Okay. Ready? Here’s the final installment in this mirth-killing series about Yuletide disasters.
When we last saw our hero, (That would be me.) he was slinking home to Brooklyn after debasing himself in a Times Square porn movie house on Christmas Eve! I have entitled this cautionary tale –
Christmas In Queens
Remember how mean old Scrooge wakes on Christmas morn a man transformed? Remember how nasty old Ebenezer dances a merrie jig and sends a boy to buy a turkey? Not on this Christmas morn. Not in Brooklyn. I awake to the single worst toothache since Cicero’s oration against Catiline. It drives a spike into my head with every beat of my heart.
Ever try to find a dentist on Christmas Day? Don’t bother. Even Jewish dentists don’t work on Christmas. They want Christians who have been dumped by their bitch girlfriends on Christmas Eve to suffer. Bastards. Desperate for pain-relief, I swallow every pill I find in the medicine cabinet, including the unlabeled ones.
Is this my cat’s de-worming pill? Aw, fuck it.
Then, it hits me.
Oh, Christ, I gotta go sing for Ralphie’s fuckin’ mother in fuckin’ Queens!
My friend Ralphie will pay me one hundred dollars in cash to go to his mother’s house on Christmas afternoon and sing her a surprise Christmas song. I would rather have South American fire ants shoved up my ass but I need that money. God, do I need that money! So, heartache or not, toothache or not, I have to haul my sorry ass out to the sorry-ass end of Queens. No one goes to Queens. Ever. Why would they? I’m not even sure it’s open on Christmas.
Then my damn actor’s integrity kicks in and I determine to give this old gal a rousing “plum pudding” carol sing. It’s not her fault that “Lana the Cunt” dumped me or that Jewish dentists are getting revenge on me for centuries of the Blood Libel. So, I practice my song with a tape-recorder and even pack my pitch pipe. I put on my best “Dickensian” garb – a stovepipe hat stolen from a Victorian play and a scarf wrapped around my neck just as I’d seen carolers do in every production of A Christmas Carol. Then, with my tooth throbbing to an excruciatingly painful Tito Puente beat, I head for Queens – wherever the fuck that is.
It is cold. It is very cold. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, it is very, very, cold. The subway is running slowly. Very, very, very slowly. I just miss a train and wait on the unheated platform for one hour. (Throbbing tooth.) I just miss a bus and wait on the unheated street for another hour. (Throbbing tooth.) It begins to snow. It is getting dark. (Throbbing tooth.) It takes me four hours to reach my destination.
Why does Queens exist?
My frostbitten fingers ring the doorbell and a sweet old woman answers.
“Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas! I have a special song for you from Ralphie!” I tweet through chattering, throbbing teeth. My scarf is now wound around my head Victorian-toothache-style. Mom lets me step into the vestibule where I whip out my pitch pipe and sing I’ll Be Home or Christmas. But, why haven’t I seen this coming? I am teleported back to the California 7-11. By the miracle of bi-location, I am sobbing next to the Taco melted-cheese dispenser in Oxnard while sobbing in a vestibule in the ass-end of Queens before an embarrassed, confused and frightened old woman. I get through the song and wipe my nose while mentally evaluating my vibrato. (Once an actor…) Mom invites me in for cake and coffee.
“Oh, no, thank you. I have several other stops to make. I don’t want to be late and disappoint anyone. Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!”
The return journey is colder, snowier, slower. It takes me five hours to get back home. I eat a can of tuna fish for Christmas dinner, carefully avoiding my throbbing tooth. That’s all the food in the house. A can of tuna. I then bounce off the walls until dawn with toothache and heartache my only companions.
To my long suffering readers –
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and an even better New Year!
Told ya I’d be back with another installment of my seemingly endless memories of disastrous Christmases past. This time we grab the Red Eye and jet from LA to NYC for yet more Yuletide misery. Enjoy!
O HOLY NIGHT
One year after being dumped by Monica I’m back in New York. Another Christmas Eve. Another girlfriend. Another dumping. This time – Lana. Something about me having no money and being a loser. She has a point. I am once again gainfully employed as a full-time starving actor – fucking adorable but broke. Not what Lana has in mind so –
“Merry Christmas, you’re dumped.”
