Garbalogy – January 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

History Of Garbology 1

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

I am a caveman in a dinosaur business.

There is much to tell about what it has been like buying estates and selling to the public for the last 30 years but I’ll start by saying what it is like now…

It sucks.

Barely pay my bills. The rent right now is astronomical. So, not only do I have to worry about paying rent but all these kids who have to share apartments can barely pay their rent  and so they don’t have money to buy stuff.

History of Garbology is going to take time to tell.

I will only write in this everyday for five minutes at a time. Otherwise, my whole day would be spent telling tales of wonder and woe.

Let’s take this next two and a half minutes to give you some more background.

In 1983, I moved to Ridgewood Queens and there was a junkstore there ran by Manny. He was surrounded by prostitutes, crack heads, Mob guys, crazy people and Antique dealers.

I rented an apartment for 330 dollars a month and I had books and records but no pots and pans.

For very cheap, in a month, Manny supplied my whole apartment with 50’s furnishings and I was the youngest hippest richest dude in the city, despite the fact  that I was broke.

Another Day, Another Time

Friday, January 18, 2008

History Of Garbology 2 Shovel Face And Monkey Boy

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

This will take time. This is the event that defines my business best.

As you know, I only will write 5 minutes a day about my business. I have lost a lot of interest in my business because it is not what it used to be.

I begin one of my strangest journeys with you. It involves my biggest score and involves close calls with violent people who had spent time in jail and had weapons on them.

It involves dealing with Crackers from Queens who were on crack and had fallen upon a treasure which I thought would make me rich.

Oh, I made money but not nearly the amount that I thought might be in the boxes that lay in a basement up in the Bronx.

Two Minute Warning

Like I said, you are going to want this story all at once.

I’m not going to give it to you like that. I like to write my fiction over my real accounts of my business but I do feel that I owe it to the world to tell my business stories because they shape who I am and how I view the world.

Certainly, they are my main theme for most of my writing. Hemingway had his bullfighting, and I have my junk stories.

Still, my documentation of actual events don’t interest me as much as my imagination…

I could not have made this story up. This is the real deal.

Terry was very mad at me for bringing him and Tom and everyone into a situation that was dangerous but my greed got the best of me and all I could see was that I was a Hunter about to make his biggest score. I could smell the meat on my plate and I was going to be rich. Rich I tell you rich.

It didn’t happen but almost.

I’ll tell you more next time. It gets good.

Another Day, Another Time

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

History Of Garbology 3 Shovel Face And Monkey Boy

Yeah, here we are with another five minutes of The History of Garbology.

Why only five minutes?

Cause you can’t really learn as much from reality as you can from fiction. That’s why there’s so much reality t.v. shows. Reality is limited.

My reality is a box that I like to fold up and put away alot of the time.

It’s easier to deal with reality through characters than the harsh reality of fellows like Shovel Face and Monkey Boy. It’s also more revealing than reality.

Still, people seem to like reality, so let’s get it out of the way.

Let’s get to the reality for five minutes and be done  with it already.

So, Dan worked at the Strand. It’s one of the largest bookstores in America. Dan came to the store and told me of  a couple of weird crackheads who brought refridgerator type boxes of books to the store.

Each box was packed in the early 1960’s and each book was individually wrapped in its own paper bag. There were large tubes in the corners and lots of straw, so that each book was preserved fresh. Each book looked like it had just come off the printing press and smelled brand new.

Dan told me that the Strand bought a couple of these big boxes from these crackheads who brought it to the store in a broken down pick-up truck.

He also said there were a lot of cool old magazines and paperbacks.

I was kind of bummed by the whole story because I was this small Junkstore business that only moderately dealt with books and a couple of boxes like that could have been a good shot in the arm for me.

Oh well…

The next day Dan came running into the store to tell me that the Strand had rejected these guys from coming back into the store with these boxes.

I guess there was too much work involved with the boxes and now they had 8 boxes with them.

I told him to send them my way.

Like a half hour later they drove down fourth avenue the wrong way, down a one way street the wrong way.

Monkey boy was trying to stop traffic from hitting their shitty little pick-up and I was watching this from the store with my hands over my face as car after car tried to figure out what move these knuckleheads were doing.

I already had a heads up on the boxes from Dan. Great stuff and shit all mint.

Mint shit must be worth something I thought.

They wanted 50 dollars a box and I gave it to them gladly.

I negotiated for them to take me to the “Warehouse” in the Bronx that they said had a hundred boxes like that.

I told them that I would come with my men and do all the work. All they had to do is figure out how they were going to celebrate and spend the money.

