The Making of Exile on Main Street

The Stones exiled themselves from the UK to France in 1971 because of high British taxes, consequently, Exile on Main Street was born. 

They looked for studios in Paris and couldn’t find any they liked. They had a old BBC van that was equipped with a studio that could be parked by any theater or empty loft.

In the end, Keith Richard's house Nillcote in the south of France seemed to be the best choice, near lawless Marceau and Mafia Italy. Philipe Lymen, part of the Stone's tribe could make smack runs into Marceau, or into Mafia controlled Genoa. 

Once in France they felt like true expats, alone with nothing to lose, they were in a Catch-22 situation making Exile, close to bankruptcy, it was sink or swim, fight or flight.

Mick and Bianca Jagger (who was pregnant) were living in Paris. The musicians, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mike Taylor, Bobby Keys were scattered around the globe. Mick decided that they should move into Nillcote.

Once at Nillcote ready to record it was the positivity of their leader Mick Jagger that was the glue that held the thing together and got the ball rolling, his constant happiness and vision, his easy-going style, his ongoing joy of the whole process.

Keith on the other-hand was muddling through a junk habit.

Once they began recording and writing, it was a constant struggle, Keith would sleep all day and wake up in the middle of the night, then eating some fruit and fixing.    

The band had to be ready and waited for Keith,  This unnerved Jagger who felt Keith would do better to adhere to some kind of a schedule.

Mick would sit in the basement jamming during the day, fabricating lyrics and music, truly missing his best friend Keith who was sleeping or on the beach with Anita Pallenberg.

When Keith did work he was a taskmaster when a song was ready, a sensation or consciousness swept through the musicians, Keith would start staring at Bill Wyman, who would tilt his bass up 15 degrees towards the heavens, THAT WAS THE SIGN! A few takes latter the final cut was put in the can. 

The bewitching open party atmosphere is a major part of putting "Exile" together. It was an ongoing party in an egalitarian Tolstoy-like  Gypsy camp, there was no security, cool people would walk in and out. Anita Pallenberg (Keith's wife and constant companion ) reminisced later about walking into the living room and seeing a guy with a huge baggy full of smack sitting on the sofa. Of course, that was a ticket to get in on the endless partying with the family, but things got dark later.

Bobby Keyes who was from Texas and the band's sax player never mentioned seeing junk, but admitted seeing plenty of booze and ganja, all being used 24 hrs a day, this was a good old boy trying to put a positive spin on shit.  

Keith had a family whose job it was to score smack for him in Marceau. Tim Lyman would make trips between borders to supply and then use junk with Keith and Anita. Lyman's son Nicolas's (only 11) job was to roll joints. Nicholas later said when interviewed in the 90s that the scene felt dark to him at times, but that he could feel and see the charisma emanating from it all. 

When it was time to record they backed the studio van (an old BBC van) up a tiny alleyway through untrimmed trees, parking it and running the wires through the ground floor of Nillcote. It was weird, everyone had to play apart from one another in different sections of the basement, the horn section connected to the studio from a hallway, Bill Wyman was wired outside of Keith's section, walled off.

Once the recording began Nillcote was having power outages, one of the technicians realized that that amps of electricity coming from GDF Suez, a Southern France electric company wasn't enough to keep the studio juiced up. Amazingly he goes outside to the electric train track that what near Nillcote and splices their line, from then on the BBC van studio and the recording going on in the basement was devilish hot.   

Considering the cramped and broken up studio conditions it was amazing they got anything done, but of course what came out of was one of the most original and best blues/rock albums in history. 

Keith had a Jamaican maid and chauffeur, Matta and Jumbo Jack. Matta looked like a voodoo priestess and Jumbo Jack was as big as Howling Wolf and wore a top hat.

Matta was a gambler and loved to play dice, she would organize crap games and got rich winning money from Jagger and Richards. Jagger got the ideal for the song "Tumbling Dice" from the crap games with Matta.

Bianca Jagger wore a white silk dress without underwear, she radiated multicolored auras, she was the sun at the corp of Exile and to Mick's joy pregnant, he to this day loves fatherhood and family.  


