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by mccutcheon
Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:48 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Mighty Mighty James Blake!

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by mccutcheon
Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:43 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

The Aussie Open is on!

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by mccutcheon
Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:18 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Burnt Novel Serial Shit # 27

The funeral is on a Thursday. That morning Mike and I get up early and we walk to the Blue Rose. Tommy and Timmy are already there.

“The jukebox is all yours,â€Â￾ says Tommy.

“Yeah,â€Â￾ says Timmy.

“Thanks,â€Â￾ I say.

Purdy has a shot waiting for me like promised.

“To that horny old man,â€Â￾ says Purdy.

We raise our Jack Daniel's in a toast. I smile despite myself. It's the only smile I have cracked all week. We sit around and have a few beers and wait until the funeral procession starts.

“So what you going to do?â€Â￾ asks Purdy.

“I'm going to sell the house.â€Â￾

“Where are you and Mike moving to?â€Â￾

“We are getting a place in the city, Manhattan,â€Â￾ says Mike. “Style.â€Â￾

I look over at him. This is news to me.

“How you going to afford that?â€Â￾ asks Tommy

“Yeah,â€Â￾ says Timmy.

“I'm going to model again,â€Â￾ says Mike.

“Who would pay to see your ugly mug?â€Â￾ Purdy asks.

We all start laughing. No matter how straight and slightly homophobic our group might be there is no denying that Mike is pretty like a girl. We are poor working class New Jersey boys and the idea that one of us penetrates the high gay fashion of New York glittery is amusing. Getting paid a ridiculous amount of money to get a picture taken is the biggest joke of all.

We gather in a group hug. We have one more shot and then head to the funeral home. I am surprised at the turn out. The first person I recognize is Janis sitting next to Rachael. They are quietly talking. That can't be good. I see Donna, the Dick's phone operator with the sexy call girl voice sitting next to Big Tony the cook. Big Tony is sweating through his suit. The guy sweats enough at work in his sauce smudged wife beater. I feel sorry for his discomfort but am glad he made the effort. Sitting a few pews ahead is Ricardo and his wife, a lovely lady who I only met a few times. Their son didn't come. The people from Dick's didn't even know grandpa. They are here for me.

I'm even more surprised to see Bill from the hospital. I'm not sure how he heard about it. Probably read it in the obits. I notice that next to him, holding his hand is Bonnie. Bill and Bonnie together is a strange couple. If ever opposites attracted. Bill is a middle-aged, mild mannered ex librarian sitting with Bonnie, a silicone-stacked floozy who can hardly read. Mike looks at them and then turns to me. I catch his eye. He gives me a wink, like it's no problem.

In the back row are a few of the ladies from the supermarket. So they do miss the old guy a bit. If nothing else his vulgar advances must have made them a bit springier in their golden age. I see that the ladies are dabbing their eyes with handkerchiefs. Grandpa would have been happy.

29!

After the funeral we go back to the house to have a proper Irish style wake. Everyone is drinking the spirits provided by Purdy. The supermarket women are singing and tipsy, some even start to dance with their handkerchiefs being raised in the air. Mike is in the corner talking to Bill and Bonnie. I don't want a fight to break out during grandpa's last hurrah, even though that might be fitting. I rush over to keep the peace.

“Everything okay?â€Â￾ I ask.

“Bill here is getting Bonnie into literature,â€Â￾ Mike says.

“I'm doing the classics,â€Â￾ Bonnie says proudly.

“Oh yeah?â€Â￾

“Books on tape,â€Â￾ Bill clarifies.

“Right, now I'm doing Jane Eyre.â€Â￾ Bonnie is smiley and glowing. “Jane is cool.â€Â￾

“The Bronte sisters, huh?â€Â￾ Mike asks helpfully.

“Who?â€Â￾

Bill whispers something into Bonnie's ear and she starts to laugh.

“Yeah right, the Bronte bitches.â€Â￾ Bonnie says.

I've known Bonnie a long time, even before she got her fake tits, and for all her air-headed bimboism, I've never really seen her smile. I can't remember a single time I ever saw her happy. Now she is with Bill, all giggly after a funeral. What women really want most from men is for their men to make them laugh. This coupling proves that.

Mike and I walk away leaving the happy couple alone.

“So it's really okay with you then?â€Â￾ I ask.

“Yeah, we even talked it over, I mean not screaming but talked it through.â€Â￾

“It must feel good to get that monkey off your back.â€Â￾

“More like fucking King Kong.â€Â￾

“That good huh?â€Â￾

“Better than intercourse with Kate Moss.â€Â￾

“No way.â€Â￾

“Kate was always a little prudish you know,â€Â￾ Mike says and starts to laugh. “Models can't fuck.â€Â￾

I think of Bi and have to agree.

Janis dances over to us arm in arm with Rachael. They seem to have bonded well. I hope they haven't talked about me. Rachael can play it cool. For all the love Janis and I have felt for each other in this short span we sure weren't monogamous. I guess that doesn't really matter. At least it doesn't anymore. In the future maybe we will work it out.

Janis hands us large whiskeys. I take a sip and it burns the back of my throat. Rachael gives me a hug. As she does this she whispers in my ear that if I need anything she will be there for me.

31!

In the mist of sad remembrance the doorbell rings. There is a man in a suit holding a briefcase. The real estate agent said that he was going to stop by but I'm sure I told him about the funeral today. It's bad manners to show up unannounced like this.

“Are you Trevor McDuffy?â€Â￾

“Yes, can't this whole house business wait until after the funeral?"

“I'm sorry. I didn't know the funeral was today. I'm not here about the house. I'm a lawyer with the Chase Bank in Manhattan.â€Â￾

I bet grandpa owes the bank loads of money. I'm going to be in fucking debt the rest of my life. I'll probably have to work delivering pizzas until it's my funeral.

“Yeah, what do you want?â€Â￾

“Could I come in?â€Â￾

“Sure, you want a beer or whiskey?â€Â￾

“No thanks. Is there anywhere else we could conduct business?â€Â￾

“Yeah, I guess.â€Â￾

I grab my whiskey and take him into grandpa's bedroom. I slide people's coats over to one side of the bed and sit down on the edge of it. The lawyer sits down on the other side.

“You don't have a study?â€Â￾

“No, I don't have a fucking study. You think I'm fucking rich or something?â€Â￾

“Yes I do, very.â€Â￾

“What?â€Â￾

“I think that you are a very rich, or rather a well off young man.â€Â￾

“What do you mean?â€Â￾

“I mean you have a trust fund that your parents left you. You were supposed to have received that at the age of eighteen. On top of that you have a huge insurance policy from when your parents died that your grandpa wouldn't let you touch or let you even know about.â€Â￾

“What are you talking about?â€Â￾

“Let's see.â€Â￾ He opens his brief case. “Yes, here it is. Your grandfather didn't want you to receive the money while he was your legal guardian because, as he put it in writing; ‘I don't want that boy to grow up a spoiled city brat.'â€Â￾

“What?â€Â￾ I ask.

“So he blocked the money. Now I'm very sorry to say as an oversight on our part we neglected to inform you of the inheritance when you turned eighteen. That was a grievous error. When your grandfather passed one of our accountants became aware of the mistake. So here I am.â€Â￾

“How much are we talking about?â€Â￾ I say in shock. I take a long drink from the whiskey. This time I hardly taste it.

He holds out two documents. Each of them has more zeros attached than I can count at a quick glance.

“Fuck.â€Â￾

“All you have to do is sign here and the money will be transferred to you in a savings account that your parents started for you the day you were born. It's with our bank, naturally.â€Â￾

I sign the forms. The man puts the documents back into his briefcase and stands up to go.

“I'm sorry for your loss.â€Â￾ He says. I don't feel he is being sincere. I don't care. I show him out.

“What was that all about?â€Â￾ Mike asks.

“Nothing, just some guy wanting to sell me side paneling on the house.â€Â￾ Mike must be a little drunk because he nods and refills his drink. Normally he can tell when I'm lying.

I never told anyone that I was mugged. They must assume that I still have the money from the cheese smuggling job. Now I have the money to get to Paris. I'm not going to tell anyone about this, either. Not even Mike. I go over to Janis and give her a big kiss.

“What is that for,â€Â￾ she asks.

“It's a goodbye kiss, and a thank you kiss.â€Â￾

“A goodbye kiss?â€Â￾

“Yes.â€Â￾

“Goodbye from me?â€Â￾

“No, goodbye for me, I'm going to go back to Paris.â€Â￾

“Really? What are you going to do?â€Â￾

“I'm going to go to school.â€Â￾

“That's, you know, really great Trevor.â€Â￾

“Thanks.â€Â￾

“By they way.â€Â￾

“Yeah?â€Â￾

“How do you know Rachael?â€Â￾ Janis asks.