“Oh yeah? Fuck you! I’ve been given a free ticket to a Broadway show – so there.”
Lana is a model. A beautiful model. With perfect lips. Succulent lips. Dreams are made of such lips. If you don’t believe me just ask the radio station that has chosen Lana’s lips as its new logo currently splashed over every available space in New York City. Walls. Billboards. The sides of buses. Trains. Taxis. As I hurry to the theater, her luscious lips confront me at every turn. In Times Square, Lana’s lips, luminously captured in neon light, tower above me. I am almost hit by a cab decorated with Lana’s lips as I run to touch those very same lips that adorn the back of a bus. Her lips smile at me, seduce me, invite and entice me. Then they chase me down the street taunting, “Loser, loser, loser” until I escape them by ducking into the theater lobby.
When I settle into my seat, I realize that I’ve seen this play before. With Lana. (Choke. Sniffle.) So, there I am contemplating throwing myself off the balcony and thinking – Well, at least I’ll crush some Jews. I am surrounded by Jews. Who else goes to the theater on Christmas Eve? But, overtaken by the spirit of the season, I decide to live and let live. I imagine these theater-loving Hebrews bustling home to enjoy their Chanukah bushes and to drink Christian baby-blood. As I leave the theater a heavy snow is blanketing yesterday’s filthy white pile. The Jefferson Airplane’s lyric comes to me –
City streets in the dead of winter,
Stop your mind with dirty snow.
But, my mind won’t stop. It zooms. I am in my thirties. I’ve limped back to New York after failing in L.A. – limped back for a second dose of the same medicine. A glutton for punishment. No money. No food. No job. No woman. No hope. Walking in Times Square on Christmas Eve with nothing and no one waiting for me at home. Not even a Chanukah Bush. Again, I become Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life. I lean into the biting wind and trudge through the heaping snow, not in Bedford Falls but in Midtown Manhattan searching for a smile, a break. Searching for my life. It was here a minute ago. Crazed, I search for warmth in passing faces but they hurry away. I press my nose against restaurant windows ’til frightened diners have the waiter tap on the glass and chase the bum away. Then I see the brightly flashing lights ahead. Red and green. Not a Christmas tree but the marquee of a porn theater. A sin-pit of the lowest sort.
I buy my ticket comforted by the thought that I will have the Snowblowers all to my lonesome. Enter theater and… the place is packed. Jammed. I have trouble finding a seat. Who knew there were this many sad, lonely, desperate losers in New York on Christmas Eve? But, maybe they’re just killing time ‘til Midnight Mass.
Snowblowers is neither Christmas In Connecticut nor The Miracle On 34th Street. In fact, the movie is so out-of-focus and out-of-sync that it’s difficult to discern who is doing what to what part of whom. I think the plot involves flabby-assed actresses performing a variety of sex acts while on skis with hairy-assed actors also on skis. I worry the performers risk frostbite on their asses, whether flabby or hairy.
Divertimento on Porn Etiquette
In those golden days of yesteryear, there were strict codes of conduct in porn theaters and dirty bookstores. In the latter, it was thought rude to pick up a porn magazine immediately after another sticky-fingered voyeur had put it down. The girl in that magazine was still his girl. It was best to let some time pass and allow the couple to come to terms with their recent break-up. Then you were free to paw over Teenage Enema Bandits.
In porn cinemas, as in all cinemas, it was held inconsiderate, threatening and sexually provocative to sit right next to, directly in front of or (worse) directly behind someone when there were other seats available. It pains me to report that some lost souls went to porn theaters expressly to jack-off or to be jacked-off. I was never among their number. My preference was to sit far apart, all the better to enjoy the mise en scène. And, to avoid being hit by recklessly extruded seminal fluid.
Porn theaters, like strip-shows, were remarkably somber affairs. The men hunkered down to watch and/or wank in silence. No chitchat. No popcorn passing. Definitely no eye contact. You didn’t want to risk being recognized.
“Murray, what the hell are you doing here?”
