From The Sneer Of Contempt, To The Frivolous Smile

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

From The Sneer Of Contempt, To The Frivolous Smile

Category: Friends

“Dog balls should be covered up in public,” Sonny said.

“And it’s alright for dog balls to be displayed in the privacy of their homes?” Bingo questioned.

I had to put things straight,”The only reason Sonny wants dog balls to be covered up is because he bought this stupid storage room with dog clothes and he can’t sell it at the flea market.”

“One day every dog in this city will be dressed nicer than us,” Sonny said. “And I will be the cat’s meow.”

The twelve men of our outdoor roundtable raised their drinks in the air and all screamed, “A Salute to dat.”

We sat outside my store and kind of looked like a dugout of nervous men waiting for their turn to bat. We were losing the game and it was the bottom of the ninth. Our time in this city was numbered. We were all Junkmen with dinosaur businesses.

We sat outside my store every Labor Day and about once a week the rest of the year. We sat and conspired. We sat and complained. We sat and waited on customers outside my store and wondered if this customer would become a part of our solution or just another part of the problem… In other words, were they brave enough and smart enough to buy a bargain or were they raised on Fucked up American consumerism rules: Buy It New, To Show Your Value As A Human Being… If You Buy Old and Used, You’re A Loser…

We sat and had laughs. We laughed hard and often. Some drank hard. Some didn’t drink anymore. Some never drank and only smoked weed and some did nothing but tell stories. We were friends by virtue of what we did for a living. We also like each other. We were all in trouble in this business in New York. We were playing musical chairs but we all sat and barbecued meat and each other.

We were Pirates of a strange business. The business of recycling other people’s garbage and selling their stuff to people who needed it. People no longer needed other people’s stuff as much as they used too.They needed it, it’s just that many people are just too preoccupied to know that they need other people’s garbage.

Antoine said,”Uh, the President should give us a tax write-off for recycling all this furniture and junk that we sell.”

Sonny said,”When was the last time you paid taxes?”

Everybody went, “Oooh. Fighting words.”

Antoine said, “Uh… Uh… You’ll never sell your dog sweaters. Dogs don’t like wool on their balls and they’ll bite their owners before they wear your shitty wool ball sweaters.”

Bingo stood up and got very animated. He pretended to be a referee and a promotor of a fight. He went through a whole routine of introducing Sonny as Muhamad Ali and Antoine as Pee Wee Herman.

“I don’t want to be Pee Wee Herman.” Antoine said.

Antoine got stuck with two hundred talking Pee Wee Herman dolls after Rubins got caught masturbating in a theater years ago. He couldn’t sell his dolls and dumped them. Now, they go for good money.

“You should have held onto those dolls,” Sonny said wagging his finger at Antoine.

“Whose going to buy your shitty wool ball dog sweaters.” Antoine scuffed.

“I’ve been thinking about dog balls a lot lately. I bet the Yuppies who are buying Condo’s don’t want to see other people’s dog balls and I’m sure they’d rather not see their own dog’s balls. I think rich men will buy my ball covering sweaters for their wives.Yuppies like to keep their balls in their mouth. They don’t want you looking anywhere else. Their dicks and their balls are in their mouth and it’s pointed at you.

Innocent Chad said,”Do people use the term Yuppie anymore?”

Everybody kind of shrugged their shoulders.

Who were these wealthy folk moving into New York. We all understood gentrification in Manhattan, that was inevitable but that it reached deep into other boroughs was a head scratcher.

“Innocent Chad you came from elsewhere, what thinks your white people of way North of Brooklyn?” I asked.

“Well, my mom came in from Vermont and looked at my neighborhood and never got out of the car. It still wasn’t white enough for her. She turned around and went back.

“And tell the round men of Junkland where you live young Chad.”

“Park Slope,” he answered.

Everybody keeled over with laughter. Long Island Jon’s wig fell off his head.

Park Slope is an upscale neighborhood in Brooklyn. To us it was like saying you didn’t want to go to a Yankee- Redsox game in Yankee stadium because you were a Yankee fan and you were afraid of the RedSox fans.