“Um, she's a good customer.â€Â￾

“I bet she was.â€Â￾

Janis is surprised I'm leaving and even though she is happy for me I can sense a bit of sadness as well. I give her another kiss. She kisses me back. Then we go and have another whiskey.

31!

The day after the funeral I go to the bank and check my account. The money is in the account. I withdraw over two thousand dollars. I have more money in my hand than I have ever held.

I walk to Rachael's house and pay her back. She gives me a hug.

“Thank you Rachael.â€Â￾

“Thank you, Trevor.â€Â￾

We look at each other. We share secrets and fantasies. She blinks and I walk away. I close the door behind me leaving her alone in the hallway, where I first saw her. I hope she uses that money for more fun in the city.

Out in the front yard her kids are playing. They wave to me, and come running up. Kids invade your personal space. They don't care about social stipulations.

“Are you leaving?â€Â￾

“Yeah.â€Â￾

“Bye,â€Â￾ they both yell hugging me around the waist.

“Bye.â€Â￾

They don't know that I'm actually leaving for good.

I walk to Dick's, taking my time, breathing the cold air through my nose, letting it freeze my brain. I hand in my keys. Ricardo offers me a glass of wine but I decline. He also gives me a hug. Luckily Ricardo Junior is nowhere around.

From Dick's I call a cab and take it to Janis's house. She is walking out the door when I arrive. She gets into a car with the blue hair girl. I tell the cab driver to follow them. We end up outside a strip club. The driver drops me off with a smirk. I pay him and tell him he can go. I'm not a strip club kind of guy. But it is especially no fun going when a woman you love works there.

I wait in the parking lot. I'll hang out for a few minutes and then sneak in to see her in action. I want to make sure she has the power over these slime-ball creeps, like she said. I need her to be safe. Minute after minute passes. I can't bring myself to enter the sleazy club. I'm not sure I could handle seeing her slithering around on stage all naked. It could change the way I feel for her. I don't ever want that to happen. Then I see Ricardo Junior and his cousins enter. That's too much.

I want to go to Paris remembering Janis painting me down in her bedroom. I won't go in. I turn away from the club and get punched in the face. I fall to the ground and spit hot dark red blood into the dirty snow. I look up. Three of the SL Slaughter's bikers surround me.

“Your mama work here?â€Â￾ It's the leader with the too close psycho eyes. He is with the guy who bit off his tongue. I'm not sure if I was followed or if I'm just at the wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn't matter now. I think about offering up my money. Then decide I'd rather die than be a coward.

“Hello fellas,â€Â￾ I say. I need to muster up Travis Bickle courage. Not easy lying in dirty snow bleeding.

“Weth saidth wed geth you, moderfucker,â€Â￾ loudly lisps the biker missing the front of his tongue.

“Glad to hear you still have a way with words.â€Â￾ I say.

Without saying another word, they move in. I have no chance to escape. The first blow knocks the wind out of me and the second knocks me unconscious.


31!

When I open my eyes it is an effort because my right eye is puffed shut and my left eye is swollen almost as bad. The sun is coming into the room and it feels like morning. I'm in a hospital room. Through the slit I see Bill and Bonnie.

“Is he going to die?â€Â￾ Bonnie asks.

“No, he should recover.â€Â￾

That's good I think. Then it's black. And I'm out again.

Time has passed. It is nothing I can keep track of. I slowly open my eyes again with a little less effort. The shadows in the room are different. I'm not sure if it's the afternoon of the same day or days later. Mike and Janis hover over me.

“Hey,â€Â￾ I weakly intone.

“Oh honey,â€Â￾ Janis puts her hand on my forehead. It's the most comforting gesture I've ever felt. Mike stands back and gives a smile.

“I can't believe I'm not dead,â€Â￾ I whisper.

“We'll you might have if Ricardo Junior and his cousins didn't step in and save you,â€Â￾ Mike says.

“Ricardo Junior helped me?â€Â￾

“Yeah.â€Â￾

“Why?â€Â￾

“Well, since Bonnie has left him he has fallen in love with some stripper that works out at that club where you got jumped. And this girl said she met you when you delivered pizza to some hockey player. She saw what was happening and thought you were too cute to get killed and told Rico Sauve that if he ever wanted to see her again he and his goon ass cousins had to save you.â€Â￾

“Wow, weird huh?â€Â￾

“Yeah, I guess. Lucky for you.â€Â￾

“So what happened to the bikers?â€Â￾

“They ran off like cowards.â€Â￾

In a few days when I can walk, I hobble to the room where the hockey player was staying, but he must have checked out. Instead of girls in lingerie taking care of him, in the bed is an old man resting alone. A few days later I'm released. When I'm given back my street clothes the money I took out from the bank is still there. Home isn't what it used to be. It's lonely and grandpas' presence is too prevalent. This has always been his house. I'm ready to turn my back and just leave. The real estate guy said he would send me a check for whatever he got. I don't need the money anymore. I'm ready to turn my back on New Jersey and this neighborhood. Of course I will miss my friends. I might even miss delivering pizza, maybe. It's time for me to make my move.

Epilogue: Unsentimental Education



Months later, Mike and I are in Paris together, having flown Air France, of course. We are standing in front of the Vincent Van Gogh Saint-Remy September 1889 self-portrait in the musee D'Orsay. I received late enrollment from the university. I'm taking French class, literature and painting again. In art class we paint beautiful female models. And not one of them has farted. I sent my first finished nude to Purdy back in New Jersey and he placed it on grandpa's grave for me.

Mike decided to come to Paris after all. We visit the D'Orsay once a week to talk and look at art. The D'Orsay has replaced the Blue Rose as our meeting place. Even though we share an apartment on Boulevard Saint German we don't see much of each other.

“Fuck that is great.â€Â￾ Mike says taking one last look at the painting until next week.

“Yeah, I know.â€Â￾

Then we turn to leave. Mike is telling me that he might actually like this girl. She is from Brazil and is very playful and horny. I'm a bit surprised.

“You mean you might like her for more than a night?â€Â￾

“Yeah. I might even like her for a couple of weeks.â€Â￾

“That's impressive,â€Â￾ I joke.

“Well, you know, getting over losing your soul mate takes many partners, a lot more souls.â€Â￾

“Funny. So, what are you doing now?â€Â￾ I ask.

“I got a photo shoot out at Versailles, and you?â€Â￾

“I got class, and then I have to meet Raz. We are going to look at a space in Bastille to open our club.â€Â￾

“Cool.â€Â￾ Mike doesn't question where we are getting the money to open a club. He doesn't think in monetary terms. Then he hands me an opened envelope.

“What's this?â€Â￾

“Your bank statement from the Chase Bank Manhattan.â€Â￾

“You can't open my mail, it's against the law, even in France.â€Â￾

“Let's sit down.â€Â￾

“Why?â€Â￾

Mike takes my arm and leads me to a bench.

“What's up?'

“Look at the statement.â€Â￾ Mike hands me the envelope. I look at it. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to see.

“Yeah?â€Â￾

“Look at the balance.â€Â￾

“Yeah.â€Â￾

“Isn't it a little low?â€Â￾

“I guess.â€Â￾

Then I look again checking the amount. When that man came and I first got the money I remember seeing more zeros that I could count. When I went to the bank I knew it was a lot of money. I never did know the true amount. Now there are four zeros after a three. This must be my balance for a month, or a mistake by the bank.

“It looks low,â€Â￾ I say.

“It is low.â€Â￾

“What happened?â€Â￾

“What happened is that man that came to the funeral was a con artist.â€Â￾

“The bank is trying to screw me?â€Â￾

“He doesn't work for the bank.â€Â￾

“Yeah he does, he had me sign the papers.â€Â￾

“Did you look at the papers?â€Â￾

I remember drinking whiskey and signing my name. I don't remember reading anything.

“Shit what happened?â€Â￾

“He's an ex employee who hacks into obits and rips off stupid, I mean unsuspecting, people.â€Â￾

“Motherfucker. I'm going to kill him.â€Â￾

“Calm down.â€Â￾

“Calm down? There goes all my money. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I deserve that fucking money!â€Â￾

“Listen, your grandpa and I talked about this. He had me put on his will. Most of the money from the inheritance and the house after taxes is still there. That can't get touched. And there wasn't that much anyway. It was all part of the scam. The more they show you the more in shock you will be and the easier it is to fool someone.â€Â￾

“So there never was a trust fund from my parents?â€Â￾

“No.â€Â￾

“A savings account from the day I was born?â€Â￾

“No.â€Â￾

I shake my head and swallow hard. The kind of swallow you do to keep your eyes from watering.

“So where does that leave us?â€Â￾ I ask.