Furthermore, a wisp too much eye-contact with the flaming Black fairies who walked up and down the center aisle, licking their lips while looking into laps, might suggest you were happy to let them get a lip-lock on your love-monkey. No. And again, no! Eyes straight ahead.
In the middle of Snowblowers just as the star blower is fellating her shivering co-star on a toboggan, I become aware of a commotion at the end of my aisle. A suburban daddy is awkwardly climbing and tripping his way over the masturbating men while loaded down with his Christmas treasures. He is juggling bags from Saks, Macy’s and Bloomingdales.
“Excuse me, Merry Christmas. Oops, scuse me, please. Merry Christmas. I’m terribly sorry to trouble you but could I possibly sneak past. Merry Christmas.” And, he is off to catch the last train to Westchester. The erotic mood destroyed, I let Mr. Westchester run interference for me through the aisle-fairies and follow him out into the blizzard.
Lights get turned off even on the Great White Way and much of Midtown is now dark. Lana’s neon lips are a grey ghost drained of all erotic power. I tramp downtown as far as the Village where, ashamed and ascared, I grab a bagel and the subway and make for Brooklyn. I make for home.
Thanks for visiting my blog. It is a sampler of my murder-memoir Boy Outa Brooklyn. The best way to enjoy it is to start at the first post and read chronologically. I hope you’ll find it both hilarious and horrifying.
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The White liberals who cry and march for George Floyd would shit their pants and call the cops if he came near them . . . Abbott’s Frozen Custard in Rochester, N.Y. is the best in the universe – end of story . . . Margaret Sanger, the unhinged founder of Planned Parenthood, attended seances to contact the dead children she had abandoned . . .
Is there a more annoying song than Hey Jude? . . . Whites are fleeing US cities at a record clip. So desperate are they to escape the coming race war that they are buying houses in rural America sight-unseen . . .
The electric vibrator was invented to save the wrists and fingers of 19th century psychiatrists who spent much of their time masturbating neurotic, middle-class women to calm them down . . .
The straightjacket was used to prevent the insane from masturbating themselves bloody . . . The Kellogg Brothers were 7th Day Adventist fanatics who invented cold cereal as an anti-masturbation food . . .
If the Chinese ever get the whip hand in America the Blacks will scream, “Come back, Whitey. All is forgiven!” . . . Other Orientals call the Chinese, “The Jews of the Orient” . . . Next time you’re in New York avoid Little Italy; there are no Italians left and the food is poison . . . But visit the nearby Tenement Museum to experience the “White privilege” enjoyed by European immigrants . . . Mickey Mantle, the great Yankee ballplayer, dropped out of the 1961 home run race with Roger Maris coz he got an infection from a botched VD injection . . .
Mickey got his clap shots from the same “Dr. Feelgood” who injected JFK, Nixon and most of Hollywood and Washington. We still don’t know what the good doctor was putting in his “vitamin” shots . . . Question: Does anyone actually read Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou? . . .
They were filmed in an old open-air silent film studio on a Bronx rooftop that had been enclosed for TV use . . .
I never liked or believed Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas or Rock Hudson . . . Lancaster was in Harvey Weinstein’s league as a sexual predator . . . The Broadway composer Richard Rodgers was another notorious sex creep . . .
In the early 20th century, Atlanta was the center of silent film production. Then the Jewish movie moguls fled to the West Coast to avoid paying patent money to the gentile Thomas Edison . . . I don’t care what vegans say, there’s nuthin’ better in life than a rare prime rib with a baked potato and salad . . . Lucca and Gubbio are my favorite Italian towns. And, you can give me Siena over Florence every time . . . How can it make sense to social distance getting on and off a plane but sit cheek by jowl on the flight? Youth wants to know . . . George Floyd did five years for holding a gun to a pregnant Black woman’s stomach while his partners in crime stole everything she had . . . When’s the last time you saw a man smoking a pipe? . . .
Laurence Olivier’s Richard the Third is so good it hurts. He based his villainous make-up on the vile Broadway producer Jed Harris and the Big Bad Wolf . . .
