In the last seven days I had 1.500 people read 2.5 of my blogs. That’s about 4,000 reads in a week. It’s about time I told the story of how I became a ‘Writer’ because, I think I deserve that title, because, I am being read. Do I have a following?
Here is a photograph of the University Hotel where I lived for almost a year. It is located in Berkeley California near Shattuck. The UC campus is three blocks up the street. Below the hotel is the University Coin-OP Laundry. It is here I almost got shot by a crazy Mexican crack dealer. It is a miracle I am still alive.
Now, I did not go to college like my old facebook buddies, Boris Kachka, and Charles Shields, who wrote about Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon, not to mention my ex-wife. Tom and Mary Ann met at Cornell. Boris, Charles, and Mary Anny unfriended me because most people see facebook as their personal bus stop bench, where upon is written an ad – they didn’t pay for! Never the less., they are being advertised. Most of what is being written, is about them, so they don’t want some goof to take a seat on their bench for too long, because they will block their AD, their precious little narcissist limelight. Consider Edward Albee’s ‘Zoo Story’.
“Fight for your bench!”
Those who had parents pay their way to college, are always wanting dividends, no matter how hip they think they have become, usually via the ingestion of drugs. Pynchon’s movie is due out in five days, and by the trailer, it looks like we are going to get a lot of simulated marijuana highs blown into the audience by facsilime Beatniks. Will millions get a contact high? Surely there will flow ten thousand essays, reviews, and guesses as to what Thomas meant in this scene, and that, glance. Then there is the after-movie afterglow and discussion at the House of Ten Thousand Beers with pastrami on rye.
Many folks on Facebook say they went to the college of Hard Knocks, but, do not say where this college is. Well, seek no more! You have my permission to use the photo above. If you say you went to the art college of Hard Knocks, you can now say you attended Coin-Op Laundry College of Visual Rights. I should make a diploma.
I have forgotten who, but a famous writer lived at the Uni. In looking for a place to stash my cash I found the oldest bag of weed in the world. It had turned to powder. It was unsmokable, but, you could snort it like snuff. I feared to give it a try. But, I groked on it a whole bunch. The Seers at the nearby Berkeley Psychic Institute told me I am very Psychically Dexterous. By touching objects, I can play back time like an old phonograph needle.
As I fonndled the weed, I had a vision of the owner who lived there twenty years ago. He is an original hippie who got hit on the head with a police billyclub while fighting for People’s Park. He got arrested. When he got out of jail he forgot where he lived because he had a concussion. Did this bag of weed belong to that famous writer who was bid by his therapist to write so his lost life could return to him? All better, now, he returns to old room No. 24, goes into the closet, reaches above the header, pokes into the crack in the plaster, and;
“Fuck! A weed-hound done found my stash!”
I moved here after breaking up with Laurie Landis for the thirty-second time. I had lived at the Moose Club in downtown Oakland, were I got chased around in the streets by a ex-Marine who lost one arm at Iwo Jima. His girlfriend was a whore who accused me of calling her a whore. One morning, about 5:00 A.M. Laurie climbed up the fire escape fifteen stories, and pounded on my window. When I opened it, I hear;
“C-mon! Let’s go get a drink!”
Laurie lived in New Orleans, and swung out over Bourbon Street at a swing at Big Daddys when she was seventeen. At eighteen she was a famous pole dancer known as Bubble Butt. She had run away with her boyfriend who go busted for an ounce of weed out on the road, and Laurie was grinding away in order to pay for his attorney. At nineteen she is a highclass hooker with a John who gave her a big diamond ring. My lover had attended the best parties in the world. All-nighters! At 6:00 A.M. we roll into one of the sleaziest bars in the world where Laurie puts the make on a ugly whore because it is her dream to get us in a three-way. Three hours later, she is chasing me around in the bad-ass streets of Oakland trying to get the keys to her car. I refused to let her drive drunk.
“You’re going to kill someone, you fucking freak!”
So, there I am in the Coin-Op, feeling lonely and blue as I do my laundry. I dare not feel horny because Laurie and I had the best sex in the world. This is what kept us going back, for more. There are about four street urchins and an old wino hanging out. I strike up a conversation with a sixteen year old girl who is homeless half the time. I send one waif to go buy everyone some McDonald hamburgers, and the wino, to the liquor store to buy a six-pack of beer. This girl is telling me one of saddest stories I ever heard when, the wino comes up to me and whispers;
“See that guy over there? He’s got a gun. Watch yourself.”
I look at the dude who has just come in the laundry, and he is talking in a boisterous voice to the street kids who know him, but, don’t want to know him. He is very aggressive. He now spots me, and comes over to where I am sitting.
“Hey! Stop talking to that girl!” he orders, in a city where hundreds fought the cops for free speech.
“No one tells me what to do. Get lost!”
His eyes were black saucers as he takes a step back, reaches in his waist and pulls out a huge automatic pistol, and points it at me. He puts the muzzle right in my face – and is screaming at me!
“I’m going to blow your fucking head off! I’m going to shoot your ass dead. You mother fucker!”
The street kids hug the walls. The girl joins them. She is giving me a terrified look as if this was going to be another horrifying image she has to live with, my brains blown all over the dryers that are tumbling away, doing a good job drying my clothes.
“I mean it. You are a dead man!” this demon is shouting.
I look him in the eyes, and do not flinch, and calmly say.
“I believe you are going to shoot me. However, I think you may hit one of this kids here. So, let’s go in the back. You don’t want any witnesses, do you?”
The raging punk is studying me. He can’t figure me out. Why am I not showing any fear? Why am I helping him kill me? I head for the stairs leading up to the parking lot with Death right behind me. Halfway up the steps, I fall to my knees, put my arms out as if on a cross, and mutter;
There is more cursing in order for Death to own the courage, and I hear;
“Click” and “Mother fucker!” and another “Click!” more swearing, and “Click! Click!”
Now I am un-nerved. Has his gun jammed? Or, am I INDISTRUCTABLE? I rise from knees, walk up the stairs. Make a left, climb some more stairs. Unlock the back door to my hotel, take a look back, and see Death trying to unjam his gun, as he curses away.
In the photo below you see the Coin-op stairs, and, the window of my room. I am on the second floor. In three days I will be sitting at a table pounding away on the keys of the old Royal typewriter I bought. But, before that can happen, I am peeking out the second window from the left, at Death pistol whipping James, a big black guy. Not able to get at me, he goes after James, who is pleading with Death to stop!
I am shaking, now. I go pick up my guitar and strum some calming chords. I am telling myself I really don’t need to go outside my little room, that much, anymore. All of a sudden, I stand up, and smash my guitar against the wall.
“Fuck that little shit. I’m going out and have myself some fun!”
I toss my shattered guitar aside, put on my coat, and headed to my favorite bar around the corner. When I walked in, I was hearing the best band I ever heard play there. In a half hour I am dancing on the table nearest the stage. The band is egging me on as the crowd cheers! I’m showing the house my best moves!
When I dismount, I notice this guy who is getting a lot of attention up at the bar. He is a beautiful young native American in a wheelchair. Why is he in the limelight. I approach. My life would never be the same!
To be continued