Category Archives: STFU

Chances Are

Saturday night at Maxwells I see Bob Bert waiting for a bus to headed to Manhattan. I’ve been spending a lot more time at Maxwell’s lately, more than I have in quite a while. Perhaps it is the circle of life which if taken literally means I am about to die. I certainly hope not and the song Circle of Life is not one of Elton John’s songs that I like. But here it is, I’m inside watching Bob Bert wait for a bus outside. He must have caught the bus when I looked askance since he wasn’t there anymore when I looked again.

It was an interesting night at Maxwell’s. Someone was having a birthday gathering with about 75 of their closest friends. It was getting crowded that tables were moved into the basement to make room for the people who were standing around and drinking instead of sitting down and eating. I’m glad I was able to help out and if things go smoothly (and I don’t see why they wouldn’t) I will be helping out more and more.

Standing in the restaurant and seating people if they wanted to have some dinner. I found that standing and holding menus shows that I am working there and if I greet people without menus the people think I’m some strange geezer at the door.

And geezer at the door was a position I did hold at Maxwell’s for a few years, usually on Thursday nights though whatever night was needed I was more or less, there. I did find myself being a relic of sorts when the staff heard that I used to work there back in the day, nights when Nirvana played on a Thursday night, or Smashing Pumpkins on the same bill with Blood Oranges. Crazy lineups.

I didn’t care much for those bands then, thought Nirvana did get in my good graces. I preferred the Minutemen playing to those Sub Pop bands. Never really got into the Seattle sounds though my roommate at the time, Kevin loved all that stuff like Tad and Mudhoney. For me, the guys were gross and the music sounded like sludge. Half the staff seemed to like the Sub Pop bands and the other half thought the same as me.

I also saw something that sort of made sense the other night at Maxwell’s. At one of the tables sat a group of four bears, you know the hirsute bearded gay guys. One of them was rather flirty with me which I thought was a compliment. A few feet away stood a few patrons, hirsute bearded straight guys. I figured it out that once again, straight men taking their cues from gay men, this time bear culture which may have fed the bearded Fleet Foxes type of music these days. Guys that look like their grandfathers were in the Band.

I found that amusing. Also amusing is the fact that according to Rolling Stone magazine, Maxwell’s is the number 3 rock and roll club in the United States. With publicity like that chances are that I will be needed to help out there more often. And access to free shows as well is nice.





The Feeling

The other night I was lying in bed, relaxed with eyes closed, not asleep but not fully awake. I lay there and thought about the solar system the planets and I swear I had a cosmic consciousness moment.

It was a deep feeling in my body that still gives me a good feeling thinking about it or giving me goose bumps as I told Bill earlier tonight. I thought about the lineup of the planets, their orbits around the sun. Generally I would think of the lines being on the same plane or horizon.

Then I started thinking about it vertically and above and under that horizontal line and that was when things got all tingly. I described it to Bill like it was walking and talking and then I was off a cliff and just feeling the universe and really seeing the oneness of it all.

A psychedelic experience? Nirvana? It was certainly overwhelming to be facing & understanding everything all at once. It was so overwhelming that I had to open my eyes to get back to planet Earth.

I have had some experience with lysergic substances as well as the occasional fungi. And I never had a psychedelic experience like that.




This has not been a Jayson Berray Production.

I Speak Because I Can

Friday Friday, spent running around town. It was a nice day, if not cold. A trip to the bibliothèque, the supermarket nearby and a visit to the post office. Bill and I watched Lincoln the other night and I asked if he had ever seen My Left Foot. He hadn’t so I requested it from the bibliothèque, as well as Searching for Sugar Man, a documentary about Rodriquez, a singer from Detroit who had a record deal that went nowhere and after dropping out of sight, became a big star in South Africa of all places. I haven’t watched it yet, so that was gleaned from the DVD cover.

My Left Foot was the second movie I saw Daniel Day Lewis in, the first being My Beautiful Launderette, which I saw at Maxwells in the 1980’s when the wonderful Martha Griffin was running the film series. I remember seeing My Left Foot with Julio in Secaucus when it came out. Of course by the end of the film my bladder moved behind my eyes. I also saw my mother in the role played by Brenda Fricker in the role of Christy Brown’s long suffering and self-sacrificing mother. Irish stereotypes perhaps, but it did come out a few years before my mother shook off her mortal coil.

I also remember Catherine Cloud talking about how she couldn’t believe (though she did) that Daniel Day Lewis was the same actor, playing a mid 1980’s London punk in My Beautiful Launderette as well as a Victorian dandy twit named Cecil in A Room with a View. I did not see A Room with a View until a few years later when I was able to appreciate Catherine’s astonishment. And it is one of my favorite movies, definitely in my top twenty or thirty.

