is that what you call it?"

"Yes. I come to work, so you can come late. I come to work to manage my son's spending more than we make. Without me there'd be no work, so we are staying to the last minute."

"Not today." I opened the jewelry case and loaded the necklace and rings into a tray.

"I can't believe it. My name's on the wall, but no one listens to me."

"Like I said 'not today'."

Deisy joined me. She had a young daughter. Her family was coming over for dinner.

"Fine, pretend I'm not here."

"Will do."

After closing the safe Deisy left for New Jersey. I got my coat and wished my longtime boss a good holiday.

“That wasn’t right, you closing.”

"Yeah, but what's done is done."

Outside shoppers were heading home for the holiday. They had families and friends waiting for them. My wife and kids were on the other side of the world and I asked, “You feel like a drink?”

"Why not."Manny got up from his papers and I handed him his coat. It was cold outside.

“Down the street?”

“Anywhere as long as they had wine and maybe some oysters, but no $4 oysters” He didn't stay mad at me long.

“Sounds good to me.” I was still pissed at the old git, but Manny wasn’t that different from me and neither is everyone else. We all have a little bit of the Grinch in us this time of year, for as Manny likes to say, “There is no season for giving.”

"Your treat?"

"When wasn't it?" We left the exchange.

"Always the same, my man," I answered, because while Manny might have been Scrooge, he was my Scrooge and my Bob Cratchit was his.

At least for Xmas Eve.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pagan Solstice


Six years ago I woke at 3:33 am. I remembered reading in the New York Times that there would be a lunar eclipse. The first to occur on the winter solstice in over 400 years. I looked out the window and saw the shadowed moon. A sliver of silver atop the Earth's satellite. I stripped naked and went up on the roof of our Fort Greene brownstone to bathe in the light of the sun off the moon. The frost on my skin was the only human sacrifice within sight. After 30 seconds I retreated back to my bed and shivered myself to sleep.

Few people in the modern age and even fewer Christian realize that Xmas was lifted from the ancient pagan celebration the rebirth of the sun. This last chance to feast before the months of winter starvation coincided with the final stages of fermentation of wine and beer.

My friend the ex-model from Paris abhors Xmas as an orgy festival and wrote on Facebook.

"Christmas is a disgusting pagan holiday that comes from Roman orgies where they would choose a scapegoat and then torture them by forcing them to eat and indulge in all sorts of excess and then brutally murder them."

She later added, "Some of the most depraved customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. An eyewitness account reports, "Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators."

Those crazy Christians.

The Xmas Drunk

Last holiday season I had a great part-time job being invited to office parties as the Christmas Drunk. $500 an appearance and all I could drink. Bad behavior was a must. Insulting the boss was a showstopper. Punching out the hated brother-in-law was most requested extra. $100/punch. Insulting a wife's obesity was a secret request of many husbands. I refused this boon. Punching a jerk was one thing. Hurting a fat woman's feelings was bad taste.

It was a good deal and the only downside was that I had to be drunker than anyone else at the party, so the family members and guests and co-workers could say the next morning, "At least I wasn't as drunk as the Christmas drunk."

Big Dave from the diamond exchange served as my back-up in case a situation spun out of hand, but I knew the limits and Big Dave never had to save my ass.

None of my clients knew my real name. Most guests asked at the end of a successful performance. "Who was that drunk guy?"

"The Xmas Drunk," the host would answered with pride and my popularity increased as the shopping days shrunk to single digits. I couldn't handle the demand. I boosted my rate to $200/hour. No one complained about my performance and by December 21st I was at the top of my game.

At a Hedge Fund soiree atop a skyscraper I ambushed the ruling CEO in the bathroom. I pointed a gun at him. Actually my weapon was a finger in my suit pocket. The capitalist fool was drunk enough to not question me.

Either that of very guilty.

I accused this czar of finance of impoverishing the world. He swore that he was simply doing his job and pleaded for mercy.

"I'll give you a check for a million if you let me go."

"Money means nothing to the Christmas Drunk." I grabbed him by his tie and dragged him into the main office, where his fellow execs ridiculed his surrender to a besotted revolutionary. I bowed to their applause and Big Dave escorted me out of the office.

"I was getting started."

"That CEO was calling 911."

"Fuck him.

And I superglued shut the doors of the office. They didn't get out until 3am.

The next morning I received a complaint from the banker who had hired me.

"What do you expect from the Christmas Drunk? Emily Post manners. Fuck off." I had a wicked hang-over. I probably should have apologized, but he had paid me in cash. Everyone did, because there's only one person worst than the Christmas Drunk and that the guy seeking revenge by stiffing me, so I'm a strictly cash enterprise dedicated to being naughty and not nice and nothing says asshole better than the Christmas drunk.

MOVEABLE XMAS by Peter Nolan Smith

Christmas 2014 belongs to the past.

That year I was too sick to travel to visit my family in Boston and I passed Christmas Eve hacking clear my lungs like Doc Holiday on his last legs at the Hotel Glenwood. Reputedly the tubercular gun fighter looked at his bare feet and spoke his last words, "Damn, this is funny."

Doc didn't die with his boots on and my condition worsened on December 26, but on the 27th I attended a soiree with longtime comrades. Our departed friends haunted the gathering and we drank hard liquor with the abandon of the wicked. Old Evil David lanced me with insults. I smiled back with a glass of gin in my hand and ignored his barbs, however one of our friends. Suzanne, was having an affair with a born-again reprobate. The tortured painter deserved happiness, but her beau's high-pitched dialogues were dotted with Jesus and he had bad words for us sinners.

I have been a devout atheist since the age of eight and hate Bible-thumpers, so I avoided born-again Ben throughout the evening.

After a venerable cinema professor recounted his parents' curtailing his possible baseball career with the New York Mets, I went to a table laden with deserts and bottles.

Ben stood before the chocolate cake. His lips moved in prayer and a knife quivered in his hand. Every sinew attached to my bones shivered a warning to shut my mouth, however the gin spoke for me.

"You look like Adam the first time he saw Eve, but a chocolate cake is not Satan." I pushed down on his hand.

