i lost my head. i wasn't myself. i just threw the handful of coins sue had given me at her as she descended the stairs.
i was so angry because after i had made love to her wonderfully that morning i had sheepishly begged for subway fare and a little change for coffee or whatever.
"what am i a gigolo?" i was thinking, and the thought infuriated me. "i may be a tramp and a lunatic but i don't use my body for money."
sue had taken me in because i had lost my job and was broke. and we got along fine for a little while. we had been good friends since woodstock vermont when she was just a wisp of a girl posing in the window bay with the stage replica lugar.
we laughed merrily recounting that day when she scared the shit out of a whole crowd of diners in the "corner cupboard" across the street. she was aiming diabolically at them as they sat in the windows. when someone looked up and saw her it caused a serious reaction and a few minutes later, durphy kicked down my studio door and stood on it both hands on his gun crouched like a fat tiger.
"am i a gigolo?" i wondered later on the subway.
luckily i landed a job on lower broadway as a salesman for a shrink wrap company. shrink wrapping was rather new at the time and i was rather amazed at the variety of sizes we offered.
it was an easy job. every now and then the boss would have me demonstrate one of the contraptions. a bag of plastic is wrapped loosely around an object. then it goes through a kind of oven tunnel and comes out on the other side with the plastic tightened skin tight.
anyway, sue was fed up with me and we parted company after the money throwing incident.
i got a place on park avenue, around 97th street, just six blocks from julie on 103 rd and park. i began to baby sit on a regular basis. when it was bedtime i would tell stories and sometimes sing. sometimes i would cheat and read a story.
"no. tell us one from your head." demanded demian. and i would make up a long drawn out epic adventure with a hero and of course, a princess and lots of jewels or gold. and the hero would save the princess by persuading his pony to fly and with his snickersnack blade swipe off the dragons head with one stroke.
but i also told all the aesop and la fontaine fables i could remember. and of course "the three little pigs were a hit." and "billy goat gruff" had been a favorite of mine that my father had read to me. turned out that i had a lot of stories "in my head".
i was never going to beg for car fare or be evicted again. so when i lost the shrink job, i quickly got another.
i found myself making manniken bodies at the "new style studio". the owner was an old man and a slave driver.
the humid shop was like a cave… hot and dirty with the pungent smell of glue and the clothe mache'. i would spend the whole day driving my fists into plaster casts; wet layers
of slimey strips smashed into curves over and over again until the form was thick enough. i could only make about four bodies a day at first. but within the week i was pounding out six or seven a day. (the old man kept telling me about the turkish guy who could make twelve a day.) i believed him but working as hard as i possibly could, i couldn't see making twice as many as i did.
one day when he got behind on an order, i was put to work painting the faces on the heads. that was the end of the 'cave' and i really kind of enjoyed doing the heads. and of course my style became the new style.