Henry bone headed and thick, doing the same as he had done every year at this time, hiding and running away from the dreaded holidays.
From Thanksgiving until a few days after New Years he hunkered down in his Queen’s apartment—like Hitler in his Berlin bunker in 1945, stocking up on tortilla, beans and rice, oranges, water, Coca-cola, Jack Daniels and plenty of dope.
He would spend the month writing short stories and watching The Night of the Iguana over and over, letting it run on repeat.
Tennessee Williams was Henry’s favorite playwright, he had watched The Night of the Iguana 1000s of times and he saw something new in it every time, it was time-less.
The Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon in utter mental exhaustion, cutting through the layers of the onion, on the run from the Episcopal Church and God in Mexico. Shannon having an extended nervous breakdown in Mexico, wrapped up in a straw hammock used as a straight-jacket, cured by cocaine tea and the love of a beatnik gal.
Henry feeling safe after New Years, secure that the ghost of Christmas had gone back to Finland or the North Pole for another year. He was ready to go out.
Tired of beans and rice, in need of real food, he leaves his Queens digs and goes to Chaim’s Deli.
Walking a few blocks to the deli, going inside and sitting at his favorite booth. His regular waitress Ruby comes to his table and says—
Jesus Henry where the fuck have you been? We have been worried sick about you here, Chaim was ready to call the cops but I told him I thought you were hiding from the holiday spooks.
Henry says to Ruby—
Ruby as usual you are spot on. I’m really hungry doll, I want a pastrami on pumpernickel, a bowl of matzo ball soup, coleslaw and some Jack and soda to wash it down.
After eating too much, Henry says bye to the folks at Chaim’s and walks out the double glass door at the entrance, lighting a joint, taking a deep drag and looking up at the moon, thinking—
How sweet it is!
In the Bowery he goes to a dump called the Vomit House for a drink. The place full of bums, men and women sitting at tables and in booths, screaming at one another back and forth, babbling incoherently, their conversations disjointed, banging down bottles of cheap wine, Mad Dog 20 20.
Henry at the bar sitting next to a bum in a dirty and ripped business suit who turns to him and says—
I’m Dr. Stephen Grundy I’m the creator and marketer of the Palm Springs Diet, nice to meet you.
I’m Henry, what the fuck are you doing here?
Dr. Grundy says—
Well, Henry I had a slip and am on a new liquid diet called — The Fall Down, then Grab and Gulp Down Anything with Alcohol in it Diet.
Henry thinking the guy was absolutely uncool, finishing his beer and leaving the Vomit House.
In Manhattan on 53rd Street he walks into MoMa to see what is going on and eyeballs a security guard standing in front of a Jackson Pollack painting wearing a blazer made of fake Holstein cow-skin. The fake cow-skin blazer against the Pollack painting was too much for Henry's eyes, blurry, causing his eyes to tear.
Why are you wearing that cornball blazer? It's a disgrace to cows everywhere, so what's going on at MaMa today?
The guard says—
Sir, if you don't like my blazer you can write a message on the MoMa blog. Joseph Beuys is staging a happening in the basement, I'm sorry you don't like my blazer.
Henry takes the elevator to the basement of MoMa, one floor down, there is nobody around except a thin man wearing a 40s style Fedora sitting in a pile of hay at the very end of the concrete room. There are thick and large strips of grayish-green felt on the floor spread everywhere.
Joseph Beuys, WW2 Stuka pilot and 20th Century artist extraordinaire is holding a cane and petting a Coyote.
Henry approaches Beuys and pets his Coyote, the artist stands and then picks up a strip of green felt from the floor, wrapping it around Henry and saying—
You're an artist, everyone is an artist.
Henry wondering what the fuck was going on?
Feeling hot wrapped in the strip of felt he takes it off in-turn wrapping it around Joseph Beuys, saying—
You’re weird, cool and good weird.
Henry leaves MoMa needing a drink badly to shake off whatever the scene in MoMa basement was about.
He takes a taxi to Chinatown and goes to Mr. Lee’s Laundry. At the entrance he walks through a red double door, drudgingly ascending 6 flights of stairs to the roof top. There is a party going on, red lit up lanterns strung on wire, swaying in the wind. There were a hundred people or more there, all sitting on plastic stools at plastic tables.
Most snorting cocaine and drinking Japanese whiskey. Henry sits down at a table of Chinese ladyboys, one of them who is wearing a red silk Hanfu hands him a drink and then lays a few lines of cocaine on a pink Hello Kitty mirror she pulls out from a large purse that is full of make up and junk of all sorts .
Henry feeling right as the ladyboy says to him,
hi darling my name is Butterfly, do you want some company?
Sex you mean? I’m straight you know.
I will suck you really good and then lube my ass with coconut oil, when you are inside me it will be divine, I’m tight, almost a virgin.
Henry tempted, it was 2AM, he was a man and he was horny, maybe next time,
he says to Butterfly—
Almost a virgin? You are lovely Butterfly but I have to go home and feed my pet iguana cockroach and scorpion fillets or he will be very angry with me.
Henry tired and wasted, walking down 6 flights of stairs to street level, he gets a taxi to Queens.
Laying his head back on a plastic pillow in the back seat of the taxi and thinking—
I’m a genius but nobody knows it.