Thursday, April 23, 2015

Street Jimmy Gets Beat Up

            Hawkeye went to see the Bulls playoff basketball game with the Bucks a couple of days ago. His friend Joel has season tickets. "It was a great game and Derrick Rose is more exciting going to the basket than Michael Jordan!"
           "Of all the dumb things I've ever heard  come out of your mouth that is without a doubt the dumbest. I am once again stunned by your fatuousness!"
            There was a kind of a grieved look in his eyes as he stared back at me. "It is very hard being your friend - in fact it's impossible."
            I understand clearly that I lack the sunny disposition and cheery good nature that makes a fellow the universal favorite, but I nevertheless felt that Hawkeye was guilty of overreacting. "Michael Jordan was not only the greatest basketball player that ever lived, he was the most exciting. There's no comparison between him and Rose."
            Hawkeye looked at me in an unpleasant way. It was a mean, nasty look. It made feels as if I were a giant glob of excrement.
           "Bruce, I've had a bad day and I don't need you making it any worse." 
           The full horror of the situation became apparent a few minutes later when he looked up from his crossword puzzle shaking in rage: "I know Michael Jordan is the better player, I just said Rose was better going to the basket."
           We traded insults for another five-minutes before he resumed working on his cross word puzzle.

           Grasshopper  told me that Street Jimmy had been in a fight Saturday night. "It was about four in the morning. Three guys that nobody knew were outside smoking and one of the guys started pounding on Jimmy. One of the bartenders from Old Town Social pulled the guy off of Jimmy. Lemar kept the other guys from getting involved. One of the guys claimed he was a cop although nobody saw a badge. I'm not even sure if the guys were in the bar drinking. Jimmy's eye was pretty messed up so I took him to the hospital. That's why I let him leave his backpack in the back room. Jimmy said it was racial and the guy that beat him up called him a nigger."
              "I suppose Jimmy was bugging them for money?"
              "He said he wasn't."

               I didn't see Jimmy until Monday morning. His left eye was a mess. It was swollen closed and he said he couldn't see out of it.
            "Grasshopper took me to the hospital. They let me stay in a room an' then they said they needed it for someone else so they let me sleep in the hallway."
             "On a  bed?"
              Jimmy nodded, "yeah, they moved my bed in the hallway. I slept good as hell."
               According to Jimmy the guy that attacked him was prejudiced. "He kept calling me nigger. He stole up on me an' sucker punch me. They gots out of a car. A white boy came outa the bar an' pulled him off me. He had a heart. He say to the guy who say he was a  cop, 'if you a cop, why don' you do somethin'?' Johnny Ale's girlfriend Martha cared about me - she good - she concerned about me. She cussed out the dude who hit me."
             Jimmy is embarrassed about how his eye looks. I don' wan' nobody to see me like this."   
           Hardware Nick was kind enough to give Jimmy sun glasses so Jimmy will be wearing sun glasses in the foreseeable future.

            Early Sunday morning Grace drove Son In Laws pickup truck to the bar. Because one of the upholstered benches was badly ripped it was decided that she deliver it to Tobin's upholster in Lake Station Indiana. As Fancypants, Street Jimmy and I prepared to move the heavy, awkward bench I reminded the boys what Chief told us: "All we have to be is a little smarter than the furniture."
           Unfortunately, once again the furniture outsmarted us. One of the problems was Son In Laws pickup truck. He has two carriers on top of it for his paddle board. The other problem was Gracie, she was hysterical as she tried to guide us on the best way to place the oversized bench on the bed of the truck. We couldn't let  it hang over the back of the gate because of the carriers. The best we could manage was to have it sticking out the side. Although it wasn't sticking out too far Gracie was now in full panic mode and demanded that the bench be removed from the truck.
           "I can't drive the truck like this. I'll get a ticket and I don't want the truck to get scratched."
          It was another one of our furniture moving cluster fucks.

           Monday night while I was sitting at the bar chatting with the gang Gracie, who was bar tending attempted to pour more wine in my glass. As she placed the now filled glass in front of me she managed to spill the entire contents on my Levi's  in the general area of my groin. This filled her with delight and she continued to laugh as she handed me a napkin that she'd soaked with soda water.
           "What's this supposed to do," I said taking the wet napkin?
            Still laughing, "take the stain out."
             "I'm not worried about the stain, I'm worried about how cold my balls feel."
             Ruben Four Toes felt it was a deliberate act.
             "I think you're right Ruben, all I've ever wanted is sympathy and kindness. Is that asking too much?"
             Gracie was feeling more than a little pleased with herself as she poured me another glass of wine.

            Fancypants seems to be feeling better each day. He understands that his morning drinking days at the Ale House are a thing of the past. "I'm sleeping really good. I went to see Ex Machina. I'd give it three and a half stars, actually I'd give it four." He then went on to describe the Sci Fi movie about human robots.

            The Actress said she had a fun time last weekend. She especially liked chatting with Charles A. and his two pals. It's unusual to meet young smart people these days. They're a rare commodity.

