Beware of the Ides of March

It was a sunny summertime afternoon in Queens, Henry in his apartment was drinking Margaritas and reading a book he picked up in the village, A Fan’s Notes by Fredrick Exeter.  

The book blew him away, Exeter or Ex as he called himself had busted out of the box that creative writing lived in—he was a free flow freak show.  

Ex just goes, goes and goes, from the first page to the last, he is on fire, going here, there and everywhere.

Ex writing—

During my final weeks at the farm I did an odd thing, scarcely knowing at the time why. Though I now presume I created this room that I might one day come back and put down these words, I was unquestionably distraught at being deemed insane and was avoiding, as long as possible, being locked up. 


I drove with top down on the Mercedes and the chillness of the season cutting our faces a fierce pink, we shot through the autumn-lemon hill of Putnam County, and across the snakelike mountain roads into that valley, 


I especially liked the antiqued towns flush with streets beneath the fall trees. Looking at them, one thought of cavernous hearths opening onto great, smoldering logs, of huge copper kettles, of rooted people with a sense of the past, warm, loyal, dignified people who endured in a kind of unending autumn.

Ex writing it down as though the stuff comes out of a bygone room in his head. His work flavored with a heart he numbed with booze, the heart was ever-present and unstoppable. 

Henry looking at a clock that hung loosely and unevenly on his living room wall— it is 730PM, time to eat, he would clean up and head out to Chaim’s Deli for fuel—what happened after that wasn’t written yet but would be written soon. 

Sitting at his favorite booth at Chaim’s Deli he was greeted by his regular waitress Ruby, walking real sexy like in a short skirt, wearing an unbuttoned blouse that exposed ample cleavage—Henry says to Ruby, 

Ruby you sure are a fox, give big daddy some sugar girl!

Ruby replying, 

Henry, who are you today Superfly or Shaft?  Well, thanks for the compliment, I want you too baby, but not here—

Ruby laughing now— 

How about we take a walk to the kitchen and rumble in the storeroom baby? 

Henry didn’t know if Ruby was serious, but he often thought about taking the short trip to the storeroom to find out. 

Ordering and looking Ruby in the eyes romantically with a smile— matzot ball soup, a grilled pastrami and cheese sandwich, well done french fries and a double Jack and Coca-cola to wash it down. 

Leaving Chaim’s after eating, walking through the Bowery, avoiding the bums —you never knew what they would do, they were always maximumly fucked up on booze and psychotic, going this way or that mentally from second to second. 

Henry made a b-line to Times Square to the New Amsterdam Theater, he saw on the marquee that The Night of the Iguana was playing. The cowboy junk, part pimp, part film reviewer, part dealer was standing near the ticket both dressed like one of the Village People—he grabs Henry and says speaking at a gallop,

dog, I got some awesome Brown Mescaline and some Humboldt County bud, Iguana a great, great film, hip to the bone baby.

Henry buys a ticket and then shuffles to the back row of the musty theater. He sits down and puts his feet up on the seats in front of him, then washing down the hit of mescaline with some Jack Daniels wrapped in a paper bag. 

He knew The Night of the Iguana well, he had seen the play on Off-Broadway and had read it too. Tennessee Williams was an absolute stoned genius and the greatest playwright of the 20th Century—a gay and addicted to everything genius like Truman Capote. 

Coming on to the mescaline as the film came on the screen, the music by Benjamin Frankel was haunting with a sinking feeling, Henry felt as though he was falling into it, floating in an ocean of sound.  

The movie opens in a small New England town, an Episcopal  priest, the Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon brilliantly played by Richard Burton is having a nervous breakdown as he is preaching on the pulpit to a conservative crowd of old fuddy duddys, his sermon degenerating into a tirade on phony religious values. 

As the faithful exit the chapel in disgust the film cuts to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico—the defrocked Shannon is now a busted up tour guide on the booze for a low rent tour company.

John Huston enlisted a host of characters including a hitman as a bodyguard, actors, lovers and friends and the movie's crew, the list looked something like this,  

John Huston, Richard Burton, Tennessee Williams, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, Emilio Fernandez, Ray Stark, Elizebeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra—all or most where multiply addicted to something.  

Henry beginning to peek on the mescaline, Iguana was in black and white, he sees multicolored expanding geometric form coming out of the screen— it engulfs him.    

It is act 3, Shannon breaking down again, wrapped up and tied up in a straw hammock by Maxine Faulk and Hannah Jelkes, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr respectively. 