Ya think Rush Limbaugh will grow a pair before he dies and tell the truth about Jewish power and influence in America? . . . The great “commie-killer” Senator Joseph McCarthy is the most vilified and lied about figure in American history. He was rough but he was right. And the decrypted Cold War messages sent from the Soviet Union to its Washington embassy prove how right he was . . .
Be-bop sucks and Charlie Parker is the most over-rated figure in American popular music . . . Tell me something, why do so many doctors wear bow ties? . . .
Read Bruce Jay Friedman! He’s a darker Woody Allen and a funnier Philip Roth. He’ll make ya laugh and wince at the same time . . . Dames with spaces between their front teeth are instantly endearing . . . Women shouldn’t be cops, firemen or soldiers and men who serve must meet stricter height and fitness requirements . . . The Antifa-BLM riots revealed how out of shape our police and National Guard have become . . .
Most of the Old Testament stories including Adam and Eve and Noah and the Ark were stolen from the Egyptians and Assyrians then cut and pasted together . . . The chief Biblical redactor was a female scribe in the court of King David . . . With any luck I’ll go to my grave without having read Marcel Proust or J.K. Rowling . . . In his best moments, Jerry Lewis was as funny as anyone. The rest of the time I want to slap him. Same with Lou Costello . . .
The Empire State Building was built in one year in the depths of the Depression! One year! Think about that! . . . Homeopathy and chiropractic are quackery and so is “European-style” osteopathy. But American osteopaths are actual doctors. Their medical schools haven’t been devalued with affirmative action admissions. So, if you’re in America and want a good doctor get an osteopath. He’ll have OD after his name . . . German Village in Columbus, Ohio is the prettiest neighborhood in America . . . Abstract-Expressionism was funded by the C.I.A. and like “conceptual” art it is nothing but a money laundering scam . . .
In my last post, I wrote that the comic Mort Sahl said, “Lenny Bruce knew people use The Prophet by Gibran to get laid.” Not so. Lenny said it himself . . . But Mort did have the brilliant line, “In my younger days, I dated actresses and other female impersonators” . . . But enough about Meghan Markle.
I grew up in New York City in the 1950s – the last gasp of the Golden Age of newspaper columnists. These were the “gents room” journalists who sported trench coats and fedoras, smoked cigars and drank rye.
Walter Winchell and Jimmy Cannon were the “big beasts” whose columns brimmed with opinion, gossip, lies and even some facts. These one-finger typists wrote hard-boiled rants ripe with street smarts and sentimentality. They gave readers the lowdown on Broadway and City Hall and the straight skinny on Harlem and Wall Street.
Winchell and Cannon punctuated their column items with three dots that captured the look and rhythm of machine gun bullet holes. Like this . . .
Here then is my homage to Walter Winchell and Jimmy Cannon . . .
George Floyd was a violent career criminal and this reporter won’t miss his sorry ass one little bit . . . All women with pink hair and tattoos are skanks . . . I hate Oreos – always have, always will . . . If there’s a funnier writer in the English language than Charles Portis, I haven’t read him . . . If the world is facing an existential threat from Covid-19 then why in hell are any planes allowed to fly anywhere anytime anyhow? . . . Buddy Guy and Dolly Parton are the most charismatic live performers I’ve ever seen. No one even comes close. . .
George Floyd killed himself with a drug OD. He had enough Fentanyl in him to stop a horse and Fentanyl creates the delusion that you can’t breathe even though you can . . . The pulp crime writers Henry and Frank Kane (no relation) are better than Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. So is Ed McBain . . . The smell of flowers reminds me of death . . . Why do gay men always say “Miss” Judy Garland and “Miss” Peggy Lee?. . . Wanna know how and why the world was stampeded into Corona-panic? Read: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. He nailed it in 1841. That’s right – 1841 . . .
Mainstream Jewish newspapers and organizations have bragged that Antifa is a Jewish revolutionary movement with roots in the Russian revolution and that any criticism of Antifa is anti-Semitic. So… by their own proud admission the Jews are behind this attempt at a violent overthrow of the US. Blacks are just their puppets.