The knife pierced the chocolate.

"I know that." Ben cut himself a miserly slice.

I cut my hunk and raised the richness in the air in my bare hand.

"To another Christmas to come." I hoped to spent 2015 with my family in Thailand. My children meant the world to me. Every parent in the world shared the same feeling and I stuffed the chocolate cake in my mouth. It stuck in my craw and I washed the crumbs down with gin.

"But there's one thing that bothers me about Christmas."

"Such as?" Ben shut a small pice of cake in his mouth.

"I worked every day of the holiday season and I'm not complaining since the one thing worse than too much work is too little work."

I had relearned that lesson through 2014.

"So what is the problem?"

"This year Christmas fell on a Thursday, which meant I couldn't take off Friday." My boss had cut out to Florida, the Holyland for the Chosen Tribe. "Not that I had anyplace to go, but millions of workers would have benefit, if Christmas was a moving holiday."

"Moving?"

"Yes, like Labor Day, so it creates a three-day weekend for the workers."

"Christ was born on December 25."

"Says who?"

"Says the Bible."

"That date isn't mentioned in the New Testament, besides God knocked up Mary on August 8, which means that Jesus was probably born on May 8 as a Taurus."

"Jesus' birth was recorded by the Romans. He is God. His birthday is December 25th."

"What did you give him this year? An iPad, a tie, a blowjob?" I really hate Jesus freaks.

"Shut up, you old git." Old Evil David interfered with my fun, knowing I was about to get ugly.

"But___"

"But nothing, you wicked sinner." David swung his fingers over my head in a Picasso sign of the cross and led away, whispering, "Our friend like this guy. Leave him alone."

I turned my head.

He was right.

Suzanne was in Ben's arms. They were a happy couple in Christ. Ben gave her a bite of his cake.

"Thanks, Dave." I gave my friend a hug. He looked out for me and I looked out for a change as would any atheist on the days after Christmas. God could take care of himself.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Happy XXXMas

Bordelle, the high-end lingerie line, came out with Christmas delights. One 18K-plated girdle dress will cost over $7000 in London's Selfridges department store.

There are less expensive options for a rich man to offer his mistress.

Fashion stylist Sasha Lilic asked, "Would you spend $7000 on lingerie?"

My answer was simple.

"I'd spent it to take off lingerie."

But I only have $200 in the bank, so for now I have to be happy with looking at $7000 on the flesh.

I have a good enough imagination to furnish the pleasure of giving and taking.

Plus I've been nice than naughty this year, although more out of laziness than choice.

Hard Labor Xmas


I've been working hard labor this week.

Like an inmate cracking rocks.

Every night I returned to the small house of the Greenwich estate and chase down three aspirins with a little vodka. My body was as weak as Superman encased in a igloo of kryptonite and I wish I could spent the day in bed, but I have a horde to feed and I wake in the morning telling myself, "This doesn't look anything like Christmas."

Tomorrow I return to New York.

A holiday party.

dance and drink.

I'll be better tomorrow.

Christmas on Walking Street 2007

My 4 year-old daughter had a long Christmas Eve.

Gifts in the morning.

Khao Khio Zoo at noon and then a swim at the Shaba Hut pool. 

By 7pm her eyes drifted together and weary muscles refused to support her weight. I carried Angie into the bedroom and laid her on the mattress. She fell asleep within 30 seconds.

I cracked open a bottle of Chardonnay and poured two glasses. My wife took a sip. It was a little off, but I drank the wine while listening to Serge Gainsbourg's BALLADE OF MELODY NELSON. Not really Christmas music, yet still is the best 27 minutes of music ever produced by France.

I wandered back into the main house and my wife was putting on make-up. This was not a good sign.

"Where do you think you're going?" I slurred in my Boston-accented Thai.

"We're going to Walking Street. My mother will take care of Angie."

"We?" My wife hated the nightlife and I avoided the popular destination during high season like an Ebola-infested Congo village.

"Yes, we." Nu glanced at my clothes.

My twenty year-old shirt and torn jeans didn't make it on Walking Street, the Champs-Elyees of Pattaya..

"Go get changed and look handsome."

"That'll be easy."

After a bottle of wine my reflection in the mirror resembled a young Rock Hudson. I changed into a white Armani shirt and Versace jeans with Gucci loafers. None were a copy either.

My wife waited in the garden. She was in a new dress. I kissed her on the cheek. "You look beautiful. What about we go to the bedroom first?"

"No." Nu wasn't buying this trick to not go to Walking Street.

Nu's mother waved tonight. I had 2000 baht was in my wallet and I surrendered saying. We hadn't been to Walking Street in years and . At least not together. "Okay, let's go."

We got on my motor scooter and I drove to Soi Diamond. My wife didn't want to go to any go-go bar. Neither did I. They were packed with sex-starved Western men and there was no telling what they wanted from man or woman. Instead we wandered through the throngs of sweating Russians, wide-eyed Indian men, and giggling Chinese tourists to the Hot Tuna bar.

Pi-Ek, the owner, sat on a stool. A glass of whiskey was on the small table. He wai-ed my wife and we sat down for a few drinks. My wife didn't take long to ask about my mia noi.

"Only time I see your husband here, he is always alone." Pi-Ek was telling the truth and I wouldn't ask him to lie, because I wouldn't be caught dead on Walking Street with another woman, because my wife would kill me and I have full intentions of living out my natural span of life.

After a 3rd drink my wife was enjoying herself. She laughed at our jokes and made fun of the passers-by, but by 11 we were ready to call it a night and headed back home. She kissed me before falling asleep and I laid on the bed ready for dreams of sugarplums.

Everyone wished us "Happy Christmas."

THe Thais love a good time.

Tonight everyone was all smiles and I drove back to our house with my wife's arms around my waist.

There was no telling what Santa Claus would do in Pattaya on Christmas Eve although neither would I tell Mrs. Claus and neither would any of his reindeers, if they didn't want to end up as reindeer stew.

