Saturday, June 25, 2016


One thing I've noticed, over
all these years, is that mostly
it's about the 'dramatics' of the
presentation, the way you
come across with things,
more than even the thing
itself, that matters. (You
also have to learn to lie
your ass off); Example,
facetious, but example: As
a quiet vegetarian, I'm often
asked 'why?' Without wishing
to get crazy with all that
stupid and tedious reasoning,
like when that guy in Rahway
with his pork sandwich truck
asks about it when I only order
mac/cheese and collards, no
pork, I blurt out this majorly
concocted story, in one of
two versions. 'Well, it all
goes back to when I had this
really jerky friendship with
a guy who, telling me it was
deer meat, once fed us his dog.
I swore never again meat.' See
what I mean? Or, this other one:
'Well I grew up for a spell in
Appalachia, really poor, and
there was a period of about two
years or so, we ate nothing but
road kill.' Yep, that shuts it all
down quickly.
New York City was a lot like that:
everybody was loud, and even
boastful, even when they had
nothing. Somehow. It was weird.
Like the guy who rented me that
two and a half room hovel on 11th
street  -  he was in charge of a
whole building of shit, one
marginal apartment after another,
and each all filled with losers and
degenerates, or Hispanics who
reproduced like over-active
rabbits, or at least were always
trying at it, for practice, I guess.
(Also, from what I could hear,
some of those Spanish babes
could have been opera singers.
Real wailers, loud and steady.
High C's too). He acted like he
was Leona Helmsley, of the old
Helmsley Hotel. Gold and
glitter, and rich people farting
all around at dinners and
banquets and then taking out
a tape measure to like measure
how thick their pillows were,
and how fluffy the damn towels
were. My dump at least was only
sixty bucks a month, while these
goons were paying sixty bucks
a minute. This guy, purported to
be the Superintendent, name on
the door, accepting of cash, I 
never knew about. He seemed
crafty. I saw him maybe 15 times 
the entire period I was there. 
Things that went on under his 
purview were pretty remarkable; 
even for the 'super' of a prison 
or a mental hospital it would 
be remarkable. I don't know 
what ever happened to him or 
where he may have ended
up, but he was pretty good 
here at nothing. I'm sure that
if you went to him about a 
bad faucet or no water, he'd 
just have walked you outside,
shown you the nearest hydrant, 
and handed you a wrench. 
Let's just say that 'real estate' 
was most definitely NOT 
the main preoccupation of 
this guy. Upstairs from me,
and I met these two on my 
very first day there, as they
came down trying to sell me
a massive bag of pot, was the
classiest hippie couple I'd ever
seen. Holly and Billy Joe. I
never got a last name, if there
even ever was one. No matter.
Holly was the she, quite strong
with the quotient of hippie
beauty that the magazines and
ads always showed, and Billy Joe,
was the he, small guy, interesting,
who basically looked like you'd
figure Will Bill Hickock, or
Buffalo Bill, one of those two, 
whoever had the 'Wild West Show'
of old fame. Leathers, suede,
fringe, vests, boots, even once 
or twice god-damn stirrups. In  
New York City no less! They
carried themselves like they
were prairie pioneers, and 
they'd somehow done up, 
and not cheaply mind you, 
their apartment in the nicest
and striking format of some
western-lodge or ranch or 
something. It was pretty 
incredible: the exact same
tenement hovel, by layout, 
as mine below it, but their's
was all jazzed up  -  he'd even
had 'levels' installed, so there
was a 'riser' for a sitting area,
another section with  long couch
at another 'level'. Same space
and all, but the levels and the
appointments within, fabric,
sense, smell, feel, made it 
look like Austin, Texas or 
something. By comparison, 
just below it, my place would 
have been where, like, the
horses were sent to die.
One time, I had my father in 
for the afternoon, bringing me
something or visiting to see 
where I was living, or 
something. He'd brought my
little sister, Andrea, along; she
was about maybe 10 then. I
brought them upstairs, mainly
to show what could be done 
with such a dump of an 
apartment  -  he liked that
sort of stuff. Billy Joe, 
somehow when I wasn't 
looking, had taken my father 
aside and was attempting
to turn him on, give him a hit.
Whatever. And, to make it 
worse, he specifically came 
over to me, in earshot of my 
father, and asked how much 
we'd like to buy. I was able,
fortunately, to laugh it all off
and get us out of there, but
my father was livid. 'That son
of a bitch, did you hear what 
he asked me?' Etc. Then he
wanted to know if I was 
involved, if there were 'harder' 
drugs also involved, on and 
on. And my real drug kingpin
roommate guy, (see past chapters), 
Andy Bonomo, hadn't even 
appeared yet. Thank God those 
two never met up.
So you can see how weird and
twisted it was, right from the
get-go, as it's said. And this
was only slum-infested 11th
Street. There was illicit crap
everywhere. I stepped over
it. Right on my corner was 
this place called the
'Psychedelicatessant'. I'm
not sure of the spelling any 
longer, but I think that was
it  -  a combination of the
ideas of a deli and psychedelics.
You can look it up, the place 
actually did become pretty 
famous and is mentioned and
spoken about in lots of hippie
lore. It was a maybe double-sized
corner-store kind of place, most
probably a long time back a
grocer's place or perhaps clothes
or something. They had it mostly
painted black, inside. Some
benches around the wall, a few 
tables and chairs. No one ever 
seemed 'present' or anything, 
working there. A few water 
pipes and bongs around, on 
the table. Hippie music playing. 
The people inside just seemed 
comatose or way, way zoned 
out. Evidently, from what I 
could see, you just went there 
to comfortably get high. There
was what now would be called 
a 'new age' feel for the place,
and, as was the custom too,
I was told that in a few other
rooms, at the back, you could
be comfortably 'guided' through
your LSD trip, if you wished 
one and if you wished to be 
so guided. The lore around
was that certain sorts of
people were NOT good for
trips, etc., alone  -  it brought
out terrors and fears and
paranoia, and harm  -  so 
they offered a calm hand
and a 'guide.' I guess anyway,
and maybe that's where 
they made some of their 
money. Also, like a deli, 
they had a 'menu' of varied
'drug' offerings. All they 
needed was one of those 
number-ticket deli machines, 
and they'd have been all set.
That place pretty much set 
the tone for, back then, what was 
around. The influx of people was 
amazing. I was a newcomer myself, 
yes, for sure, but everyday so many 
new people came in, I became a 
veteran in about a week. Kids and 
people were decamping into here by 
the hundred an hour. It was crazy. I've 
been told that the lower east side in 
this way very much resembled the 
Haight-Ashbery district of
San Francisco, where the same 
thing was going on. Essentially, 
roving refugee camps of kids, 
runaways, felons, itinerants, 
roustabouts and brawlers.
Both sexes. Actually, today,
50 years later, you can't even
say that anymore because there 
are way more than two sexes,
and you'd better be conscious of it,
or they let you know. And however
they turn out, they have sex with each
other of the same tidy category. I
remember one time, my little friend 
'Al' got a tattoo over his butt that said,
Exit only'. He was way proud of it. I
didn't know then, but I do know now,
what he was trying to say. In so, so
many ways, the hippies have won out.
Every time I see a 'Vape' place now,
I am somehow reminded of the

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