“Thirty thousand. Well off. That guy who came to the house thought he was getting your money but without my signature he is out of luck. After the apartment and getting over here, shipping all your records, the computer and stuff, we are still okay. Thirty thousand is a lot of money.â€Â￾

“Why did my balance show up like that?â€Â￾

“The guy had hacked into the accounts. If you would have tried to take out more than five thousand the error would have shown up.â€Â￾

“Fuck.â€Â￾

“Well, we still have money, I mean still more than ever before.â€Â￾

“Yes. But can I pay for school?â€Â￾

“Yes.â€Â￾

“And the club?â€Â￾

“Well, yeah. It will be an investment we are going to make together. I can help with my modeling money. And Raz will have to put in more and you need to get a job until the club opens,â€Â￾ Mike says. “Here.â€Â￾

Mike hands me a card. A pizzeria is looking for drivers. The way the pizza is delivered in Paris is on little motorbikes. The guys zoom all around the city. Instead of De Niro in Taxi Driver I'll be Steven McQueen in The Great Escape.

Outside Mike hails a taxi and gives me a knowing wink. He has always been one step ahead of me. I'm in total shock. I walk in bewilderment to the American University of Paris.

I stop at a kiosk and buy a packet of Galouise cigarettes, my new favorite brand and a Moulin Rouge postcard for Janis. I send her a postcard once a week and she usually emails me every other day.

At school I have to pass through a metal detector checkpoint. I walk into the café and have a café crème. It's not as fancy as the coffee in those snooty coffee shops in Jersey but the coffee can't be beat for flavor and caffeine kick. There are a few people already drinking beer and others are playing a heated game of foosball. I'm tempted to have a beer with them and meet more students. I can't though. I have too much to do. Besides, I'm sure after Raz and I look for a place for the club we will get a few pints of Guinness. I'm not looking forward to telling him the bad news about the finances.

I finish my coffee and go to class. Brit has a seat waiting for me. We have become good friends. She is the person I hang out with most in Paris. The day I went to sign up for classes I ran into her. The way her eyes lit up in surprise when she saw me gave me shivers. Brit immediately gave me a huge hug. It was a great feeling to turn up somewhere sort of as a stranger and a bit of a loner, and to see a smiling welcoming face, to know that she was so happy to see me. That alone was worth coming back to Paris. Winter is over and every day gets warmer. Brit and I have plans to picnic in the Champ des Mars.

Brit is still in love with Jack. We have kissed since I've come back, which has lead to other things. But mostly we study together and watch movies. I like the eighties period of French film: Diva and Betty Blue by Jean-Jacques Beinex and Subway by Luc Besson. My favorite current French director is Mathieu Kassovitz. Brit and I have watched all his movies.

After literature class Brit bums a smoke from me. We stand on the sidewalk not far from where we went on our Ecstasy walk. Brit leans against the building with cigarette dangling from her mouth. She looks very chic in silk scarf and miniskirt.

“You want to come over, you know, to study?â€Â￾ She asks actually fluttering her eyelashes. She pulls at the low cut neck of her shirt, slipping forefinger between skin and fabric.

“Sorry, I can't.â€Â￾

“Why not?â€Â￾

“I have to meet Raz.â€Â￾

“Fantastic. I'll come along.â€Â￾

“No, it's a guy thing.â€Â￾

“That's stupid,â€Â￾ she says and storms off. I watch her fine ass sashay underneath her miniskirt as she walks away. I smile to myself. Maybe I'm starting to understand girls. She won't stay mad for long.

I want to tell Brit about the club. I know she will love the idea. But I made a promise to Raz. We decided it should stay a secret until it opens. The only people who know about it besides Raz and me are Rita and Mike. So I keep my mouth shut.

I haven't eaten so I enter a boulangerie for a sandwich. Through the window I see Raz waiting for me. I pay and tell the woman, “Merci beaucoup madame, a demain.â€Â￾

“Spoken like a true expatriate,â€Â￾ says Raz. “If you know what I mean?â€Â￾

And I do. I know exactly what he means.


FIN
by mccutcheon
Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:31 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Hot Hot Heat!

Today it is supposed to be warmer in New York City than Athens and Cairo. Tomorrow it is supposed to be 70.
by mccutcheon
Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:00 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Burnt Novel Serial Shit # 26

“Whew, I never thought I'd get through this night,â€Â￾ she says.

“Where is everyone, I thought there was a party tonight.â€Â￾

“No, it's a Boxing Day Party. Day after Christmas.â€Â￾

“What's that?â€Â￾

“Boxing Day? It's an English holiday. I don't know. All I know is I gotta work the motherfuckin' day after Christmas. â€Â￾

Barbara pays me. She makes a big production of counting out the hundred dollar bills. The greenbacks stack up. It is exhilarating watching all that money change hands. This is my money.

“You want a drink babe?â€Â￾ Barbara asks after the transaction.

“Sure.â€Â￾ I just want to get home, but I don't want to be rude.

We sit at the kitchen table and Barbara and I share a glass of Blackberry Brandy. It is sickly sweet in a medicinal sort of way, but also warms me up. After the drink I hug her good bye.

“I think I'll hide out here and have another drink. Can you find your way out?â€Â￾

“Yeah, no problem.â€Â￾

“Happy Holidays.â€Â￾ She says.

“Yeah, Happy Holidays.â€Â￾ I say. With all this money it really will be. It is more money than I've ever had in my life.

25!

I walk down the hall in silence and find my way out. The layout of their apartment is similar to the way ours used to be. I hear faint moaning followed by loud screams of sexual satisfaction. Raquel has found a stud.

Out on the street I start to walk to Port Authority. A few blocks from the Dakota I realize I left my suitcase in the kitchen. I'll have to go back for it later. There wasn't anything of importance in it since I got rid of the cheese. The color postcards for Grandpa, A Moveable Feast and Raz's CD's are in my coat pocket.

I don't have a watch and I don't have a cell phone. I have no idea what time it is. The air outside is fresh and fights the jet lag. I decide to walk down along the park until I realize I'm rich. I hail a cab and get out on Eighth Avenue. As I round the block of the Port Authority a man grabs my arm and wrestles me to the ground. He pulls me around a corner, pinning me down. I look for help. The street is deserted. The man gets his knees up on my throat cutting off my air supply. He pulls out a knife and puts it against my right eye.

It all happens in stunned slow motion. I can smell his unwashed cloths and his putrid breath burns my nostrils. With my free hand I reluctantly give him my wallet. He opens it and pours the money out. A few singles and the left over Euros fall out.

“What the fuck is this?â€Â￾ he snarls.

“Euros.â€Â￾

“What?â€Â￾

“I just got back from Paris.â€Â￾

“I've been to Paris. This isn't Francs.â€Â￾

“No, they converted to the Euro.'

“Who did?â€Â￾

“I don't know, all of the European Community. They no longer use French Francs.â€Â￾

“That's bullshit. The French would never give up their currency, the symbol of Liberty leading the People. Are you tellin' me they don't have that topless bitch on their bills anymore?â€Â￾

“What?â€Â￾

I have no idea what he is talking about. The man fixes his evil stare. He is totally nuts. He punches me in testicles. I could have done without the physical violence to my crotch. I'm going to vomit. The man was trying to hurt me but with his punch he felt the money. He puts his hand into my front pocket and indelicately robs me.

“What's this?â€Â￾

I'm suffering too much to reply. The man kicks me in the head and runs off with my French fund. I stay on the ground. I don't try to get up. I might be able to stand but I can't bring myself to do it. I'm huddled on the cold dirty sidewalk, early on Christmas morning, robbed of my earnings, the money that was going to lead to my escape and let me travel. I've been punched in the balls and kicked in the head. Fuck this new safe New York. These events don't exactly leave you with a feeling of Peace on Earth and good will toward your fellow man. I'm pissed off and in lots of pain. Hot tears fall on the grimy slush.

I look around. There are no witnesses to this crime. Even if the cops did see this they wouldn't be able to do anything. A policeman has never been around when I have needed one. They always show up when they are least wanted. That has been my fate with the law enforcement officials. Why should it change now, because it's Christmas morning, because I deserve to get to Paris? Naw, it doesn't matter in the scheme of things.

I finally gather myself up. I collect the Euros and put them in my pocket. After the thief saw the green, what is a little European currency worth to him? He probably couldn't even be bothered to exchange it.

Inside the Port Authority the place is deserted and closed up except for the regular transients, magazine sellers and two cops sipping coffee out of Styrofoam cups. I'm about to go over and explain my story in heated anger, and then I don't. I look at the bus schedule and there is actually a bus that leaves in a few minutes. It's my lucky day.

When I board the bus the driver asks for my ticket. I hand him the Euros.