And I knew the same.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

SHORTEST FIGHT IN THE WORLD by Peter Nolan Smith


The World on East 2nd Street hosted a screening of the Tyson-Spinks fight on June 27, 1988. The nightclubs's door was handled by the tough guy mooks hired by the Bensonhurst fat boys hosting the event. The fee for televising the fight was $20,000. The Brooklyn boys wanted $25 a head. The NYFD occupancy limit for the old Polish meeting hall was 800. The gate had clicked 1200 entries. Another couple of hundred had been cuffed for free by the owner, Arthur Weinstein. He was my friend.

"Arthur, that's freebies 351 and 352." A fat boy whined as Scottie Taylor and I entered the club. His muscles looked ready for murder.

"Good thing you don't have to count on your toes." Arthur had faced down tougher mugs than these. The Russian Zeks from Brighton Beach never whined like the fat boys. They were stone-cold killers and we walked past the pseudo-wise boys into the downstairs lounge with a smirk on our faces.

"Three Vodka-OJs." Arthur ordered from the cute bartender, who resembled Little Red Riding Hood freed from two years of hard time at Bedford Hills. She only shared smiles with Arthur and bull dykes. The native New Yorker had a way with girls who played for the other team.

"Nothing for me." Scottie was not a drinker.

"I'll drink his." It was a hot night. My first sip downed half the drink. I threw away the plastic cup by the time that we stood before the big-screen TV. "Big fight."

Three years earlier Michael Spinks had won the heavyweight title from Larry Holmes in a 15-round decision. He had lost the crown after fighting Gerry Cooney rather than fight Tony Tucker.

"Spinks is nothing." Scottie loved boxing.

"He beat Cooney." A drug dealer barked over the roar of the crowd. The fighters were entering the ring. Blood fled through all our hearts.

"Cooney was a bum." Arthur said out of the corner of his mouth. He didn't like strangers hearing him. Sometimes I thought he should have been a ventriloquist.

"You got that right."

Scottie and I had seen 'the great white hope' huff cocaine a month before that bout. We had bet every dollar on the fight. 7-5. The outcome was never in doubt and in the 5th round Spinks countered Cooney's lumbering left hook with a overhead right to his opponent's glass jaw. The rest of the fight teetered heavily in favor of Spinks, who pummeled Cooney with a blinding succession of combinations. The referee called it with 9 seconds left in the round.

"Spinks ain't no bum." He had been ringside at the fight in Atlantic City. "But like everyone else he thinks Tyson is a rightie. Iron Mike is a southpaw. His left is his strength. His jab a killing blow. Watch."

"This is going to be Spinks night." A Columbian dealer pulled out a C-note. "Tyson is a punk from Bed-Stuy. He speaks like a girl."

"Bed-Stuy, do or die, but he grew up in Brownsville." It was famed for its hard guys. "Their motto is never ran, never will."

"Tyson runs like rabbit tonight."

I bet the yea-ho dealer straight up on the result. The big screen filled with the two fighters. Tyson versus Spinks. It was time to rumble. The robes came off and the two heavyweights stood in the middle of the ring. Instructions by the referee lasted about a minute. The bell rang for the first round.

Tyson landed a hard left hook quick. Spinks backed up into the ropes. He would have been better off jumping into the front row. The crowd on the dance floor sensed the kill. I grabbed the dealer's arm, as Tyson smashed the champion with a left uppercut and a right hand to the body. Spinks' knee touched the mat. Back on his feet he suffered a vicious left-right set-up and Spinks flopped on his back.

Down for the count after 91 seconds.

Tyson the victor.

The dealer paid the c-note on the spot.

I tried to buy a round of drinks, except Arthur said, "Fugedaboutit. Your money is no good here."

A few customers complained about the brevity of the fight.

"I wasn't in the ring, but tonight was long fight."

"Long?" I couldn't think of a shorter fight, although most of my brawls lasted less than 10 seconds. Tow or three punches and someone was saying 'enough'. I was good at knowing when to quit.

"Shortest fight was 10.5 seconds. Al Couture KO'd Ralph Walton. 1946." Arthur was too young to have seen that match.

"Welter-weight." Scottie added to the fray.

"That's short." Arthur snapped his finger. "But tonight was short, so drinks on me."

The Prince of the Night was generous to a fault. His friends loved him, as did his family and fiends, because Arthur was enough of an artist to see beauty in someone's faults.

"No one's perfect."

Later that winter Arthur and I are walking up 8th Avenue from the West Village. We're headed to the Tunnel on West 27th Street. A Saturday night fete hosted by Curfew. Crazy people. Free drinks.

"I gotta get warm." Arthur pulled me into a local bar at West 13th and 8th Avenue. "I don't like to hear my teeth chattering."

"Are you sure?" I asked inside the bar, for our entrance is greeted by glares from the clientele. Short people. Midgets. Only the bartender is big people.

"Fuggetaboutit." Arthur knew the bartender and dropped a $20 on the bar. "Drinks for all my friends."

We loved Mickey Rourke's line from the movie BARFLY.

"Drinks here are $5." A midget with buck teeth snarled from his stool.

"That's why I'm only buying this big man a drink. Two Vodka-OJs." Arthur headed to the bathroom. The odds of short versus tall went from 20 to 2 to 20 to 1. The bartender was out of the equation. I heard the crackling of knuckles over the music on the jukebox. I REMEMBER YOU by Skid Row.

"What you think of munchkins?" The snarled-toothed shortie asked with a smile, but before I could answer the front door opened and a dwarf entered the bar.

His head was as large as a small Easter Island statue and his hands twice the size of mine. He swaggered into the bar like he possessed an over-sized penis.

The midgets said in unison.

"No dwarves in here."

"No, well, go fuck yourself." The taller midget expanded his chest. All I could think was Munchkins brawl.

That comment sparked a little person riot. The dwarf fought off each midget with the skill of a wrestler. They flew against the wall. His big-handed punches knocked out three of them in rapid succession. The tide of battle turned with a swift right to the mouthy midget's nose.

The fight ended with a TKO.

12 seconds.

The midgets were thrown into the street and the dwarf at the bar asked, "You got a problem?"

"Not with you."

Arthur exited from the bathroom and drank his vodka and OJ.