          Last night Ruben Four Toes sent Crack Head Connie to Walgreens to pick up his prescriptions. She came back empty handed because she'd forgotten Ruben's phone number. This displeased him. After Connie went back to get Ruben his prescription I chastised him: "Ruben, from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
          "What the fuck are you talking about?" Ruben's voice sounded like an overworked vacuum cleaner.
           "I mean you are expecting to much from Connie. Her abilities are limited. I was quoting Marx."
           "Fuck Marx." 
            "You are the opposite of a Marxist, Fatso, you are a nihilist."
            "What's a nihilist?"
           "Someone that does not bow to any authority."
            This pleased Ruben, I could tell by the look on his face.
             When Connie came back with Ruben's prescription she attempted to kiss him.
             "Not on my lips, " he said pointing to his cheek, "on my cheek."
             "Amigo," I said, "give her some tongue for Christ sake."
            Connie shook her head, "no tongue, he's got polyps on his  tongue."
              After Connie said goodbye Street Jimmy came in. He is still wearing his sunglasses. 
             "Jimmy, with your all black outfit and  the sunglasses you look like Sammy Davis Junior."
            A few minutes later Lithuanian Jeff, Leigh and their new two-month old baby came in the bar. The baby boys name is Aras.
          "It's a Lithuanian name," Jeff explained.
            The baby was reasonably cute and looked extremely big for two months old. Leigh is no kid and already has two teenagers from a previous marriage with Mitt's attorney. Jeff and Leigh met in the Ale House. The Ale House caused Leigh's divorce, was responsible for her marriage to Jeff, and now we have a brand new Ale House baby. Well done Ale House, Well done.
             When Street Jimmy asked a customer for a cigarette I said:
             "Tobacco is a filthy weed,
             That from the devil does proceed;
              It drains your purse, it burns your clothes,
              And makes a chimney of your nose."
         "Tha's a good one, you make tha' up jus' now?"
           "No, but I can't remember who did."

            Today is Anya's birthday. She'll be 31. She's a few months older than Gracie. The girls attended seventh-grade together. There was a special program for precocious kids at Kenwood Academy High School in Hyde Park. The school is located a few blocks from Barack's house. They went all the way through high school together. For years I thought she was half black and half Jewish. I was wrong, she's half East Indian and her mothers from Belize. She has a uniquely exotic look. I still haven't been able to figure out what kind of guys she's into?

            This morning Street Jimmy announced that his severely swollen eye "hurts like hell."
             "Jimmy, an eye is nothing to fuck with, remember - you only have two of them. Go to the emergency room and make sure you don't have a detached retina."
            "Yeah, okay."
            "I'm not kidding. Instead of going to the crack dealer go to the hospital."
             "Maybe I'll go to Rush."
             "No,  go back to Northwestern. They have all your paperwork from last week. Tell the nurse that your doctor told you to come back to see if you have a detached retina."
             Jimmy, for some reason, couldn't pronounce retina. As Jimmy was walking out the door Fancypants said, "Jimmy, don't go to the crack dealer, go to the hospital."
            "Don' worry, I'm goin' straight there."
             When Fancypants looked out the window he said, "he's going to the crack dealer, what an idiot."
              An hour later as I was walking home I ran into Jimmy in front of the hardware store.
               "Jimmy, you really are a dumb fuck. I suppose you can make more money when you're blind so maybe you should just let your eye fall out. You can get a real cool white cane."
               This was followed by a rather weighty silence on Jimmy's part.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Return Of Fancypants

               Fancypants, showed up Saturday morning. He had not been to work for the previous three days. In the five or six-years he's been working at the Ale House I think he's only missed two days, so this was significant. There was a storm tossed look on his ashen face and his eyes were bulging from their sockets as he walked in the door. Holding his arms out in a gesture of futility he said, "I've got to straighten out my life. I've been through pure hell. The reason my throat hurt and I couldn't swallow is because I was drinking when I took my antibiotics and so they didn't work. I've been detoxing for three days. I couldn't sleep, I was afraid I'd choke to death. I'm still shaking..."
             " All perfectly true, no doubt, but what are you going to do?"
              "I've got to quit drinking!"
               Street Jimmy stared at Fancypants as if he were in a trance. 
              "Well, I'm glad you made it today because Jimmy's not  worth two dead flies this morning."
              "Wha' you mean?"
               "I mean that you are seriously fucked up. You look like you haven't slept in two days."
                "I'm fine."
                Jimmy looked as if nothing had happened or was ever going to happen. He was sweeping the floor in a sort of disembodied manner. 
               There was a grieved look in Fancypants eyes as he put on his work shoes. When he's in a state like this it is better to avoid prolonged conversations with him and I could tell it was going to be awhile before he would be resuming his sunny, cheerful, dewy as a violet persona. 