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in high speed, comic-flow are as good as it will ever get . . . Climate change is a hoax designed to transfer wealth from White to Brown people . . . I’ve never met a good-looking commie – male or female . . . All Hassidic Jews smell faintly of garlic . . . Virtue signalling Whites who support Black Lives Matter should move to Gary, Indiana or Camden, New Jersey to demonstrate they are truly “down with the struggle” . . . The jazz singer Johnny Hartman was the best of the “Sepia Sinatras” but he often strayed painfully off pitch . . .
The accordion and the zither should be outlawed . . . Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is over-priced slop. Breyer’s ice cream is the best in the world . . . New Mexico policeman Lonnie Zamora didn’t see a crashed UFO in the desert. What he stumbled upon was the NASA testing of a moon landing craft . . .
The FBI infiltrated and controlled many of the UFO cults and contactee groups of the 1950s . . .
Why are male psychics almost always swishy queens? . . . All imitation meat products promoted by vegetarians taste like a miscarriage on cardboard . . .
Most of Lenny Bruce’s jokes don’t hold up but his routines about liberal hypocrisy get better with time . . .
Mort Sahl, Bruce’s main competition, was never funny or dangerous . . .
American acting never recovered from the pseudo-Freudian, method acting pushed in post-war NYC acting schools by left-wing Jews who flunked Psych 101 . . .
Montgomery Clift was the worst example of this constipated style of acting. I always want to smack him and scream, “Just say the fuckin’ line already”. . . Steve Cochran on the other hand was a terrific actor. A real hell raiser. No mamby-pamby method acting bunk in his performances . . .
The two convicted Black felons apprehended with George Floyd didn’t resist arrest and are alive . . . The FBI’s secret recording of the right-wing militia leader Joseph Milteer weeks before the JFK assassination is proof that people knew Kennedy was about to to be hit. The tapes are on youtube . . .
Simple proof of a second gunman in Dealey Plaza is the cadence of the shots reported by everyone no matter how many total shots they heard. The cadence goes… BANG… BANGBANG. There is no way Oswald could have fired his bolt action rifle twice that quickly.
Bobby Kennedy never believed the Warren Commission . . . There was a second gunman in the hotel kitchen shooting at Bobby, too . . . There is intriguing evidence linking Canada’s wealthy Bronfman family to the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations . . .
Ginger Rogers was a great dancer but she was also the most underrated actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age . . . Since being turned over to Black rule, South Africa has become an ungovernable shit hole . . . The same goes for Haiti where Blacks slaughtered the Whites and mulattoes over 200 years ago. The result? Port-au-Prince is the only capital city in the world without a sewage system . . .
I don’t care what aficionados say, the Edsel was ugly . . . Lili St. Cyr was the sexiest of the old-time strippers . . .
Malcolm X was a pimp who sold Black women to White men. He then had sex with men in prison. Maybe he liked it coz his wife complained that he was a flop in bed. Most of the tough-guy exploits in his best selling autobiography are the invention of Alex Haley who later plagiarized a White man’s novel and called it Roots. Haley settled with the original writer out of court . . .
Louis Farrakhan the leader of the Nation of Islam is a Scientologist and a Mason. How does he remember which funny hat to wear and handshake to use? . . .
Leo Frank was guilty as hell. He raped and murdered Mary Phagan and threw her down an elevator shaft. Frank was a sweatshop owner, rapist and murderer. Mary Phagan was only 13 so Frank was also a pedophile . . .
The Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded to defend Leo Frank. Its lawyers blamed the rape and murder on two innocent Black men who worked for Frank. You won’t learn this in Parade the Broadway musical about the case or in the many biased TV movies. Hey, remind me – who controls Broadway and TV? . . .
The Christmas blues of 1970 morphed into the January blues of 1971. I and my fellow “cultural casualties” of the 1960s having dropped out of college and dropped far too many psychedelics were facing the prospect of a lifetime of blue-collar work in the Post Office.