"Let's go." He nodded to the dwarf, who said, "Good seeing you, Arthur."

"How was the fight?" Arthur pulled up the collar of his jacket.

"Shorter than Spinks-Tyson."

"Funny."

"No, just the truth." It was over in 5 seconds.

"Dwarves are tough on midgets. Go figure." He handed a handkerchief to the midget with the bloody nose.

"Thanks, Arthur."

"My pleasure. Next time keep up the right."

The Prince of the Night knew everyone.

The tall, the small, and the in-between.

IN ABSENCE OF AMNESIA by Peter Nolan Smith on Kindle

Most relationship end at the same point and throughout the 1980s my romances t-boned with fate in New York and Paris. I fell in love time and time again with the right women in the wrong places, but also never realized what I had until it was gone.

My long novella IN ABSENCE OF AMNESIA recounts my inability to see past skin-deep beauty into the souls, although I was no angel.

Nightclub owners, crooked cops, porno actresses, and runaways were my friends.

No one had two feet on the ground, unless they were in the grave, but I learned nothing from it all and that's because anyone who has all the answers has not heard all the questions.

Here are the women in question.

New York.

Paris.

New York.

We were all so much younger then and we are still younger than now.

To purchase my novella IN ABSENCE OF AMNESIA, please go to the following URL

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JQSIZZ4

EXCERPT from IN ABSENCE OF AMNESIA


Chapter 1

New York in the summer of 1981 was everything it hadn’t been in the winter. The 90+ temperature boiled the asphalt. New Wave had replaced punk and somehow the city had escaped bankruptcy. Money flowed on the streets and even the East Village exhibited signs of regeneration, since abandoned tenements can only be burned so many times before their ashes won’t catch fire.

People had work. Mine was menial construction on an after-hours club along the Hudson River. After paying rent I had enough money for Chinese take-out and beers at CBGBs. I lost weight and thought about robbing a bank. Whenever I entered one, guards placed their hands on the guns like they were armed with ESP.

I was no Jesse James.

Daytime employment was the logical solution to my desperate situation. I had a college degree. My permanent record was clean. I had worked nine-to-fives before and real jobs didn’t kill you, however Arthur, the nightclub owner, had promised the construction crew various jobs once the International opened its doors.

At our previous gig I had coined $500-700 a night. We hoped to open before Labor Day. On August 13th the club was $20,000 short of our goal and construction lurched to a halt, however the International was saved by a cash infusion from a criminal refugee from Odessa. His money was rumored to come from smuggling Tsarist icons. The source was unimportant. The club was a dead issue without his help.

Arthur said that Vadim had a beautiful blonde girlfriend.

“Almost cover girl pretty, but too short to succeed on the runways.”

“Sounds like your old girlfriend.” Danny Gordon, the DJ, had heard that the gangster’s girl came from Buffalo.

“No, that would be too much of a coincidence.”

Last November Lisa had left for a modeling job in Milan.

I hadn’t heard from her since.

No calls.

No letters.

When I spotted her in a French lingerie magazine, I almost flew to Paris, except she could have been in London, Milan, or Munich, so I remained in New York to be haunted by her imagined footsteps on cobble-stoned European streets.

“Coincidence is destiny crossing paths.”

“No chance of that. Lisa’s gone for good.”

“No one leaves the City forever.” Native New Yorkers like Danny considered anywhere other than Manhattan to be purgatory. “She’ll be back.”

“I’ve been dreaming of that day,” I said, but in truth I had been forgetting her piece by piece.

The smell of her skin after sex.

Her mocking laugh after I told a bad joke.

Buying leather jackets together. Hers white, mine black, yet some memories had lives of their own.

No matter how many drinks.

No matter how many days.

“Still it would be funny if it was her.” Danny wasn’t letting go either. He had a thing for her. Any man would if she looked his way.

“Funny, but not ha-ha funny.”

“Not for you, but me. I can’t wait to see your face when she walks through the doors.”

I chucked a hammer at his head. It missed by a foot and put a dent in an op-art sculpture from the 60s. Arthur noticed the damage a week later.

We denied any knowledge of how it got there.

The Russian’s money accelerated the final stages of the construction. The walls were painted lilac purple and the sound system was wired through the club. A Labor Day opening appeared realistic and on the hottest day of summer Danny and I were tearing down a last section of the ceiling. It was a dirty job and rat dust caked my sweating flesh.

The door opened for three shadows.

We lowered our tools.

“Guys, I want you to meet Vadim.” Arthur shouted from the entrance.

A muscular man in his late-20s entered the club wearing a pastel linen suit. We muttered hellos. Mine was silenced by the sight of a slender blonde in snug Versace. Lisa’s b-grade beauty was as haughty as a dethroned princess checking into a Holiday Inn.

“So much for the lack of coincidences.” Danny nudged my ribs.

“It’s a small world.” My throat tightened to a knot. “And a long life.”

“Think she recognizes you?” Danny wiped a layer of grime from his face.

“Not unless she looks my way.” My body was black with soot

Her head turned to our perch.

She recognized me and the dice roll of jade green eyes indicated my lack of social progress had not disappointed her low expectations for a punk poet.

“No, she hasn’t forgotten.” Danny laughed at my pained expression, as Vadim, Lisa and Arthur disappeared into the office.
Right before our lunch break, Lisa and Vadim exited from the office.

She covered her mouth with a scarf.

Vadim shielded his a thick hand and they left the site without a glance in our direction.

By 4pm the ceiling had been replaced and Arthur called it a day.

As the rest of the crew filed from the club, Arthur pulled me aside.

“This isn’t going to be a problem?”

“What?” I played dumb.

“You and Vadim’s girlfriend.” He was serious. Émigré Russians from Odessa were notoriously violent.

“Lisa?”

Over the past year her name had floated in my mind a million times.

This was the first time I had said it.

“No, she’s nothing to me.”

“Good, then stay away from her.” He lifted a finger. “Vadim is a piece of work.”

Obeying his advice wasn’t hard.

On every visit Lisa ignored me and I couldn’t blame her.

I was a failed poet at 28.