The Stones were in debt near bankruptcy, tax under Labor was 83%. It was impossible for them to live in England, and the powers at be were threatened by the Stones.

Keith felt that they were edged out of their own country (UK).

The album was raw and edgy, the reviews were terrible. 2 years later it was called the best rock n roll album ever. 

Mick felt the PRESS was very disruptive to his and Bianca's personal life.

Charlie Watts suffered culture shock at first but remains in France today.

When the band felt the album was finished, Keith said it was getting cold outside and winter was coming, the tape was in the truck and everyone left quickly. 

The French Government was scared of the devilish voodoo going on at Nillcote and stayed away from the place.

The stones felt like exiles and they knew they had to do this album, but they never knew it would be as great as it is.

There was no mention anywhere where the money was coming from and who and who was funding the project.

The Stones were the center of the rock n roll universe in the 70s when rock music was revolution. 

The whole gathering, family, players, technicians, cooks were a tribe.

Charlie says Keith was a true Bohemian, a rasta man living from day to day, not sweating the small shit.

The bands best music came when they didn't think they were being recorded.

Bobby Keys was an open-minded, loving and accepting good old boy, somewhat straight compared to the rest of the Stones, but totally in the Nillcote family groove.

Mick Taylor wasn't making any money but was digging it all.

It was so hot in the basement at times that Mick wrote a song and sang it while playing piano "Where's our Ventilator?"

A French guy went to Nillcote to visit for a day, he was dumb fucked and awed, he ends up partying with the tribe for six months.

Ian Stewart, who was a stride piano genius, often called the 5th Stone and the founder of the band was never mentioned because he wasn't at Nillcote.

Keith does an interview after shooting junk, he talks intelligently but is wain, pretty cool huh!

Charlie and Mick went back to Nillcote to look around in 2010. Mick said to Charlie on film, "There was no master plan," and "It's a boring old recording session, who gives a shit now." 

Mick was the anti-christ of rock n roll in those days, Alan Ginsberg crowned Mick the KING of the flower movement.

Keith & Mick can play like a foot stompin balls to the wall John Hammond in duo and they often do, even now.

The Stones love Ray Charles and country music. 

Rock is a beautiful Navajo blue turquoise stone on gold caldron to mix things up in—Keith

The basement was the center of the universe, drink-in Jack, smoking ganja, snorting cocaine, they could play as loud as they wanted, but it was like recording in a sauna.

Pallenberg calls it a labor of love.

When Bianca and Mick were married it was supposed to be a secret but didn't stay a secret.

Bobby keys could play all reed instruments and he taught Charlie about time settings: 2/4 mostly, to count 2 counts to every 4 beats in a measure, 1+2+. 1 and 2 and down on the 1 & 2, up on the ands. Charlie was a quick learner who rarely plays out of time.

Nillcote was never empty, but there were few disruptions, amazing considering there was no security. 

The band and the party goers would only eat one large meal a day, you could drink Pernod, spring water, Jack Daniels, fresh juice, or champaign. There would be a large table of food, everything under the sun Shepard Pie, roasted chicken, ham, tacos, beans, rice, Yorkshire Pudding, waffles, avocados, olive oil, pecan pie, you name it. 

Charlie Watts said later recording Exile was hell for everyone, but not for Keith, laugh!

Keith would sleep for a whole day, so when the band and players went to bed, Keith would just work with whoever was there. Usually Jimmy Miller, who adored Keith and would stay up with him, he could play drums some. Affable good old boy Bobby Keys would stay up too.

The Stones music is from the heart, it is true, played with open hearts and empty minds.

Keith's Mum once said that Keith was born with an utterly amazing ear, Mrs. Richards was just being modest. Listen to "All Down the Line" Alternate Take, it rocks you to the bone. Don Was said later that they opened up "All Down The Line" Alternate Take as far as you can.

Mick keep saying, “There is no control."

When the band split to LA to edit the finished Exile taps, they felt drained emotionally. 

Casino Boogie, the lyrics, were inspired by the William Burrough’s cut up method, Mick would write 3 to 8 word phrases with a felt tip pen and cut the paper into pieces while singing and sing them the way they came out. 