To Henry, it looks as though the hammock is spinning like a top, round and round with Shannon inside it. The hammock balloons up as though it is being inflated and then explodes with the sound of a pop. 

Henry then sees the Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon on an upright wooden cross, his body t-shaped, raising his head and then looking at Henry and saying,

Henry— Beware of the Ides of March, you are throwing your life away, you go up and down and nowhere, you're a free flow of chaotic brainwaves without direction or form.
The movie ends, Henry is coming down and feeling paranoid as he walks out of the theater. In his mind's eye he sees a hoard of Roman senators in togas running after him with their daggers raised in the air. Ignoring the cowboy junk at the entrance he runs away as fast as he can, dodging people and things on the sidewalks and streets, running home to his Queens apartment, going into his bedroom and locking the door.  

Henry would crash in bed that night with his clothes on, not cleaning up or brushing his teeth, he didn't even take off his shoes. He would wake up in the morning with no memory of the previous night, he had unconsciously blacked it out. 

In the morning it was still morning and I was still alive—  Bukowski


A Flaming Arrow

People posted this on Twitter sometimes—go ahead just get off your ass and write, Henry felt the tweet was for others not him, he was bored shitless by the limited scope and hackneyed writing styles on Twitter, spy novels, romance, bloodsuckers and the rest. 

Henry would head upstate to the Catskills for some fresh air. He would travel light, some hiking boots, a pair of Converts, a Boy Scout poncho, a sweatshirt, a few pairs of chinos, a canteen full of whiskey, an ounce of cocaine and some downers. 

It was a short bus ride to the Catskills, he took a few downs and slept most the way, waking up to the sounds of the bus driver’s voice saying—

Ok folks, last stop in New York State, New Baltimore, unless you're going to Vermont, get out. 

It was 6PM and cool out— the end of October, fall was in the air.  Henry needed a drink so he goes to the first bar he sees in town, a place set behind a bookstore in an alleyway called the Back Bar. They had an old iron stove that was burning wood inside which gave the place a cozy feeling. The bar looked like it hadn’t changed in 40 years. 

Henry sits at the bar and orders a double shot, wondering why he was there? The last thing he wanted to do was to get lost in the woods, eaten by bears or snake bitten. He would sit in Back Bar and get really loaded and then look for a place to crash at bar time. 

Feeling distressed but hopeful, he feels the bar light up, magic fills the room—a tall and lovely woman wearing a white leather biker jacket and a flower dress, with beads laced into her long and tangled purple hair comes into Back Bar. She goes to the bar, standing she orders a beer. 

She looks over at Henry and says,

Howdy traveler, you looked lost city boy. 

Henry wasn’t a lumberjack, he wasn’t at home in the woods, he was born in Queens. 

She then says,

My name is Bluebell, I live in a cabin not far up Poet’s Ledge Trail.

He says,

My name is Henry babe, I came here to hike and camp out.  

Henry lying, he didn’t want to hike or camp out, he was afraid to be in the forest alone, oddly though he could walk the streets of NYC at night fearlessly. 

The two drink a few shots and then go into the toilet, they lock the door behind them and snort cocaine. 

It is close to bar time and Bluebell says, 

Let's go to my cabin in the woods and fuck baby. 

An offer Henry can't refuse, he grabs his duffle bag and pays the tab as they leave Back Bar. The two walk the New Baltimore streets a few blocks and exit at Poet’s Ledge Trail which goes into the Catskill Forest Preserve. 

They walk and walk, Henry feeling mousy, the woods were dark with no lights and you could hear raucous cackling hoots, wolfs or wild predatory birds he thought.

Bluebell assuring him as they walk, 

Take it easy Henry, the critters out there are as scared of you as you are of them. 

They exit Poet’s Ledge Trail and follow another trail for a short way that looks as though it was recently hacked open by machete. At the end of the trail is Bluebell’s cabin, the wooden door is unlocked, the two go inside. You could see a loft above with a bed on it from the ground floor. 

Bluebell opens a trap door that is on the floor under the loft and cranks up a Honda generator. The place lights up, she even has wifi. 

She goes to a computer on a wooden desk and plays The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street on YouTube, the sound is full tilt coming through large speakers.

She then lights a fire with newspaper and cut wood in the stone fireplace.  

