Bridge on the River Milwaukee

A drawbridge over the Milwaukee River
Ya gotta time your jump just right!

I’ve always enjoyed getting lost in strange towns and since I was broke that was my only entertainment in Milwaukee – a strange town indeed. On Saturday nights, I watched German and Polish farm-boys, come to the big city for an evening of beer drinking and beer vomiting, challenge each other to daredevil leaps across the opening drawbridges that spanned the Milwaukee River. Sometimes they made it. 

Milwaukee hippiedom amounted to one music store that sold records, bongs and crucially, pot to put in those bongs. It was there I met a speed-freak wraith named Tulip. This sixteen-year-old ruin was another sign to me that all was not well in the post-Woodstock days of 1969. We’d just had Manson. Altamont lay dead ahead. The party was if not over, definitely winding down and the casualties were piling up.

Stoned hippie girl
Tulip was half this chick’s weight – if that.

Earlier that summer, I’d met another faded flower child. She had allowed a motorcycle gang to pull out all her teeth with pliers. She was tripping on acid at the time of the extraction and was sure her sacrifice would win her the bikers’ undying approbation. No wonder I felt a millennial chill. 

Tulip asked me for spare change when she’d been kicked out of the record store for loitering with sonic-erotic intent. She was one of several speed freaks I’d observed attach themselves to the front of the mountainous Marshall amplifier used to play records at ear-bleed volume. They glued their emaciated bodies to the amp’s front like an octopus to a rock. There they clung thrusting their pathetically thin pelvises into the vibrating sound cone as they and the guitar solo reached climax. And, there they remained until the store clerk peeled them off or the music ended and they slid to the floor in post-coital bliss.

Boy Outa Brooklyn a murder-memoir by Jack Antonio 
Image: the smiling face of Steeplechase park in Coney Island, Brooklyn
Available as a paperback and eBook
And as an eBook here

Can I get a witness?

Street preacher with "end of the world" sign.
A Jehovah’s Witness sitting down on the job.

It is my happy fate to live in Brooklyn and London neighborhoods where Jehovah’s Witnesses train their doorbell-ringing missionaries. They are almost always Black. Imagine the delight of a pair of young, Witness trainees when, far from slamming the door in their faces, the nice White man invites them in for a chat. A long chat. A very long chat. Imagine their chagrin to discover that the nice White man knows more about their religion than they do. Imagine the trainees running and screaming from the suddenly crazed White man when he dons a pair of red, light-up, devil horns and asks them to abandon Jehovah and become Sam Butera’s Witnesses.

Jack Chick comic book.
A Christian message of love and forgiveness.
Boy Outa Brooklyn a murder memoir by Jack Antonio
Image: The smiling face of Steeplechase in Coney Island, Brooklyn
Available as a paperback and eBook
And as an eBook here