Yeah, yeah, it was a job-for-life with uniform and pension but not quite what we had envisioned for ourselves just a few years before. Back in college we were going to be actors, writers, musicians, poets, painters, philosophers even. But, the luster had faded from our Age of Aquarius fantasies as it had from the few sorry strands of Christmas tinsel that hung from atop the mail sorting coops.
We were a motley crew but not without our talents and charms. Alex was a half-assed genius and chess master. Mark was a poet and fluent in Latin. Murray was a killer wit and killer blues guitarist. Sandy was trying to decipher the hidden codes in Dylan’s lyrics. And, Charles, our only Black member, was trying to convert everyone at the Post Office to 7th Day Adventism and vegetarianism. We were all from working class families and had discovered to our shock and horror that unless something miraculous happened we would not escape the gravitational pull of our caste. So, we embraced our fate.
As if on cue and without any spoken agreement, we took to wearing plaid, flannel work shirts, tattered jeans, garrison belts and battered work boots. We cut our freakish hair back to a moderately radical length. Less Woodstock. More Workers of the World. We trimmed our facial hair to Lenin length. And, we embraced the Grateful Dead’s album Workingman’s Dead as if it were written only for us. After all, we were nothing if not workingmen.
One of the worst aspects of being a trainee mail-sorter was that we weren’t guaranteed hours. If the mail dried up we were sent home. And, this often happened shortly after we had clocked on for our graveyard shift. There we’d be in midtown Manhattan at Midnight having planned to be up all night and having ingested amphetamines to help us be up all night but suddenly with no reason to be up all night. Luckily, Alex lived in a nearby East Side tenement so we’d pick up some munchies and beer and head over to his pad, there to smoke hash and listen to Workingman’s Dead till dawn’s early light. Or, at least, till Alex’s neighbors banged on the walls. We named ourselves the Dead Workingmen. (Okay, not that clever but we needed all the help we could get.)
Suddenly, it became embarrassingly clear that Tony, one of our Supervisors, was madly in love with Sandy. I don’t think this burly Italian knew he was gay and he certainly wasn’t swishy in any way. But, goddamn, he was as queer as a three-dollar bill for Sandy. Lovesick Tony was eager to demonstrate to Sandy how powerful he was by how many favors he could do for him. One big problem. If he gave Sandy a break he had to give it to all of the Dead Workingmen or his cover would be blown. We teased Sandy mercilessly about his conquest but he still generously connived to use his charm over Tony to the group’s advantage i.e. without “coming across” for the Italian Stallion, Sandy kept him sweet on our behalf.
Some nights Sandy would persuade Tony to let us get lost for a few hours. We’d head over to Alex’s while still on the clock and then sneak back in at 8AM to punch out. Some nights at Sandy’s behest Tony would let us hide and sleep on the filthy mailbags piled out on the loading dock. Other nights he’d put us on parcel sorting duty – a welcome break from the din and dementia of the sorting coops.
We’d stand before rows of open mailbags and practice our basketball jump shots tossing boxes into the bags. Sometimes we even read the addresses and aimed for the right mail bag. Sometimes we even made a basket. But, truth to tell, we didn’t give a shit. We had come to hate the mail itself. Mark once tickled his throat until he vomited into the tray of mail he was sorting. (I know, I know, disgusting. But, you gotta understand that 99.999999% of the mail we were sorting was junk mail. And, the rest was going to Reverend Ike!)
Time Clock Confidential
I don’t know if anyone actually punches a time clock anymore. But when I first joined the world-of-work as a teenager, I was angered by the demeaning nature of this act. I was even more angered by the grown-ups who loitered by the time clock waiting for it to tick to a specific second so they could get a few paltry shekels more in their meagre pay envelopes. I was embarrassed for them and hated how they compared stories of time clock victories and defeats and of famous “time clock jockeys” of yesteryear. ThePost Office was full of these lifers who stared in amazement and clucked with disdain as I strode past them and punched out without even looking at the hour hand. Wage slaves. Not me.