Anita Pallenberg says it was a beautiful world, she and Keith liked to go to a deserted beach at Nillcote and smoke ganja while Keith jammed, both sitting cross legged on an Indian blanket.

Charlie Watts says they mixed the album constantly over and over again in LA. Mick and Charlie designed the album cover.

They used the beat photographer Robert Frank's photos for the cover. 

The driving of cars and the walking around in funky urban areas while on the Exile tour in the USA was filmed in black with Super 8 by Robert Frank. 

Mick doesn't like anything you did yesterday he is interested in tomorrow, that keeps him going.

Keith did junk to hide from the glare of the press, it was his halo/armor. He felt like junk hid him from the world and protected him. No doubt because when you take junk you feel like the coolest person on earth. The shit was a shield for Keith, he lived in his own universe at Nillcote and still does live in his own Beduin cushioned library universe at his mansion in Connecticut. 

Today Keith Richards is a book freak with an unreal vocabulary who no longer is a junk. He still enjoys a smoke of ganja and snort of Rebel Yell!

Aside: When the album " Exile on Main Street" was released I was one of the first to buy it. I smoked ganja, drank German Beer and listened to it over and over.



It was Parta the Act Folks

It was a hot summer afternoon in Queens, sometime between 1980 and 1990. Henry was working, drinking Coors beer and smoking hashish as he listened to the Mets play the Dodgers, a doubleheader on 715 FM WOR, radio. 

The Met’s had lost the first game 25 to 4 and were down by 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th in game 2.

Henry oh-so pissed, his hands shaking so badly that he couldn’t type, so he does an Elvis on his radio, taking a hammer to it, smashing it into little-bitty fragments, putting them into a metal trash can and sprinkling lighter fluid in the can and setting it ablaze. 

When the fire dies down he takes the trash can full of ash and singed parts to his apartment balcony and empties the contents over-board, thus, exorcizing the demons that possessed the Mets that afternoon. 

In the weeks to come the Mets starting winning again, making it to the playoffs even.

After the exorcism, the vibes were normal in his apartment. So he goes to work, writing a piece on the poet, magazine editor, and bon mot, Dorothy Parker for the underground rag, HEADBANGER. 

Dorothy Parker was born on August 22, 1893, in Upper Manhattan. Both her mother and step-mother died of consumption when she was young and her father, Martin Rothschild went down with the Titanic in 1912.  She was educated in boarding and finishing schools until she dropped out in 1914, she was only 14. 

Young Dorothy was erudite and sophisticated beyond her years, at 14 she published a poem in Vanity Fair, at 22 she was an associate editor at Vogue. 

In 1919 she founded the Algonquin Round Table, a group of writers who would meet at the Algonquin Hotel weekly for lunch and literary tete-a-tete. The group of brilliants included Dorothy, Robert Benchley, Harpo Marx, George S. Kaufman, Edna Ferber, Noel Coward, and Tullulah Bankhead to name a few.

The Algonquin Round Table was referred to as the Vicious Circle and Edna Ferber called the group The Poison Squad and she said— 

They were actually merciless if they disapproved. I have never encountered a more hard-bitten crew, but if they liked what you had done they did so publicly and whole-heartedly. 

From 1926 to 1936  Dorothy published 4 books of poetry, including—

Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, Death and Taxes and Laments for the Living. 

In 1934 she married actor Allen Campbell in New Mexico and the couple moved to LA and became screenwriters for MGM and Paramount working on a lot of easily forgotten films.

Dorothy was a lifelong socialist and was called to testify before Eugene McCarthy in 1955, a victim of the Red Scare period of American History, wisely pleading the fifth. 

In 1959 she was inducted into the American Academy of Letters and she began teaching at California State College in LA. The same year her husband Allen Campbell died of a drug overdose. Both of them struggled with booze and dope in their lives. 

On June 6, 1967, Dorothy Parker died of a heart attack in her New York City apartment. She was a supporter of civil rights and she willed her entire literary estate to Dr. Martin Luther King. When Dr. King was shot later that year the NAACP got her estate.

She wrote about urban sophisticates, her sentiment on human inanity was satiric. She was a chain-smoker with red painted lips who wrote the most dazzling stories, articles, and poems without cracking a smile. She was macabre but she had a sense of humor.