The International might change my status. Three months as the doorman would earn $5000 in tips and salary. That amount could finance a winter in Maine to write my first novel about a free love community in the 1840s.

WATCHIC POND was destined to garner the best-sellers lists. The world would worship my words and Lisa would return to my arms. Self-delusion rarely offers the true options.

Two weeks after Labor Day the Continental opened its door without a liquor license. Limos lined West 25th Street well past dawn, as models, actresses, and strippers dancing with abandon to the city’s best DJs. Movie stars snorted coke with two-bit dealers and national politicians seduced Amazonian TVs on pop-art sofas. The club was an immediate success.

Few revelers cared about the illegality of an after-hours club. Everyone knew that the police were on the take. Some people were always on the list. Sanitation inspectors glommed drinks with big-hair wives, plainclothes cops strong-armed bribes, and Jimmie Fats siphoned the cash cow for the firemen.

Greed blinded the bagmen to Arthur’s wearing a wire for Internal Affairs and the FBI investigating our Russian investor for counterfeit twenties. A myopia from $50 tips blotted out my better judgment.
By Halloween I had my $5000. $5000 became $6000 by mid-November. Vadim sold his share to three men in cheap suits. He still hung around the club, because no one wanted to go anywhere else after hours.

“I thought you were leaving town,” asked Arthur, as the month near its end.

“I don’t know where to go.” Wintering in Maine had lost its appeal. So had leaving.

“Anyplace, but here.” Arthur nodded at our new partners. They looked like cops.

“I’ll leave after Christmas.” Another month was worth $3000.

“Don’t wait too long.” He was trying to tell me something only I wasn’t listening as long as Lisa’s Nordic profile, blonde hair and sculptured shoulders dogged my peripheral vision.

She was a siren and to other men as well.

Vadim’s bodyguards exhibited violent Slavic etiquette to these suitors in the alley. The previous week one of them had punched Danny and broken his nose. My obsession rejected fear and I cornered Lisa once, when Vadim was out of town.

“All I want is explanation.” It was Thanksgiving.

The anniversary of her departure.

“Of what?” She had embraced the comfort of amnesia.

“Why you left and never came back.” I had told myself a thousand excuses. None of them added up to one plus one equaling two.

“If I explained that, then I would have to tell you everything.”

She looked through me, as if I were clear glass and said wearily walking away, “Sometimes you don’t get answers.”

I stood there for several seconds.

I hadn’t foreseen that answer.

Arthur came up to me.

“I told you to stay away. It was for your own good.”

“No one listens to anyone’s advice after hearing their own lies.”

I went to the door.

Snow was falling on the street. I let everyone into the club. Many of them tipped me $20. A few gave me C-notes. I didn’t bother to count it.

Money meant nothing, especially since Lisa’s neglect was a game and she chose to exploit a pawn in December.

To continue reading IN ABSENCE OF AMNESIA by Peter Nolan Smith: to purchase this tale of love for $2.99, please go to the following URL

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JQSIZZ4/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

LAST CALL WITH ARTHUR

After my arrest for copyright infringement in Thailand I had to stick around Pattaya for my court date. Three months without any income. I called my various friends around the world for contributions to my 'stay out of jail' fund. There was a schedule to these pleas and in April it was Scottie Taylor's turn. I dialed his number in New York and the ex-owner of Milk Bar answered the phone on the first ring.

"I got bad news." His words were weighed by fatality.

"What?" I hadn't even had time to explain my plight.

"Art's bad." He was talking about Arthur Weinstein.

"How bad?" My boss from the Jefferson had been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier. Bad could only mean one thing.

"It's only matter of time." Scottie had known Arthur most of his life. "Maybe a month. Maybe two."

"I'll be there in three weeks."

The trial date was in 10 days. Deportation as a persona non grata was a possibility. So was jail. I luckily met the chief prosecutor two days before the trial. We were at a bar. He said not to worry about a thing and at court the judge fined me $100. I walked out of Pattaya court a free man and bought two bottles of Mekong whiskey for the cops. The prosecutor got Johnny Walker Black. Two days later I bid farewell to my pregnant mistress at her Jomtien apartment and stayed in Chai-nat with my wife and daughter until my flight to JFK.

The flight to New York took 36 hours. Andrew Pollack had promised a soft landing and I crashed at his Fort Greene brownstone. The bed was soft. His kids were a reminder of my daughter in Thailand. My friends feted me as an escaped cyber-criminal.

"It was a misdemeanor," I protested, although not in innocence.

"Misdemeanor?" They wanted to hear the story their way and I felt more like the prodigal bum until later that week when I cashed in a life insurance policy. $2000 would last my wife and mistress a month and I could live on $10 a day. New York was my home once more. I had friends to see and visited Scottie at his office. For a 50 year-old stuck in a meaningless 9-to-5 job, he looked happy, then again his wife loved him and he loved her on his Harley.

I congratulated him on his wedding. A frown crossed his face.

"You seen Art yet?" Arthur was Scottie's best friend. They had financed their first nightclub from Scottie's glomming the bar at the Ritz. The owner had said in a newspaper article that he would have given the money, if they asked. Scottie, Arthur, and I knew better than that.

"No." I knew Arthur 25 years. We were almost family and a lot of people felt the same way about the nightclub owner. Arthur had hired me for the doorman at the Jefferson and Continental. He had put money in my pocket and had never asked anything in return other than for me to be happy. "I'll go this afternoon."

"Don't go in the afternoons. That's when his medicine kicks in."

"The last time I saw him he was in good shape." Two years ago Arthur had shown me his silk-screens hanging in the hallway of the Chelsea Hotel. I liked them a lot. "He said he was going to beat the cancer."

"He fought it."

Arthur liked fights. Not fisticuffs, but fighting was in his blood. We had watched Michael Spinks versus Tyson at the World. The bout lasted less than a minute. Art's fight had been much longer.

"To be truthful Art looks better than you'd think. His hair is black as a crow wing and other than a scar on his throat he is the same old Art."