Meanwhile back at the Tony-Sandy love affair things became waaaay too strange and sad for this trainee mail-sorter. It happened one night when members of the Dead Workingmen were surreptitiously tapped on the shoulder and told to report to Tony’s office. There we discovered the other invited guests were the usually unfriendly Supervisors. Tony had set up a movie projector and hung a sheet on the wall. He greeted us conspiratorially then locked the door, turned off the lights and showed us a stag movie i.e. the type of fuck-film that was usually confiscated if sent in the U.S Mail. I wondered if this film had been caught by an eagle-eyed postal dick and turned over to Tony.
As the silent, grainy, 8MM black and white film unspooled on the stained sheet, the air in the room became noxious with nervous laughter, unfunny quips and cigar smoke. We’d been invited to a classic “smoker.” The film showed a singularly unattractive couple reclining on a singularly uncomfortable table and fucking in a singularly unenthusiastic manner. Watching their coitus was as erotic as watching the piston action on a Ford V8. But, I sensed that a bizarre male-bonding ritual was at play. The Supers wanted to show us that they weren’t such bad guys after all. Hey, they were like our fathers and uncles – just a bunch of older working-class fellas who liked watching fuck-films with a bunch of younger working-class fellas. This secret screening was an olive branch extended across the generations and a sort of test.
Would we make the grade and join their ranks of Merry (albeit horny) Mailmen?
Also, except for Charles, we were all White as were the Supers. I sensed they wanted to find racial solidarity with us since they spent so much time with obese Black women with whom they shared little cultural interest. Least of all watching fuck-films.
I’m sure that shrinks would highlight what they’d claim was clear homo-eroticism in this sweat-lodge soiree. But, I don’t think that was what was going on with the Supers. Except for Tony. He turned on the projector, pushed me aside and sat next to Sandy. As the couple built to their inevitable climax we all watched in silence. Except for Tony. He giggled and elbowed Sandy while peppering him with questions in hushed rabid whisper.
“You believe the size of the cock on that guy?”
“Wait. Wait. She swallows the whole thing.”
“Look at that bush. You like hairy twat, Sandy?”
“Hey, Sandy, you ever put it in a girl’s ass?”
Then, after the “money shot” in which the on-screen stud splashed his semen all over his fair maiden’s belly Tony gushed – “Yeah, that’s the good part, right, Sandy?”
The Supers must have overheard Tony’s pillow talk but they didn’t react. Meanwhile, the Dead Workingmen shared looks of amused horror. Mainly horror. Then the lunch horn barked, the lights came on and with eyes cast downward we bolted out of there muttering, “Holy shit, what the fuck was that?!”
Shortly after that night I was fired for telling an especially sadistic Supervisor to go fuck himself. The union jumped to my defense assuming that I wanted to keep my job. At the mediation meeting the union rep was dumbstruck when I told all present that the United States Postal Service could sort my job where the sun don’t shine. I thought about throwing the porn party in their faces but didn’t coz I knew that would make big trouble for Tony and the Dead Workingmen I was leaving behind.
Ten years later while walking in the middle of nowhere on Staten Island, I ran into Murray. (What are the odds?) We recognized each other even though he was now as obese as his female Black co-workers. Yes, he was still at the Grand Central P.O. but he was now a Junior Supervisor. No, he wasn’t playing guitar anymore.
It was an awkward encounter and a painful one for him. Murray and I had come from similar working-class backgrounds, two Brooklyn boys who had arrived at the same point via similar paths. Then our paths diverged. I had followed my dream of being an actor. He had buried his of being a musician. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to get together. We never did.
My agent finally found my phone number and told me he had a friend who managed the leading male strip show of the era – The Plantagenets. Its current Master of Ceremonies had lost his voice (as had every previous MC) due to the impossible task of screaming over the screaming women in attendance. But, this MC gig had definite merits –
Very good money
Very good money – in cash
Only four shows a week
Late show times so I could do a play and then do the strip show – not that I had any hopes of being in a play
Problem was that after one night of non-stop screaming I’d have no vocal cords to do a play with for the rest of my natural life. Another problem was that The Plantagenets’ show was crap. But, the main problem was that the MC had to not only scream but also scream whilst on roller skates and scream stinko jokes like –
“Ladies, our next gorgeous hunk of man is a Jewish butcher’s son from Brooklyn and believe me that meat is all kosher!”