Dorothy Parker was blessed with a brilliant wit and she was born to write, her quotes were one of a kind and ahead of the times, here are a few— 

Résumé Razors pain you, Rivers are damp, Acids stain you, And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren't lawful, Nooses give, Gas smells awful. You might as well live.

I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone

You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.

I like to have a martini, Two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host.

Henry wraps the Dorothy Parker bit by 800 PM and faxes it to Dave Spleen at HEADBANGER. 

He cleans up, taking a whore’s bath, rinsing his crouch, underarms, and hands with water and then dressing quickly—  purple cut-offs, red socks, blue gym shoes, a yellow Bruins T-shirt, nothing the ensemble didn't match in any way, but it was colorful. 

He walks the short distance to Chaim’s Deli.  

The deli was built in the early 60s, it was a single story brick building on the corner of a downtown street. The entire front of the building was windowed, Henry like to sit by the windows and watch people walk by.  

Ruby his regular waitress and fuck buddy comes to his booth and says,

Henry, what the fuck? You look like a clown, just add some white face and a red nose and you can get some Bar Mitzvah gigs. Henry says,

that's funny Ruby, if you like bustin my balls, go ahead, I can assure you it doesn’t bother me, but why not stick to what you do best, sucking cock? How about somethin to eat, I’ll have some Milwaukee style hopple popple, a large bowl of borscht, some toasted rye bread and a Jack Daniels and soda.  Ruby says,

You're so mean, and then he says,

look, if you wanna play hardball, you gotta be able to take a hit, and she says,

I was just kidding, I didn’t know we were playing hardball, Mr. Macho Man. 

Ruby does an about face and walks to the kitchen with tears in her eyes. 

Henry reckons he overreacted,  still wound up about the Met’s losing earlier. When Ruby comes with his order he tries to smooth things over, but it doesn’t fly, Ruby ignores him. 

He pays his bill and leaves hoping Ruby will get over it. As for her cock sucking, she was top notch. Ruby’s sister Gilda taught her to wrap her lips around her teeth when giving head, causing added friction, the effect was out of this world.  

It was 900 PM, he would catch the subway at Flushing Station and go to a joint called Off the Wall Cafe in the Village. A bar and cafe featuring live performance art. 

There was nothin like a good freak show to get ya goin.

At Flushing Station he reaches the platform just as the subway is coming, he walks in and sees the car is empty. The car was empty all the way to the Village, he thought about the stuff of life, coming up with utterly nothing.  

Henry an atheist who thought the gods were too zany to be taken seriously. 

He reaches the Off the Wall Cafe, it was a short walk from the station. There is a 30 dollar cover charge, he says to the doorperson who is a tomboy, 

whose performing tonight? Marcel Duchamp? The doorperson says,

no Duchamp has been dead for 70 yrs ass hat,  Marina Abramovic is here do you know her? Henry says,

not personally. 

He pays the cover and walks into the cafe. The place is dark, the brick walls are painted black, the air is thick. He sits at the bar because the tables and booths are filled with Cooper Union students and sadist who got off watching Maria hurt herself in creative ways. 

Henry had seen Abramovic perform at MoMA more than once, but never at a cafe.  

Maria walks into the cafe trying to keep a low profile, she has a celebrity in tow. Henry didn’t know who the celebrity was, but he could feel the collective buzz of the crowd. Maria and her friend disappear into the make-up room in the back.  

At the bar he orders a double Jack Daniels and soda, in a few minutes, Abramovic comes back into the cafe alone. She is dressed in a wrap around piece of thick, rough, grey flannel that was a gift from Joseph Beuys, she looks very plain, she sits a few stools from Henry and he says, 

Could I buy you a drink? 