We just stopped laughing when Conspiracy Bob made his way up the block from his Single Occupancy Hotel residence, The Greenpoint Hotel. Wow. Over 100 rooms where there should only be thirty. Chicken wire coops.

“They’re eating me up. They’re sucking me dry.”

“What Bob? What’s going on? You want a hotdog?” I asked.

“Don’t mind if I do. I need my energy.”

Kurt was on the grill and made him a plate with two dogs, some slaw and some chips.

Conspiracy Bob started chopping and talking at the same time,”The  Bedbugs are eating me up.”

He rolled up his sleeves and we all saw big welts  from bedbugs, as well as track marks from dope.

We all grimaced and those that were eating stopped except for Conspiracy Bob. He was already finished with one dog and was working on the next one.

Silence. Bedbugs was a serious issue for Junkmen. Where did these fuckers come from. There hadn’t been bedbugs in this country for fifty years and now hotels and everywhere bedbugs  were becoming an issue again. They are horrible. They actually anestatize you and suck your blood when you’re sleeping. My store used to be in Greenpoint which is  Ground Zero for Bedbugs. The New York Times wrote about it. It was horrible. I stopped carrying any beds or stuffed couches, just to make sure I wouldn’t get these blood suckers.

Conspiracy Bob pulled out a jar,”I got some bedbugs right here, if you need to fuck with anyone.I’ll give you some.

We all jumped in horror. Now, a couple of the men were in Vietnam. One guy was in Korea. Antoine was in the first  Gulf War.

People were criminals. People had guns to their head. When this guy pulled out his jar of bedbugs everybody flipped out and we were all backing away from him as if he was Count Dracula.

“Put that jar away and get the fuck away from my store.”

“I get that reaction,” He said. “That’s why they’re trying to kill me.”

He put his bedbugs back in his pocket.

“Nobody is trying to kill you.”I said.

“Everybody has someone that wants to kill them. Somebody wants to kill everyone of you guys.I bet none of you know it.”

“We know it,” we all said in unison.

Conspiracy Bob was pissed. He gave us all the hairy eyeball. “Well, I’m telling you, there’s somebody after me because I know the truth about 9-11.

“Oh no,not this again. I know, I know dynamite in the building,” Antoine said.

“No,” Bob said.

“O.k. Bob tell us and then get that jar out of here. It gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

“There was no 9-11. There never was a building there in the first place. It was always a holographic building.”

I didn’t think there was anything that could piss me off. I became intolerant, You’re right. there is someone willing to kill you me!. Get the fuck out of here and take your bugs with you.

“Fuck You,” he screamed at us and walked away. “You’ll see, I’ll be dead and you’ll wish you did something. There was no 9-11. It was a hoax. Nobody died on that day and I doubt there is even a war going on. They just kill people in gas chambers and pocket the money. You fucks are too stupid to see the truth. Bedbugs are the only real visible enemy we have and we can’t even do anything about them. It’s all bullshit about terrorists. If there were so many terrorist why wouldn’t there be guys blowing up all day long. No. There was no 9-11. There were no buildings. It was all a hologram.”

That kind of put a damper on the party. We started packing up and cleaning up soon after. I looked up and saw a train wreck walking towards me. She was only briefly in my life. It was only after she was out of my life that she became attached to me and began harrassing me. “Well, people change,” I said to myself.There’s no reason to assume that she was still crazy. Maybe I can hide behind the dumpster.”

“Are you hiding from me behind that dumpster?” Allison asked.

“Yep,” I said.

“Don’t worry. I’m long over you.”

“Oh, that’s great,” I said. “Allison I never meant to harm you.” I hopped out from behind the dumpster and gave her a hug.

“I know, I know. You just stopped calling me for no reason. I’m sure you had your reasons. What was your reason?

Antoine came running over to the remaining group watching me and Allison greet each other, “I fucking can’t believe it. They killed Conspiracy Bob.”

“What?”

“He’s around the corner deader than dead. The bottle of bedbugs cracked right by his feet.”

We all ran around the corner to see if Antoine was telling the truth. He was. There was Conspiracy Bob on the ground with cops taping off the area. I turned to say something to Antoine and Allison was right by my side instead.