Scottie and I spoke about the first time we met at the Reggae Lounge. The year was 1979. Arthur was opening his loft over the Jefferson as an after-hours club. Arthur was 31. I was 27 and Scottie was younger. We thought that we were going to live forever. Scottie still resembled a less scruffy version of Charles Manson and was kind enough to say, "You haven't changed much too."

"Thanks." I no longer recognized my reflection in the mirror.

The next morning I called Art's apartment in the Chelsea Hotel. Colleen his wife answered the phone. "Art would love to see you."

"I'll come over now."

"Just a second. I'll ask first." Colleen and Art had been together for years. They were a team. Their middle name was love. Not all the time, just 99% of always which was more than most people. She came back on the phone. Her voice was strong. Colleen and her daughter had been dealing with this for months.

"Sorry, he's not in a good state right now."

"Pain?" I hated the idea of Arthur suffering. We were 'my generation'. This was the youth of our old age. The clock wasn't supposed to be ticking out the seconds so fast.

"No, just a little out of it. Try tomorrow."

The next day I worked at a Chinatown art gallery, hanging paintings on the wall. I dialed Arthur's number at 6. Colleen said not tonight. I ate Chinese food in a cheap restaurant off Grand Street. I called Scottie halfway through my Moo Shu Pork.

"Remember when you said the only things you needed in life to make you happy were a joint, a video, a Chinese take-out, and a Duralog?"

"That must have been when I was living in LA." Back in the early 90s Scottie had been Billy Idol's driver. He lost the job after Billy broke his leg in a motorcycle accident. "Life was much simpler then."

"I've been trying to see Art."

"It's all a matter of timing. I saw him this morning. That's the best time."

"By the way I'm eating Chinese now."

"Then you're one-quarter of the way to paradise."

I hung up, finished my meal, and headed back to Brooklyn. My friend, Andrew, and I watched the Celtics on his wide-screen TV and smoked a joint. I fell asleep dreaming of the the way to heaven. One dream was Arthur and me at the Milk Bar drinking late at night. No dialogue. Only the simple exchange of glances. His eyes could say most anything.

I woke early. The dawn mist filled the windows with a filthy gray. I hadn't been this cold in years and it was May 1. I worked the next three days at the art gallery. Lifting frames was crushing my ancient spine. Andrew invited me to spend the weekend with his wife and two kids in the Hamptons. My back said 'rest' and I waved good-bye from the second-floor of the brownstone. That evening I pulled Anthony Haden-Guest's THE LAST PARTY from the bookshelf. Arthur figured heavily in the Culture of the Night. The account of the Jefferson raid brought back many memories. Most of them I had forgotten. I called Scottie to leave a message. He picked up the phone instead.

"Scottie, I just read LAST PARTY. Arthur was in it a lot." Hurrah's, the Jefferson, the Continental, the World, and a hundred other places we can't remember unless someone showed us the pictures.

"Arthur symbolized the night to Anthony." Scottie had been quoted in the book as being the only straight bartender at Studio 54.

"Me too." Speaking out of the side of his mouth at the Jefferson to make sure no one else could hear whatever he was saying. Running the lights at the Limelight. Greeting guests at the World. "He got me my last job at a nightclub job. I can't remember the name. It was trendy. I lasted two weeks. The owner said I was letting in too many normal people. I was trying for a mix. He only wanted fashion people."

"Ugh." Scottie had retired from the night a decade ago.

"I told Arthur sorry and he said, "What for? You got paid didn't you?" Arthur believed in the 1st Commandment of Yiddish. Nimmt geld or take the money.

"Go see Arthur."

"I will."

Sunday morning I called Arthur. Colleen answered the phone. She said he was good. I took the A train to 23rd Street and walked to the Chelsea Hotel. It was under new management. I didn't see the change.

"I'm here to see Arthur Weinstein." I told the clerk.

"Are they expecting you?"

"Yes." Arthur and Colleen had moved here with their daughter Dahlia back in the last century. Like many residents they deserved a plaque.

"Then go on up." Maybe it more the Chelsea than I thought. The elevator certainly was Chelsea Hotel slow. I got off on the 2nd floor and walked to 208. I knocked on the door. Colleen asked if it was me.

"Yes."

She was happy to see me. We knew each other a long time.

"Art's in the bedroom."

"How is he?"

"You'll see."

Back in the early 70s a friend on mine was in a Boston Hospital. I was told 407, but heard 406. That room had a man wrapped in bandages from head to toe. It took me several seconds to realize he wasn't my friend and walking through the Weinstein's living room, I prepared myself for the worst.

"He's in there." She pointed to the bedroom and I walked through the door.

The room smelled of medicine. Arthur was sitting up in the bed. Silver rings cluttered his fingers. His pajamas were black silk. An ascot hid the majority of the scar snaking beneath his jaw. He was very much a man of style and waved for me to sit down, then wrote a message on paper. His mouth no longer had the capacity to speak.

"How you think I look?" Like most handsome men vanity is tough to kill.

"You want the truth?"

He nodded behind white Rayban sunglasses.

"You remember CITIZEN KANE when the reporter goes to visit Joseph Cotton in the sanitarium. You look a little like him, only more handsome."

The laugh came from his chest and he wrote more.

"I loved that movie." His hand moved heavy across the paper. "So how's your family?"

"Good, you know I'm having another baby?"

His eyebrows arched indicating he was rolling his eyes.

"Good luck." He scrawled out the two words." His scholarship to Fordham had been for pitching baseballs, not penmanship.

"I think it's going to be a boy." I told him about my arrest and my mistress. I read a story about the Jefferson. He was the hero. When his head fell on his chest, I started putting away the manuscript, but he grabbed my hand. I wasn't going anywhere.

"I could have beaten this." He scrawled on the paper. "I was stupid."

"But you survived death a couple of times." I wasn't going to lie about his making it to Christmas or even Labor Day. "What about the time the cop from the 9th precinct blew a hole in the wall or that cop Bobby punched you in the Continental."

"Thanks a lot for that." He printed these words big. They were very legible.

"What else was I supposed to do?" Bobby was a killer. He asked for Arthur at the front door. I pointed to Arthur at the bar. Bobby walked across the club to Arthur and punched him once. The 20th Precinct wanted their cut. "Sorry."