              The lawyers came in last week. I hadn't seen them for a while. Jim V. told me an interesting story about a lawyer named Augie that used to share a suite of offices with him.
          "Augie had three sons. One lived in Florida, one lived in Lake County with his wife, and another one lived near the wife. Augie died a few years ago, and then the son that lived nearby was found floating face down on a retention pond. They weren't sure if it was suicide. So the son from Florida flies in for the funeral. While they're at the wife's house getting ready for the funeral the son from Florida gets in an argument with the son that lives at home and the son that lives at home shoots the Florida son in the head and kills him. The bullet goes through the sons head and grazes Augies wife's head. Then he shoots himself. When I went to the funerals the wife says to me, 'Jim, isn't this something."
            Jim V. has not heard form Vanderheiden in almost five-years. When he asked me if Vanderheiden ever paid me back the money he borrowed I just laughed.
            
              I saw Mrs. Clown coming out of her townhouse.  It had been a beautiful Spring day and I'd just walked through the zoo and around the lagoon. She was wearing  tight orange pants and a green sweater. When I caught up with her I said, "hi, Mrs. Clown."
           She looked me squarely in the eye, "so now you're going to tell everyone that I look like shit."
           "Why would I do that?"
            "Because I look like shit."
            It's true that she appeared to have a weakness for starches and sweets, and her face looked haggard, however, I replied suavely, "you look just fine, Mrs. Clown."
            "I know what you're going to write on your blog about me."
             "You don't read my blog."
             "Clown does and he tells me what you write."
              "How is Clown?"
              "He's actually doing great." Her voice was softening and a trace of a smile was now flitting across her face. "I'm babysitting for my grandson a lot. I'm teaching him how to play with matches."
               "Are you teaching him swear words?"
               Now she was laughing, "yeah, lots of swear words."
                "Where have you been , Mrs. Clown?"
               "Not your place."
                "I am betraying no secrets when I tell you that we're not the only place that eighty-sixed you. But right now you seem bright eyed and bushy tailed. We were worried about you."
                 "I'll bet you were." She said this in her Long Island gangster accent.
                Before we parted she gave me an affectionate kiss.

                 Thursday morning Street Jimmy told me about a fight that had taken place on Sedgwick Street the previous day.
                "Car full of bitches drives up an' the bitches jumps out an start kicking' the shit outa some bitches on the corner. They was yellin' an' runnin' away. They was throwin' down. Mens jus' standin' aroun' watchin'. I wouldn' let no bitch beat my broad. I'd fuck a bitch up good if she beat up my broad. These bitches pullin' out hair. One bitch pull the other bitches extensions out. They was screamin'  like hell."

            Lois called me. She read my review of "Red Handed Otter," and says she'll ask Esther if she wants to go see it. 
             "I'd like to play golf with you this year."
               "You still play golf?"
                "I haven't played since we played last time."
                "That was twenty-five years ago."
                "I know."
                 Lois has to be 85. 
                 "Well, Lois, I'll have to think about it."
                Lois said that she saw Goo Goo's new apartment. "It's beautiful, you can see Millennium Park and the lake and it's near his work and it has a gym. Do you ever see him?"
               "Only once since he moved."

                The boys are worried that Lee has lost his mojo. A nice looking friend of Anya's came in the bar Thursday night. They had gone to NYU together. The more the girl drank the more amorous she became. Lee could have closed the deal at anytime but didn't. You don't get opportunities like this every night.

             Buzz Kill continues to drag his leg. Even with his cane he took a tumble the other night. Of course the ten scotches he had might have had something to do with it.

               Lynn and Mitt went to Maine. An FBI agent friend of Mitt's is getting married to another man. Lynn says she's never been to a gay wedding before. We've clearly come a long way since the self hating homosexual founder of the FBI, Gay Edger Hoover, was running things.

             Dado and Ethan Lipton, the man who wrote "Red Handed Otter," came in after the play. He seemed like a nice chap. I told him how much I enjoyed the play.

           While I was walking to the bar this morning a coyote was tearing ass down the middle of Cleveland Street. 
           Fancypants was in better shape today. The reason he was late was because of the work being done on the Brown Line. Jimmy was a no show. There was a note from Grasshopper stating that he'd allowed Jimmy to leave his backpack in the back room and that he would provide me the details as to why when I see him tonight.  Because I had no Jimmy and Fancypants was late I did the sweeping. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fancy Pants Sick, Street Jimmy To The Rescue