“What's this, Mac?â€Â￾

“It's Euros.â€Â￾

“We take U.S. dollars here, Mac.â€Â￾

“Give me a break, it's all I have.â€Â￾

“You're lucky it's Christmas.â€Â￾

“Yeah, it's my lucky day. Happy Holidays.â€Â￾

I take a seat in the back. Only a few other people get on. And the people who do get on get off at the Meadowlands. I wonder if the racetrack is open. It must be, because the few men who carried their old fedoras in their hands and their hearts on their sleeves have almost run out of hope. The gamblers are desperate enough to put it all on the line even on Christ's birthday. Going for the long shot on the day of the tall tale.

The rest of the bus ride is silent, a silent morning. We rumble through a few New Jersey neighborhoods before we finally get to mine. As I depart I smile to the bus driver.

“Have a good Christmas.â€Â￾

“You too.â€Â￾

26!

As I approach the house I see Grandpa sitting on the new sofa looking out at the gravestones. I wave to him but he mustn't see me because he doesn't wave back. I put my key in the door and unlock it. Grandpa will surely get up and give me a welcome back home hug. When I enter the living room he is still seated in the same position.

“Hey Grandpa, I'm back. Merry Christmas.â€Â￾

It's good to be home. I want to give Grandpa his colored postcards of naked woman spread out on the fronts. Grandpa doesn't turn around. I hope he didn't fall asleep out here. Mike should know better than to let Grandpa sleep on the couch.

I walk around to face him. I'll have to put him to bed myself. I'm startled to see that his eyes are open. His blue eyes, which are always so piercing, have gone a cold gray color. Grandpa is no longer breathing. I slowly reach out my hand. He is stiff and cold, like touching tree bark.

Tears start to run down my face. I walk downstairs to my bedroom. Mike is in the corner of the room hunched up on the floor asleep.

“Mike, hey wake up,â€Â￾ I softly say.

“Huh? Trevor, you back man? Hey, you crying?â€Â￾

“Grandpa is dead.â€Â￾

“What?â€Â￾

“Grandpa passed away.â€Â￾

Mike looks at me in disbelief.

“Are you sure?â€Â￾ he asks. “I put him to bed last night. Everything was fine. We didn't even share a drink.â€Â￾

“He's dead anyway.â€Â￾

I turn and walk back upstairs. Mike follows me. We both sit on the floor and look at Grandpa's lifeless body. We both cry silently.

Mike makes coffee and I call the hospital. They tell me I should call the cops. Instead I ask if they can send an ambulance or a hearse. I feel bad making people do this kind of work on Christmas.

The people who pick Grandpa up take him to the morgue. Mike and I sit on the floor. Neither of us wants to sit on the new couch. We look out at the graveyard.

“I don't want to go to Europe right away,â€Â￾ says Mike after an hour of silence. I'm startled to hear him speak.

“Why?â€Â￾ I don't tell him I was robbed and have no money to go now anyway.

“Because I wanted to go to get over Bonnie. But now I am over Bonnie and so I don't want to run away. I'm going to model again and get a place in the city.â€Â￾

“Okay,â€Â￾ I say.

Slowly I start to cry again. Tears for Grandpa, or because Mike might not be running away from Bonnie but he is abandoning me. I don't want to stay in this house alone. I have no other choice.

In the early evening the doorbell rings. I get up to answer it. I know its Janis because I saw her walking up to the house through the bay window. I'm alone because Mike said he had to get out of the house and went to see a movie. I told him I just wanted to sit here.

“Hi.â€Â￾ She says. “Can I come in?â€Â￾

Janis looks beautiful. Despite my grief I sense her sexuality. In fact, she makes me very horny. Sex is the ying to Death's yang. She is carrying three Christmas presents. When she enters the house she gets a better look at me.

“What's wrong?â€Â￾

“My grandpa died this morning.â€Â￾

“Oh Trevor, I'm so sorry.â€Â￾

Janis gives me a big hug. We sit down to talk. I tell her about my trip to Paris. I tell her I tried Ecstasy and how much I enjoyed it now that I got the real thing. I tell her everything about Paris, the museums, Raz, except I leave out the bits about Bi on the plane and Brit for obvious reasons. I also leave out this morning at Port Authority. It's a depressing day the way it is.

“Here you go, Merry Christmas.â€Â￾ I give her one of Raz's tapes. “I'm sorry I forgot to wrap it.â€Â￾

“Thanks Trevor, what is it?â€Â￾

“It's a CD. From that guy Raz I meet.â€Â￾

“Cool.â€Â￾

“Here.â€Â￾

“Thanks.â€Â￾

I unwrap her present. It is a book, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.

“I never heard of this,â€Â￾ I say.

“I know Bukowski is on your list. But this book is more important. This book is about the death of the American dream. And it came out before the sixties even got started, we never had a chance.â€Â￾

“Yeah, we never had a chance.â€Â￾ I repeat her words.

Janis looks at her feet.

“Hey, thanks. Sounds good,â€Â￾ I say.

Janis looks up.

“It is the most important American book ever written.â€Â￾ She tells me.

“Thanks Janis. I promise to read it.â€Â￾

We hug.

“So anything new with you?â€Â￾ I ask. I say it to change the subject. I don't expect anything to be new since I was hardly absent.

“I am going to become a dancer,â€Â￾ she says.

“A dancer?â€Â￾ I ask.

“Yeah, you make good money in Hoboken and it isn't that sleazy. Besides I want to explore my femininity.â€Â￾

“Like a ballerina?â€Â￾

“Exotic.â€Â￾

“A stripper?â€Â￾

“No not a striper, an exotic dancer.â€Â￾

“What's the difference?â€Â￾

“What's different is how I perceive it.â€Â￾

“Isn't it going to be gross to have those men leering at you?â€Â￾

“No, I don't think it will be. I will have the power, I'll have the control over them.â€Â￾

I want to ask how taking your clothes off for strange disgusting men can be empowering. But I don't. Janis can make her own decisions. She didn't even ask my opinion.

“Where does that leave us?â€Â￾ I ask.

“I didn't know there was a us.â€Â￾

“I was hoping, sort of.â€Â￾

“Well, then Trevor, it can still happen. My job doesn't change the way I feel for you. It shouldn't affect our relationship.â€Â￾

“I don't know.â€Â￾

“Aw Trevor, I know you don't know. Just know I love you and will always be there for you.â€Â￾

“Thank you.â€Â￾

Janis hugs me. And the hugs turn to kisses and then we have slow sex on the floor. I fit with Janis more than any other girl. This is why it hurts so much. We make love, and the better the physical lovemaking, and this strong, shared connection, the more it hurts to know we will soon be apart. Afterwards, we lay naked in each other's arms. We talk about how we will always be friends.

“Janis?â€Â￾

“Yeah?â€Â￾

“I forgive you for fucking Mike.â€Â￾

“No, you forgive me for lying to you, that was awful, but what happened between Mike and me is none of your business.â€Â￾

“Yeah,â€Â￾ I say. I'm too sad to argue.

“You know, Mike loves you dearly and a girl shouldn't come between you guys.â€Â￾

Janis and I break up on Christmas Day even though we were never really going out. She is the first girl I ever loved. I will still love her. This has been one hell of a holiday. I retire to the basement and try to sleep. I lie in bed and listen to John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War Is Over). It's eerie being in the basement alone. I'm used to grandpa's presence upstairs on the couch. I slowly fall asleep before Mike returns from the movie.

27!

The next morning I wake up and I know exactly where I am and exactly what has happened. Mike is on the floor next to me. I walk upstairs to have a glass of orange juice.

I see the oatmeal and start to cry. I take my orange juice and curl up on the floor in front of the new couch. It is snowing. I look out the window. I want to bury Grandpa in that cemetery, even though I know my family has a plot in New York State. I wonder what it will cost and how they bury people when the ground is frozen. Do they heat up the ground somehow?

I make the funeral arrangements later that day. I'm able to get grandpa into the cemetery across the street for a reasonable price because no one is getting buried anymore. Now people are cremated. The undertakers could use the business.

I don't leave the house other than to go and get some beer and rent a few movies. I read A Movable Feast twice and Revolutionary Road once. They are my new favorite books. I never take off Raz's soccer shirt. People are receptive to my grief. Mike stays in mostly and drinks and watches the movies with me.

“Mike?â€Â￾

“Yeah?â€Â￾

“I'm not mad.â€Â￾

“About Grandpa?â€Â￾

“No, Janis.â€Â￾

“Okay.â€Â￾

I convince myself that it is none of my business. Even though that feels like bullshit. It is either that, or I could burn with jealousy when I need friends to help me with grief.

Ricardo tells me that I can take as much time off as I want. He also sends a pizza over every night. School is going to exempt me from my final exams. I'll receive a B grade for each course.

There is a knock on the door and a courier is holding my suitcase. Rachael must have had Raquel send it over.