I did see Daniel Day Lewis once in Union Square Park in the 1990’s when wandering around with Julio one afternoon. He was alone and both Julio and I recognized him, not that he was disguised or anything. We thought we would tell him that we thought he was a great actor, but decided against it, leaving him alone to eat his lunch. No one else seemed to know who he was and I suppose going up to him and drawing attention probably would not be that good an idea. I do think he is probably the best actor working today.

Tonight I am home alone, Bill is driving once more, I think it is to Atlantic City. That is where he usually winds up, though last week was extra special, being an extra on Lawn Hors d’œuvre and driving a bus as part of the role. Of course I will write about when it is broadcast so you can clear your DVR of Cake Boss and Armenian Idol. I do have movies I can watch, and I am catching up on the New Yorker once again. And I have a few books to read that I got for Christmas as well as a book, ‘Suddenly, a Knock on the Door’ by Etgar Keret which is also on loan from the bibliothèque.

I Saw God Today

A divided day, half spent at the bibliothèque and the other half at the cigar shop. Both are volunteer gigs, one gives me free cigars, the other gives me time. I put various items on the shelves in the bibliothèque , mainly DVD’s, CD’s and Blue Rays. After that I made my way to the cigar shop where Shlomo was anxiously waiting on my arrival. Once again Shlomo had other places to be, so it was up to me to open the shop and run it. I don’t mind that the carrot at the end of the stick is a cigar.

Brandon stopped by after Shlomo hit the road and blessed me with a cigar that a salesman had dropped off last night. I’ll smoke it and if I like it it might be picked up by the cigar shop. I’m not the only one who was blessed so once all the reviews are in, a decision should be made. Brandon split after a few minutes and I set about cleaning up and doing some data entry on the computer, holding the clipped and unlit cigar in my hand or my jaw. Since the board of health stopped by, smoking is verboten in the cigar shop.

I occasionally have a puff though and when I do, I don my overcoat and stand in front of the cigar shop next to a politically incorrect native American wooden statue that a lot of cigar stores used to have. But there was no time this morning for that and I sat chomping on an unlit stogie. Shlomo came back and we moved a few items around. Then my cellphone rang. It was Israel, one of Shlomo’s partners in cigars. Israel was quite irate, in fact I think furious would be the best word to use.

Israel was yelling into my cell phone, asking who was smoking in the shop this morning. I told Israel that there was no one smoking in the shop. I explained that if I would be smoking I would be right outside the shop, and if I needed to come back in I would leave my cigar on the wooden indigenous person outside. It turned out that someone from the board of health (or a twenty something tenant) was probably walking by and saw me with an unlit cigar in my mouth and figured it was lit and I was smoking. Which of course I wasn’t.

But the board of health (or a twenty something tenant) saw what they wanted to see and complained about nothing. It’s bullshit and these guys who are trying to open a legitimate business here in downtrodden Hoboken have the full weight and heft of the obese direction of the board of health. Perhaps they’re looking for a greased palm, perhaps they are actually doing their job however haphazardly. Shop Local Help Rebuild Hoboken say the signs on a lot of stores in town, and on the other hand you have foolhardy zealots seeing things that aren’t there and causing a lot of stress and commotion when it’s not needed.
Ode to Billie Joe

I Live For You

Wow. Just coming back to life. Been a weird day and that was partially from not eating much. Had a bowl of cereal this morning and then this afternoon for lunch I had two eggs. I bought a dozen eggs this morning and when I brought them home found two of them were cracked so I decided to fry ‘em up and eat them for lunch. Well apparently that wasn’t enough. I went out busking this afternoon, there were no toddlers (who always bring a boost of energy and happiness) but still I played for about two and half hours.

I think I am getting better and today’s new song was You Won’t See Me by the Fabs and I even sang along to it. So I strummed along while being bitten by flies and hopefully not fleas. That was troublesome, I’d strum and then have to stop to scratch my legs and occasionally pour some Purell on the gams. Not too many people around today and in the distance I could hear someone with a conga. I decided to stay put and continue playing. After a while I moved up the promenade and sat and read Mojo magazine and enjoyed a cigar.

I came home after finishing the magazine and the cigar and just felt so fatigued so I took a nap. I set the online alarm clock for an hour and slept about 50 minutes. I figured I needed something to eat and set about making some dinner. As I was getting started the phone rang and it was Bill and he sounded stressed. He did take a day off from work yesterday so the work had probably piled on his desk and still his mind and heart is reeling from his cousin’s murder so that would stress anyone.

