Sunday, January 1, 2017


285. AVENEL, Pt. 7
Many wonders
and a lot of
those wonders,
I found, were
often based on
erroneous claims.
I never made a
stink about any
of that, figuring
I saw my 'truth'
and others saw,
I guessed, their
own 'truth.' But,
there were limits.
One time, in the
course of doing
my work, I blurted
out stuff that was,
I guess, out of line.
But it had to be.
The people,
whoever they
were, who were
putting together
what came to be
known to us as
'Woodbridge Center,'
were our customers.
During the course
of construction,
and then completion
and opening, we
did a lot of printing
-  everything from
planners and blueprint
stuff, to layouts and
maps, space-rental
contracts and internal
communications, etc.
I forget if it was a
'Simon and Company'
(mall builders) operation,
or not. Anyway, they
were all young, smug
corporate guys in suits
who thought they
were God's gift to
civilization, building
malls and bringing
treasures to the rabble.
It always got on my
nerves, no matter
that we were making
business, and money,
the company was
anyway, St. George
Press. I got tired of
hearing their high-handed
rubbish and supposed
commercial ideals. It
was enough bullshit
to drive a cow out of
a barn. One time,
one of these yokels
started explaining
to me and someone
else who was in the
room, I don't remember,
all the things they had
to do, to take care of,
how they were, (here's
how he put it): 'Essentially,
we're building a city
where one had not
been before.' At that,
I finally had had
enough, and snapped.
By protocol, I was
out of line, but by
reality, so was he.
He's lucky I didn't
cover him with
ink, or something.
When I was young,
those were the
Woodbridge Claypits
-  orange, mucky soil,
when the least bit wet,
and hard as stone,
when dry. A large
open area, we'd race
trail bikes, do
motorcycle speed
trials, and all sorts
of things. In fact,
into the 1970's,
when no one much
really cared about
anything, people
(and me, I'm included,
when present), would
drive their cars onto
there and change
the oil  -   right
where it drained
and soaked into
the porous and
thirsty ground.
Just draining the
old oil right there,
onto the ground,
and putting in new,
etc. The only thing
there was a public
works garage, and
some other building
and, nearby, a local
business named
Centric Clutch, (I did
their printing too)
across the way by
Rt. 9. This Woodbridge
Center jerk was now
telling me they were
'building a city'
right there, and
throwing in, no less,
that God-damned
word 'essentially',
like it meant something.
Like he was talking
down to a dog, in fact.
'Essentially, pal, you're
an asshole. You don't
'build' cities, they grow
in place organically,
and they involve
people and situations,
and problems and
troubles, and levels
of economic situations
that need tending and
require care and
grooming and
They sometimes
smell, they have
problems and conflicts.
 People die and
have to be dealt
with. And besides,
you're not 'building'
a city; one already
exists right down
the road, called
Main Street, Woodbridge.
You're killing a city,
Wonder Boy; thanks
to you it's already
dwindling and dying
off.' That the essence,
pretty much exact,
just shorter, of what
I told him. He was
the future. I was
speaking up for
the past, His
slack-jawed face
froze, as if I'd
told him I knew
about his mother,
or something.
I just moved off,
not even waiting
for a response,
and I don't know
what they all
said about me
once I'd left the
room. I didn't
care  -  in any
case, I never heard
a word more about
it, nor about my
outburst. I'd already
been perceived as
a wild card, even
a danger. I think
the owner, and
his brother too,
would just laugh
me off, as long
as I didn't cost
them the account
or lose them a
bunch of money.
To them, this was
also progress,
growth and
potential. To
me, it represented
something I couldn't
even begin to explain
-  a birthright or at
least an old 'feeling'
of things, getting
torn asunder,
especially as
it was made
worse by smarmy
people using words
as evil pinpricks
in to hearts and
souls of others,
all in their stupid,
myopic quest for
lucre. Their
was in the business
of  destroying America
-  no more, no less
to be said about it.
And there I was,
doing their printing.
The expectation had
been that I'd shut up,
and stay shut up.