One day I dismantle the Christmas tree. I lug it into the back yard and burn it. It catches fire very fast and burns rapidly. For a brief moment the snow and ice melt from the flames, but then it quickly extinguishes. No more Fire. No more smoke.

I decide to put the house up for sale. I no longer want to live here without Grandpa and Mike. I can't afford a place in the city. Mike didn't offer his place and I didn't ask if I could crash with him. Tommy and Timmy stop by one night to give me some free drugs but I decline. They also tell me I could live with them above the Blue Rose and that Purdy has a shot waiting for me next time I came in.

New Years Eve comes and goes. Mike goes to a party at the Blue Rose and Janis asks me to join her at another party but I say no to both invitations. I stay home and watch the televised celebrations across the world. When they get to Europe they show fire works going off over the Eiffel Tower. It is beautiful.
by mccutcheon
Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:45 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Long Shots, Sick Jokes and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Motherfuckers!

My life can only go on into the year 2007 if the Detroit Lions beat the Dallas Cowboys, if the Miami Dolphins beat the Indianapolis Colts, if the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Diego Chargers. These are all three games where the hapless need wins over the mighty.

If not I'll be as dead as an Iraqi dictator… (Sorry very sick joke.)

Oh yeah, I also need Carolina to lose, Houston to lose and Tampa Bay to lose.

Not looking good for me.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said that American lives don't have second acts. Now American life is nothing but a continuation of second acts, starter marriages and auto repeats.

Boarding Area.

by McCutcheon

Sitting in the LaGuardia Airport boarding area he was drinking coffee, she was drinking tea. They both wanted a stronger drink. He wanted a beer. She wanted a Bloody Mary. Neither mentioned heading to the bar because they both knew he wouldn't stop at one, even if he promised to before hand. She was upset she couldn't have a single drink without risking an afternoon of petty quarrels and an uneasy flight.

“People never change,â€Â￾ she said. “You will never change.â€Â￾

“Yes they do,â€Â￾ he said. “People change, I did. I used to never say hello to the person I would sit next to on an airplane. Now I always say hello to the person I sit next to.â€Â￾

“That's because you now sit in first class,â€Â￾ she said.

“See, I'm changing all the time,â€Â￾ he said. “And for the better.â€Â￾

“You are such an asshole,â€Â￾ she said.

He didn't respond because he hadn't heard her. He had already tuned her out and was listening to his iPod. He used to listen to a Walkman. She didn't say anything either. She read a book. She always read books.
by mccutcheon
Thu Dec 21, 2006 2:04 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Burnt Novel Serial Shit # 25

“So you know where to go, right?â€Â￾ I ask. “Central Park West and West 72nd Street.â€Â￾

“Huh?â€Â￾

“Upper West Side. In Manhattan.â€Â￾

“Huh?â€Â￾

“You know the Upper West Side?

“Huh?â€Â￾

“The Dakota Building?â€Â￾

“Huh?â€Â￾

The guy doesn't understand me. He spoke English at the airport. I don't understand. Maybe he has only memorized a few English phrases.

“Do you speak English?â€Â￾ I shout at the back of his head.

“Little.â€Â￾

“Oh great. Do you know where you are going?â€Â￾

“Yes, sir.â€Â￾

“I told you not to call me sir.â€Â￾

The driver doesn't reply.

My jet lag is making me irritable. I can't believe this guy doesn't speak English. How soon I forget my own struggles in Paris.

“I'm sorry.â€Â￾ I apologize.

The driver doesn't say anything.

I should know that just because there is a language barrier doesn't make this guy stupid. People will revert to stoic shyness when they can't speak the language. Where is my empathy? If traveling is the great adventure, and the best way to gain empirical knowledge, as Brit would say, than there has to be something gained from walking in another man's shoes.

“I'm sorry.â€Â￾ I repeat.

The driver still doesn't answer.

When I return to Paris, I'm going to study French.

“John Lennon.â€Â￾ I say.

“Yes. John Lennon building, sir. I take there.â€Â￾

“Yes. That's the one.â€Â￾

“Yes.â€Â￾

The Beatles are still helping people in today's society. The driver is silent. I wish I had an iPod. Maybe Mike stole one for me for Christmas. It will be great to see grandpa and Mike. I could use some holiday cheer. And I want to sleep until New Years Eve. I can't wait to get home. I just have to drop off the cheese, and get paid the big bucks. Maybe this guy can take me all the way to Jersey.

The last couple years we have had really great Christmases. Mike always gives great gifts. We make strong eggnog, or I make my special coffee. We sit with Grandpa and he tells us his war stories. After he falls asleep Mike and I go over to the Blue Rose. It isn't officially open but Purdy lets a few of the regulars in.

Grandpa's war stories are more than a history lesson. And for some reason grandpa still calls all Asians Japs. I tried to tell him that society has changed and that he needs to change with society. I explained Politically Correct. Grandpa said PC is for people who can't get erect. I told him that language is powerful. That people can't say racist things anymore, even in jest. People take it too personally. It's the death of the Polish joke. Grandpa said it is more dangerous when people don't say what is on their mind. Then he told me what a Pollack, a Jew and a Catholic did on a raft.

Grandpa uses the term Japs, even though he was fighting in Korea. The stories he tells of the people are always told with a subtle form of sincere respect. There is one woman he talks about in particular after his second eggnog. I think Grandpa loved this woman. But he didn't marry her. He returned to the states and married grandma. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if he had married that woman and brought her back with him. I'd be part Asian now. Just like Sean Lennon.

I nod off coming into the city. Then my head bumps against the door's window. I notice Central Park. I look up. We are in front of the Dakota. The driver smiles. I get out with my suitcase. I take out my wallet.

“No, no. All paid for.â€Â￾

“Really?â€Â￾

The driver nods. I tip him ten bucks.

The building looks ominously brooding. Despite the death associated with the Dakota, my parents and of course, John Lennon's, and that Polanski film Rosemary's Baby, I never felt it was a scary place. I knew it too well. It has always been a place of comfort. Now I'm not too sure.

I walk past the doorman for the first time in fifteen years. He doesn't stop me. I'm ushered in and I go up. Then I wait in the foyer. I put my meager suitcase down and hold the cheese.

“He's here? Oh, is he here?â€Â￾

Raquel flounces in. She is wearing a long flowing robe like she is going to a costume party. I realize this is her evening attire. She wants to be the belle of the ball. I remember her on top of me, fucking me on Rachael's hard floor, distained that I was a lousy stud. Now I have done her bidding again. Gone to France and back. But it was my adventure. I fucked a super model in first class.

“Okay darling, let's see, oh, let's see the cheese.â€Â￾ Raquel squeals.

I'm stunned at how much Raquel looks like Rachael and also surprised how different their demeanors are. To tell them apart all I have to do is watch them walk. It's in the way they carry themselves. Why can't the husbands tell? Is it because they don't care? They don't pay attention? They probably know anyway.

Raquel takes the cheese from my hands. She places it on a tabletop and rummages through the elegant packaging.

“Oh darling, darling it's just perfect,â€Â￾ Raquel squeals again. “Barbara, honey, please come here.â€Â￾

An African American maid stiffly walks in. The maid carefully picks up the cheese.

“Thank you. Barbara here will pay you.â€Â￾

I turn to go.

“Wait! Barbara put that cheese down!â€Â￾

The maid puts the cheese back on the table. I turn to face Raquel.

“What?â€Â￾

“Where is the raclette?â€Â￾ She demands.

“Huh?â€Â￾

“The raclette for the fucking fondue!â€Â￾

“Are you sure raclette was on the list?â€Â￾

“Yes, you little idiot. I put the fucking Raclette on the fucking list! You can't make fucking fondue without motherfucking raclette.â€Â￾

I really don't care. Not at this point. I just want to go home.

“You are not getting paid!â€Â￾ Raquel shouts.

“What?â€Â￾

“Barbara, do not pay this certain.â€Â￾

Did she really call me a certain? I scramble in my pants pocket and pull out the list, written in pen. I quickly scroll down names I can't pronounce and look for raclette. I don't think it is on the list.

“Here. It is not on the list.â€Â￾

I shove the list at Raquel.

She gives it a once over and moans.

“Oh, it is all ruined now!â€Â￾

“Should I pay him, ma'am?â€Â￾ asks the maid.

“Yes, pay him."

Raquel recoils like she has been shot through the heart. She slumps against the wall. Neither the maid nor I make any attempt to help her.

“This way, please,â€Â￾ says the maid. She carries the cheese down the hallway. She has a nice round ass, the kind of ass black guys love.

“I hope you had a pleasant trip.â€Â￾ The maid says.