End Of Part I

Monday, September 10, 2007

From The Sneer Of Contempt, To The Frivolous Smile Part II

Category: Friends

Conspiracy Bob lay in his own blood. Nobody seemed in a hurry to cover him up or get him off the street.

All the Junkmen surrounded Conspiracy Bob. We didn’t want kids to see a dead man on their street.

“Cops are taking their time,” I said.

“It’s Labor Day, this is Bushwick, and everybody hated Conspiracy Bob,” Sonny said.

Everybody did hate Conspiracy Bob. As soon as Bob got to know you the littlest bit, he would find a way to conspiracize who you were and try to piss you off.

He knew I was Jewish, “So you know the old testament is nothing but a Real Estate Contract. It’s the first draft as to who owns what and where. So, God was like Donald Trump and he wanted to develop that shit sand he owned. So, he got the Jews to stop schlepping the stones up a 45 degree angle in Egypt and promised them Condo’s in another shit sand  area.”

I told Conspiracy Bob that I wasn’t bothered by what he was saying.

That pissed him off. He tried different conspiracies. He tried Skull and Bones, He tried  Water Tossing Aliens. He even tried Kennedy. He finally was able to push my button with 9-11, “The buildings never existed. They were never built. Nobody died.This was planned since the 70’s.”

“Shut the fuck up,” I said.

He smiled.

Now, he was dead, and the cops were slow to react to a corpse on the street. A rookie walking the beat walked over to our huddle.

“Jeez,” he said.

“Anyone coming?” I asked.

“They want to make sure he’s dead. Your friend here made alot of enemies.”

Sonny snapped,”We got to go hunting about this one.” He looked at all the Junkmen. He broke the huddle. And some of the  military,short fused guys broke out of the huddle too.

“Don’t do this,” I yelled. Antoine started for Sonny’s truck. I grabbed him by the back of his shirt. “Where the fuck you going? The one time you had a gun in your hand, you blew off two toes.”

Antoine stopped in his tracks.

Sonny stopped and turned to the cop, “We all hated this guy but he was shot down in my neighborhood and the cops won’t do anything about this.”

“The Desk Seargent was glad this guy was dead. He’d come in and annoy the shit out of the whole department. We’d arrest him and then he would bug the other inmates. He almost started a couple of riots a couple of times… No one is coming for a while, and no one is looking for his killer. So, I recommend you go hunting.”

“Who needs a gun?” Sonny yelled out as he opened his van and moved dog sweaters to get to his arsenal.

Sonny covered up Conspiracy Bob with two dozen designer dog sweaters, “Sure you don’t want to go hunting? Your father would be proud of you.

Sonny turned to the cop,”You need a gun?… Here, take this. I might need you later” The cop took some fancy luger looking gun.

“What are we in the Wild West?” I asked.

The cop looked at me with a dull hungover Irish face, “Sonny takes care of things in this neighborhood. The cops have their hands tied in so many ways between the politicians and the Real Estate brokers.”

“Sounds like a conspiracy to me. You must be the new Conspiracy Bob.”

The cop hit me in the face with the gun Sonny just handed him.”

Blood gushed down my face, “Oh great. Be careful with that gun, it’s an antique. Can you get my blood off that gun before you use it please.”

“I’m sorry,” he said. “We’re all a little stressed out. Murders on Labor day suck.”

Bingo came running over to me,” Damn, what the fuck happened to you?”

“I cut myself thinking,” I said. I held my nose up, “Get me one of those dog sweaters.

Bingo got me a dog sweater. I stopped the bleeding. The ambulance arrived without sirens. Cops too.

Bingo whispered. “We can solve this murder.”

“You going hunting?”

“Your ex-girlfriend found something. Some evidence.”

“Well, what is it?”

Allison walked over to me,”I’m not telling you what I have till you tell me why you broke up with me 28 years ago.”

“No,” I said. “This concludes our murder investigation for today. Le’t wish our hunters the best of luck and hope they don’t kill anyone else.”