On one hand, I had 
the Barron Arts Center, 
a great old place, being 
conserved and maintained,
 its history, whether 
half made up or not, 
being propounded in 
the name of grand 
tradition and all 
the owners of the 
past of 'Woodbridge', 
while on the other 
hand a posse of smug, 
out-of-town crooks 
was allowed to sweep 
in and plant their 
devilish flag at the 
other end of town, 
so as to, essentially, 
destroy, kill, get rid 
of, it; in the name 
of 'profit- and real 
estate theft, and 
graft and corruption  
-  all the millions 
of dollars it took 
and how long, to 
go right down the
drain with this 
stupid cut-out
110 acres of parking 
lots, paved, non-absorbent, 
sluice-pipe watered 
and drained macadam.
 I admit I'd never 
done it any good by
 dropping car oil 
onto it, and I admit 
that, in my day and 
place, we just didn't
 much know better, 
but these guys bested 
by 500 fold. Construction 
contracts, dirty 
deals, completely
moves, on an 
approved, and 
corporate, level;
all in a time when 
all that crap was 
ascendant, people
were beginning to 
care, to be educated 
about this stuff. But, 
no. Instead there'd 
here be discipline 
and order imposed,
a controlled scheme 
of things, mall cops, 
parking-lot assaults 
and thefts, all the 
cars and roadways, 
the mis-use of 
waterways and the 
of car exhaust 
and gasolines, so 
people could have 
corn-dogs while 
they bought shirts.
Being in business, 
part of the deal was 
you'd 'go along' 
with this kind of 
stuff. The old-world 
was fast fading. Across 
St. George Avenue, 
one of the last vestiges 
of that 'old' way of 
things was still in 
business, just hanging 
on. Napoli's Pizza. It
wasn't even really a 
pizzeria, by the 
standards of the day.
I did their printing 
too but they didn't 
do much of it. I think 
most things they did 
were all hand-written, 
and store-bought 
receipt books sort 
of things Not even 
with a real 
cash-register. It 
was, basically, 
the front area of 
their living quarters, 
right behind the 
curtain there you 
could see their TV, 
a living room and 
stuff; you could 
hear the family, the 
rest of the family, 
whatever, in their 
household arrangements. 
Built into the front 
was this really plain 
dining area, pizza 
oven and stove, or 
stoves, I forget. 
The menu was
plain and simple; 
a few basic tables 
and chairs, a few 
oddball wall-hangings, 
a map of Italy, some 
shiny placement 
things, also with a 
map of Italy and a 
bunch of place names 
and small pictures  
- Venice, a gondola, 
the Leaning Tower 
of Pisa, the Coliseum, 
and some other shots 
of Rome. They were 
plastic-coated and 
washable, so they 
got re-used after 
clean-up. One of 
the daughters or 
someone brought 
the food out to you, 
you sat around and 
ate. It was real; it 
was so cool and 
simple. The whole
thing would cost, 
maybe eight dollars. 
A real place like 
this wouldn't be 
let in the door 
of some swank-ass 
profit palace like 
'Woodbridge Center.'
I wanted to wash 
that creeps face 
in Napoli Pizza 
sauce, believe 
you me.
But, that's how 
all this went. I 
had to make a 
good time of it. 
It was as if I was 
'printing', an active 
part of documenting, 
the destruction of 
a town. I'd grown 
up here, knew all 
the places, went 
to the stores and 
movies and shops. 
All my Boy Scout 
crap came out of 
Christiansen's. It 
was the clothing 
supply-center, once, 
for central Woodbridge, 
right in the middle 
of Main Street  -  an 
old string of 1920's 
stores, all dwindling 
then and dying off. 
Sandwich shops, a 
diner, bars, candy 
and news stores, 
pharmacies  -  all 
that stuff was 
doomed. Within 
five years, Woodbridge 
Center would have 
had its way with 
old Main Street  -  
now just a leftover 
assortment of 
dollar stores, 
vegetable marts, 
and I don't know 
what else. At 
the other end, 
below all this 
decimation, the 
new Town Hall 
sits with swagger, 
proud as a peacock. 
For nothing at 
all except attesting 
to the fact that 
this is a 'mobile' 
and for all the 
people moving 
about, this is the 
town hall for permits 
and licenses and 
violations. Thanks. 
Nice shirt; where'd 
you get it?

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