                Monday

            
          The A Red Orchid Theater continues its hot streak of outstanding productions with "Red Handed Otter." It was cleverly written by Ethan Lipton. Dado did a boffo job directing. (Hopefully she'll beat her upcoming public intoxication rap and go on to direct many more great plays. Although Dado lives in Whiting Indiana she occasionally wonders across the border into Hammond.  If Gary is the arm pit of the Midwest, Hammond is the poop hole of Northern Indiana. But I digress.)
         "Red Handed Otter" takes place in the security office of a big company. Jim More did an excellent job designing the set;  it had a very authentic industrial feel and the TV video screens were a nice touch. Karen Kawa also did a professional job with the uniforms. I know Jacob was heartbroken when he didn't get the part of Donald but if it's any consolation, Luce Metrius,  who did get the part, was really, really good. Mierka, as usual, was terrific as Estelle. Nobody plays neurotic, off-beat women better than she does. She really should be in movies because she does so many subtle things with facial gestures that unless you're seated in just the right place you can't always receive their full impact.
          Guy Van Swearingen, who's straight job is fire lieutenant on the Chicago Fire Department, is without a doubt the most dominant physical actor in the city. The fight scene with Guy and Luce is the best I've seen in live theater. Guy took the boxing play he was in last year to New York. It was outstanding. I am really impressed with how Guy makes the other actors around him better. When another actor is speaking the expression on Guys face constantly changes as if he were a deaf person listening with his eyes.
           I loved Ashley Neal who played Angela. She has great stage presence and I found her extremely sexy. Bob Kruse is someone I'm going to look forward to seeing in the future. There is an air of exaggerated violence about him that really works.
         The play was about how pets effect the lives of their owners. It illustrates the strange contradiction of feelings  which are common to most people.  There is probably no more revealing insight into a persons character than how they treat and interact with animals. I absolutely believe the studies that have shown most serial killers to have been animal torturers.
         It was opening night and there were a number of critics present. I sat next to Doug Vickers, who's an ensemble member. Dado was sitting behind me with her Texas stud muffin, Brady. Both Doug and Dado laughed throughout the play. ( I congratulated Brady on his fellow Texan, Jordan Spieth's victory in last weeks Masters.) This is a must see play for anyone that happens to be in or around Chicago.

                         Tuesday

          Fancypants was not well. He says he's very congested. I think his dentist is a quack and that he got an infection when he had his wisdom tooth removed last month. 

           The Actress returned from the theater festival in Louisville and stopped by the bar. Her trip sounded exhausting.

                        Wednesday 

             Fancypants'  mom called and said he was too sick to come to work. Luckily Street Jimmy was coherent. The two of us did a reasonably competent job of cleaning the bar. Jimmy was in an extremely garrulous mood. He seemed like he needed to talk to someone or go bonkers. Not only did he finally admit that he'd spent eight days at Reed Mental Hospital two weeks ago, he entertained me with a number of amusing anecdotes about his stay. 
          "I like a nurse there tha's why I went back. It used to be fun at Reed an' there was a lotta fuckin' goin' on, not jus' with the patients, some of the nurses was fuckin' too. They got stricter now. There was a lotta group therapy, you talked about different stuff. They gots art stuff an' I drawed some pictures. You get checked out by real doctors. The trouble is you can't leave until they say you can...This lady nurse say, 'wha you say to me,' an' I cussed her ass out an' she call the guards an about six of them held me down and she say 'give Mr. C  a shot' an' I begged 'em not to do it 'cause they shoots you up with thorazine and you go all limp. Some of the peoples there gots shot up so many times it don' fuck 'em up nomore. It's like jail, only not as bad. Some peoples be cryin' 'cause they wants to go home. Lots of peoples there aren't crazy, they like me, they jus' tryin' to get their SSI money.You gots to be careful 'cause if you acts up they shoot you with the thorazine. They straps you down and sticks the needle in you. I begged 'em 'please don' stick me. I like the arts and crafts shit. "
            "Why'd you cuss out the nurse?"
             "'Cause she say I couldn't listen to some music. I said, bitch, mind your own  business. She say 'what you say to me? When the guards come I started fightin' them but they was too many. They can't hit you with no clubs but they kinda sneaks up on ya."

           After we finished the bar Jimmy and I went to the condo and cleaned up the yard.

         Thursday

             Fancypants mom called me at eight this morning. She said Danny is still very sick. "He's all congested. He's coughing up lots of mucus and his ears are plugged up and he's disjointed. I want him to go to my doctor but doctors aren't like they used to be and my doctor doesn't work on Thursdays."
            I told her that we all wish Danny a speedy recovery.
            Once again Street Jimmy came through and showed up as alert as any reasonable person could possibly expect him to be. Tobin showed him how to mix the bleach and fill the mop pail. Jimmy loved the concoction she created to clean the toilets and the urinal.
          "This shit work good. It smell strong and gets all the stink  outa the air."
            Jimmy put in a solid hour cleaning the bar. I have to be with him a lot because he tends to forget where things go. If Jimmy wasn't such an out of control crack-head he'd be good at maintenance work. He actually seems to enjoy the act of cleaning and making things smell better. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Genius Has Poor Impulse Control

               When Street Jimmy asked me for a beer Saturday I told him he could have one if he was able to walk a straight line for twenty-feet. After the first five or six steps he began  holding onto chairs.
            "Jimmy, that's cheating."
            As soon as he let go of the chairs he lost his balance and stumbled. The gang in the corner found this amusing as did several civilians sitting at nearby tables. On his next attempt Jimmy did better but began to wobble and then staggered badly at about the three quarter mark. Delighted at the spectacle Jimmy was making I gave him several more chances. He seemed to do better when he walked fast, but not that much better.
          
            The dog lady's white and black dog is very aggressive when receiving a dog treat. Fancypants knows this and always places the dog treats on a chair. Street Jimmy didn't realize how savage the dog was and so when he insisted on giving the dog a treat it lunged at him and almost bit him. This irked Jimmy, "tha's the las' time I'm ever feedin' tha' damn dog."

         D-Train has been making himself scarce lately. It remains a mystery as to why.

