Writer'sBlock No More
(excerpt from "The Last American Bullet")
It was the middle of winter 1972. I was in Iowa City Iowa. My friend Mike Boyd had arranged for my to stay at Ray and Deb Dafflitos apartment across town. They had a bed on the porch and I had a down sleeping bag, and since I played guitar I was allowed to stay indefinitely.
On February 3rd it was a cold winters night and Ray said to me "we should go jam down at the pub and play music" (Ray played the fiddle) We packed up our instruments and said goodbye to Deb and went to the pub, all pumped and psyched to play with the natives and students of Iowa City. It was a glorious night and we played until the AM hours and then one of the people said "lets continue the party at my apartment across the street" at least fifteen of us went next door.
Someone had hashish and wine and we all smoked and drank and then I picked up my guitar and started playing. I was great and everyone at first listened intently. I didn't want to stop but by about 4AM the party dwindled to only three dudes plus me.
I didn't want to stop as long as there was any kind of audience. The
three dudes were in the far corner of the room sitting on the bed in the dim candlelight. I thought they were really mesmerized by my playing and I just kept playing song after song and it seemed when I played a Neil Young song they all oohhed and ahhed....
I felt I was in my glory and I was GREAT!
I didn't even stop when I noticed that one guy was fondling another and then I realized thru the dim candle light they were all three fondling and gropping each other totally oblivious to my presence in the room. I remained the serenading minstrel until they drifted off to slumber land.
Well it was now almost 5 AM and I realized I had provided these three wise homosexuals with enough incense and muir and I quielty crept out of the apartment and left my loyal commited audience to sleep in bliss in the room.
I remember the voices in my head as a walked outside in the cold morning
air. "Wow! dude you have played your best to an adoring audience that my not have even heard you!" I didn't know if I should remain so proud of my actions or ashamed. True I felt like a great performer equal to Neil Young but it was possible that I was the only one who was listening ...
or maybe I should just forget about it. and chalk it up to just another great unheard of performance for history to record.
I walked into Dunkin Donuts across the street and sat down at 5:30 AM. I ordered a coffee and donut from a beautifull young waitress/counter girl. I couldn't stop staring at her beautifull eyes through her eyeglasses I thought I was in love and wished that it was her that I was serenading all night.
When she came back to deliver my order, I got brazen and said "could we get together and go for coffee sometime?"
She chuckled and said "How original!... YES!"
I waited until 3PM and she got off work and invited me to her apartment . We talked a little bit and she immediatley confessed that she couldn't have sex with me because she had had a medical situation.
I said "what makes you think that is all I want?" When I asked her what had happened she looked away and pulled some photos from a drawer. I looked in disbelief at a photo of Patty naked with a nine month pregnant belly.
"Is this you?" I was puzzled
She just looked away and I wanted to hide. We sat until 9PM and then she asked if I wanted to sleep with her. I could have been anyone as I held her as she cried, she just needed someone to hold her.
Her parents had persuaded her to give the baby up for adoption and she moved to Iowa City from Cedar Rapids and was trying to start over with an anonymous job at Dunkin Donuts. She had closed up inside and gone cold and even though I was hugging her warm beautifull body, I wasn't even really there to her. That was one of the first times I had ever slept with a woman/girl and I liked it, even though the emptiness was unbearable. She cried all night until I left in the morning. I wanted to see her again but when I got back to Ray Dafflitos my bags were thrown out of the apartment.
Ray stood at the door and said "You thief, you stole my hashish!" I was accused and sentenced to exile and nothing I could say would convince him it wasn't me. I grabbed my sleeping bag and headed for the highway and started hitchhiking to California.
Maybe there I would find my audience.
Quite the Trooper
I was sure Caleb would be busy watching TV upstairs on the third floor and would be none the wiser and never hear as Peter and I embarked on our adventure .... jumping out the second floor window and gently swinging down on the limb of a thin maple tree that was growing as high as the porch which was the annex to my bedroom at 20 Shore Rd in Pelham NY USA 1968.
We were pretending to be super slueths and spies for the secret agents for mankind and U.N.C.L.E. the espionage group I knew all about from TV It was exciting and I knew my brother Peter could pass the test and actually transport himself down the distance from the window to the ground in one easy step by simply grabbing hold the branch and with only his weight, bend the tree and arrive unscathed and unhurt and even ready for attack on any prevailing enemies that might be in our imagination or in our field of vision
First, I grabbed the branch and let my self fall from the roof over hang outside the porch window while holding on to the thin tree limb and as if engineered by masterminds, in only a spit second I was on the ground.
I turned back up to Peter and said "See how I did that?"
Peter said "Yup!"
I said "okay now you try!"
Peter hesitated and I urged him on by saying "its easy you can do it!"
He just didn't have the self conviction and did not approach the jump with the right confidence he took a half step and reached for the tree and then just fell off the roof and missed the tree entirely and when he hit the ground I thought he was surely dead he fell the 15 ft or more and didn't make a sound
I saw him miss the branch and even though it was quite comical considering he didnt even come close to the tree
He hit the ground and broke his arm and thinking that he had just knocked the wind out of himself I rolled him over and threw his arms over his head (that is the proper thing when someone knocks the wind out of himself)
little did I know,he had broken his arm and I had actually reset his arm which was badly fractured Caleb was still upstairs watching TV I asked Peter if he was okay which after a few moments of scarey silence he said "Yup"
I said "Now I think you should go to your room and pretend you were doing your homework"
He agreed and went inside and up to his room in silence. He was quite the trooper, I was thinking and I was glad that Caleb had been none the wiser.
After about ten minutes I could hear wimpering noises coming from Peter's room and I went out to the hall way and listened he was crying and I knew why.
Mom and Dad were out at a party and Caleb was actually the babysitter that night for the young super spys
finally I decided that Caleb should know and so I went upstairs and knocked on his door and said "Caleb I think Peter is hurt and I think you should check him out"
He said " Golly you kids are a pain in my butt"
we rushed Peter to the hospital and sure enough his arm was broken and the doctor said that obviously I had reset his arm when I threw his hands over his head. I was never sure if Peter was thankful or not but I felt some consolation knowing I had helped make his recovery smoother.
I was the unsung hero?
Peter had to suffer for six months in a cast, which he had to endure on our fabulous trip to the bahamas.
He was quite the trooper!
Caleb & the Poison Dart
I couldn't believe when Kippy Evoy showed me how to join his club all I had to do was take a ordinary sewing pin and clip off the head and then glue it and wrap with thread the pin to the end of a flat hewn wooden tooth pick and then blow it out of an ordinary drink straw and carefully aim at an unsuspecting harmless target
like a school bus tire, after school, of course.....
I was in the club and suspended from school in the same blow I felt the teachers hand on the back of my neck as I watched the bus pull out of the school driveway with one of my fabulously well crafted pretend poison tire darts sticking out of the black rubber school bus tire
Caleb was the only one home to get the call from the Principal
He was a saint as he came into the office with all the female school marms gigglin
and the humble man grinned as he displayed the dangers of the poison dart by simply placing the needles point directly against his bald skull and he said to the Principal and one of the elder professors while I stood silently, eyes to the ground, "ouch! that could really do something"
in years to come
"That gareee boy! out elephant huntin' with a tooth pick!"