“Oh, o.k. Larry here.” Allison handed me a portable tape recorder that Conspiracy Bob used to talk into and she wiped some tears in her eyes. The tape recorder was covered in blood.

Allison ran down the block and slipped on Conspiracy Bob’s blood and gore. She did not get up.

Bingo said,”We should get her.”

“Yeah,” I said. “We should get her. Bingo, why does this happen to us.”

“It happens to everyone,” He said. “They just don’t know it.”

“Bingo,” I said

The End Part II

Thursday, September 13, 2007

From The Sneer Of Contempt, To The Frivolous Smile Part III

Category: Religion and Philosophy

So, another murder to solve that nobody cares about…

Conspiracy Bob lived in this rat-hole of a hotel in Greenpoint. Boy, you put all the pieces together of Greenpoint and it’s such a shithole that it’s hard to believe that condo’s are being built here and that rents have doubled in the last few years. Greenpoint sits on a oil spill. The soil is contaminated from the oil spill and I’m just waiting for the Government to tell me it’s time to move along… move along little doggie…

Besides, the oil spill, Greenpoint has the largest sewage plant in North America, is ground zero for bedbugs, and has this crazy hotel for single occupancy guys. The hotel is ground zero for the bedbugs and for heroin.

Zombies on dope with bedbug bites shuffle along Manhattan Avenue and would steal things from my store when it was in Greenpoint. One time, a guy with one arm stole a pair of shoes. He carried them by the laces in his mouth. I caught him and ripped the shoes out of his mouth. He was very angry…

A lot of people in Greenpoint are angry. Just about anyone could have killed Conspiracy Bob. Bob’s mission in life was to annoy you and push your buttons. He wasn’t happy unless he was making someone miserable. He’d walk up to Puerto Rican kids who were dealing crack and pull out a calculator and show them that they were only making minimum wage dealing drugs. He’d walk the beat with cops and tell them where all the crime was going on. They wanted to walk to their own beat. He’d approach hipster kids and tell them how he thought they would end up twenty years down the line. No hipster wants a future, especially if it sounded plausable. He’d say things to them like, “You’re living on the curve, living on the curve. When you get around that bend, you will become that horrible person you always hated. Everybody becomes their parents. It don’t matter what kind of cool pants you wear, it’s in the genes… jeans… genes… jeans…”

So, anybody could have killed Conspiracy Bob. My ex-girlfriend from 28 years ago, found Conspiracy Bob’s little tape recorder he constantly spoke into, at the murder scene in Bushwick.

Me, Bingo, Antoine and ex-girlfriend from 28 years ago listened to the tape and went to the single occupancy hotel to collect all his tapes. The one tape we had, named at least 50 people who wanted to kill him, including me! I didn’t know he took much note of me.

The four of us went into the hotel as if we were the Bowery Boys walking into a haunted house. Creepy corridors, chicken wire, piles of mattresses which I understood as  Ground Zero, for the new infestation of bedbugs plaguing the world.

We walked in a kind of circle. It was like a mental hospital. Weird laughter from a room here and there. Some doors were open and I expected to see a woman in an monkey mask on her hands and knees. You get the picture. Weird,creepy, disfunctional folks.

Allison asked,”So, you got the tape, now will you tell me why you broke up with me 28 years ago?”

“Not now Allison, I’m really freaked out being in this place. After we get what we came for. We’ll go for coffee and talk..”

“Good, cause I’ll kill you if you don’t.”

Bingo said,”No more talk of murder.” Let’s get what we came for and get out.”

Antoine chimed in,”What are we going to find out from his other tapes that we don’t know from the tape he made today. He already accused a bunch of people of murdering him, even though he was alive… It’s weird, hee spoke of himself as if he were dead already. How come?”

“Alot of people feel dead. It’s a philosoophical issue,” I answered. “I worked for Time Inc. for nine years. Alot of people feel dead. That’s how they feel they have to survive.”

We got to Conspiracy Bob’s room. It was already broken into. The door was open and a another weirdo I knew was gathering old video tapes and putting them in a pillow case. The room was now completely empty except for a mattress on the floor.

