Tuesday, December 6, 2016


When I was young, before
anything else started
happening to me, the
engrained 'culture' which
was then prevalent was
already being drilled into
my head, as well as
everyone else's. It was
the result of being born
into a time of severe
cultural shift  -  things
were underway, though
still in shadows and under
covers, which would
eventually alter
everything. It began
small: (I always liked
that Werner Herzog
film title 'Even
Dwarfs Started
Small'). The steadiness
of the imponderable
constant. It started
easily enough  -
with us as captive
kids. What recourse
 had we? There was
nothing we could
do, just as no reason
 was ever presented
to as to make us
 'balk' : 77 Sunset
Strip, Bourbon Street
Beat, Paladin, Route
66, and more. Piled
on, one after the other,
was all this televised
madness by which
we were supposed
to begin seeing life.
Or whatever all that
was. The world was
so different then, and
all these adults
entertained it,
even at the poorer
economic levels of
my house and Inman
Avenue : those TV
people were always
cool and suave, and
everything worked
for them. If you went
to the end of Inman
Avenue, there were
a few nasty junkyards
-  all sorts of broken,
dumped and disabled
things, just left there,
grass growing around
them, we kids traipsing
around constantly.
The 'myth' of 'beware
 the junkyard's vicious
 dogs'  -  of which we
never saw a one.
Didn't exist. More
fiction. Basically,
no one cared about
anything. On TV,
especially in these
fancier L. A. and
California show,
even the junkyards
were theatrical  -
had fences and
ordered rows,
barking dogs and
guards. Any people
interested were
let in and were escorted
around or through.
All it ever did was
advance the fake TV
plots amidst a
complete buffoonery
of make-believe.
Completely foreign
to my real-life
experience, or
any of my crazy,
myopic friends as
well. This life was
a steady-pulse
continuum, ours,
I mean, and it all
bore nothing
relatable to the
 others. They were
fantasy-brains trying
to replace ours. it
probably worked  -
look at the world
today. If you
extrapolate that
out for the 'future'
of today's kids,
there's no fair
result to be
expected except
ire death and
Glad I'll
be gone.
If you carry any
of this through,
you'll see where
I'm ending up  -
to final career
moves of nothing
at all. Shrinking
violet accountants
or clerks, or thieves
and politicos on the
 take. We were
presented nothing
else  -  outside of
that realm of the
fascinating humanity
which TV gave to us.
No wonder, I always
figured, that in some
ten years all that
fantasy programming '
took off. We had
been primed, as
kids, to go
elsewhere in
 our minds  -
even to less
depressing places!
Perhaps it as all
to the good, in
that sense. Be
all that as it
Over time, I think 
we each find our 
line, and then we 
have to decide whether 
to cross it, or not. I 
crossed mine. After 
a few false starts, I 
ended up where I'd 
wished to be. One 
day, on Eighth Street,
 I turned to Jim Tomberg 
and simply said, 'Jim, 
I can't believe I did 
it but I am here!'  
He grinned and just 
said 'It's called the 
wonder of all the 
ages, my friend, a 
wonder in every way.' 
Then we both laughed. 
We were on our way
to his job and his shift, 
at Cafe Wha, or Cafe 
Bizzarro, or Zorro, 
or whatever they w
ere called. He'd 
bounced to a few 
of them. Jim liked 
to walk the three 
blocks over with 
his apron on. It 
looked funny, but 
it gave him the 
look of a big, 
bear-like lug working 
the beer halls and 
shot joints while 
pooling money with 
no one. Jim was 
that kind of guy. 
He could look a fish 
in the eye and make 
it drown. Had that 
effect. For me, it 
was a carnival  -  
beer all night, on 
Jim; he'd just keep 
bringing me mugs 
 -  I only later found 
out that often enough 
they were just the 
cold and leftover 
pourings of what 
others had left. I 
probably wouldn't 
have cared at the 
price. None. Zero. 
I never touched 
anything else  -  
all those mixed 
drinks and hard 
drinks and all. I 
just kept to the 
un-named and 
certainly un-refined
 beers which came 
my way. By 10:30
at night, for sure, Jim 
was sloshed already,
as was I, pretty good. 
He'd become louder 
and more boisterous 
as the night drew a
long, and it did. 
Every time. Pretty
 girls and not-so-pretty
 ladies, they all came 
his way, to my table. 
Sitting there, told to 
wait or cool their heels.
 And then, if I was 
still around, by night's
end I'd walk them, Jim 
and whomever he'd 
'selected' for the night 
or that weekend, to 
the room beneath the 
Studio School, or his 
sculpture-studio area. 
I'd make sure they 
were still both conscious 
and aware of each other. 
God knows what went 
on. The next morning, 
it was always a sight. 
Some bare ass somewhere 
sticking up. Alcohol didn't 
really agree with them, 
ever, but he always kept 
going back.  Like Andy 
Bonamo, on 11th street, 
with all that free drug-money 
and change laying around; 
here Jim always kept me 
supplied with change and 
small bills, when needed. 
His tips and other takes 
seemed good, all that 
time. I don't know if 
he ever payed these
girls or ladies for 
anything, or just 
booted them out the 
next morning. No one 
ever complained. But 
there mostly were 
never any repeat 
performers either. 
Hard to get to know
 a female who is 
only seen, indirectly, 
once and then never 
again. Besides, once 
they had their clothes 
on anyway I'd have 
nothing to go by
to ID them.
Jim Tomberg was a 
good enough guy  -  
blunt and proud and 
loud and lewd too. 
Welder. Throwing 
steel around. Plaster, 
all that stuff. Formed 
by hand, fired by heart.
Jim Tomberg and his 
ladies. Sorry I lost 
touch with him.

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