They sit down on an old brown leather sofa, Bluebell brings a bottle of Jack Daniels and some cups on a beer tray to a coffee table. She pours some drinks, Henry lays some lines of cocaine on the beer tray, then Bluebell takes off her clothes saying, 

I like to walk naked in the woods, I'm a nudist, do you like my body? 

She has a beautiful body, Rubenesque and sculpted, great natural tits— 38 cups maybe, thumb-sized nipples surrounded by brownish and rounded areola.

Henry follows suit and strips down too.

Bluebell says to Henry,

You have a lovely cock, I’m Jewish sweets and I like big dicks with no foreskin. 

She gets up off the sofa and kneels in front of Henry, pulling his legs apart and going down on him, he gets a hard-on, she licks up and down his cock as though it was candy, then grabbing his balls and deep throating him, his balls floating free, tea bag style. 

Henry’s manhood is hard now, she says let's go to bed, the two climb a ladder to the loft floor and get in bed, she pushes the ladder down off the loft to the ground flloor. They lay on a large mattress covered with a quilt. 

Henry has blue balls as Bluebell gets on top of him, riding him pony style, yelping to high heaven like a rodeo girl with one hand on Henry’s chest as she waves the other hand in the air. 

Bluebell was beyond horny, she was a nympho and wanted to ball non-stop all night—a few hours into the sex Henry says,

Look, let's rest I’m not a sex machine, I’m mortal, just flesh and blood.

She gets pissed off at Henry saying,

I only came 3 times, I haven’t squirt yet. 

Henry says, 

Wait until the morning, we can ball all day  Bluebell.

She says, 

Fuck you I need cock now,

Bluebell goes ballistic and begins screaming, 

Fuck me, fuck me you faggot!

Holding Henry’s head in both hands she begins to bang it violently against the window at the back end of the loft. His head breaks the window, shattering it, luckily his head isn't cut bad, but he was bled all over Bluebell's quilt. 

Henry going into fight or flight mode, grabbing Bluebell’s arms at the elbows with his hands, putting pressure on and pushing them together, forcing her to release her hands from his head. Then with all he had left he thrusts the palm of his right hand forward into Bluebell’s nose, breaking her nose. He then hangs from the floor of the loft by his arms and drops to the ground floor, landing on his feet. 

Henry grabs his duffle bag and runs out of the cabin naked, it was dawn.  He heads to Poet’s Ledge Trail, looking back he sees Bluebell running with her white leather coat on, naked underneath. 

She is carrying a bow and arrow, she lights an arrow wrapped in gauze and dipped in petrol. She raises it towards the sky, pulls the string back tight and shoots the flaming arrow towards Henry. The arrow flies in arched trajectory and lands ahead of him 10 meters or so. He runs past it and can see that it has landed in some dry loose bush and is setting the area a flame. 

He reaches Poet’s Ledge Trail and goes south to New Baltimore, he can smell burning leaves and wood, smoke fills the air. Henry quickly dresses, the nut case Bluebell wasn't in sight, maybe she was caught in the flames. Henry wasn't going back to save her, he would save himself.

Not a good Catholic choice, Henry was atheist.  

Once in New Baltimore he notices a red alarm box on a street corner and pulls the switch, alerting the fire department. Then heading to the bus station and sleeping on a wooden bench for a few hours until the bus to Queens arrives at 11AM. 

Sitting on the bus, a lady sitting behind him notices the caked blood on his head and says, 

I’m an EMS nurse let me take a look at your head, she dabs his head with cotton balls soaked with alcohol, saying to Henry,

What happened? 

He says, 

Oh, I was in the forest camping at night and had to fight off a pack of wolfs barehanded. 

She says,

Oh, like Jack London in the Call of the Wild, thrilling  you better get your head looked at when you get back to Queens, get some rabies shots to be on the safe side.   

Henry thanks the nurse, knowing his head wounds were inflected by a dangerously rabid nymphomaniac. 

The next day he sees a story on the internet about a forest fire in New Baltimore, New York that was extinguished before it could spread, noting as well that there were no injuries. 


Hannah Wilke in Spades

Henry was depressed, his shrink at the welfare office needed to ask him a few questions—

Do you want to have sex with your mother?

Do you want to kill your father?

Do u like to wear pink silk panties?

Can u get an erection? 

Do you feel like you are drowning in an ocean of shit? 

How about homo-erotic fantasies? 