Marina orders a pitcher of Martinis which are on the house and moves closer to Henry, so they are touching. She has Frankincense oil on her body and smells good. She relaxes as she sips her Martini, she says to Henry, 

I know you, I have seen your picture in HEADBANGER, the underground paper, I like your stories! Are you here to do a review on my show tonight? He says,

No, but I will,

Henry wondering why an internationally famous artist with reviews and articles in The New York Times, Interview Magazine, The Village Voice, TATE ETC., and Art News to name a few, cared about the free local rag HEADBANGER? So he asked her,

Why would you care Maria? And she says,

When I perform, what I do to my body, hurting myself, I do to get out of my body and bring the audience with me! What I do is for everybody in the world, it's a prayer and an exorcism. Henry says,

I know the feeling, I’ll use that in my story about tonight's performance, she then says, 

oh, thank you Henry, you’re a doll, gotta go, it’s showtime!

An hour later she walks to center stage, she and a friend are carrying a large red wooden star, made out of 2 by 4s that are connected, it is open at the center. They set the star which is soaked in petrol on the ground and light it. 

Henry, nervous, wanted to run out of the place, and he hoped the joint was well ventilated.

As the star burns, she cuts off pieces of her hair, fingernails, and toenails, placing them at intervals on the fire. Then cutting off pieces of her grey flannel dress, putting the cloth on the fire as well.

To Henry’s amazement, she steps into the center of the burning star, she is surrounded by flame and the smoke is filling the room. 

No one in the cafe could see she had passed out due to smoke inhalation. Eventually, someone rushes to her aid, calling 911, taking her out of the cafe to street level where the paramedics worked on her. 

The crowd runs out to street level too, stunned, hanging around anyways to see the action.

The manager jumps on the hood of a car and shouts at the crowd through a bullhorn saying, 

it was parta the act folks! Thanks for coming! Have a good night! 

Henry wasn’t sure if passing out was part of Marina’s act? But he would write it up that way to sensationalize his HEADBANGER STORY.  


It was 4 AM

Another day, a great day maybe. 

Henry going to the kitchen, blending up a pitcher of Daiquiris in his Osterizer as he brews a pot of coffee. 

It was a feverish August day in New York City, red-hot and alive, sometime between 1980 and 1990.

He reckons the gods had poured buckets of sex goo on the city from up high and nine months down the line the city would be looking at a record number of births. 

People screwed a lot on hot nights and you could blame it on the sex goo of the gods and summer hormones—

From the Greek word, hormon meaning to activate or set in motion, the Greeks on to something here. 

Henry enjoying morning drinks, reading Allen Ginsberg’s poetry and preparing to write a bit on Allen for the underground rag HEADBANGER.

He had met Allen more than once around town, at readings mostly, Allen was a facilitator of up and coming poets. 

Irwin Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3, 1926, in Newark, New Jersey, his father was an English and poetry teacher and his mother was a Russian expat who suffered from paranoid delusions and nervous breakdowns. She once told a team of doctors at Rikers Isle that the president had implanted a listening device in her house. He referred to his parents as, old-fashioned philosopher. 

Allen took care of  Naomi through the rough times and later in life he took care of his lover’s, Peter Orvlasky’s brother in the same way. Allen tender-hearted with the finely-tuned soul of a poet.

While attending East Side High School Allen fell in love with poetry, particularly Walt Whitman. Through his teen and pre-teen years, he wrote a journal, encouraged by his father, Louis. 

After graduation from high school, he attends Columbia University, befriending William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, the trio would become the pioneers of the Beat Movement, exploring and chronicling their forays into speed, heroin, jazz music, and gay life. 

Burroughs was curious about the effect junk might have on his writing. One night William and Allen take a bus to Times Square to score, fortuitously, they run into Herbert Huncke, a dealer, hustler, and junk, offering to pay for the junk and the works double-price if Huncke would follow them to Burrough's Columbia area apartment and teach them to fix. 

Allen, Jack, Kerouac and Burroughs main line with the help of Huncke, but Burroughs is the only one of the 3 that takes to junk, junk would go on to become a principal influence on his writing. 

Herbert Huncke would go on to become a writer and a Beat heavy as well.    

In 1954 Allen drives to San Francisco with Jack Kerouac and soon to be Beat legend, wild man Neal Cassidy who they met in New York. The trip is later documented in  Kerouac’s break-through best seller and bible of the Beat Movement, On the Road.

Allen would bring a letter of introduction with him addressed to The San Francisco Renaissance which was written by William Carlos Williams, his teacher. 