I said to the weirdo,” Hey weirdo, how did you know to break in here and take all of Bob’s stuff?” Oh, the guy’s name was weirdo, so,he wasn’t going to be upset by me calling him weirdo.

“As soon as someone gets axed, we chop up his room. It’s tenants rights. You guys have no rights here. This is our stuff. That’s what I told the suit and that’s what I’m telling you.”

“A suit came in here?” I asked.

“Yeah, he came in here and told everybody that Bob was dead. We broke in and started taking the stuff that Bob wouldn’t need anymore.”

“The suit take anything?”

He looked around, took some paperwork and clippings which Bob had on his wall and split.”

“You see what the papers were about?” I asked.

“D’uh. Conspiracy stuff. Picture of a condo from the Post in one. He ripped that one first. Real angry fuck. You know who he was?” Weirdo asked.

“Sounds like a Real Estate Broker,” I guessed.

“Sounds right. He was too good for this place or something.”

We looked around the empty room. Weirdo stood in the doorway, “I don’t know what you fella’s think you’re going to  find except bedbugs under there but good luck” Weirdo said and went running.

Antoine and I lifted the mattress and everybody screamed like scream queens. We found ground zero for the bedbug problem. Hundreds, and hundreds of bedbugs. We all ran for our lives. We ran out the door and never turned back.

“Did you see it?”Bingo asked.

“I saw it,” I said.

“What did you guys see?” Antoine asked.

“Two tapes and a gun were under the bed with the bedbugs.”

“Are we going back?” Antoine asked.

“No,” I said. “Case closed.”

“But we don’t know who killed Bob.”

“Yes we do,” I said. “It was the suit.”

“Bingo,” Bingo said.

The End Part III

Saturday, September 15, 2007

From The Sneer Of Contempt, To The Frivolous Smile Part IV

Category: Writing and Poetry

It felt wrong to solve a murder with an ex-girlfriend. Allison was nice enough and helpful in solving the murder of Conspiracy Bob, but I felt like I was cheating on my wife.

My wife Dawn has helped me on occassion with solving mysteries in Greenpoint. It’s hardly ever murder. Just the other day she helped me solve the case of the missing fresh ground coffee. Turned out my two year old put it in her plastic refridgerator next to her little wood stove. Whenever, I cook, she cooks. It’s the cutest thing… So, if I make coffee, Sadie makes coffee. Usually, she’s happy enough to pretend to have coffee and prepare it. On this day, she took the whole bag and put it in her refridgerator.

From five o’clock in the morning when the newborn woke up, till seven, I suffered looking for the fresh ground coffee. My wife woke up to go to the bathroom and I pleaded with her to help me find the missing coffee.

She sniffed around from room to room and then finally pointed to the little toy refridgerator. Yep, as you know it was in there. Dawn has a good sniffer…

In fact all this running around and sweating with Allison in solving the murder made me think that when I got home Dawn would be able to smell Allison on me and she would think I was having an affair. Great just great…

“So, I helped you solve Conspiracy Bob’s murder, now will you tell me why you broke up with me 28 years ago?”

“I can’t. I’m too embarrassed.”

Bingo and Andre looked at each other in amazement.

Bingo said,” I’ve never known you to be embarrassed. I’ve seen you say you’re embarrassed but you usually just seem to thrive in it. You thrive in your shame. It’s like your religion. You constantly embarrass me with your honesty about your embarrassments… Shit, you told my mother how you tried putting your dick in a vacuum cleaner to masturbate when you were a kid.”

“That’s cause your mom was upset that she caught your sister masturbating with a vacuum cleaner. I was trying to make her feel better.”

“You told my mom that your dick in the vacuum cleaner was making a whistling sound that was making the dog bark like crazy.”

“I distracted her, didn’t I.”

“Yes, she became very concerned about our friendship and that she needed to get a new vacuum cleaner.”

We were in a diner in Greenpoint called Greasy. We were eating burgers and still shaking from the bedbugs under Conspiracy Bob’s mattress.

“Do you really want me to tell you why I broke up with you 28 years ago?” I asked Allison.

“Yes,”

“And you want my schmucky friends here to hear it?”