           Mike Makings introduced me to his girlfriend, Maggie last week. She is Jack Foley's daughter. Jack used to be Pauly's A's rat partner in their pussy chasing days.  I found Maggie delightful. Her mom used to be a lust object of mine. I loved her moms sexy outfits and especially her high heeled shoes. I'm sad to report that I was never able to work my magic on her.

         Ruben Four Toes said Lassie reruns are among his favorite TV shows. "I only like the ones with Jeff, not Timmy." Ruben continues to harbor ill will toward his late mother. "I had no childhood, she hated me."
          "Well," I said, " delivering you into the world had to be a nightmare. I'm sure you ripped the poor women's vagina to shreds."
        Scratching the top of his head Ruben thought about what I said before he replied, "this is true. Maybe that's why she didn't give me any titty milk."

           Street Jimmy likes Strauss waltzes, especially the "Blue Danube." WFMT is on one of their insipid fund drives and so we won't be listening to any classical music for the next week. Having to listen to a  boring functionary telling me about the wonders of a WFMT tote bag instills within me a number of violent emotions. The  condescending familiarity the on air "personalities" employ when making their pitches makes me want to throw myself on the floor and weep.  Couched in the purest and most grammatical English they keep speaking in one unbroken monotonous flow. They seem to have no regard for their listeners and seem to be perfectly satisfied simply to be talking.  

         Sunday I took my walk in the morning because I wanted to make sure I got a nap before the Masters Golf Tournament. As I was walking past St. Michael's Church I looked in the front door. I was pleased to see that the church was only half full. Maybe people are wising up. Religion is a racket in which the bible thumping hucksters prey upon the feeble minded. If church attendance keeps falling I'm sure they'll come up with some new gimmicks. 

          I always enjoy watching the Masters on TV. After five dreary winter months finally getting to see blue skies and bright green grass along with  azaleas and dogwoods blooming in the background lifts my spirits.
           The kid who won, Jordan Spieth, is a 21 year old phenom. Although he's from Dallas he doesn't talk with that grotesque George W Bush shit in your mouth drawl that so many Texans employ. Unlike the other hot young player, Rory McElroy, Spieth is only average when it comes to driving distance. The biggest flaw in Tiger Wood's game has always been his driving. Not content to be the best player in the world, Tiger had to be the longest hitter. Spieth does not seem to be hung up on distance. He plays a very methodical, controlled game. Tiger could learn a lot from Spieth tactically. 
          It seems fashionable for sports pundits to write Tiger off. I'm not so sure. Yes, he's definitely a nut case, but he is extremely talented. Nicklaus won his last Masters at 46. Tigers golf swing, however, is not conducive to longevity. Sam Sneed was competitive when he was 62, but unlike Tiger, Sneed's swing did not put unnecessary pressure on his knees. Tiger won his first  Masters by 11 strokes and immediately changed his swing. Spieth seems too smart to tinker with his remarkably efficient swing. The one thing I'd watch out for is his putting. He putted beautifully in the Masters, but he switches looking at the ball and then sometimes looking at the hole when he's putting. This could cause problems for him down the road. 
           Rory McElroy has the best swing I've seen since Sneed. It's going to be fun watching these guys in the future. McElroy has already gone through a manager, switched equipment and dumped his girlfriend. He is very streaky but when he's on he's amazing. I'd bet a lot of  money that Spieth won't have the same girlfriend by next years Masters. At 21 having pussy tossed in your face morning, noon and night has to be unsettling. I can't imagine myself at the age of 21 with millions of dollars and unlimited access to pussy. In fact I can't imagine myself at 74 with millions of dollars and unlimited access to pussy. I have poor impulse control. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Case Of The Missing Umbrella

          
             Ruben Four Toes poked his gum with a toothpick Monday evening.  Gracie made no effort to conceal how amused she was by the hemorrhaging Hispanic's discomfort. Watching him try to stanch the blood with napkins, she  tried to talk him into using a tampon:
         "Ruben, tampons soak up blood much better than napkins. It's worth a try."
          It was hard for Ruben to articulate the venom he was directing at Gracie with all the napkins stuck in his bloody mouth.
          Before going to the bar I had dinner at The Actresses house. She was looking like a young coed in her colorful University of Wisconsin sweat shirt. Her son went to the U. of Wisconsin and so she felt obliged to root for Wisconsin in the NCAA basketball championship game which was being played that night.
          After dinner we went to the Ale House to watch the game. After commiserating with the still bleeding Ruben Four Toes we went to the TV end of the bar and sat down.  It was an excellent game. I don't hate Duke or coach K, but neither do I like them. I found the fact that the U. of Wisconsin had an almost all white team curious.  The referees made a mess of some important calls, but in the end I think the better team probably won. If the Actress was disappointed, she didn't show it.