When he lands on the edge of history, which was a miracle of sorts bearing in mind that the trio, Allen, Cassidy, and Kerouac were dosing bennies and drinking wine nonstop on the road, he hand delivers the letter to Kenneth Rexroth.     

The San Francisco Renaissance was a constellation of artists that had migrated to the area from all over the world who had been active creatively in the San Francisco area since the end of World War 2. The group included Michael McClure, Kenneth Rexroth, Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, and the Black Mountain Movement, to name a few.  

Rexroth described the prevailing attitude of the period thus—

This is the world in which over every door is written the slogan:

The generation of experiment and revolt is over. Bohemia died in the twenties. There are no more little magazines.

No more little magazines, hah, maybe, anyway, two years down the line on October 7, 1955, Rexroth curates a reading featuring members of The San Francisco Renaissance in a converted garage slash cafe called Six Gallery on Fillmore Street. 

The event was a poetry slam to end all poetry slams that is chiefly remembered today as the premier reading of Allen Ginsberg's book of poetry, HOWL.   

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterically naked dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for a fix.

The audience was egged on by Kerouac into a frenzy chanting, GO, GO, to the cadence of the lamb and trochee rhyme delivery of Allen reading HOWL. 

By 1957, encouraged by his correspondence with William Burroughs, Allen, Peter Orlovsky, and Kerouac leave San Francesco for Tangier, Morocco. 

Burroughs had been living there shooting up hour after hour and not bathing for months as he wrote Naked Lunch, a book about junk for the most part. The manuscript of Naked Lunch, like the author at the time, is in barefaced disarray. When the trio arrives in Tangiers they go to work, rewriting and editing the book, and it could be said they are co-authors of Naked Lunch. 

After Tangiers, the trio plus Burroughs and Paul Bowles, the author of The Sheltering Sky, move to Paris, where Burroughs and Bowles begin experimenting with the cut-up method, a style in which the written text is cut-up and rearranged into a new text.        

Back in America in the 60s, Allen’s book HOWL and other poetry help to shape the Peace Movement and Allen is at the center and ground zero of the movement. He focuses mainly on ending the war in Viet Nam and expanding the consciousness of those in power, wanting to make the world a better place for everyone.  

By the 80s Allen was the most famous of the living American poets and he continued to publish poetry that challenged readers. As a celebrityhe was an international spokesman for peace.

Throughout his life, Allen was a teacher. He founded the Jack Kerouac International School of Poetry in Boulder Colorado and often lectured and read there.   

Allen Ginsberg died in April 1997, surrounded by the people he loved.He was like a Tibetan Prayer Wheel, spinning out mantras of peace to the world.

It's 800 AM, Henry puts a wrap on the Ginsberg bit, faxing it to the office of the underground rag, HEADBANGER.

Henry would write all day and go out at night heading undyingly into it, his heart, eyes and soul in the hunt because all of it, man, women, child, cat, dog, rat, brick, mortar, light, sound, smell, vibration, cold, hot and wet was fodder to fortify the writers pen.

By 830 PM he is in laying on a bench in Fulton Station, sleeping. At 1000 AM he comes too, feeling lucky that the junks didn't mug him.  

He rides the subway to 9th Street station in Times Square, outside on the sidewalk, he looks up and sees multi-colored lights swaying and spinning,  he falls to his knees. In a sink or swim burst of movement, he jumps to his feet and stumbles into Dave’s Tavern, walking to the bar and propping himself up with the help of a stool, he is grey-faced and weak. 

From behind the bar Dave looks at him and says, 

Are you OK man? Here, take a whiff of this.

Dave bangs an ammonia cap on the bar, breaking it and holding it under Henry’s nose, the ammonia carbonate gases rise into his nose, and then hit his head, he comes too and Dave says, 

Welcome back, dude.

Dave’s Tavern was the kind of dive where you might find Charles Bukowski sitting at the bar with his head down focusing seriously on his drink. It was a dark place with a moose head mounted on a brown brick wall, an American flag hanging somewhere and a line up of tap handles standing at attention on the bar. It was a bar for drinking, PERIOD. Henry awake again says, 

thanks Dave, I gotta tell ya you're a lifesaver, I need a drink man, a Bud Light, whataya got to eat?  

