Henry in his Queens apartment on a slack afternoon drinking malt liquor, listening to blues music, WBQI 99.5, getting high, warming up for a big night out.
Taking a shower, heading out the front door of his Queens thirty-seventh floor apartment at 830PM.
A cool night in the city, Henry ready, his Beduin scarf wrapped around his neck at the right angle, feng shui, giving off voodoo x-rays to scare away lost spirits roaming the streets.
Stopping in Chaim’s Deli for a tune up. Ruby his regular waitress sashaying sexy like to his booth saying, “Henry have you slept with a women you loved? I’m not talking about the funny business over at Siam Massage, I mean real heartfelt love?” Knowing that Ruby used a different strategy every night, wanting to break him down, he says, “Ruby doll I can’t say that I have made love— ever, you got me there. How is the brisket tonight? Is it well done? You know the way I like it.” Ruby walking away shaking her head—appalled— Henry getting up and leaving knowing he wouldn't get served.
In the Bowery, wanting to be invisible, a bum smelling like kerosene steps out from the shadows and corners him, Henry pulls a Bic lighter out of his pocket and lights it, holding it in front of the bum's face saying, “Get the fuck out of my way or I’ll light you up.”
Henry happy to be out of the Bowery, walking to Chinatown, going into a noodle house, a dump with cheap chairs, dingy with flaking red paint on the walls, it was Mr. Woo's.
He sits down at a table and quickly orders a bowl of lemon soup. A Chinamen in a brown suit wearing a Kangol hat and smoking sits next to Henry putting one arm around him, talking in broken english with a heavy Hong Kong accent. Henry says to the Chinamen, “Do we know each other?” And “I’m not looking for intimacy with a heavy smoker wearing a Kangol hat.” The Chinaman says, “I’m Mr Woo, I like funny, funny Western boy, Woo got plenty of funny, funny, sexy, sexy for you, China girls— straight, lady-boy, young, old, Thai stick, opium from Shanghai, in Red House.”
Mr. Woo tweaking Henry’s interest, absorbed he follows Woo to the Red House, a three story brick walk-up painted red with glowing Chinese lanterns swaying in the wind on lines up on the roof.
Henry follows Woo to the Red House, they walk up three flights of stairs, Woo breathing heavy and walking slow, they reach the roof top. It was spread out and large, a exotic and colorful place, painted lanterns, jazz music (Chet Baker) on the juke box, Chinamen smoking and playing cards with boys or women on their laps, an array of Chinese nymphos wearing Cheongsam dresses or men’s suits sitting in a group of twenty or so, smoking Thai stick, drinking and looking bored.
Mr Woo takes Henry to an antique counter, a fat Chinese women sitting behind it on a stool says, “One hundred and twenty-five dollar.” Mr Woo disappearing into the shadows, Henry asking, “One hundred and twenty-five dollar for what?” The two-ton China-gal saying, “Everything Western boy, go to second floor, room 7.”
Henry in room 7, dimly lit, black flaking paint falling off the wall, an occasional mad dashing cockroach, a beautiful Chinese women wearing a see through gown walks in and locks the door behind her. Speaking in a strange voice, soprano with a hint of crowing rooster, saying, “ Hi doll I’m Boom Boom.” She mixes tar opium and Thai stick in a pipe, then pouring tequila into a row of shot glasses on a tray, saying, “ I’m transgender post opt,” lighting the pipe, they smoke and do a few tequila shots.
Boom Boom laying down on on a rusted metal double bead with a stained mattress, Henry laying down with her.
He didn’t remember any of the night, the two ton cashier waking him in room 7 that morning, Boom Boom long gone, Henry’s wallet gone as well.
Taking a taxi to Queens, wondering if he boom boomed Boom Boom that night? Getting a blood test that afternoon, his life like a Dylan Thomas poem—
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day”