                 Tuesday, after Fancypants, Street Jimmy and I finished tidying up the bar I drove to Hyde Park to vote. I suppose I could change my address but I have always enjoyed the election day atmosphere in Hyde Park. I held my nose tightly and voted for the incumbent, Rahm Emanual. He is not a nice fellow, in fact he's arrogant and obnoxious, however Jesus Garcia, his opponent succeeded in enraging me with his inept campaign. He was presented with a golden opportunity to defeat a hugely unpopular mayor and flushed it down the toilet. I could have lived with his ridiculous mustache, and his inability to string two coherent sentences together, if he just would have taken off the gloves and come out swinging. Instead he played it safe, a kind of political rope a dope and made the election a referendum on Rham.
            I received a lot of flak from Jesus supporters.  It was misdirected flak because I was not the problem, Jesus was the problem. If Jesus' supporters had demanded that he adopt a populist platform from the beginning he certainly would have done better than a lousy 44 percent. I voted for Rahm the first time he ran because I didn't want to take a chance that the village idiot, Carol Mosley Braun, might win. Jesse Jackson backed Braun and she didn't win one black ward. Jesse backed Jesus this time and Jesus lost the black vote decisively. It was nice seeing Jesse, in an effusion of feeling, greeting his felon son as he was being released from prison last week. I wonder how often Jesse Sr. sees his love child in LA - you know, the love child that Operation Push is supporting - What a family of sewer rats. 
           After I voted I went to Valois and had pork chops. They were excellent. 
           
           Tuesday night I discussed the election with Ruben Four Toes at the Ale House. (He said the blood had finally stopped seeping out of his gum a couple of hours after he got home Monday night.) Ruben was outspoken on why he had voted for the Jew instead of the Mexican. 
          "Garcia was a dumb fuck. He couldn't run a fucking kool aid stand. Just because were both Mexicans doesn't mean I'm gonna vote for the asshole." Ruben said this in a tone of one who has made a high moral resolution.
          "I was pissed off when I went down to vote (Ruben's polling place is in the lobby of his old folks home) my asshole cleaning lady was a no show. I'm getting a new service, fuck them, they say they're coming and then they don't show. So when I voted I accidentally voted for Jesus and so I had to get another ballot. When little Gandhi asked me who I voted for I said, ' the Jew, fuck the Mexican." Ruben seemed to think this was a conclusive argument. 
  
          Wednesday morning Street Jimmy was unusually snarky. On his best days he's extremely annoying, however, when he's tired and in a bad mood he's unbearable. 
           Fancypants said he'd seen Cinderella Tuesday and loved it, "I think it's going to win all kinds of awards. I cried three times.
           Jimmy has been lugging around a black garbage bag with all of his worldly possessions in it. He lost the good back pack I gave him last week. When he left the bar after being fed by Fancypants, he mistakenly picked up the much heavier garbage bag filled with bar trash and threw it over his shoulder. 
           It was hilarious watching him struggle down the street with the trash filled bag. When our mirth had finally subsided we speculated on what he'd do when he realized he'd mistakenly carried garbage five or six blocks.
           "He's so ungrateful," Fancypants said in exasperation, "he never says thanks, or please - "
            "Yes," I said, "and it's annoying that he never says goodbye, he just walks out. Perhaps we should all chip in and send him to charm school." 

               Wednesday night we all got a good laugh out of Tuesdays Cubs game being called off because of insufficient toilets. The moronic Ricketts family that owns the team have turned Wrigley Field into a  construction site. Because of the work being done they had to close a bunch of restrooms. The idiots didn't take this into consideration and order porto potties and so people were pissing in cups and against walls on opening day. I think the toilet fiasco is a perfect metaphor for the entire Cubs organization.
           I met a nice fellow from California named Stewart. He was in town for a few days and thought he'd stop by the bar after he'd seen us on Anthony's TV show. He lives halfway between San Francisco and Yosemite. I think of all the places I've ever been to, Yosemite is the most beautiful. 

            Thursday afternoon I received an angry call from Fancypants. Street Jimmy had pilfered his umbrella that morning and as a  result he was soaked by the time he made it home. I promised Fancypants that I would address the situation as soon as I saw the umbrella thief.

          When I went to the bar Thursday night it was seventy degrees. It had been raining on and off most of the day and the air had that wonderful balmy feeling you get after the first warm Spring rain. 
             When I saw Street Jimmy I berated him for stealing Fancypants' umbrella!
            "I didn' steal no umbrella."
            "Yeah, well I saw you do it on the camera you lying sack of shit."
              Of course I didn't see him on the computer  because I don't know how to operate the video recorder but my lie worked because Jimmy said: "It was an accident."
            "How can it be an accident when you pick up something that doesn't belong to you and you take it. "
              "I didn' steal it."
              Not being skilled in such matters Jimmy only dug himself a deeper hole as he tried to explain why taking somebody else's property was not stealing.
               "I don' steal!"
                "As I recall you did four years in the pen for stealing - "
                Correcting himself, "I don'  steal now is what I be sayin'" 

            