So on and so forth, finally giving him some plastic containers of Lexapro and Zoloft, explaining that it would take a while to find the right dosage and for the psycho-dope to kick in—as well as no drugs, no drinking. 

Walking out of the welfare office wondering if the shrink thought psycho-dope was dope?   

He sees a panhandler on the sidewalk begging for change, Henry gives him the psycho-dope and says,

knock yourself out buddy, 

the panhandler says, 

wow, I’ll bong these little guys up in the park tonight.

As far as psycho-dope went, Henry felt that after  taking the stuff over time your body would begin to resist it and you would have to take more and more for it to work.

Similar to Hunter S. Thompson’s daily LSD use for years, acid stopped working for him and perhaps he didn’t realize it, anyway!

Henry would continue to self medicate with cocaine, booze and heroin as usual. Depression came and went like the seasons, shit was always changing. 

As the sun sets Henry dresses to go out— chinos, a white shirt with no collar, a black vest and a plastic rosary to ward off evil spirits. 

He walks a short distance to Chaim’s Deli, going inside and sitting at his favorite booth. Ruby his regular waitress comes to him moving real sexy like and says, 

Henry where the fuck have you been? We have been worried shitless doll. 

He says,

I have been in hiding, trying to chase the blues away. Ruby doll, I’ll have a pastrami sandwich on dark rye, some burnt french fries with mayo on the side, a big bowl of coleslaw and a Jack and Coke.

Henry  felt railroaded by Ruby sometimes, it wasn’t what she said on the surface, she cajoled him in subtle ways.

He would shut her down by ordering food, it was a cue for her to leave, then while eating he would keep his eyes focused on the food, only looking up at Ruby when he wanted another drink—this was risky because she might start in on him again. 

Henry says goodnight to the crowd at the deli, grabbing Ruby’s ass on the way out, she gets pissed off and slaps his face—

nothing like some old-fashioned kinky fun,

he heads into the streets, walking through the Bowery. A bum who is standing close to a fire burning in a garbage can says—

Henry how's tricks buddy? 

Henry says, 

oh, I’ve been fighting off the blues and laying low in my apartment.

The bum says,

I got some-tin here that will take care of da depress-in you got, smoke— Sterno juiced, take a hit pal.

Henry keeps walking and nods his head smiling, wanting to get through the Bowery to higher stuff. 

He stops in Cafe 56 in Manhattan to see what is going on. At the door there are two trannies, one is Hillary Clinton and the other is Oprah Winfrey, Hillary says—

Hannah Wilke, no cover, 4 drink minimum, top self only— nice Henry thought, he sits at a small table that is close to a shallow, elevated round stage painted with planets and stars that glow, he orders 4 shots of tequila.

Hannah Wilke enters the room naked with her hair in rollers, she has a beautiful face and an athletic body with slightly saggy tits, she is sexy. 

She bends over at the waist, she is standing in the middle of the painted stage spreading her legs, her back is to Henry. She pulls a hand full of lint out of her vagina which she mixes with a large wad of gum she is chewing, pulling small pieces of the mixture off and putting the pieces on her face and then all over her body in perfect symmetrical order.

She then pulls the rollers from her hair and throws them into to the audience, tossing her hair with her hands and shaking her head about. 

She lays on her back and opens her legs spraying the audience with water for a long time. She must have had a bladder full of water hidden somewhere near her vagina.  

Hannah bows towards the audience and leaves the room, Henry orders 4 more shots of tequila and lights a joint, one of the trannies, Hillary Clinton rushes to his table saying,

sir you will have to put that out, sorry,

Henry laughs as he takes a large hit, blowing the smoke in Hillary's face and saying,

if I was you I wouldn't run for dog catcher. 

Hannah Wilke comes back into Cafe 56 dressed in tight blue jeans, a plaid shirt and sexy high heel pumps, looking at Henry, sitting down and saying,

what did you think of the show? 

Henry says, 

Can I buy you a shot, oh the show was great, I loved the way you moved and spread the lint and gum mix on your body as though you are trying to transform your female selfhood into something else.  

She says I’m Hannah Wilke nice to meet you,

The two begin to bang down shots of Tequila, Henry is really turned on by Hannah and wants to fuck her in a big, big way. 

She says, 

Let’s get outta here and go to my loft down the street. 

They walk a few blocks  to an old factory building, Hannah unlocks a black metal door, they go inside and ride an open freight elevator up a few stories. 