A chorus of “Hey’s” from the knuckleheads.

Antoine said,”I don’t really want to hear it but I’m afraid to be alone right now.”

“Antoine your the biggest gossip of all. You love hearing shit on people,”Bingo said.

Antoine shook his head no as he bit into his burger and kept his mouth shut.

“O.K.” I said. “If this is what you want…”

The three of them nodded.

“I broke up with you because you took three or four baths a day and you used so many oils that I developed a rash around my dick. At the time, I didn’t know why I had developed a rash and I went to a clinic on ninth avenue in Chelsea. An asian woman doctor lifted up my dick and said,’Soap Rash.’ She looked disgusted. I went home and I just didn’t know how to tell you… If you had given me a disease, it would have been much easier for me to tell you and work things out with you somehow…”

Allison, reached across the table and slapped me across the face. Then she threw her soda on me. She ran out the door of the restaurant.

“Fuck. I knew I shouldn’t have admitted how shallow I was.”

Bingo said,”She smelled real good today too. Like vanilla and cream…”

“Shut up,” I said.

“She wanted to know,” Antoine said. “Do you think she’s coming back?”

“No,she’s gone for now. Let her cool off.”

Bingo said looking at my wet face,”She cooled you off.”

Antoine picked up her half eaten burger and fries and put it in front of him, “Greasy makes a good burger.” He put more ketchup on her plate and started eating from it.

Bingo reached over and grabbed a bunch of fries,”So, what happens now. Your pretty sure it was the suit who killed Bob… We just going to let him get away with it?”

“Yeah,” I said. Bob was a pain in the ass, and none of us liked him. Cops don’t want to deal with this.”

“Cops don’t want to deal with anything in Greenpoint. This is where they come to retire,” Bingo said.

Antoine foolishly said, “Don’t you want to be like your father?”

I felt the heat in my chest,” What do you mean?”

Antoine gulped and said,”You know, he runs a part of Coney Island and he doesn’t get pushed around like us over here in Greenpoint. I mean, how many times have you been pushed around in this city. Every landlord has wanted to become a partner in your business and raise the rent till you can’t afford it and then you have to move. You’ve had landlords who made you move by burning you out of your apartment and then you had to move when Sadie was one and Zane was on the way. Aren’t you tired of this shit? Isn’t it time, you took a stand against this bullshit. We live on top of America’s largest oil spill and we don’t even get storage money.”

“Wait, so you’re saying the government should pay us a storage fee for the oil spill?”

“Hell yeah,” Antoine said angrily. “This spill has been here since the fifties. They are cleaning it up very slowly and they’re refining the oil… There’s thirty million gallons of oil under Greenpoint killing people with cancer but there’s also money to be made on the refining of it.”

“You’re giving me a headache.”

“That’s the benzene in the air.”

“It could be the sewage plant,” Bingo said.

America’s largest Sewage plant was two blocks away from Greasy.

I was feeling stuck. Where was I? How did I get pushed to Greenpoint and this contaminated shit all around me?

Maybe Antoine had a point. If I worked for my dad I could protect my kids from this shit. My dad was a powerful man who wanted me to be a part of his racket for thirty years. For thirty years, I didn’t deal with my father and what he could do for me because of what I would have to do for him.

“My dad is dealing with his own power struggle in Coney. Let’s not forget, the Russians just tried to kill him. If I got involved now, I’d be in the middle of a war.”

“Look at the war you’re in, in Greenpoint. You got invisible enemies now. You got all kinds of people trying to kill you. You got cocksucker landlords. You got contaniments in the air from all the construction going on which they’re doing on top of soil which becomes airborne. Can you stop it?”

“It’s guys like my father who are doing this shit.” I said feeling the blood rushing to my head.”

“Yeah, but he knows what’s going on. He’s the guy who doesn’t let shit happen to him with at least knowing who is doing what to him. Doesn’t that count for something. You know, your Grandfather didn’t join the Jewish mob because he couldn’t do anything else. He was poor and wanted to control his destiny. He was tired of seeing what was happening to his people.”

“How do you know about my grandfather?”

“They talk about him in the mob books.”

