BELOW THE WATER LINE
It's always been interesting to me
how things happen. They just roll
on, and occur. I had a friend, as a
kid, a little younger than me, but
somehow we got mixed. He was
a real recessive guy, quiet, shy,
what would be called weak-knee'd,
I guess. We were worlds apart, but
no matter. His name was Walter
Wilk, and he lived in the very first
house at Inman Avenue's start,
right by the schoolyard - when
the schoolyard included an open
path through the crummy woods.
Now it's all closed off and security-
marked and all the rest of that modern
crud they do to things. I don't want
to beat a dead horse, but how nice
it must be to send your kids, in a
mandatory format, to schools that
are locked down and guarded by
cops. If that doesn't seem weird and
tyrannical to you, you probably
deserve it. Anyway, Walter lived
in that first house. His father had
a garage built there too, nice one,
separate from the house. He always
drove brand new, gigantic Buick
Electra 225's. They were the Buick
showboats in the early/mid 60's. Real
messes of straight-line grandiosity. The
225 came from nothing except that was
how long the crazy car was, in inches.
I knew Walter for his wimpiness; in
Boy Scouts, mostly. It was somehow
my responsibility to introduce him to the
small world of crime we kept for Boy
Scout nights (Weds.), when Larry
Walker, as I've recounted previously,
would go the the Shop-Rite and haul
off with pocketfuls of candy for the
meeting. If only Mr. Arjemi knew.
On some other meeting nights too
we'd sometimes walk out to pick up
Pat Certain at his house for the walk,
after stopping there to watch some
of the Soupy Sales Show. Blistering
good times, yeah.
As it turned out, sometime in the early
70's, after I was gone a few years already,
Walter Wilk got killed in a car crash, on
St. George Ave., as I remember, exiting,
in someone else's car, the McDonald's
there. I wasn't around then, so really
that's only the story I got. It's somehow
sadly strange to hear, from a distance,
of the death of a friend. It's kind of a
helpless feeling, with real pangs of
regret and sorrow. Was for me always
anyway. There have been others, after
Walter, but that one sticks - probably
because I pass his house all the time
and always go through the Walter
redux thing. He's got a sister who
still lives there, by herself, with a
dog. Margaret, I think her name is.
Don't rightly know, but I'd like to
wave, or say hi. Find out the story.
What was my point here? Yes, there was
also one of those creepy guys from Bon
Jovi, a fey Sayreville (supposed) rock
band - mostly girly stuff - Richie
Sambora, Tico Taco, somebody - who
also killed someone with a car, before
they hit the bog time, on St. George
Ave. I always wondered if the two
events were connected. It would be
kind of weird if a big-time rockstar
ball-swinger was the guy who crashed
into little old Walter, before he (the
rock guy) was a big deal. Sometimes
life sucks, y'know.
Connection here is that, years later,
about 1994, we ran a motorcycle raffle
for some 600cc Honda thing, and the
raffle was won by some guy from
Bon Jovi. Named Alec John Such.
It was my duty to make the presentation
to him and the turnover. I didn't know
these guys from Adam, just the name.
Nobody I knew even wanted the Honda,
the displacement being considered way
too small and the manufacture being
suspect. We sold like a billion tickets for
this motorcycle, probably worth $4800
bucks, I don't know, back then. We
garnered about 12 grand from ticket
sales, before paying for the bike, which
we'd gotten at some great discount for
some Honda dealer. Anyway, Alec
John Such, after being dutifully
contacted, etc., showed up one day
at the motorcycle club office. I found
out later, in my way, that he was
by that time only like the Bon Jovi
bassist in the studio, not on the road.
Something about him didn't click with
the others, and he wasn't considered
slick or savvy enough either for the
stage antics or show stuff. They had
some other bass player for the tour shows.
It didn't matter to him. He did what he
had to do, collected his royalties and
contract money, and lived on happily.
Looked 'rock star' in every other aspect.
We got on good, he was cool, and I
didn't mind a thing. Alec showed up
with some crazy expensive car, I do
forget what, towing an equally crazy
and expensive motorcycle trailer. We
schmoozed, talked around stuff, and
loaded up the bike onto the trailer. He
was a regular guy, not stupid or aloof
in any way. Handled his own wrenches
and stuff; knew what was up. He had, out
by Red Bank or Deal somewhere, a big
spread - house and acres - which included
a garage for his collected stuff. Cars.
Motorcycles. I don't know what or even
if he rode. Didn't matter to me. Some
would say he should have ridden the
bike home. Fine. He didn't; but then
how would he have gotten there? It's
those kinds of stupid attitudes and
questions by others that would always
get my goat. All these big-ass Biker
dudes making fun of someone else,
because he 'won' a Honda and accepted
it; because he came and got it with all his
fancy equipment instead of riding it out.
Because he looked like some smack-gob'd
rich gay-rocker dude. The poor guy couldn't
please anyone at that point. I think it was
all jealousy. He won the damn bike. Shut-up.
The coolest thing for me was, in this
entire transfer, how he handled things.
In 1994, or whatever year it was,
computers were still unknown to me, or
some distant rumor a'coming that I'd
heard of. This guy Alec, he had a
personal, small-size version with him.
Imagine! He traveled around with
his own computer. He sat down at one
of my desks, set himself up, and in a
few minutes he had all his financial
information, accounts, banks, names
and the rest, up for his use on screen.
I don't know what he was doing, but
he entered the 'transaction', accounted
for the tax-value, notified his bank
and accountant, wrote himself up
all the needed paperwork and
deductions and stuff, and was off.
Little old stupid Avenel me was
I make these notes just to run
some lines through my own life
and place. It's a way of staying
grounded - I'm always in danger
of flying off somewhere; it's a
real problem. My mind works
overtime, building mental things,
the fingers are always typing, the
ideas always running. It's like I'm
always on. A real battering after a
while. My feet are planted firmly
where I stand, just as a needed anchor.
I had a friend once who said he'd never
do another thing in his life; just be. He
only felt real when he was, like, digging
a hole or something. I sort of got what
he meant - the heavy reality of Being,
if it isn't real and grounded, can just turn
out to be a drag. It's the same reason he
never wanted to read a book again in his
life. Nothing meant anything to him, it
was all crap. That one, I never got. It
eventually didn't work for him either.
He blew his brains out in his yard.
Read about that.