Space Cowboys

Henry half in the bag, sleeping most the day, getting up at 8PM, showering then ready to rumble.

It was fall in Queens, the air summer dry, the night-time sky glowing red, a warning and an omen to sailors cruising the canyons of New York City, looking for everything in the world. 

Henry out of his apartment by 1030 PM walking to Chaim’s Deli, only a few steps away. 

Sitting in his favorite booth, the red vinyl seats were very worn, torn in places, covered with duct tape to keep the stuffing in. 

Ruby Henry’s regular waitress approaches saying, “Hi baby?” A warm greeting for an old friend, Henry with a big grin on his face. He orders a piece of noodle kugel and large espresso, pouring Southern Comfort in the coffee from a flask.

Walking out of the deli, saying good-bye to Ruby and Chaim, leaving a hefty tip because his welfare money was in. 

Henry looking for cheap thrills in the Bowery, going to a dive called “Suicide Hall.”  The bums were there, they were always there. They lived for the moment drinking cheap wine, Mad Dog 20-20 or Mogen David, drinking it with kerosene or lighter fluid for the extra kick.   

A few of them, those that could still stand were in the corner gambling on cockroach races. Others passed out in their own vomit, dying maybe. Henry standing with his back to the bar watching the show, Suicide Hall a odious and vile place, the bums screaming and pissing themselves like babies.  

Henry happy to get out of Suicide Hall, walking past bodies on the sidewalk. The Bowery an end game and sacred burial place for bums. 

Henry wanted to catch the midnight show at the New Amsterdam Theater in Times Square. A new film, “Easy Rider” was showing. 

In front of the New Amsterdam Theater, under the marquee, was the usual junk, keyed up, shaking, jiving, selling dope as he critiqued films. Saying,   ” “Easy Rider,”  an epic tale, take a few tabs of Chocolate Mescaline man, you won’t regret it.”  

Sitting in the back row, Henry coming on to the mescaline, lighting a joint, nobody seemed to care. 

“Easy Rider” opening scene, the sounds of “The Pusher,” cowboys Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda on motorcycles doing a cocaine deal with the pusher Phil Spector at LAX, heading across country on Harleys to find America.

Henry high on mescaline, the movie screen waxing, moving towards him—the cowboys on Harleys riding through wheat fields, the blades of wheat swaying to the sounds of “So You Want to be a Bird,” growing larger and longer, coming out of the screen towards Henry. 

Henry felt like he was inside and a part of the film, with the cowboys sitting around the campfire, talking to them, smoking grass with them,  

Henry in and out of consciousness, waking as the cowboys were at the Mardi Gras, then astral projecting outwards and upwards, levitating somewhere far away from the theater.   

Not remembering much of the film, but remembering being shaken by the usher and being asked to leave. 

The mescaline was very powerful, Henry still tripping as he left the New Amsterdam Theater, needing to crash and burn he goes to Siam Massage to get a rub-down from May, the two smoking dope and laughing. 

May asking him if he liked “Easy Rider?” He says, “ May I don’t remember much of the film, it was a romp I guess, two space cowboys on Harleys riding through the heavens, smoking allot of dope, banging some hippy chicks in a New Orlean's graveyard,” so on and so forth. 

He passes out in May’s lovely tattooed arms, spending the night at Siam Massage—

Henry at peace in an Asian angels arms, smiling inside.  

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