“Don’t believe everything you read. Stop being so gullible about my Jewish mob heritage. I’m not so proud of it.”

Bingo said,”You’re a little proud of it. You like throwing your dad’s name around.”

“Yeah, when I’m in Katz’s and I want a good pastrami sandwich on the house.”

“Bingo!” Bingo said.

Antoine’s cellphone rang,”No shit,” Antoine said. He kept saying shit. He looked at us with wide eyes, “O.K. Sonny. Let me know what you’re going to do with the suit. No. You wired him to an air conditioner. Don’t throw him in Newtown Creek. They’re about to open a park by the Sewage plant and who knows when they’re going to start refining the oil that spilled in there. There’s enough bodies in there… “

Antoine looked at us, “Sonny and the other guys found the suit and they want to kill him and dump him in Newtown Creek by the new park they’re building.

“I got that,” I said. “How did maniac Sonny find out who killed Conspiracy Bob? You know he’s not that smart to figure things out himself.” I looked hard at Antoine.

“I told him,” Antoine said.” I couldn’t keep this to myself. I didn’t think Sonny would really be able to find him. I just didn’t want Sonny to kill someone who was innocent.”

I rubbed my forehead hard. I had a headache. “Where do the have this guy holed up?”

“At your store in Bushwick. They have him attached to a an air conditioner.”

“My store? My store is closed.”

“Sonny got in.”

“Sonny got in? How did he get in?”

“Sonny can get in wherever he wants.”

“That’s a five hundred dollar air conditioner. That air conditioner is not going into Newtown Creek… He better not have gotten blood on that thing. I don’t want blood shooting out of that thing when I turn that on… Come on let’s go.”

“Where we going now?” Bingo asked.

“We’re going back to that bedbug hotel and getting that gun.”

“Sonny will give you a gun if you need a gun.”

“I’m going to use the gun on Sonny,” I said.

“Just don’t forget the last time you had a gun in your hands , you accidentally shot me.” He rubbed his shoulder.

“That was no accident… Besides, I barely scratched you.”

Back in the hotel, the three of us held our breath and lifted the mattress. The mass amounts of bedbugs were still there but the gun and the tapes were gone.

“Fuck.” we said in unison and ran out the room wiping the cooties off of us.

Weirdo opened the door smoking a joint and laughing when he saw us. He sported a black eye,”You should have taken the gun when you had the chance.”

“Where is it?”

“The girl you were with took it. She was crying and I laughed at her. All I said was, ‘You want to come in and take a bath with me and she hit me in the eye with the gun.”

“That was the wrong thing to say to her,” Antoine said.

“Bingo,” Bingo said.

The End Part IV

Sunday, September 16, 2007

From The Sneer Of Contempt, To The Frivolous Smile:The Conclusion?

Category: Life

More blood would spill before the end of the night… Just a hunch but with a gun pointed at my head and a room filled with guns, I wasn’t really being much of a Svengali figuring that out.

It was more whose blood would spill. Now since the gun was pointed at my head, by an ex-girlfriend who moments ago swore she was going to pump 6 bullets into my head well…

Then again, Sonny tied The Suit to my 400 dollar air conditioner and likewise moments ago threatened to throw the Real Estate dude into Newtown Creek.

Also, when you have a roomful of guns that nobody really knows how to use,it’s like hunting with Dick Cheney: You shoot at whatever moves and hope for the best.

I did not have a gun and was bummed…

Bingo was quite happy I didn’t have a gun. The last time I had a gun, I accidentally winged him, which is ironic because when we were coming of age in the seventies,  he was my wingman…

Anyway… Everybody was yelling and screaming at each other and telling everybody to drop their guns. I decided to space out for a moment while I tried to figure out what to do.

“Routine 12, routine 12,” Bingo said tugging at my arms which were raised over my head in order to show Allison I had no weapon and just in case she unloaded the gun into my head, I’d be able to try to catch my brains and keep it relatively together.

“I don’t think routine 12 is going to work here,” I said.

Bingo looked angry at me,” You do this every time. When you want to do routine 12, I don’t ask questions, I just do it. You, you always disrespect me when I want to do it. It’s just not fair.”