Monday, April 6, 2015

Birthday Boy Goes On An Orgy Of Crack Smoking

               Street Jimmy was a total mess after his birthday on Friday. Not only were people giving him money for crack, but he had more than a few shots of Hennessy cognac. His tolerance for crack is much higher than alcohol. By Saturday he was speaking in a hoarse whisper. His face was curiously twisted, whether by crack, booze, exhaustion, or paralysis, it was hard to determine. By Sunday morning he'd taken on the appearance of a zombie as he attempted to sweep the barroom floor. With broom in hand he collapsed into a chair five or six times. It became increasingly difficult to awaken him after each one of these mini sleeping incidents. After Fancypants heated up his food Jimmy continued to nod off while eating his pork and beans. I estimated that less than half the food actually made into his mouth. The rest of the food was scattered careless about on the table, floor as well as on Jimmy. Fancypants was understandably chagrined at Jimmy slovenliness. 
            It took me awhile but I finally figured out where Jimmy was the previous week: the ID card he had from Reed Mental Hospital on the Northwest side of Chicago was all the evidence I needed. Even when I confronted him about the ID he wouldn't admit to being there. My guess is that he considers being in the nut house a stigma. I don't know why?
          Yesterday after he staggered out of the bar and into the Easter Sunday sunshine he headed off in the direction of St. Michael's Church.  He was not seen for the rest of the day. This morning he was waiting for me outside the bar. He seemed refreshed.
             "I was tired as hell yesterday an' so I went to the church and slept an' then las' night I was still sleepin' in the church an' suddenly there was cops all around me an' they threw me in the wagon an' then I fell right back asleep."
           "You slept that long?"
            Jimmy nodded, "yeah, I slept like a mother fucker."
            "I would have thought somebody would have noticed you in the church?"
            "Uh, uh, so the po-leece say it's only Jimmy so they drove me to the hospital instead of the police station and so I slept there until jus' now."
            One of Jimmy's pet peeves is the bad hygiene of some of the homeless people who sleep on the El with him.
            "There was this fat lady the other day, she sat down an open her legs a little and it smell so bad everyone got out of the car an' got on the next car. The peoples on the El be scratchin' bad. The lady smelled like dead fish, you know, after it be layin' out for three days...

           I went to see the Archibald Motley exhibition at the Cultural Center on Wednesday with The Actress. I've seen other exhibitions of his work with a greater number of paintings, but  this one had several paintings I'd never seen before. Motley is a black Chicago artist and attended the Art Institute in the Twenties. He was light skinned and a bit of a dandy. He sported a rakish mustache and had an eye for the ladies. I did not realize until Wednesday that Willard Motley was his nephew. He wrote "Knock On Any Door." I read it as a kid and at the time it seemed kind of daring. 
           What struck me while viewing this particular show was not so much his neon color schemes, but how he used racially stereotypical characteristics like big lips and blunt noses to portray his generic dance hall and barroom characters. I have no problem with this technique, however, I'd bet a lot of money that had a  white artist painted the same paintings he'd be attacked for being racially insensitive. 
           I'd never made the connection before, but it wouldn't surprise me if another Chicago artist, the late Ed Paschke, borrowed Motley's neon color style. 
          Like the other Motley shows I've seen I'm always struck by how his works seems at a certain point to hit a wall and never recovers. I strongly recommend seeing the exhibition.
          On our way down the ornate staircase the Actress and I  caught the final part of the Dame Myra Hess concert. The young female Asian violinist was really, really good.

         Thursday, my niece Anne Katrine and my sister in law Rosemarie stopped by the bar. Rosemarie is German and I had her talk to Street Jimmy in German. Jimmy always seems confused when he hears people speaking in foreign languages.
           Both my brothers are currently living directly across the lake in St. Joseph Michigan. Although I'm the eldest brother it would seem that these days  I'm also the healthiest. My family has never been known for asceticism and it would appear now that we're all in our seventies our history of over indulging in food and drink has finally caught up with us. 

          On Friday D-Train, after a  marathon bout of drinking, stumbled home and took a nap. According to reliable sources he came back the bar about four hours later dressed in a suit and tie. After he inquired about the Easter pizzas somebody informed him that it was still Saturday - D-Train had awakened from his nap thinking that it was Easter Sunday.
         Before Tobin left on her latest vacation she purchased some Vito and Nicks frozen pizzas. She bought them on the South Side and put them in a freezer chest filled with dry ice. Gracie was entrusted with heating them up on the pizza cooker. This she did and everyone agreed that the pizzas were quite tasty. A large group of Mexican that worked at Adobo came in and helped us eat the pizzas. 
          After I ate my pizza I took a walk. It was a lovely day and as I walked along the beach I had to step around the dozens of bodies that were stretched out basking in the sun. On my way back from my walk I noticed D-Trian in his suit and tie aimlessly turning around in circles a half a block from Burton Place. He didn't recognize me when I walked past him.