“Yeah, it was fine.â€Â￾

The maid takes me into the kitchen. She shuts the door. I bite my bottom lip. She turns and smiles. She takes her little maid's bonnet off and loosens a tangle of hair. She shakes out long black curls like a Negro Medusa. I look around. She starts to giggle, quietly at first. But then she really starts to cackle. She lets loose a full throttle of laughter. That wild head of black disaster fills the room.

When she can finally speak she says, “Oh honey bunch you have made my day. That was the funniest thing I've ever seen.â€Â￾

“What, forgetting the cheese?â€Â￾

“Oh honey, that miss thang in there would get so worked up about cheese. I mean she hardly eats.â€Â￾

“It wasn't my fault. It wasn't on the list.â€Â￾

“It don't matter if it was on the list. Don't worry you will be paid. I talked to the sister.â€Â￾

“You talked to Rachael?â€Â￾

“Yeah. And she told me to make sure you gets paid. You knows she is running this house half of the time. What I call the ‘good days'.â€Â￾

“You know?â€Â￾

“Know that they switch?â€Â￾

“Yeah?â€Â￾

“Honey bunch you thinks all white women look the same to me?â€Â￾

“They are twins,â€Â￾ I start to say. And realize the maid Barbara was making a joke. It is my turn to laugh.
by mccutcheon
Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:48 pm
Forum: Marky's Musical Rants & Rave-Ups
Topic: Song left on my phone
Replies: 1
Views: 1337

Song left on my phone

Marky, what is that song you played me that goes, 'New York I love you, but you are bringing me down'?

ps- got the letter thanks!
by mccutcheon
Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:13 pm
Forum: Pub Talk
Topic: abcd
Replies: 6
Views: 2997

did you get the book?
by mccutcheon
Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:30 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Mr. Beller's Neighborhood

I have a story on Mr. Beller's Neighborhood. This is a cool web site that has loads of stories and misadventures about New York City life. This Sunday they are hosting a reading series at Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction, 34 Ave A. between 2nd and 3rd Streets. 8pm. The featured writer is sexy Rache...
by mccutcheon
Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:14 am
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Here is another What The Fuck from Packerland.

Woman accused of trying to extort money from Bart Starr
December 6, 2006

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — An 81-year-old woman has been charged with trying to extort $2 million from Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr.

Ruby Y. Young mailed a letter to Starr, 72, alleging a romantic encounter with him in 1960, prosecutors said. Starr, MVP of the first two Super Bowls with the Green Bay Packers, denies knowing the woman, according to a criminal complaint affidavit filed against Young in Birmingham, Ala.

Young was released on bond after a short hearing Tuesday in federal court. Young told U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Mathy she understood the charges and that “it's not true.â€￾

The initial letter was dated Oct. 30, according to the affidavit.

“And now, the time has come for you to pay — to pay for the many injuries you caused me. … No I am not a push-over Mr. Starr — and no, I do not need the money — but I intend to see that you pay for your wrong doings (sic) to meâ€￾ said an initial letter.

Prosecutors said in Wednesday editions of the San Antonio Express-News that Young wrote two more letters to Starr.
by mccutcheon
Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:41 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Burnt Novel Serial Shit # 24

Waiting sucks. I pace around the room. I don't have my cheese. And I gave my money away. I'm a fuckin' idiot. I stare out the window. The Champs Elysees is crowded with people. I recline on the bed. I try to listen the smooth sounds of Raz's mixes. Anxiety sizzles through me. I can't relax. The phone rings. Who would be calling me?


I hesitantly pick up the receiver.

“Hello?â€￾

“Hi, just wanted to make sure everything is fine, darling.â€￾

“Hi.â€￾

“It's Raquel,â€￾ says Raquel. “So you all set with the cheese. You should be on your way to the airport soon.â€￾

“Yeah, hi Raquel. It's Trevor.â€￾

“I know Trevor, I called you.â€￾

“Oh yeah.â€￾

“How is it going?â€￾

“Going? It's going good.â€￾

“No problemsâ€￾

“Problems? No. Why?â€￾

“We got a call from the hotel. Said you and a girl where a little, um, boisterous.â€￾

“Boisterous, no not me.â€￾

“Well, did you get the cheese?â€￾

“No problem.â€￾

“You get all of it?â€￾

“Yeah.â€￾

“Great. Did you get to see some of the sights, darling?â€￾

“Yeah.â€￾

“Paris is grand isn't it, darling?â€￾

“Yeah, it is. Just grand.â€￾

“Well okay, see you when you get back. Soon enough I should reckon.â€￾

“Sure.â€￾

Raquel hangs up and the line goes dead. Then I hang up the receiver. I pick it back up and dial down to the concierge. I ask what time it is.

“It's eight, si..â€￾ click.

The guy hangs up on me. My plane leaves in a few hours. I'm disoriented. Between the jet lag and the pills I have no mental capacity.

I take a cold shower. The ice water refreshes my skin and stimulates my brain. I decide to break into the cheese store. The street is deserted anyway. I'll smash the front window and grab as much cheese as I can. Since I gave the list to Raz I'll have to wing it.

I get dressed and leave the hotel to get a coffee. I wish I had a ski mask. Maybe I can put a woman's stocking over my head. I'm not sure if cheese shops have security cameras. I walk outside the hotel and Raz is sitting in his taxi smoking a joint.

23!

“Hey man,â€￾ says Raz. “I didn't have your room number and these types of places don't exactly like my type, if you know what I mean.â€￾ He smiles and hands me three bundles of elegant wrappings.

“What's this?â€￾

“It's your cheese, man.â€￾

“Aw great. Thanks.â€￾ I reach into my pocket to get the remainder of the little money I have.

“Don't worry about it, man. Just do me a favor, will you hand out some of my CD's to New York people?â€￾

“Sure.â€￾ I don't have the heart to tell him I have no magical connections in New York. The only people I know who dabble in the music business are Tommy and Timmy, and all they do is sell bootleg tee shirts and nasty drugs at butt rock concerts.

“Let's go for a pint,â€￾ Raz says. “Then I'll take you to the airport.â€￾

“Okay. Just let me get my suitcase.â€￾

I take the cheese with me. I run through the lobby and take the elevator up to my room. I trust Raz, but I'm not fucking stupid. I check the cheese to make sure the package Raz gave me isn't a terrorist bomb to blow up the hotel or airplane. But the only thing in the wrapping is cheese, all the cheese from the list. He got every kind I needed.

I feel stupid and ashamed of the times we live in. I wonder how society has developed so much hate and distrust. Paranoia is now part of the American Constitution.

I check out. I hand in my room key. The man behind the counter is pleasant. I walk back outside. A doorman holds the door for me.

“Sir.â€￾

“Merci,â€￾ I say

At the curb Raz is smoking another joint while he waits for me. When I get in the front seat he passes me the joint but I decline.

Raz drives along the river until he takes a sharp right and then curves through little side streets. He stops in front of a small Guinness sign and parks on the sidewalk. We are in the fifth arrondisment near the Sorbonne, which is like Paris's Princeton, an Ivy League style French school.

We enter the dark Irish pub. The bar is dank and has a funky smell coming from the sweaty limestone walls. A few drunken young Irishmen sit in the corner laughing and supping at their pints. I like their laughter and accents.

Raz goes to the bar. I watch and listen to the Irishmen talking. They have piercing blue eyes and their handsome faces are flushed pink with alcohol. They drink with gusto, finishing pints in five giant gulps like they are on a mission to drink the bar dry. Unlike Tommy and Timmy who get so wasted they puke on each other in public, these Irish guys have a bit of flair to their presence, a grace and humor to their inebriated state. The Irish have the talent to be drunk with style.


Raz returns with two perfect looking pints.

“I thought Muslims didn't drink.â€￾

“Most don't. But I'm not a good Muslim. I think maybe if they had Guinness in the Middle-East centuries of hate and pain and sorrow would be easier to live with.â€￾

“You mean, like if they could drink people wouldn't become suicide bombing martyrs?â€￾

Raz gives me a sharp look. I might have said something rude.

“Listen, man. That is complicated. I'm just saying maybe Guinness could help people relax a bit.â€￾

“Yeah.â€￾

“Yeah, but Nazi Germany started in the beer halls of Bavaria, if you know what I mean.â€￾

“But that wasn't Guinness.â€￾

“Yeah, man. That's funny.â€￾

We both take big gulps of our pints.

“This pint is great.â€￾ I say with a wide smile. “We can't get stuff this good back in America.â€￾

“It's the best pint outside of Ireland,â€￾ says Raz taking a long drink. “Guinness is good for you, if you know what I mean.â€￾

The pint of Guinness settles me down and takes away my headache. I'm the most relaxed I've been since I was with Brit. I order another round. Then Raz orders another round. It goes down way too smooth. We drink fast. And then it is time for the airport.