“Girls, this Italian Stallion says his favorite pastime is playing hide the salami.”
But, I was hungry for a bit of salami myself, kosher or otherwise, so I agreed to catch the show. I immediately realized that the women had whipped themselves into a lather before the first man had unzipped his first zipper. And, that lather had nothing to do with what was happening on stage. And, what was happening on stage was surprisingly tame – no full nudity, just a succession of oiled men with fake tans wearing dumb costumes, dancing awkwardly and stripping clumsily. (Imagine the Village People spazzing around in their jocks.)
Naïve me later learned that the real action happened backstage where desperate women paid for the privilege of blowing the strippers. (In our still coarser age, young ladies don’t bother to retire backstage to get “up close and personal” with their favorite danseurs érotiques.They blow the strippers right on stage in front of their cheering girlfriends.)
As a fifteen-year-old messenger in Times Square, I get a whiff of the newspaper game by making deliveries to the New York Times. I get to hang out in the newsroom – full of smoking men banging away at typewriters, and in the proofreading room – full of smoking men squinting away at galleys. The paper’s underground printing presses literally shake 43rd Street when they run at full tilt. The pressmen come up to the street for air wearing admiral-style hats formed out of that day’s front page – a bit of old New York life that is gone forever.
I make regular deliveries to the offices of Broadway producers and to the apartments of gossip columnists where I get a flavor of “the business they call show” and the Public Relations racket. And, I see the ad campaigns unfold in Times Square for the blockbuster movies of that summer. Of course, I’m more interested in the brabusters of that summer. My pace slackens as I inch past the marquees for Orgy at Lil’s Place or Sinderella and the Golden Bra or the many nudist movies like Goldilocks and the Three Bares. I spend three months walking around midtown Manhattan with a perpetual teenage hard-on. No wonder I attract creepy, confusing attention from creepy, confusing men.
We ad agency messengers fight for the uptown deliveries because they take us past the Metropole Bar. During the day, its doors are kept wide open so passers-by can watch the rock bands play but, more importantly, watch the caged and fringe-skirted go-go girls shake their money-makers. We gawkers must stand behind a yellow line on the sidewalk to let pedestrians pass. Tourist husbands pretend not to look as outraged wives pull them past this go-go Gomorrah. At night, the Metropole closes its doors and the girls go-go topless.
My favorite band of the summer is the Eggheads. They wear monk cowls and have their heads shaved like Friar Tuck. And, man, they put on a show that is clean outasite. (That meant “very entertaining” in 1965 parlance.) They and the go-go girls dance the Monkey, Frug, Swim, Jerk, Hitchhike and Watusi in perfectly synchronized moves. It is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I can tell from the way they look at each other that the “with-it” guys in the band are “making it” with the “swingin’ chicks” in the cages and I seriously consider taking up the bass.
I was too young to watch the strip-show at The Barracuda Lounge but sometimes I happened to be standing just outside the entrance at show time. From there, I heard the saxophone blare of Night Train and caught glimpses of bleach-blonde bouffant hair and sequined gowns. And, I spied spike hi-heels at the end of long, sinewy legs. Boy, was my face red when I discovered that all of that belonged to the Jewel Box transvestite revue. Guys in Drag! Very popular at The Barracuda. And, my unbigoted Granny mended the G-strings of all the strippers – male and female. Also popular were the Italian boy-singers who beat “Volare” to death. Less popular were the earnest folk-singers hoping that protest songs would make a comeback.
Surprisingly some top-name comics used the Barracuda to polish material for The Ed Sullivan Show. One night, I managed to loiter in a back hallway and see an unknown comic named Rodney Dangerfield read his jokes off a stained napkin. He was hilarious. I then saw him mercilessly heckle a then-unknown but now-very-famous comic. They almost duked it out right there. It was a vivid introduction to the vicious world of stand-up.
By far the most popular act to play the Barracuda was a comedy-harmonica ensemble that featured a midget. They had starred on TV and in Vegas but like protest-singers, comedy-harmonica ensembles that featured midgets had become passé. Showbiz is cruel that way.