They agreed and we made arrangements to do this job the next day.

When I got these huge boxes in the store, I opened the first box and the first thing I found were Art Magazines in mint shape from the sixties worth a hundred dollars a piece.

In 30 seconds, I had my investment back.

I thought I was going to be rich and retire on this stuff.

I was like a hunter on the kill.

It didn’t occur to me that the Hunter could be in danger

Saturday, January 26, 2008

History Of Garbology 4 Shovel Face And Monkey Boy

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

I’m in the middle of telling a Junkman story that held danger in it. It involves crackheads who had a treasure trove of Fetish magazines, Original Betty Page photos, quality valued first printings of books and early comics.

I only like writing non-fiction five minutes a day. I spend too much of my day in reality as it is. If I’m going to sit down and write, I best bring myself to another dimension…

Anyway, I was waiting for the crackheads to come back to the store, so that I could go to the warehouse and pick up these hundred boxes that would allow me to retire.

I figured a hundred thousand dollars worth of stuff.

Let’s look at that number carefully.

If you can sell a hundred thousand dollars of stuff in a year. You are doing good.

If it takes two years that’s o.k.

If it takes ten… not doing that good.

But I digress with my Junkman equations.

To the meat…

I was on the phone with Victim. She had not heard from Monkey Boy or Shovel face since I gave them 400 dollars for the 8 boxes.

I had five guys and two trucks and nothing.

The next morning, I got a hold of Monkey boy. He picked me up in his pick-up in Ridgewood and told me we had to go to a crack house to find Shovel Face. The crack house was in Maspeth.

Oh, he didn’t call it a crack house.

I got in his jeep and we drove to Maspeth listening to Slayer.

I was in the middle of “River’s Edge.”

I didn’t give a fuck. I wanted those fetish magazines that I could sell for a hundred bucks a pop.

We found shovel face slithering up the streets. He hopped in and now they went to pick up Victim.


Now where was I going to sit?

They strapped me in the back of the pickup in a lounge chair  with a football helmet. I kid you not, now I was in Easy Rider.

I didn’t give a fuck. I wanted the original Betty Page photo’s that Japanese businessmen would pay me a hundred dollars a pop.

We drove next to my store in Manhattan. People waved and honked at me as crack heads up front smoked crack.

We picked up Mr. Bones. Mr. Bones was a kid named Morgan who I hired and let sleep in the store. He was a tall skinny kid who was crazy. Certifiable.

Through the years, I have hired some really good people, and I have hired all kinds of wing-dings.

Real wing-dings. The list is long of wing-dings and I will write about them in another history lesson.

Today’s history lesson is almost done.

So, we picked up Mr. Bones who sat in the back of the pick-up with me in another chair and a bicycle helmet and we were off to the bronx.

Now, I also got on the phone and called in my friends and told them to be at the store.

Baby Dave

Mr. Pickles and his brother

My ex-wife with an emergency get away car

Willie The Vole

Fella’s am I forgetting anyone?

Remind me if there was anyone else on this caper.

I had Tom rent a truck and had everybody wait as I went to this mystery warehouse that the crackheads seem to forget exactly how to get to.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

History of Garbology 5 Shovel Face and Monkey Boy

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

We went to the Bronx in the pick-up. Morgan and I were strapped down in the back with rope and chairs.

I had the football helmet and Morgan had the bicycle helmet on. There were all kinds of scrap metal bouncing around in the back.

In the front cab were Shovel Face, Monkey Boy and his girlfriend Victim.

I remember them as Dick Tracey villians. I don’t really see them as humans but cartoons. I guess I’m a cartoonish person.

The Warehouse was in a basement of a large Apartment Complex in The Bronx. The stuff once be belonged to a bookstore around Fordham University. The owner must have lived in the apartment building and arranged this huge storage of his old bookstore in the basement.

It was a tremendous basement with these huge refridgerator sized boxes filled with collectible books and magazines.

We loaded the pick-up with 8 boxes. That was the most that would fit. I left Morgan behind to pack and make sure that Monkey Boy and Victim were not going to steal stuff while I went to get the troops who were gathering at the store and waiting to go to battle.

So, the warehouse turned out to be a basement, and these boxes had to be pushed up a sharp inclined ramp. It was an incline that was really a hill. It would be good for skateboarders and sleds in icy snow.

We had to push these two hundred pound plus boxes up the hill. Wow was that a chore. I woke up that night with serious charlie horses in both legs.

If I believed in reincarnation, I would have been building the pyramids.

I think when Moses would have said, O.K. we can get out of here now.”

