I wrote something a while back I am editing it and sending out for publication. Tell me what you think. I was inspired to dig it out again and send it by my new homey marj. Check her out. I’m not just saying that because she thinks I am a beyond cool (who could blame her), she is also a great writer check out this post: A Letter To My Son (This Life’s Sweetest Gift)
I’m trained by fortuitous arrangement of events to live on little. My old apartment was small: no TV, no pictures, two chairs, two table and a bed. I took walks usually late at night where I’d end up at the gates of Our Lady of St Lucy’s Grotto mesmerized by the sound of running water at 2:30 AM. It always forcibly stirred me from my thoughts. I’d lounge at the BP Amocco Gas Station Mini-Mart about a block down with cab drivers refueling coffee and gasoline; everyone hung around lost in silence chasing down past shadows and grievances.
Rich was always there; in his 20′s Rich left NYC to find his fortune as an actor in LA. He instead became a professional drug addict and lost all but four of his teeth as he liked to point to whenever he found anyone who would listen. He lived under the roof of an older sister’s mercy and every now and then, for shorts stayed at the ‘clinic’.
He had some good days where I’d see a glint of the charm that inspired his failed conquest of LA. Other days I saw a broken man, sitting at the back table crying to himself as he ate whatever cheap junk food the guys running the mini-mart let him have that night. They all knew him and his story.
Rich talked with me the most and that was as touching, as it was problematic. Wherever he found me he would try his best to keep me talking. For a while I couldn’t go to the Men’s Club on Boston Road (that’s what I renamed the mini-mart) because of Rich.
I was content with little but could not find the daily respite from my own problems that I needed. But to complicate matters further, (as I’m sure you’ve guessed) even for someone with 4 teeth, Rich spit an awful lot when he talked. It was almost cartoonish: Rich talking and I wishing I had an umbrella. Once I got home I’d drop my bags right at the door and run to wash my face in the bathroom and always without fail my lady laughingly without turning her head away from the TV would inquire between chuckles : ” How was Rich ? What did you two talk about today?”
Eventually I moved, and I haven’t seen or thought about Rich in over a year until today when I saw an old cantankerous man at the pharmacy. He was of course holding up the line with a barrage of angry questions. The more questions he asked about his medications, the more adamant the sales-person helping him was in keeping his distance. It was absurd. The old man refused to raise his voice the sales person refused to lean closer but still wore a smile; I guess he is one of those people that only needs to imagine frailty to understand it, he doesn’t have to hear it speak. It was only when I got outside that I realized that the old man must have had four teeth too or less.
I’d bet money on it.
I understood better than perhaps anyone in the world the sales-persons position and of course I laughed out loud very intensely on the corner of 34th and Lexington to the puzzled and fearful stares of random passerby’s. Wherever Rich is he finally succeeded as an entertainer judging from the spells of laughter coming over me as I writing this now at my plain desk at 2:31 AM it was only a shame it had to come this way.