I still have to get the cheese on the plane. Being drunk on Guinness it all makes sense. I was fretting over an elaborate plan on how to smuggle the cheese. But fuck it. I'm going the direct route. I was going to hide the cheese somewhere but there is too much cheese. It takes up too much room.

I'm going to walk right through at customs. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. If I'm caught I'll plead ignorance. I'll say I'm brining it back for my old grandfather who fought in World War Two. The French should respect an American Veteran who helped liberate their country. They won't know he was actually in the Korean War.

Raz drives to the airport. Once again we cross the river and head to the giant platform that offers a stark look at the Eiffel Tower from another angle. We whiz around a big roundabout and go past more cafes, pharmacies and boulangeries.

Soon we are outside the city, passing ugly buildings that have no relationship to what is at the core of Paris architecture and art. It is much further removed than the physical distance that separates them. The few kilometers are no way to judge. It is also obvious that the history has been preserved well, but the future came without much thought. The buildings that stand outside of Paris don't have a chance of ever being anything more than structures ready for destruction. Progress doesn't suit suburban Paris.

One of Raz's CD's plays. Other than that we drive in silence. The airport is hectic. I'm excited to return to grandpa and Mike and maybe Janis. I can't wait to get back home. And I know for sure that I'll be coming back to Paris. I know that more strongly than I know anything at all.

At the drop point I say goodbye to Raz.

“Thanks for everything.â€￾

Raz hands me a box of his CD's and then also a present. It's a bright silky sporting shirt.

“Here, take this as a gift,â€￾ Raz says.

“Thanks, what is it?â€￾

“It's PSG, you know, Paris Saint-Germain, my football team. Yeah I know, I'm Arab and I support PSG. You probably think I'm crazy.â€￾

“Ah, no I don't.â€￾

“Yeah man, you probably don't.â€￾

“They play football in Paris?â€￾

“Yeah, football, you know soccer.â€￾

“Oh yeah right, soccer.â€￾

“Here take this, it's all I have to give.â€￾ I say.

I don't have anything to give him, so I offer him the shirt off my back. I take off my coat and in the cold I hand him my shirt and put on his Paris Saint Germain shirt.

“Now you are like a real European footballer, if you know what I mean.â€￾

“Yeah, sure. Raz you like driving a cab?â€￾ I ask.

“You know, you are never appreciated and it's not an open road,â€￾ Raz says, “but it's good to just drive with your thoughts. I like that movie Taxi Driver, if you know what I mean.â€￾

“Cool,â€￾ I say. “I like Taxi Driver too.â€￾

A cop tells Raz he has to move his taxi so we say a final goodbye. Raz says something dismissive in French to the cop but he does what he is told. I wave goodbye one last time and then he drives away.

I stand on the curb for a moment before the cop tells me to enter the airport. I wait in line with all the other passengers. At the checkout another fine woman in an Air France uniform helps me. I can't wait to tell Mike about all the beautiful girls who work for Air France.

“Did you pack your bag?â€￾ she asks.

“Yes.â€￾

“Has anyone handled your bags besides you?â€￾

“No.â€￾

I check my bag with the cheese in it. No one says anything. I stand in a line to go through the checkpoint and pass without a problem. Then I wait at a bar slowly drinking a bottle of Heineken and trying to stay awake. The Guinness buzz has slowly dissipated and the Heineken can't catch up. Finally I board.

In the back of my mind I am hoping to see Bi again. I have no such luck. This flight is full. At least three of the couples sitting in first class are men with women half their age. Each woman has a huge diamond ring on her manicured finger. If you fly first class you get a trophy wife. And who cares. Mick Jagger never found his true love, why should these suits?

Instead of Bi, this time I'm seated next to a fat, fair skinned man with a red nose and white beard. He is wearing a rather stuffy brown double-breasted overcoat and lederhosen. He smells like fudge.

“Hello, I'm Christof,â€￾ he says. He looks more like a Rudi or a Rolf. Or Santa Clause.

“Hi.â€￾ I say.

“Hello.â€￾ He repeats.

“Are you shitting me?â€￾

“What?â€￾

“You know who you look like, right?â€￾

“No?â€￾

“You look like fucking Santa Clause.â€￾

“Santa Clause?â€￾

“Yes. I guess flying first class sure beats those reindeer, huh?â€￾

“I have no reindeer.â€￾

“You don't think you look like Santa Clause?â€￾

“No, I think I look like Christpof.â€￾

“Whatever.â€￾

“You are a funny young man.â€￾

“Ok.â€￾

“American?â€￾

“Yes.â€￾

“I gathered.â€￾

“Thanks, I guess.â€￾

“Would you care for some sherry?â€￾

Christof pulls out a dusty bottle of sweet aged wine and two little glasses. He also has a picnic basket full of meats and cheeses and breads.

“I can't stand the airline food,â€￾ he says.

Yet another sexy stewardess sees Christof's feast and leans over me to reprimand him. I smell her strong perfume. I think Air France has cornered the market on sexy stewardess.

“Sorry sir, but you can not bring your own food onto the plane.â€￾

“Oh, it's okay, mademoiselle,â€￾ he says. He pulls out some papers from his breast pocket and hands it to the young woman. I don't see what the paper says but it does the trick.

“Sorry sir,â€￾ concedes the stewardess.

When she walks away I ask, “Wasn't she hot?â€￾

“Hot?â€￾

“Yeah like hot, smokin', foxy, sexy man. Wasn't she sexy?â€￾

“She is an attractive young woman.â€￾

“I mean all the Air France girls are so hot. What is up with that?â€￾

“Up with that?'

“Yeah, never mind.â€￾

“I think you should eat something my boy.â€￾

Christof shares his food and drink with me. His conversation is so flowing and his sherry so seemingly limitless the flight passes very pleasantly. Before I know it the pilot tells us we are descending. Then we circle over the city.

I see Christof looking out his window. A tear trickles down his cheek. Then he notices me and wipes it away. He hands me a light colored beer in a tall thick glass. Where does he get these things?

“You sure your name isn't Kringle?â€￾

“No. Kruger. I come from Austria, in the Alps. I am the head of Air France in all of Austria. Happy Saint Nicolas,â€￾ he says. “Prost.â€￾ And knocks his beer stein against mine.

“Do the Air France stewardesses look this good in Austria?â€￾ I ask.

“Ah, I think I know what you mean. We have many fine die Frauen, but many women like the Paris to New York City flight. You receive the handsome women on those trips.â€￾

“Ah. I get it.â€￾

“You are a young man with a strong sexual appetite.â€￾

“Sort of.â€￾

“That is healthy.â€￾

“It was an honor to meet you Christof,â€￾ I say.

“And you too boy.â€￾

“Thanks for the food and drink. It was great.â€￾

“Like an appetite for sex. A person also needs to eat and drink. We get too skinny when we die.â€￾

Christof gives me a big bear hug. And we say our goodbyes.

I wait for my luggage. My one bag comes down the chute and lies on the conveyer belt. I wait for it to go around once to see if anyone comes to claim it and arrest the owner for contraband. When nothing happens I grab the suitcase and walk through customs undetected. A man is holding up a sign with my name on it.

“That's me,â€￾ I say.

“Really?â€￾ He doesn't seem to believe me.

“Yeah.â€￾

“You are Trevor McDuffy?â€￾

“Yeah, I'm Trevor.â€￾

“Of course, sir. Please follow me. The car is right outside.â€￾

“Hey, man. There is no reason to call me sir.â€￾

The man doesn't say anything. I get in the car with the suitcase on my lap. When we pull away and head for the freeway I open the suitcase. The cheese is all there, still elegantly wrapped.
by mccutcheon
Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:08 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Full Metal Jacket 2

Remember that kick ass war movie Full Metal Jacket made by the great pacifist auteur Stanley Kubrick, with the infamous line, “Hell, now even Cronkite is saying the war is un-win-able.â€￾

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush's policy in Iraq “is not working,â€￾ a high-level commission said Wednesday in a blunt, bleak assessment that urged the administration to embrace diplomacy to stabilize the country and allow withdrawal of most combat troops by early 2008.

After nearly four years of war and the deaths of more than 2,900 U.S. troops, the situation is “grave and deterioratingâ€￾ and the United States' ability “to influence events within Iraq is diminishing,â€￾ the commission warned.
by mccutcheon
Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:07 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Once in a Lifetime DVD

Twice in a Lifetime?

After the dismal performance by the United States in the last World Cup I was disparagingly down on my country and our place in global football. I was disgusted we were beat back down to the drawing board. We went into the tournament ranked 8th in the world. My ass! Not even the most ignorant Yank should have believed that hyperbole bullshit. Besides, one of the great paradoxes of America is that we are the world's big bully but we love the underdog. We even resort to blowing people up to prove it.

