Whitey… Whitey approached me when I was selling books on St. Marks Place and asked me for work.
He was wearing pancake make-up, black lipstick, Victorian wannabee clothing that looked like it had just been dug up from an ancient grave.He topped his appearance with a pork pie hat.
The job interview went like this:
“Who is your favorite writer?”
“David Goodis is my favorite Writer! You have the job.”
Whitey hardly ever moved. We must have had like a Penn and Teller looking relationship. I was always talking and Whitey never moved. I’d be gesticulating and flailing my arms and Whitey would lick his paws like a cat.
He was in the band The Stiffs, who all worked for me for a minute but Whitey worked for me for years.
He is a Vegetarian who does not eat vegetables. He eats pizza. He loves Kung Fu movies and is very competitive in sports. By competitive in sports I mean, if he is bowling he does not want to have the lowest score. He will cheat, just not to be in last place.
Anyway, an interesting man who was as interested in film noir as I was. We discussed murder all the time
One day we were in the back of the store and I was recounting some animated murder story to him without him moving. There was a woman watching us enthralled. I continued telling my story to Whitey, hoping the lady was listening to my wonderful voice and ability to spin a riveting tale.
Finally, Whitey moved and the lady screamed,”Oh my God, he moved. I thought he was a statue and you were crazy.” The lady ran out of the store and never returned.
We had a good laugh…
My best story about Whitey and there are many is when Whitey went to the Statue of Liberty and realized he had a switchblade on him. (I wonder where his little pearl handle gun was that day.)
He decided to bury the switchblade on the grounds. He dug a hole and was about to bury the knife when he felt the tap on his shoulder…
He turned around and was surrounded by Cops, Parks Department and a whole mess of other law enforcement Officers.
Whitey’s response,”I knew it was you.”
Best thing I ever did was hire Whitey based upon one question that he answered correctly. He understood crime noir living very well.
And I appreciate that.