19 March 2009

Beggar's Banquet

"Please allow me to introduce myself... " The man of wealth and taste had to make some stops first. I'd been all over town. Back home I was cooking dinner. I was making ziti with gravy... roasted peppers... string beans with olive oil, and beautiful cutlets...that were cut just right that I was going to fry up as an appetizer. So I was home for about an hour before all hell broke loose. I didn't even get to taste the broccoli rabe. I was on my fourth coffee in two hours. Larges, light and sweet. But they didn't understand "light and sweet" once you got past Jersey. Just like Ginger Ale. Good luck finding a Ginger Ale below the Mason–Dixon. A few hours earlier I was rolling around in my bed like an alligator in a death roll with an armadillo. The serotonin had kicked in hard. Every thought I had felt like the best thing ever. Every move I made felt amazing. I was like a little cozy kid under the blankets. Under the clouds. Snoring under the stars in my cave of pillows and dreams. But lets rewind to the diner in Hoboken. This guy had a few thousand dollars worth of Fordite. People paid a lot of money for this stuff, he said. I had never seen it before. What did I know, I owned an old Chevy. The Fordite reminded me of some sort of polished sea stone you'd find on the shore in Cape Cod or in one of those tourist shops 5 for a buck in Lake George. "Carnelian" or something, "banded agate", hey, what the hell did I know? It was actually layers upon layers of enamel from the assembly line of the old Ford factories back when everything was spraypainted by hand. You want details? I had scrambled eggs, home fries well done, and rye toast, dry. He had bacon and eggs and a chocolate milk. We sat by the window. He was late so I fucked with the jukebox and played some Patsy Cline while the waitress filled my coffee ten times over and asked me if I wanted the paper. But like Pavlov the bell meant I had to run. I had to put more sec tones on the commercial carts so they'd all fire in sequence. A cart without a sec tone meant dead air and the DJ would freak out. Especially if that DJ was me and it was 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I used to be the only guy in the entire station. It was a cool feeling. Like staying up late and drinking ice cold Yoo-Hoo from a can and watching the Marx Brothers. I always liked working on the holidays, it was a union thing and I was the shop steward. The city was so peaceful on the holidays. No one around. Just me and the wayward yellow cabs circling like hungry sharks for a rogue fare. Sometimes in the winter I'd go weeks without seeing daylight. I'd be in the underground garage before sunrise and I'd leave after sunset. It's no wonder people in London make such great music. "Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name" and all that great stuff.

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