Her loft is full of drawings and half finished paintings of herself and vaginas, the floors are made of unstained wood, her bedroom has a single king-sized bed in it and is separated from the rest of the loft by hanging gold curtains. 

They sit in an area of the loft that has a ripped up red leather sofa and matching lounge chairs. There is a large round antique wooden table in the center adorned with carved skulls, butterflies and dragons. 

Henry takes some cocaine from his vest pocket and lays out some lines on a small mirror, he says,

Hannah my name is Henry by the way, and I have to be honest with you, I’m really hot for you. 

Hannah goes to her bedroom and changes into a kimono and comes out again, she is still wearing her high heals. Then she goes into a open kitchen and brings a king-size bottle of saki too the table which she pours into small cups, they down a few cups and she says to him, 

are you an artist darling? 

He says,

yes I’m a short story writer, my pen name is Figaro Lucowski, you might have seen my books on Amazon. 

Hannah was laughing and thinking the ideal of selling art on Amazon was a joke says, 

lets fuck baby, 

They go into her bedroom, booth jazzed up plenty, they get naked and hold each other tight, Henry is hard in a split second, Hannah licks him from the balls up, then deep throat and tea-bag style, grabbing his balls with both of her hands. 

He then turns over going on top of her, going deep inside her, she is limber as gymnast, raising her legs over her head and clasping them on the back of her neck.  

They ball for hours, it was the best sex Henry had ever had and his depression was lifted. 

The experience reminded him of a Henry Miller story about a Zen monk who spends 20 years in a monastery, doing everything in spades to reach self-awakening,  giving up one day— going into town and getting drunk on rice wine and going to a cat-house, as he is having sex and reaching orgasm he is instantly enlightened. 

Henry not reaching one-mindedness during sex with Hannah, but his depression was gone—   

Hannah Wilke was the sexiest women in the world, she was magic and a bigger than life artist.  


Justa Sweet Black Angel

Henry at home in his Queens digs, writing all afternoon, thinking mostly about a road trip somewhere, anywhere, he needed to break out of his pattern, onward, outward and beyond.  

He would take a bus to Florida— a sacred paean in honor of Ratso Rizzo's and Joe Buck's great escape from the frigidity of New York City soul in the winter. 

In Henry’s north land, it was somewhere between 1970 and 1980, in the winter.

He packed an old Boy-scout bag. He didn’t need much, a few pairs of chinos, some t-shirts, a pair of Converse All Stars, hiking boots, and a Mexican poncho. 

Henry goes straight to the Queen’s bus station from his apartment in the evening, buying a ticket on the night bus to Miami. 

It would be a 4 day ride through the Mason-Dixon Line to a place where a coconut and pineapple could grow. 

The bus was half full, he sits in the rear by the toilet just a few steps away if he needed to puke. 

As the bus begins to roll he could hear the sounds of the diesel engine as the driver shifted through the gears. It felt good to escape the city, soon the bus was at the Pennsylvania and New York State line. 

Henry sitting alone pulls a 8 ball of brown junk out of his pocket and snorts a few lines, the lights in the bus are dimmed so people could sleep. He washes the heroin down with some Jack Daniels from a flask. 

The junk knocks him out and he sleeps for half a day, when he wakes the bus is pulling into Hampton, Virginia. Henry gets off to grab a bite and to buy a bottle of whiskey.

When he gets back on the bus there is a alluring black women sitting in the window seat next to his seat. He introduces himself saying, 

Hi babe, my name is Henry what’s your name? 

She says, 

why I'm Willisa Johnson doll and I’m going to visit my family in Magnolia Springs, Alabama, they grow hemp and cotton. 

He looks Willisa over, she is in her 40s and built from the head down, built like crazy, 

Henry could smell that sweet smell a Black girl has when she was wet between her legs. 

It was night-time and the lights in the bus were dim, Henry asked Willisa if she wanted to get high?

She says, 

You know a Niggas gotta get high baby,  Henry I’m juicy, you know what I'm sayin? 

Henry pulls some cocaine out and lays it on a small mirror, Willisa snorts the lines up and he hands her a bottle of Jack Daniels to swig on. 

It goes like that awhile, back and forth and then Willisa covers both of them with Henry's poncho from the waist down, unbuckling his chinos, pulling them down to his knees— she licks his cock from top to bottom, up and down with her pink silken tongue, taking all of him, tea bag style, deep throat, he enjoys every minute and finishes quietly in her mouth,  not wanting to alert the others on the bus.  