People started to listen to me and Bingo arguing.

“What are you fags going on about?” Sonny asked as he slapped the Suit in the face. “Shut up, Suit.” Sonny said.

The Suit continued to whimper.

“He pee’d in my air conditioner. Sonny, what kind of logic is it to tie up a man to the air conditioner in the store. He’s only going to be that much heavier. Now, that he pee’d on my air conditioner, you may as well dump it in Newtown Creek.

“Don’t dump me, don’t dump me.”

“We’re not going to dump you. Newtown Creek is polluted enough.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“You killed Conspiracy Bob. You sprayed his brains in public. We’re all family men here. You got a beef with someone. You do it in the middle of the night… like this,” Sonny said.

“I didn’t kill Conspiracy Bob,” The Suit said.

Allison who had the gun lowered during this whole exchange walked over to The Suit and cracked him in the face with the butt of this big gun.

Blood spilled… and The Suit was silent. Lousy little angry, rich, bald man  was out cold.

Bingo said,”Ooh, that’s going to hurt. He’s going to have some hangover in the morning.”

I turned to Sonny,”You tell him who my father is?”

“First thing I told him.”

“You see,” Antoine said. “You don’t want to be involved with your dad but the first  thing you  wanted Sonny to do is throw his name around.”

“The guy is tied up to my air conditioner in my store. He’s just been cracked in the head and needs stitches. I’d just prefer he leave me alone after we send him home.”

Everybody groaned that I wasn’t killing The Suit. They sounded like a bunch of kids who was told it was time to shut the t.v. off.

“Bingo, go get the sewing kit.”

“I’m not stitching this fuck.”

“I’ll do it. I’m a nurse,” Allison said.

“Oh, that’s nice,” I said trying to be polite. I remember you even had a nurse’s outfit 28 years ago.”

“Oh do you,” my wife said walking into the store. “Why is that guy bleeding all over our new air conditioner… and did someone pee in here…. Larry can I speak to you in private.”

Everybody went “Ooh,” as I walked towards my wife.

Dawn chatted with Allison as Allison stitched up The Suit’s head, “Yes, there’s no reason to feel bad about how Larry left you. He’s a bit shallow and stupid. I’m sorry that you haven’t found anyone and if you want him,you can have him.”

“Hey,” I said as Sonny, Bingo, Antoine and I tried cleaning the air conditioner.

“Ooh,” the boys said and pointed at me.”

Allison did still look pretty good. That cute kind of crazy Lene Lovich look… “I’m happily married,” I said out loud, but nobody was listening to me.

The Suit was stirring and my wife was shoving more expensive Scotch down his throat.

“Hey, that’s triple malt.”

“You see what I mean,” Dawn turned to Allison. “The guy could go to jail for kidnapping but he’s worried about his triple malt Scotch.”

“It’s expensive.”

“You see what I mean. Shallow and stupid.”

Like most of the mysteries and murders of life I’ve had to deal with, the conclusion is never satisfying enough. Yes, The Suit had something to do with Conspiracy Bob’s death but we couldn’t prove it. Besides, he’s part of a…. conspiracy? to kill Greenpoint residents by neglect. Whose to blame for the contamination? Whose responsibility is it to make sure it gets cleaned up?

Where did Ground Zero for the bedbugs start? I have an answer for that one. Conspiracy Bob talked about it on one of the tapes which Allison took from under his infested bed… Another day.

Did Allison go out with The Suit? Yes, I don’t know if it will stick. I think she still takes a lot of bath’s a day. Maybe The Suit will be able to handle a soap rash on his dick better than I could.

I changed the locks on the door even though that won’t stop Sonny from getting in if he wants.

Routine 12 worked by the way. It’s an old Bowery Boy thing to do when you’re in trouble. You fight amongst yourselve’s and people are always interested in friends fighting, moreso than them wanting to kill you. Trust me, next time a gun is pointed at your head, just start arguing with your friend or start complaining about your family. You’ll walk away unscathed every time. Remember, don’t start an argument with the guy who has the gun pointed at your head… That may not work out as planned.

The End

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