When Mafia Max opened the door I could see he was impressed that I had the guts to try to save my friend. He had heard from Neil, one of the owners of the Saint George Hotel I was a stand-up guy. Here was the proof. Anyone else would have slunk away.
The Saint George Hotel on 13th. near Broadway was my first home away from home. It was Max’s favorite hotel, a fact we did not know until we ran into him in the lobby. From here I went to work at Yale Trucking in Hell’s Kitchen where the Teamsters gave me the moniker ‘The California Kid’. Max took Tim O’Conner into a Irish Mafia bar here, and told him to stand behind him because there might be gun play. There was turf warfare going down at this time.
I looked like a tough guy out of central casting. I was tough. I was a good fighter, but, I could not go out of my way to hurt someone. I was a poet and an artist on the inside, and, this is what made me a real badass. I could have had an good and easy life working for the Purple Gang, riding with the Hell’s Angels, or, hanging with Max. Ruthie the head cook at the Avenue O Jewish Center adopted me when I went to work there as a dishwasher. She put her four sons through art college. I think she realized I was part Jewish. I had it made! At seventeen I owned New York, and was loved in Brooklyn.
I could walk thru Hell’s Kitchen un-molested. Manpower sent me to work with a black man who was castrated in the South. We teamed up unloading trucks from midnight till eight in the morning. Then, I became one of the original hippies and took on the world in hope of making it a better place. At twenty years of age, I was dead for about ten minutes. But, it takes a lot to take out ‘The California Kid’.
In New York, millions rise from the dead because they go to go to work in the morning in order to pay for your rat cage. Outside my first room at the Saint George you could look down and see rats the size of cats. I had an old pay radio in my room. For 25 cents you got a half hour of music and news. This was my model for the Gideon Computer.
Above is a photo of me making icecream with my kindred a month after I came home. I feel, estranged, like a veteran of a foreign war. I got sandals on because I may have lived in Greenwhich Village. I dwelt in No Man’s Land, perhaps reserved for the First Hippie to be.
The Saint George was in the building with all the eyeballs. Across the way was the seamstress factory. Manpower was on Broadway past 4th. Street that Bob Dylan made famous. The tour bus is blocking Manpower. I believe the stationwagon Max drove was a Buick.
The Saint George………is gone! I see dead people atop that bus.
O.K. I found some real juicy road trip stuff in my old posts. James Harkins was not along on this one. We are transporting what I believe to be a LSD lab across America, that the Mafia wanted on the East Coast. Tim O’Connor ‘The Hitch Hiking Poet’ slipped his biddy Max Mafia some LSD without telling him. Max wants to drive the whole way, because Killer Max is The Terminator before that movie came out. Max was on a mission from God! He was going to chill out New York, for starters.
Tim told me later Max took him into a Mafia bar in Hell’s Kitchen, and told him to keep behind him lest there is gun-play. Tim told me there were guys in that bar really afraid of Max, they thinking he is a real psycho. Now, he is coming on to LSD in the same Mountain range Rena and I would ascend three years later.
Fasten your seatbelts folks! This is the real deal!
Playing Chess for People’s Lives
Posted By: •braskewitz braskewitz Send Email Send Email
Sat Oct 28, 2006 6:23 pm |
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Playing Chess for People’s Lives
“For this reason, the Bardo Thodol, the Tibetan book vouchsafing
liberation from the intermediate state between life and re-birth,-
which state men call death,- has been couched in symbolical
language. It is a book which is sealed with the seven seals of
silence,- not because its knowledge would be misunderstood, and,
therefore, would tend to mislead and harm those who are unfitted to
receive it. But the time has come to break the seals of silence; for
the human race has come to the juncture where it must decide whether
to be content with the subjugation of the material world, or to
strive after the conquest of the spiritual world, by subjugating
selfish desires and transcending self-imposed limitations.”
It was probably not a good idea to give Max a goodly dose of LSD
just before we got into the station wagon and began our journey back
East, Max insisting he do most of the driving. It was Tim O’Conner
who dosed him, and before you know it, Max is in the foothills of
the Sierras pulling the car quickly to the side of the road and
“Everyone out of the car – EARTHQUAKE!”
It was about 3:00 A.M. and bit nippy as the five of us stood
shivering under the brilliant Milky Way, we patiently waiting for
Max to get his land legs. Keith let me know what Tim had done. We
had 2,700 miles to go, and I rated our chances of survivor at 6.8 on
the Rictor Ape-shit Scale. Suddenly I had a vision. I saw the
bleached bones of five hippies down at the bottom of a steep ravine,
perhaps Max swerving to hard to the right to avoid a Big Foot, or an
alien ship or being. And there would we be for eternity, carpenter
ants making a home in our boots, and birds pulling out more of our
long hair to make a new season’s nest. We were the brothers from
another planet. We were what was strange, and dangerous.
Max was born and bred in New York and was right out central casting.
He had a widow’s peek, and thick Italian hair. His pencil thin
mustache gave him that dangerous look, and after he moved into the
house on Thirteenth Street with the Loading Zone, I was leery of
him, I getting a reading that he had killed someone, perhaps more
then two. He had a black beam in his eye, and I tried to avoid him.
But now and then we would pass in the hallway, I the dude with eyes
that glowed in the dark, I but four months back from the dead, and I
knew Max was fascinated with me, having heard some things. Perhaps
he heard my freak-out far surpassed Stanley Augustus Qwsley’s on
Muir Beach, he getting on the microphone and speaking of his dead
ancestors that were appearing before him – and boring Keny Kesey
half to death!
“I thought this freak was cool?”
Max had gotten this job driving this dudes station wagon to New
York, or so he said. It was loaded down with carefully packed boxes
in the back. I didn’t buy it, and wondered if we were on a drug run.