So, a week after Fulham's Brian McBride, an American, scored against Arsenal, a day after Watford vs. Manchester City, a match that had Americans starting for both teams, on the day that rumors were flying between Juergen Klinsmann and the U.S. Soccer Federation, on the day of the Champions League, I watched Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos.

This documentary has it all:

How the rise of American Professional Soccer was directly related to pop culture icons like Atlantic records and video games Packman and Asteroids.

Pelé was lured to the States for 4.7 million dollars, only to play his first game on a pitch in the Bronx that was spray painted green to cover up the dirt and was littered with broken beer bottles.

The contentious Giorgio Chinaglia, the only player in the world psychopathically arrogant enough to make Pelé cry in the locker room, after screaming at the world's greatest player about his lack of playing ability.

Carlos Alberto's conspiracy theory belief that FIFA purposely ruined US Soccer when they rewarded Mexico their second World Cup in ten years after Columbia pulled out at the last minute. This was at a time when US Soccer was filling 80,000 stadiums, George Best was playing in LA, Rodney Marsh was playing in Tampa and the NASL had grown to a 21-team league; a league that was soon disbanded. There would not be another American league until after the 2004 World Cup, which was finally held in the States.

The levelheaded Franz Beckenbaur, who unlike Pelé or Johan Cruff, came to play in the States in his prime. When he stepped off the plane in New York, they brought in kids from the local youth league to hold a banner and welcome the Kaiser. One of those kids became the U.S. Captain of the 1990 squad that 'competed' in Italy.

Shep Messing, who was just a park league goalie who made it onto the team and was thrust into the limelight as the Cosmos took off.

Throw in great urban legends about how Marsh set up Pelé with hookers and booze before a New York vs. Tampa Bay playoff game. A match Tampa Bay won. And amazing shots of 1970's New York City, a soundtrack with Primal Scream, and the lot makes for compelling viewing for any football fan.

Bonus features include Soccer Bowls, Pelé's last ever game, and stories of Pelé. With Bobby Charlton saying, “Before he even shot, he said goal, I said well, you know, that's something special.â€￾

This DVD is special as well. “Goal!â€￾
by mccutcheon
Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:39 pm
Forum: New York Scribbles
Topic: New York Scribbles
Replies: 814
Views: 56157

Burnt Novel (back to the serial shit) # 23

I find an open boulangerie. I have seen many boulangeries all over Paris and they look very inviting. I'm still hungry after breakfast so I go in to buy a sandwich. I pull out my book and quickly thumb to the section on food. I point to the one with cheese. I have yet to try any cheese in France. I say, “Une Formage Si Vous Plait madam.â€￾ I also point to a little bottle of water. “And une eau.â€￾ I say it like the letter 'O'. That's how water is pronounced. I hold out my money and the woman takes a few coins.

I take a seat on a green street bench. I have the same lost feeling I did sitting on the bench in front of the Dakota. I force myself to eat the sandwich. It's comforting to sit. A few people walk by. The sandwich is delicious. The street is mostly deserted. The shops remain closed.

I walk back into the boulangerie to ask when the cheese shop will open and in translation end up back on the bench with another Camembert sandwich and bottle of water I didn't want, without a clue when the shop will open.

I eat the sandwich and drink the water. With a full belly it isn't long before I'm asleep again. It is late afternoon when I wake. A bum is sitting next to me drinking wine out of a plastic bottle. He is scruffy and reminds me of the guys in the Jersey dive bars. Except this guy has no place to go. The bum says something to me in French. I don't understand what he says of course, but I do get the meaning of what he is asking. Drunken bums have an international language. I hand him a few coins.

I locate a payphone. I'm feeling very tired, hung over, and jet lagged, fucked flat. I want to spend the rest of my life on my back. The food and sleep have made me more fatigued. My body knows it needs rest and is shutting down. I have no energy and a severe headache. I take out Raz's card, I need to call someone for help, and he is the only person I know. The payphones don't take coins.

I walk down the street, with my head down, hands shoved in my pants pockets. I pass a kiosk. There are more magazine's with Bi.

“Phone cards?â€￾ I ask.

The man stares at me, a blank expression on his face. His eyes are not kind.

“Phone card?â€￾ I put my right hand to my ear with my thumb and pinkie out. Then I make a gesture of slotting a card into a machine.

The man hands me a green card wrapped in plastic.

I see two postcards with topless girls. I point to them and give the man more money. At least now grandpa is taken care of.

I walk back to the payphone with renewed hope. The card works and I dial Raz. I get his message that is first in French and then in English.

I explain I'm trying to buy some cheese and that the shops are closed. I tell him I'm a few blocks from the Bastille, even though Paris's streets are so winding and twisted that I can't see how they actually have blocks. Before I hang up I add I could use some help. I hope I didn't sound desperate. Who else needs help buying cheese? I hang up the phone unsure what I will do next. I sit on a bench. I look up at the gray sky. I'm about to cry, and I tell myself I'm such a fucked up pussy for almost crying, when Raz drives up and honks the horn.

“Hey man,â€￾ Raz says leaning out the window.

I do a double take. That was quick. I wipe my eyes.

“You okay?â€￾ he asks.

“Yeah, got something in my eye. Man, I just called you.â€￾

“Yeah, I know. What's up?â€￾

“I need to buy cheese before I leave and I leave in a few hours, I have to be at the airport by six. And all the shops seem to be closed. I've been waiting outside the shop all day.â€￾

“Of course,â€￾ Raz says. “Today is Sunday. You need to go to a market to buy cheese on a Sunday.â€￾

“Can you take me to a market?â€￾

Raz looks at his watch.

“The Austerlitz sun has set on the Bastille.â€￾ Says Raz. “If you know what I mean?â€￾

“Huh?â€￾

“All the markets are closed,â€￾ he says. “But get in, we will look.â€￾

I start to get into the back seat.

“Sit up front man.â€￾

I sit up front with Raz. We drive around with Raz's music playing the soundtrack to our search. I'm fascinated by the structure of Paris. The way the boulevards lend themselves to the side streets. Paris is a town that existed before roads weren't anything more than dirt pathways. The old city planers did a good job of making the streets accessible. There is a lot of traffic but it moves at a rapid pace.

We pass The Luxembourg Garden, one of Paris's many parks. Unlike in Manhattan where there is just one huge park, Paris has many smaller parks all over the city. They are well groomed.

“We should get out and walk around.â€￾ Raz says.

“Do we have time?â€￾

“Plenty of time man, life is too short not to see the Luxembourg fountain, if you now what I mean.â€￾

I know what he means. I also know what it means if I don't buy my cheese and miss my flight.

We walk past the fountain. And it is impressive. But I'm too anxious to enjoy it.

“I think I don't have time to stop and smell the roses,â€￾ and I add. “If you know what I mean.â€￾

“Chill Winston. We will get you your cheese.â€￾

“My name is Trevor.â€￾

“I know Trevor. Chill.â€￾

Past the fountain, by the gate, there is a small body of water that simultaneously seems to be flowing and sitting stagnant.

“Look at the water man,â€￾ says Raz

“Yeah,â€￾ I say.

I stare at the water, thinking it is pointless and time consuming. Then I notice it. The water creates an optical illusion. It's set up to make you think the water flows in the opposite direction than it does.

“Do you see it?â€￾

“Yeah.â€￾

“Life man. Going one way, but maybe you just think it is going that way. You know what I mean?â€￾

“I guess.â€￾

“Come on Trevor. Let's get you your cheese.â€￾

We don't find an open-air market, but if nothing else it's a great tour of Paris. As the night descends my hopes disappear with the early setting sun.

“I don't know what to do?â€￾ I say.

“Why is it so important to get cheese. I don't even like cheese.â€￾

“It's my job.â€￾

“Job?â€￾

“Yeah. I buy cheese and bring it to New York.â€￾

“They must have cheese in New York, man.â€￾

“Yeah,â€￾ I say. I don't want to tell him I'm a smuggler and all the stuff about working for Raquel. I shrug.

“When is your flight?â€￾ he asks.

“Ten tonight. But I was told to be there at six. In like two hours.â€￾

“Let me see your list.â€￾

I pull out my list of cheeses and the places to buy them. I hand it to Raz. He looks at it for a bit. Then scrunches up his nose.

“I don't know why anyone would want to eat that mold, man. If you know what I mean. How much money you got?â€￾

Raz wants to get paid for driving me around. I pull out all the money I have, gladly willing to give it up.

“Shit man, you have money.â€￾

Raz dials his cell phone. He speaks into it in Arabic and I don't understand what he is saying. His cadence sounds even more exotic than when he is speaking French. He drives me to my hotel.

“I can get it, I think,â€￾ He says.

“How long?â€￾

“Not long.â€￾

And he drives off. I wonder if I'll ever see my money or Raz again.