       Since I've switched to only writing my blog on Mondays and Fridays I've made significant progress on California Jail Break. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Street Jimmy Returns

             Gracie called Monday afternoon and put Street Jimmy on the phone. He didn't make a lot of sense although he sounded cheerful. I told him I'd catch up with him when I got to the bar. 
            Because it was such a pleasant day I took a long walk after my nap. 
           A cop car almost hit me. I was about to cross Sedgwick when a cop car with its mars light flashing came racing past me. A few seconds later another cop car came speeding west on North Avenue and made a left on Sedgwick. The light turned green and so with my head turned in the direction of the two cop cars I started to cross the street. Another cop car, this time with its mars light not on, heading east on North Avenue made a sharp turn and missed me by inches. The girl behind me made an audible gasp and a guy screamed something to the effect that the cop was a crazy asshole. My first thought was how ironic it would have been for the Genius to be sent bye-bey to never-never land by a careless cop car, however, in the light of accumulating evidence too obvious to ignore I was forced to conclude that not only would it have been ironic, but side splittingly  funny, especially to my many enemies, had I been splattered all over Sedgwick Street by a fucked up Chicago cop car. 

           When I got to the bar I grilled Jimmy about his whereabouts. He was predictably evasive. His initial story is that he was visiting relatives in Chicago Heights. I could  tell that he was  lying by looking into his eyes. I'm sure he was somewhere in the South Suburbs and that he'd had  some contact with his family, however, it's going to take me the rest of the week to find out the exact details.
            Miss Mooch came in and squeezed herself between the Inventor and me. She tends to bore quickly. She seemed to get shit faced surprisingly fast. It makes one wonder if she is partaking in some other substances?
          Grace said Pub Crawl Liz couldn't display the two vagina paintings I donated to her fund raiser for the abused puppy her special gal wants to bring back from Nepal. The problem was that there were kids present.  

              Ruben Four Toes wants somebody competent to cut his remaining four toe nails. After I assured him Gracie loved doing gross things if they entailed cutting, picking or scraping the human body Ruben seemed relieved. When Gracie refused to cut his nasty toe nails Ruben was understandably miffed. Raising his eyebrows he observed accurately, " Gracie, you're a spoiled brat." 
            Mitt  offered to cut the nails with a caveat: "I can't do it if I've just eaten or am about to eat soon." In other words Mitt made it quite clear that he didn't have the stomach for the job. The general consensus was that the girls next door at the nail salon might give our fat friend a discount given that they'd only have to cut four toes. Ruben didn't like the idea of having to pay for the simple act of having his toe nails cut. "They'd probably charge me ten dollars a toenail."
          Daniella said that he'd talked to his sister who's a nurse and she advised only having an  experienced podiatrist cut Ruben's toe nails because bad things can happen to someone with diabetes if they get a cut in the area of their feet. Ruben, however, insisted that he no longer has diabetes because it was all removed with the amputation of his leg.
          "Ruben," I said, "if that's the case why does your existing leg look like it has been in a rather serious forest fire?"
          Ruben agreed that his leg was a bit on the dark and scaly side, however, he pointed out that it felt just fine.
          When Street Jimmy said he'd cut Ruben's toe nails for a dollar a toe, Ruben said with some alarm, "no fucking way I'm letting a little crack head loser cut my toe nails."
          Jimmy replied quickly, "how the hell hard is to cut some  fat guys toe nails. Sheet, let me do it Ruben."
          His toe nails were not the only thing vexing Ruben. "My fucking TV needs a new box thing." (Ruben doesn't have cable, he's quite content having regular TV as he prefers the classics like Ponderosa and Little House on the Prairie to modern fare.)
          "I can't sleep without the TV on. I had to go down to the TV room at three in the morning and watch TV before I could come back upstairs and go to sleep."

         Wednesday morning Jimmy was waiting for me outside the bar. It was a marvelous morning and Jimmy seemed fairly upbeat. When he pointed at a  broken bottle in the gutter dangerously close to a parked cars tires I told him he should pick it up. After he dumped the broken bottle it in the garbage can I said, "Jimmy, virtue is its own reward."
         Jimmy looked at me much  like a child when it thinks it is being lied to, "huh, wha you sayin' vir-choo?"
         "Vir-tue. Virtue means doing something good without being told to. Let's say you have a girlfriend, and she doesn't go around sucking every guy she meets dick. That means she's virtuous."
            Hesitating a  little Jimmy cocked his head to the side and  said, "well, I sees wha' you mean - kinda."
            "When you do a good deed you're being virtuous. Therefore, virtue is it's own reward. It was nice of you to pick up the broken bottle so the car wouldn't get a flat tire. Jesus would have picked up the broken bottle."
            With a veracious nod of his head, Jimmy smiled and said, "yeah, Jesus woulda been vir-choo-ess."

           It was Fancypants birthday and when he walked in the door Jimmy and I sang a resounding happy birthday to him. Blushing, Fancypants put his back pack on the bar and said, "one year older. I hate birthdays."
           When Jimmy insisted on wanting to know how old Fancypants was I said, "Jimmy, Twinks don't like to get old. After you reach a certain age you are no longer a twink."
            When Fancypants spoke there was no indignation in his voice, only deep regret, "you're right. Twinks don't even so much as glance at me anymore."
            Trying to view the matter in the best light possible Jimmy said, "my birthday is tomorrow."
            "No Jimmy, " Fancypants said in exasperation, "your birthday is on the third."

             Ruben Four Toes was in much better mood Thursday. His niece cut his toe nails and his nephew brought him a new box for his broken TV.
                    
                   Next blog, Monday