I didn’t want to go, but Keith said I could not stay because the
Loading Zone had evicted us from their lives, cut the clinger-ons
from their scene, now that they struck a record deal.
This was the end my friend. The Summer of Love and Endless
Freeloading, was over, for Max was a made man, a lower echelon
psychedelic Mafioso, a real Soprano, who was sold our Good Times
packed in those boxes in the back. Was it a lab? Keith told me James
met Max in New York when he was their making a big LSD sale.
Earthquake my ass.
We got back in the car after we calmed Max down, and I was positive
we were going to get busted before we got to the mighty Mississip,
and thus my life would end in a penitentiary. As it was, Keith, and
his girlfriend Chris Wandel, and I were getting out in Effingham
Illinois where Keith, his brother, Brian, and James `Fat Boy’ O’Hara
got busted for marijuana a year earlier when they pulled over to
report a grassfire, which was nothing but a field-burn. For two
months these California Hippies cooled ther heels, Fat Boy O’Haha
refusing to bath in a galvainized tub that the Sheriff’s wife
brought in once a day with a couple of kettles of hot water, and
placing them in the middle of the cell. A week later, Kieth and
Brian are buring old Bull Durham tobacco bags like incense to keep
at bay Fat Boy’s stench.
There was one more court date. The British Consulate was going to
there. Fat Boy had already arrived in this small town that bragged
in writing it was in the exact middle of America. When we entered
his room around seven that morning, he was watching a T.V. station
that televised a clock, a barometer, and a American flag, the camera
panning back and forth lest the viewer got bored with the inaction.
“Hey, check this out” said Fat Boy. “I’ve been watching this station
for hours. It’s pure Dada.”
“You don’t even know what Dada is, Fat-ass. It’s probably the only
thing on.” I said, breaking my long silence.
Fat Boy and I did not get along ever since he talked me into smoking
that dried mold he baked in the oven after soaking Scotch Broom in
some evil brew for a week. After I took a couple of tokes, the snot
rolled out of my nose for two days! Fat Boy on the other hand,
whipped out seven abstract water-colors, and five funny Haiku poems.
Twenty five years later, I and Fat Boy’s brother, would catch Keith
making a big batch of Bong Water Taffey. Everyone who knew Keith
testified he was never the same after Effingham, after he breathed
in the evil vapors of Fat Boy, that strangled up his mind.
“Oh – Momma!”
So we all surrendered to Max, let our collective energy flow into
Max, and now he was a god, a road god. He could do no wrong as he
floored it, the four hundred horse power engine sucking up fuel as
we pushed our way over the mountains, and come sunrise we flew past
Winnemucca, Killer Max really letting go the reins, our aura of
protection like the fireball of a blue comet. Max was carrying a
How Keith, Chris and I managed to get to New York will be told
later. Right now let us get to the chess game I played with Max for
Emerging from the Port Authority, Keith pulled out a piece of paper
that had the address of the hotel Max was staying at, and read it
“You’re kidding me!” I exclaimed, my mind really blown now. “The
Saint George is Max’s favorite hotel? This is the hotel where you
and I lived three years ago.”
I knew the way there by heart, as I used to work in Hell’s Kitchen
at Yale Trucking when I was seventeen. When we entered the lobby I
was blown away to see that Nate still worked there. He remembered
me, and Keith. Max indeed was staying there, and Nate was asking me
if I wanted a room.
“Sure.” Keith piped in. Give us a cheap room – and put it on Max’s
Nate caught me shooting Keith a look. We were flat-ass broke. But
because I had lived here for seven months, and always paid my bill,
Nate complied, he more then likely not buying Keith’s bullshit, that
this was what Max wanted, and leaves a message for Max telling him
what room we are in.
Later that evening, Max and his dolled up girlfriend, come knocking
at our door, and are asking us if we want to go to a party in the
Village with them. I declined. Chris had gotten on the bus for
Boston so she could visit her folks, and I was alone, perhaps for
the first time in three years.
About five in the morning, Keith came in from the party, and went to
bed. An hour later there is banging on the door. It was Max. When
Keith opened the door, Max burst in and got in Keith’s face with his
“Who in the fuck do you think you are charging this room to my
account?! Who gave you fucking permission! This is my hotel. No one
fucks with my hotel. I am known here. I get respect here. No one
fucks with my respect. You got that you _ _ _ _ _ ”
Keith tried to act like it was no big deal, and got back into bed.
“Don’t you fucken turn your back on me, you _ _ _ _ _ _ _ prick.”
There being no chairs, Max and his girl sat on Keith’s bed, and
after berating Keith for five minutes, he pulls out a pen and is
jabbing hard at his cheeks, all the time waving the 38 Special all
around Keith’s person as if trying to do some Voodoo with it,
somehow undo what this hippie freak had done, he fucking with some
traditional family honor, here, that Max had to uphold. But, first
he had to make Keith afraid, so he would understand, that you don’t
fuck with the Mafia, not their money, not their chicks, not their
hotels, and Max’s girl was now pleading with him to not hurt Keith,
and that’s when I got scared.
To be continued.
3) One of the mysteries is where all the “mafia LSD” in the Haight
andaround the country came from during and after ’67. Wasn’t there
myself,can’t tell you, but it was in sufficient quantity that it’s
odd no chemisthas yet to be connected with it, when Owsley, Scully,
Sand are all veryproud of their work….was it another Prague
The Seventh Seal (Swedish: Det sjunde inseglet) is a 1957 Swedish
film directed by Ingmar Bergman about the allegorical journey of a
medieval knight (Max von Sydow) across a plague-ridden landscape.
Its best-known scene features the knight playing chess with the
personification of Death, his life resting on the outcome of the
game. Bergman stated in an interview that the film had helped him
overcome his fear of death.