"let me in. let me in!" screamed s.
he was terrified and trying to get a ground floor apartment
to let him in on a rainy saturday night at 3:00 a.m.
certain death was after him. a pack of italian hounds,
neighborhood greasey meaneys were close behind.
in desperation s. thought he might cut through someone's apartment and lose them.
totally exhausted and gasping for air, a lonely prey in the cold dark concrete alley threw himself under boxes of garbage and stopped breathing. s. counted on stillness but it seemed that his heart pounding could be heard in the dark silence.
it worked, he heard them cursing from his wet garbage thicket. it must be how the fox feels with the hounds' barking, enraged at the fox's disappearance, thought s. breathing a little now. he could hear them take off running, thinking they went down the wrong alley.
some angel must have been looking over him; but that did it! thought s. this was the second time s. had almost been murdered by an angry gang. no, the third time. it was always his winged feet that saved him. well, not always. remembering the stage replica 'luger' in the dresser drawer that he had almost used to bluff three hoods who had barged into the storefront more than disgruntled… seeking revenge.
s. was lucky he had the presence of mind to dismiss that stupid idea. bluff these seasoned killers? he would have been shot. instead he just took back the clean ounce of 'pan red' and refunded their money. s. tried to explain that if they had just tried it, they would taste the hint of cinnamon or pepper or whatever that telltale aroma was which identified it as 'primo' panamanian red.
that time they parted friends; guns back in pockets. s. even turned them on with the same 'red' pot. they had to admit that it was dynamite and they went out laughing into the street. their black charger squeeled out down the street.
"nothing really matters and i don't care."
that was s's mantra those days when he took each moment as it came. amoral and with a deadly sans souciance. you could say he was on the road to ruin and an early grave.
the sun shone right on that side of suffolk st. from noon on until it set. this was morning for s. who would sit on his front steps sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes. not for long though. there never was a more restless 17 year old. also, he had stopped painting so there was no relief. he would march off to the village. washington square in the day and mcdougal and bleeker in the night. everyday was saturday. a single night didn't pass without attending two or three parties. sometimes s. just hung out at "the fat black pussycat",or at "the figaro", on the corner. later, "the cock and bull" or the "village vanguard". but the best was the "gaslight cafe". and after 2:00 a.m. the world cafe or the "global village".
the gaslight was an old style down the stairs bistro and bar with sultry songstresses and jazz ensembles. but s. had no income but what he skimmed from middle-maning pot deals. also, there were the occasional 16 hour shifts washing dishes at the "cafe' wha?", or the "why not?", and later at the "nite owl", just what it says, twenty four hours a day, hamburgers and breakfast. and s. would trek back across town into the rising sun.
a lot of the parties were given by new bands made up of musicians in s's age group. the "lovin' spoonful", "the jug band", john sebastian, john hammond, peter tork and many others who eventually rose to some claim to fame. peter, paul and mary, joan baez, buffy st. marie, bob dylan, sonny terry and brownie mcgee had all risen already out of the village scene. miles davis played at the gaslight and all the greats of jazz had played at the "village vanguard" or the "blue note" many times.
when s. first came to the village in '59 mary travers was the cashier at the gaslight, peter yarrow was a stand up comic at the "commons". also at the "commons", in between 'beat' poets paul did a flamenco set.
then there was the "world cafe", open all night and s. danced on a table when begged by the company to "do your thing, c'mon do your thing, man." it was as smoky as a san francisco fog and as crowded as a subway car at the "world".
bob milo was managing the gaslight. he had the most beautiful girlfriend in the whole village. her name was catherine and she looked real nice with a ruby in her belly button.
the 'factory', (warhol) was cool to visit anytime. there was always something happening there and the chics were cool, but mostly unapproachable. they breathed the rarified air of fame and fortune.
s. had his ups and downs, lonely nights and days and then a flurry of popularity. maybe it was the cycles of the moon.