The pair fall asleep, black on white, white on black in each others arms after snorting brown junk. 

They sleep for what seems like days and the bus driver wakes them in the evening at Magnolia Springs, Alabama— it was warm out and you could smell Cahaba Lilies in the air.

Willisa walks arm in arm with Henry, when they get off the bus there is a larger than life Black man standing at the station wearing overalls and a baseball cap. Willisa gives him a big hug and he says, 

Who in the name of Jefferson Davis is that with you? He looks pale sista! 

She says laughing, 

Big Walter don’t you mind, he be my little white boy. 

They get into a rusted old Chevy pick-up and head out to the farm— Henry feeling safe, Willisa’s strong arms holding him tight like she would never let go. 

After a short ride on an unlit dirt road the pick-up pulls into the family farm at 8PM. There is a two story wood house in need of a coat of paint and a wooden tobacco barn. Henry can smell ganja in the barn.

Big Walter and Willisa introduce him to their mama— a sweet as sweet can be old black women, her white hair wrapped tight in corn-rows, she says,

Lord help that little old white boy because none of the colored folks here abouts will take to him.

Mama Cane as folks call her proceeds to cook a southern style feast of Buffalo Head fish, black-eyed peas, okra and corn- bread. Henry places a bottle of Jack Daniels on the table and pours his new family drinks. Wallisa rolls a big size joint of ganja. 

Everybody high by now, Mama Cane turns the radio in the kitchen on to a southern station WRZT out of Mobile. The DJ playing the music of Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Pride and Elvis, it was all color radio, anything that rocked.

By 2AM the family and their newly adopted white boy are way out there. Henry and Willisa say goodnight and go to her bedroom. Her room is draped with purple cloth covering the walls and hung from the ceiling. Her bed was covered with a hand made quilt.  She throws Henry on the bed, talking off his clothes and then hers, standing over him naked she looks at him and says, 

Baby, we are gonna rock n roll like we aint got no bone.

The bed springs playing a symphony of sound interrupted later by the roosters crowing at dawn.

Big Walter knocks on Willisa’s bedroom door at 8AM and says, 

Get up you all we got work to do!

Henry doesn’t shave or shower, Willisa wraps her hair in a red doo rag, they go downstairs to the kitchen where Mama Cane has made breakfast, biscuits with gravy, pancakes with molasses, coffee and fried eggs, Henry says,

wow, you sure know how to eat, I haven't ate this good in awhile, Big Walter says, 

Don’t fret boy you gonna work it off today.

After breakfast Willisa, Henry and Big Walter walk a short way to an open field on a pathway cut through bush to an acre of mature marijuana plants that are hidden by deep forest on all sides.

In the center of the ganja field is a small wooden hut with no windows, inside there is a card table surrounded by chairs with cushions. 

Big Walter says,

Today you all are going to be trimmin,  Willisa you show him what I'm talkin about. 

They cut the buds from stalks of ganja that Big Walter brings in from the field.

Willisa rolls a joint and turns a small radio on to a gospel station. 

Then a seriously loud and deep voice says, 

get your hands up, you all is busted!

A black policeman carrying a shot gun ducks his head into the door, and says,

what you Niggas doin? 

It was Willisa's brother Pinetop, who was a cop in Magnolia Springs, he was out looking for some trustees who had escaped from the city jail.

Pinetop says, 

Willisa roll me a joint for the road baby! 

He pulls some moonshine in a mason jar from a sack and hands it to them saying as he laughs, 

hair off the dog that bit you all! Don’t forget my share now.

Officer Pinetop helped to keep the lid on the ganja farm, keeping the wrong people out. 

Big Walter comes in the wooden shack and says, 

come on you all lets go get some supper. 

Willisa and Henry trimmed till dusk, they had filled a basket with ganja buds.

They all walk home, in the kitchen Mama Cane had prepared supper—Catfish, frog legs, hush puppies, beans, rice and ice tea. 

Things went on like this the same day by day till the end of the month, the family unit happy and productive together, 

Henry and Willisa in a major groove.  

Henry had to go get back to Queens for an appointment with the welfare shrink. It felt as  though the trip was over before it began. 

He knew Willisa didn’t want him to leave but he told her she could come to Queens when she wanted, in the spring maybe. 

He was going to miss life on the ganja farm, the big meals, great dope and moonshine, the hot sex with Willisa


New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.        Lao Tzu


The Magic Elixir

It is between 1970 and1980, perpetually late fall. 