I might have told him,”Look, we’re almost done with this fucking pyramid. Let’s finish this shit and then we’ll get the fuck out of here.”

I kind of like marathon work of any kind.

I guess I run my days like mini-marathons.

Even my writing has a marathon feel to it, don’t you think?

I go on and on and then I say:

Tomorrow is another Tomorrow

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

History Of Garbology 6

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

Sometimes, when I’m at the store or thinking about the stories that I’ve lived through, I think,”Wow, this would make a good reality show.”

Then I realize that Willie was coming to the store for five years every week and videotaping the shananagins.

We used to do  a live T.V. talk show and then we just got lazy and did a show right from the store.

The irony is I hate reality shows.

Reality Shows are just a cheap way for a producer not to hire a writer. And of course reality shows do have writers anyway…

Back to our story….

So, I leave Mr. Bones at the warehouse to watch my stuff and pack it tight. Some of the boxes were ripped apart by the knuckleheads.

I went back to the store with the man who looked like my father. I forgot about that till now. He reminded me of my Dad. This crackhead with a busted face reminded me of my Dad. Wow.

(I have something for later fiction.)

Anyway, Shovel Face and I went back to the store and unloaded 16? boxes. I can’t remember how many we could fit in the pick-up

Anyway, Willie was there but I  don’t think he videotaped. He was there with a map but crackhead Shovel Face couldn’t remember the address and I wasn’t smart enough to get it when we went there the first time. I was too pumped up

My second ex-wife was there to help. She already was an ex. She was the getaway car which we in fact needed.

Tom and Terry rented a U-Haul and I feel I had someone else there…

When we got to the warehouse, Morgan was a blubbery mess. He was trying to stop Monkey BOy and Victim from stealing stuff. He was having no luck.

They were finding stuff and hiding it in the warehouse.

Morgan sat in the car with my ex while the rest of us worked getting these huge boxes up the ramp.

Terry and Tom were friends who helped me but were not happy about the Crackheads, the weight of the boxes and the threat to their lives I had placed them in.

At one point, Shovel Face stopped on the highway to think about things. He stopped and then Terry had to stop. We were all lucky that day.

Right before we got on a small bridge, shovel face made a U-turn.

It was a very James Bond, Roger Moore era driving move. I was waiting for us to go down an alley on two wheels.

Two Minute Warning

So, I thought Morgan would need to be hospitalized. I think Monkey Boy threatened him with a gun.

Anyone remember?

Shovel Face did have a gun and wanted to kill someone in a gas station but then put the gun back because he knew he was making five grand that day.

I have to say, I didn’t give a fuck about seeing a gun. I wanted my stuff. It almost ruined my friendship with Terry who yelled at me the next day.

He was right. I appologized to him for risking his life and everybody else’s. If I had to do it again. I would just have done it all myself.

Tomorrow is another Tomorrow

The End Part 6

Friday, February 01, 2008

History Of Garbology 7 Shovel Face and Monkey Boy

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

I paid 5 grand for the opportunity to see if I was going to retire. Not a lot of money.

It was the risk to everyone’s life that was more a factor.

We were driving in my ex- wives car, heading back to the store. It would be a couple of days to a week before I’d understand how much value were in these 100 huge boxes. Would  a box contain gold or would a 100 boxes contain gold?

If every box had ten grand in merchandise, well that would be good but how fast could I turn it over. I expected a lot for my five grand.

When it came to paying Shovel Face, Monkey Boy and Victim, all three wanted to be the one to receive the money. I had no choice but to drop the money between them like a hockey puck.

The next week, Shovel Face turned up to the store with a shopping cart full of records. He was broke. He went from making five grand to fifty dollars in a week.

A few days after that, Monkey Boy and Victim showed up with some of the comics that they stole from me. I gave them another 400 dollars for the stuff they stole from what I already purchased.

I made 4 grand off of what they stole.

I went to a flea market a year later and saw merchandise that obviously had come from my lot. I bought all that stuff.

Did I make money? Yeah. Was it worth risking? Yeah because I’d be thinking about that for the rest of my life.

I made the 5 grand in two days off of two guys. I wholesaled stuff out and I kind of regret that. I was selling magazines for 10 a pop that could command 100 a piece on the internet.

Oh well…

Made my 100 grand but it took a few years.

I still have stuff from the deal that is lower end and that I’m selling for a couple of bucks a piece.

Kind of a sad story after all the effort don’t you think.

It would be a better story if I wasn’t struggling so hard in the business now.

It would be a happy story if I were drinking a sloe gin fizz on a tropical island but I’m not.


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