"If you were sorry, you would have fingered someone else as me."

Colleen entered the room and glanced at Arthur like he had been a bad boy. They had been together more than 30 years. Back at the time of the Continental no one would have gambled on their marriage lasting this long. A diamond eternity band circled Colleen's wedding finger.

"Arthur, I remember you coming up to 47th Street to buy that for Colleen. You said you wanted something to show you loved her." I was surprised to hear him say it even knowing it was in his heart. Art was a man of a few words sometimes.

Arthur nodded and Colleen motioned for me to leave. I thanked her for letting me visit Arthur and she saw me to the door.

"I'll let you know." She wasn't talking about a dinner party.

Outside on 23rd Street I called Scottie.

"How was he?"

"Arthur was Arthur."

"Good." Scottie and I didn't have to say much.

Arthur died within two weeks. He was at the Chelsea Hotel.

Scottie, Arthur's daughter Dahlia, and Colleen mourned his departure from this earth. His friends cried at the news. The New York Times wrote a good obit saying he re-designed the night. I toasted him at Angelo's in Little Italy. Someone said it was Arthur's Last Call, but he was wrong. There was never a last call with Arthur Weinstein. Not on this Earth, only in the great beyond.

MEETING ARTHUR by Peter Nolan Smith


In the summer of 1979 I was going out with a blonde model from Buffalo. One night Lisa came back to my apartment on East 10th Street late. Her hair looked tousled by a hurricane and a button was missing from her shirt. I checked the clock on the wall. It was after 3am. Lisa pretended that it was early and stripped naked before getting into bed.

"What's wrong?" Lisa lay under a sheet. It was warm in the back bedroom.

"Nothing." I positioned the fan to blow on her and we lay on the bed close. She had been with someone wearing Halston Z-14. It was a men's cologne. "Where were you?"

"At Studio." Her agency liked her to be seen at the famous disco. She was shorter than most models. Any edge could further her career. "I was with this nightclub guy, Arthur."

"I know him." Arthur had opened Hurrah on West 62nd Street. Its success had turned to failure the night Studio opened for business. He had sold out to the present owner who turned the disco into a punk dance club, where I worked the door.

"He knows everyone." Lisa sidled over to me. She had been with another man and not just at Studio. Any possible accusation was deflected by our making love. The feel was not right and I went to sleep wanting to correct what was wrong.

Two days later I spotted Arthur coming out of the 2nd Avenue Deli. The good-looking nightclub impresario was with shorter man, whom I recognized as a bartender at Studio 54.

"You," I called out from the corner.

"Me?" Arthur pulled off his sunglasses.

"Yeah, you." I was hot. Lisa had left in the morning for castings. She had said that she wouldn't be coming back until after midnight. A world-ranked tennis player was taking her out for dinner.

"And you are?" Arthur wasn't fazed by my approach.

"You were with my girlfriend two nights ago." My fists were knotted bones and corded sinew.

"Who is?" Arthur held the take-out bag at his side. His friend stood to the left. Neither were eager for a fight, but then they weren't me.

"Lisa," I said the name, as if the blonde was the only Lisa in the world.

"The blonde from Buffalo. I saw her at Studio." The lean six-footer admitted his guilt, but spoke from the side of his mouth like he didn't want anyone else to hear his words.

"Yeah, she said you were." The admission convicted him of adultery, even though my girlfriend and I weren't married.

"And you think something happened?"

The expression on my face was easier to read than a cartoon's dialogue balloon.

"What woman's going to tell her boyfriend who she just slept with someone. None. Not one. Your girlfriend and I drank. That's all. You can believe me or not. It's up to you." He put back on his sunglasses to accent the flawlessness of his logic.

"So you didn't go anywhere else with her?"

"If I did, you think we'd still be talking here?"

"No." There was someone else and I had a feeling that there was more than one someone else. "Sorry about this."

"Nothing to be sorry about. None of us have a bloody nose. You smoke pot?"

I nodded yes and invited Arthur and his friend Scottie back to my apartment to smoke a joint. I played records for them. We had the same taste for rock and roll.

"Where's Lisa?"

"Out with a tennis player." I envisioned how out was out.

"Do yourself a favor. Don't ask so many questions," Arthur instructed me, picking out the Rolling Stones BETWEEN THE BUTTONS. "This is New York. None of us are angels."

Lisa had been my angel. I had another name for her now. I never said it out loud. In September she left for Europe to pursue modeling. Within a month the phone calls ceased to ring on my phone.

Arthur and I became friends. He was good at telling whatever the truth without saying too much. Scottie, Arthur, and I worked together at the Jefferson and the Continental. Those after-hour clubs were the best of an era of errors.

None of us were saints, but Arthur came close if you didn't look too hard and that was easy for me, since my eyesight is terrible.

And every man is almost blind when it comes to love.

Full moon over the Greenwich Hills

Full moon over the Greenwich Hills. The mansions’ windows shine with TV blue I arrive at the estate’s small house with a pint of vodka $8 and a bottle of lemonade. I check the fires. Tonight the moon is Full and silver. I stand on the long lawn and drop my trousers No one is at the mansion I squat low I don’t need to grunt Shitting on a rich man’s lawn comes so easy A dog barks from the kennel His friends bark too They smell my shit It’s real shit They bark like mad I stand I pull up my jeans I haven’t changed clothes in three days To me I don’t smell dirty The dogs howl at me and I howl at the moon I walk back to the small house Next summer this grass will be tall From my drop But tomorrow the shit will freeze with the morning And the hills of Greenwich will be quieter, Because The dogs will not bark at cold shit.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Route 66 - Charles Brown

Full moon. A gulfstream slipping into the sky. Clipping a cloud. The silence of Round Hill Road. The mutter of a highway in the distance. Cars going nowhere, but nowhere is our destination. From one day to the next and none of the passengers listen to Charles Brown.

ROUTE 66 by Charles Brown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_U5FJQkgH8

Is Rick Perry A Sword Swallower

One way to attack a corn dog is like you were in a backroom of a Dallas men's bar.