Henry sleeping all day at his Queens apartment, up at 530PM. He wasn't working, he felt weak and uninspired, constant drug use was getting to him. 

The previous day he had gone for a check-up at the welfare office and the news wasn’t good, the doctor says to him, 

Mr. Lucowski— your ALT test shows that your liver is functioning at a low level, you are in the early stages of Cirrhosis and  you have Hepatitis C. If you want to live you need to seriously consider giving up drinking, AA might help, we would like you to come back next week for further testing.

Henry saying,

Sure Doc, you’re the man baby, whatever you say!

He had no intentions to give up drinking and doping or to go Alcoholics Anonymous. AA meetings— the wankers all fired up, siting on their hands saying, hi I’m Happy Frank, or I’m Stanley suffering alcoholic. Henry would rather become a Bowery bum than go to AA, there was a bargain-basement feeling to it and he felt that AA people were celebrating sobriety when they should be mourning their own weakness and inability to use and enjoy it.

In Chaim’s Deli at 6PM, sitting in his favorite booth, Ruby his regular waitress comes over, He says, 

Ruby a spring broke through the fabric of this booth seat, it punctured my tuchas and I'm bleeding. I already have Cirrhosis and Hep C, so lock-jaw will be no big deal.

Ruby goes to the kitchen and brings back a large piece of cheese cloth that is soaked in alcohol and says,

Henry put this cheese cloth on your wound, in your underpants, on your tuchas and sit on it.

He says, 

Ruby in that I’m not long for the world, I want to order a Last Supper type meal, it will be a dry run. I’ll have some Manischewitz wine, matzoh ball soup, gefilte fish and some noodle kugel with plenty of whip cream and canned Bing Cherries on top.

After eating he was full— ready to come down to street level from the Upper Room and take a night-time walk in the city. 

Reaching the Bowery, he sees a gang of bums hugging a fire in a garbage can and walks over.  

A bum called Stinky Fingers says to him,

Henry you know you always got a place here, livin in da Bowery is rent free, no bosses tell-in you what to do, ya just gotta panhandle enough for a few cheap bottles, thats it guy.

Then a bum called Free Bird says, 

Henry stay away from the Salvation Army and AA, nothin good excepting for free meals ever comes from dem places. 

Henry not much for bum’s wisdom, bows out quickly without saying good-bye, he didn’t know what they were burning in the garbage can, but it was toxic. 

Henry ducks into a doorway and does a few lines of cocaine, it gives him a lift, hanging with the bums was a downer, they smelled awful, everything about them stank from head to toe, their breath was highly flammable. 

In Manhattan he goes to 57 Cafe— there were two drag queens at the door selling tickets, one is  Bette Midler and the other is Cher, Cher says, 

Tonight is a special night Marina Abramovic is performing, 50 dollars cover and the ticket is good for a free drink. 

Henry flashes his welfare ID card quickly and says, 

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene official business, we don’t drink on the job Cher. 

Henry standing with his arms crossed in the back of the room, looking sanctioned— a lovely European women in her 30s walks onto a small slightly elevated stage, she is naked. It is Marina Abramovic, the pooh-bah preeminent of the world performance art scene. 

Henry notices that her armpits were unshaven, very European. Abarmovic then begins to lecture the crowd saying,

You have to be ready for your death. There are three ways I want to do it: not to die angry, not to die in fear, and to die consciously. That's something I learned from grandmother who regularly laid out different outfits for her own burial, changing them over the years as styles changed. She lived to age 103.

And so on and so forth, Jesus what the fuck Henry thought?

She begins to comb her hair, pressing the metal comb acutely into her scalp, after 10 minutes you can see blood on the comb and in her hair. 

Henry could feel tension in the audience and felt tense himself. 

A stage hand brings out a meter by meter red Communist Star, pouring lighter fluid on it and setting it on fire. 

Marina  kneels in front of the burning red star and puts her head into the flames until they burn down, burning her face and hair.  

The crowd gasping aloud looked shocked.  

I don’t get it and what is the point? He leaves 57 Cafe.

He goes to Billy West’s Place for a drink, it was close. At the bar he orders a shot of tequila and a Bud Draft and says to Billy,

Jesus Billy I was at 57 Cafe watching a beautiful women hurting herself, it just doesn’t seem like art to me. 