Dave points to a menu tapped with clear tape on the mirror behind the bar— 


Hot Dogs,
Mozzarella Sticks,
Large Dill Pickles,
Potato Tots,
Fried Mushrooms,
Onion Rings,

Henry says to Dave, 

sounds great, how about a large pickle, wings, a hot dog and some fried mushrooms, Dave then says, 

You hungry or somethin bud? 

Henry would usually offer to share a few lines of cocaine with the attending bartender but he didn’t need smoke signals to know that Dave was super straight, most likely a Viet Nam Vet, so he goes to men’s room and does a few hefty lines as an appetizer for the swanky bar food to come. 

Back the bar his order is waiting for him, served on paper plates with plastic utensils, he says to Dave,

dere sure aint nothin like a midnight picnic in a tavern, Dave says, 

what? then Henry says, 

how about a shot of mescal and a another Bud Light?  

He eats non stop, grinding every finger-licking bit of bar food down to nothing, leaving half a dozen wing bones on a soiled paper plate. 

It’s 1230 AM, he pays his bill and thanks Dave again, the night was young, New York, New York, the city that never sleeps.

On the street again he walks toward Upper Manhattan, feeling beat he sees a neon sign reading, CHARM SPA, he walks inside, there is a hefty Russian woman at a small desk. Behind a large glass window in a fishbowl, there are 10 or so slim ladies, sitting on large stuffed cushions wearing pink, red and purple dresses that are slit at the leg. All of them doing their best to look sexy and seductive. 

The mamasan says to Henry, 

you like? 1 hour a 100 dollars plus tip for girl! 

He points at an Asian gal, white skinned and very thin in a red dress and says, 

OK, I’ll take the Asian in the in the center.

The mamasan speaks into a mic, in a minute the gal is in the waiting room, she curtsies bending slightly at the knees and says, 

My name is Aiko, 

Henry follows her through the hallway to a small room and they go inside, she locks the door behind them, saying,  

take off your clothes and wrap up in a towel.

Henry takes off his clothes and hangs them in a stand-alone plastic closet. 

The room is simple, empty for the most part, the walls are unpainted cement, there is a single sized mattress covered in plastic on a metal table, over the mattress there are 5 shower spigots on a swivel.

Henry hangs the towel on a hook and lays on the mattress, naked, stomach down. 

Aiko naked now says,

what’s your name? He says, 

Henry, then she says,

handjob, 25 dollars, 1st base

blow job, 50 dollars, 2nd base

blow job and fuck, 100 dollars, home run

he says to Aiko, 

whose pitching? And she says,

Catfish Hunter and they laugh out loud, then Henry says, 

Aiko you’re a funny girl, OK I'll take the home run!

She turns the shower on and wets him down, then closing the spigots and pouring a stream of liquid peppermint soap on his back, rubbing it until it foams. 

Henry's body is lathered and she lays on his back, gyrating her body up and down, humping him. After 10 minutes of body to body rub a dub she tells him to turn over, then standing over him on the mattress, looking down at him. He sees her body, she is thin and white skinned, her pussy is hairless, her labia is protruding like two Shiitake mushrooms in V shape. 

Then Aiko lays on Henry, moving her body on his, beyond turgid now, his cock is at full mast. She steps down off the mattress, standing and facing him at the side of the table she rips the wrapper off a double X chocolate raincoat and puts it in her mouth, going down on him she puts the condom on his cock using her mouth.

Aiko licks his balls and sucks them, then holding his cock in both hands, deep throating and T-bagging him. 

Then she squats on top of him and puts his cock into her pussy, banging him hard now as they cum quickly. 

Aiko is showering him and a buzzer goes off, she then says,

OK Henry, time up,

She drys him with a towel and he goes over to the stand-alone dresser and puts his clothes on, then he tips her 100 dollars and walks alone to the waiting room, paying 100 dollars for the massage. 

He waves to Aiko who is in the fishbowl and freshly made up. She doesn’t wave back and he realizes the fishbowl window is a 2-way mirror. 

Outside, he catches a taxi back to Queens, in the back sit falling asleep, it was 400 AM.