Deep throating.

Only.

Proof Michelle Bachman is a tranny.

Does Rick Perry Really Need Glasses?

President-Elect Donald Trump declared that Rick Perry of Texas was his # 1 choice for Energy Czar. The former governor worked on his family's cotton farm after a seven-year stint flying US Air Force flying C-130.

His degree from Texas A&M was in Animal Science and when the Supreme Court voided Texas's anti-sodomy law, Perry said: "I'm not taking the bar exam ... I don't know what a lot of legal cases involve ... My position on traditional marriage is clear.... I don't need a federal law case to explain it to me."

Perry is a Christian.

I don't have much respect for Bible Thumpers and Rick Perry understood that people regarded Snake-Eaters with scorn and started wearing glasses to appear a little more intellectual. Being myopic I am outraged by his usurping our ailment for political purposes, then again previously he might have been wearing contact lenses and I hate them.

They totally fuck up your eyes, which are the mirrors to our souls.

And so said Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey knew how to wear glasses.

The End of Knowledge

President-elect has ignored the intelligence community and stated that the daily security briefings won't be a priority for his White House.

“I don’t have to be told ― you know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day,” Trump said in an interview airing on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t need to be told ... the same thing every day, every morning ― same words. ‘Sir, nothing has changed. Let’s go over it again.’ I don’t need that.”

I agree with the Donald.

The CIA lost all credibility by running torture camps to cover up their ineptitude on 9/11 and the NSA's covert surveillance of everyone is another assault on our freedom. The less said about the squares of the FBI and the criminals of the DEA the better.

Intelligence briefing.

Only if it's about torturing one of his competitors, otherwise Donald doesn't need yesterday's news.

"What for?" asked Donald, who once said, "I would love to read a book, but I don't have the time."

Most of America agrees with Him.

Reading other than Twitter is a waste of time.

Too many words.

ps I still hold a grudge for the CIA rejecting my application in 1980.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Russian Supermodel Copycats Pattaya Farangs


Pattaya probably leads the world for most suicides by tourists. Every week the city's newspapers report another fatal plunge from a condo balcony. No one ever calls for the landlords to place a sticker on the railing saying, "Falls from this height could be dangerous." because the suicides are usually considered to be losers, however in 2008 this theory was disproved by a super-model's death leap from a Manhattan apartment building.

Ruslana Korshunova had been discovered as a 16 year-old by an insightful photographer. Vogue had called her the next big thing. The twenty year-old had earned big money.

Fame and fortune aren't everything.

One night she watched the movie GHOST with an ex-boyfriend. He left her at 5am. No one spoke to her again and the NYPD reported his death by jumping from her terrace.

Family and friends are astounded by her death.

"She was on top of the world."

New York Post and Daily News paint the blonde as desperate for love, but her emails were normal epistles from a girl wanting what all girls want.

"Love is the sun, desire - only flash. Desire dazzles, and the sun gives life."

This doesn't sound like someone who wanted to kill herself and I questioned this suicide as I do all those in Pattaya, because most suicides leave a note.

My Pattaya girlfriend, Jai, tried to kill herself when I ordered her to leave after she pawned the refrigerator to give money to her 'brother'. She slashed her arms with broken glass. It was an act. Her wrists bore the scars of previous dramas. I let her stay because I had a soft heart. She wrote no suicide note and neither did Ruslana.

If only I had been there for her.

I would have saved her.

If I could.

In Heaven Above

Back in Paris during the 80s some of my friends were involved in fashion. World-class Claude Montana and Azzedine Alaïa invited me to the their pret-de-porter shows and I was lucky enough to have known the most beautiful women in the world. Few were more exotic than Marpessa.

Half-Dutch and half-Surinam, her beauty was frightening, but in 1984 I seduced her into a dinner at Chez Dave on Rue St. Roch with the infamous art dealer Vonelli by saying that we wanted to exploit her beauty for NASA.

"NASA?" asked the cinnamon-skinned mannequin and I forgave her benign ignorance, since Man hadn't stepped on the Moon in over a decade.

"NASA sends rockets into Space from Florida. Vonelli is from there."

"From Miami Beach?" Marpessa regarded us with an accusatory stare. She was used to hearing bullshit.

"Close, but a little more to the north." Vonelli had abandoned his family lucrative seed business in Fort Meyers to pursue a career as a piano player in London. Many people in Paris thought he was CIA. They thought the same of me. "But I've been contacted by Mission Control to find the most beautiful woman in Paris.

"Why?"

"Because NASA is broke and they are holding a lottery to see who will be the first man to have sex in Space," Vonelli told her this over a plate of Dave's famous BBQ ribs. His spiel cast of spell of trajectories, G forces, and weightlessness. I sucked the meat off a bone and said, "And why you? The head of NASA saw your photo on the cover of Vogue and said this woman could launch a Space Shuttle."

"C'est Vrai?" beautiful spoke four languages and a fifth was saved for her lovers.

"Absolutelment." Vonelli was in his prime. He looked 50% CIA in his Brooks Brothers suit.

"Your face will grace posters across the globe. One night with Marpessa. $1."

"$1?" Millionaires would have halved their fortune for a single night in the glow of her dusky beauty and destitute Paris artists would have bathed to paint her nude.

"Times one billion people. We will make you rich." I couldn't believe she was buying our hooey, but Vonelli dropped a card on the table. It was only partially stained by BBQ sauce. "We will guarantee you $10 million for your efforts."

"And I'll have to go to Space?"

Vonelli and I pingponged a glance.

"Yes." We nodded like a senators okaying a secret assassination. "We call the project IN HEAVEN ABOVE."

"I'll do it."

"Fantastique. You will save NASA."

We toasted our future.

It lasted to the door of Dave's.

Marpessa went her way in a taxi.

Vonelli and I repaired back to our table. Dave sat down and said, "You are mean."

“And beauty is even meaner.” Vonelli ordered a bottle of wine. We drank it regaling everyone about IN HEAVEN ABOVE and everyone wanted to believe in a lottery to have sex in Space, because when the shit gets a foot high the cool step a foot higher.