Billy says, 

Yeah Henry, dem liberal art freaks are fucking up everything dat’s decent about da city, we need to keep dem shit-hole wackos outta-here! 

Henry finishes his drink and hits the bricks.

On the way home he stops in Siam Massage, he sees May, a young Thai women with long black hair. She is sitting on a cheap red sofa wearing a see-through nighty, she waves to Henry.

He goes to May and says,

Hi doll I’m really tense how about an oil massage? 

The two walk through a dimly lit hall that is painted black to room number 9 and go inside, it is draped with Indian prints and lit by a blue light. 

There is a massage table there, Henry strips and lays belly down on the table. May opens a lap top which is set to play Indian music from YouTube. She lights some musk incense and walks to him, laying down 4 lines of cocaine on his back, which she snorts.

She massages him lomi-lomi style, he can feel May's skin, it is silky and warm. She gets on the massage table and sits on him with her legs open, gyrating her crotch on his ass as she rubs his back. 

She tells Henry to turn on his back, rubbing his legs and lightly brushing over his cock with the sides of her hands occasionally. He gets a hard-on and May wets it down with drip-lets of warm saliva, then going down on him tea-bag style as she fingers his rose-bud. 

After the massage May and Henry talk for awhile, May says,  

I  send money to my family in Thailand every month, my X husband the no good Thai man ran away. My kids live with my parents in Isaan. 

They snorted cocaine, smoked hash and drank Japanese whiskey for a while, Henry kisses May deeply and then puts 2 hundred dollar bills on the massage table, going out through door into the dark hall.  

Henry leaving Siam Massage and walking back to Queens, he looks up at a crescent moon and thinks, 

Getting off is the magic elixir, the stairway to Heaven. 


NYC Sewer Monsters

As NYC urban legend has it, many of the baby alligators sold as pets in the early 60s were flushed down the toilet into the sewer system— growing into monsters on a steady diet of rats.

A bum told henry, 

3 bums have disappeared in the last week, Salty Bob, One Eye and Jack Skunk—they had passed out on the sidewalk late at night and were gone in the morning.  

Henry wondered if one of the monster gators had dragged the ole boys off and ate them for supper? 

He had spent the afternoon writing, drinking martinis, and smoking hash. 

Every night after sunset he would go out. 

By 730PM he was at Chaim’s Deli in Queens, talking to Ruby his waitress, she says to him,

Henry we missed you at Little Joey’s (Chaim’s son) Bar Mitzvah last weekend, everybody got sloppy drunk, falling all over each other, you would have loved it.

He says,

Jesus Christ Ruby, I blacked out all weekend, but I bought a gross of condoms and a years subscription of Penthouse for Little Joey.

Ruby says,

Ok Henry, but don’t let Chaim know about the Penthouse and the rubbers for Little Joey, he will have a shit fit.

He says, 

Babe, can I have a Rueben Sandwich, some fries, coleslaw and how about a Bud Light and a shot of tequila? 

Henry takes his time eating but downs the booze quickly.

After leaving the deli he is walks into Bowery, one of the bums, Gypsy says,

watch out Henry, there is a killer on the loose in the Bowery!

Henry says,

Tell the other bums to watch out for four legged creatures that come out of the sewers when its dark to feed, they don’t chew their food and prefer to swallow it hole.

Henry reaches lower Manhattan at 930PM, he sees that an avant garde film is playing at the New Holland Cinema—Dreams That Money Can Buy, directed by Hans Richter, released in 1950.

Henry walks across the street to Acme Liquor Store and picks up a bottle of mescal in a brown paper bag for the show. 

He buys a ticket and sits in the back row, putting his feet up on the chairs in front of him.

Henry wasn’t sure if the film was surreal or psychological. The shots of the swirling hypnotic wheel made him so sick that he threw up in the paper bag he got at Acme with the mescal, leaving only a few minutes into the film and not asking for a refund.

Walking through the Bowery on the way home it was dark but he could see a four legged, low to the ground creature up ahead, it was a monster gator. The creature turns and walks towards him, Henry could see it’s eyes glowing, it looked hungry.

The gator comes within a few feet of him and opens his jaws wide to grab Henry and pull him into the sewer. 

Henry thinking quickly places the bottle of mescal vertically into the gators open jaws so he can't clamp down with them, and then runs like crazy.

He runs all the way home to Queens, happy to be back in his apartment safe from the monsters that lurk in the sewers of NYC.