He was frantic since he had clothes at the dry cleaners that needed to be picked up and they were closing in five minutes. So I put on my flip flops and walked around the block, putting my food prep on hold. I was still pretty much tired but Bill needed his clothes so off I went. I was back in ten minutes anyhow and set about finishing getting my dinner ready. And it was a good dinner, still reading Carole King’s memoir and careful not to get any pesto on the pages. Carole is getting sued by the neighbors in Idaho.

As I was eating I had the TV on MSNBC and the orange man himself John Boehner was on doing his shtick. I started to lose my appetite and had to get up and walk into the next room and change the channel. I suppose it’s going to be like this for the rest of the week should I choose to watch the news channels. I am tempted to watch at 10:30 when the New Jersey governor Chris Christie is making the keynote speech. I have money on this speech, or rather that the stage will collapse under his weight, but more so under his ego.

Last night Bill and I finally watched the Road Warrior. We’d both seen it before but I think I had seen it more. It is truly one of the best action films ever, George Miller did a fantastic job. Despite seeing it maybe a dozen times more or less, it still amps up the intensity. It is definitely a film to own. Just incredible 30 years later. And of course there is the homoerotic vibe of the bad guys in leather, specifically Wez and his blonde boy toy on the back of his motorcycle.

And I still say the prologue of The Road Warrior is almost exactly what is going on today and where this world could be headed.

peek a boo

09 – Breakin’ in My Heart

I Love A Piano

It’s a Tuesday and it’s another day that I’ve spent mainly indoors. Bill’s birthday is Friday and I am trying to clean up the apartment since it’s been looking a bit shabby and for the past month despite having the time to do it, I’ve been too depressed and easily distracted to do anything. Over the weekend I had the idea to start cleaning so yesterday that is exactly what I did. There are/were lots of things to be thrown out, or categorized. Things that hadn’t been used, or are broken or held some now forgotten sentimental value have been resigned to the bin.

When I was working at the cigar shack, almost every night I would come home with papers. Papers with the store totals for the day, papers with the employee sales. Looking at these papers before I shredded them I noticed that my quotas were quite good, usually higher than whomever I was working with, though the person I was ‘competing’ with was usually Thomas. And I also noticed and remembered giving sales to Jerry Vale, sometimes steering a customer to him, sometimes ringing items up under his name since I hit the quota I had set for myself.

The funny thing is Zack never noticed and one of the last staph meetings that I attended, Zack felt that not enough was being done to help Jerry Vale meet his quotas. I kept quiet and listened to Zack go on about teamwork. Zack’s ‘Iago’ probably put him up to it and I was the understudy for the role of Desdemona though I didn’t know it at the time. But that’s all done with and the past has been shredded. Why I took Frank Pennino’s invoice home, why Tim Denny’s packing list existed here- I couldn’t say. A halfhearted attempt to recycle perhaps.

I don’t need Christian Gluck, James Weber, Robert Telli or Keon Sims’ information here so now it’s all slivers of paper laying at the curb waiting to be picked up and disposed of. I do not need Miguel Estrada’s email nor do I need Steve White’s favorite cigar list. I will never see these people again and that door has been slammed shut. Sure there were a few hotties I wouldn’t mind hearing from again but it seems most unlikely that our paths will cross once more and that’s fine by me. Whatever relationships that were formed are over now.

Another thing about cleaning up is the fact that I found a couple of notebooks from years ago, as well as letters that never made it to the post. Some are funny, some are maudlin and some are wondering when Carlo will be showing up with the blow. After Carlo showed up, the writing generally stopped. It was over when the fat lady sang with a couple of grams of cocaine. And there are photographs and some albums that have been rediscovered. Some will be scanned somewhere down the line to my chagrin as well as some of the other subjects in the photos.

I do want to wish Kevin Threat congratulations on the birth of his daughter Zora and I sincerely wish Kevin, his wife Jen and their other daughter Dee Dee all the best wishes for their future.

RIP Nora Ephron

Fire (live)

I Like The Way She Do It

Somehow I was able to manage going to school and working part time. It was no big thing and I preferred work to school. In 1978 I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, I knew that I was not to be college bound. I was working in the college department and once summer school ended, I worked the month of August as much as possible while still listed as a part timer. I was pretty much straight edge in most senses of the term, no drugs, no drinking. But I was having sex and it was decidedly not ‘straight’

My parents had friends named Larry and Mary Jane. Larry did some work with the National Guard which had a base near where I lived. Near the National Guard base was a rest area on Route 80. The rest area was a short cut of sorts to get from my neighborhood to the local supermarket and the Two Guys department store. My friends and I didn’t think much about the rest area, it was just a place to walk through that ran parallel to Essex Street, situated next to a Nathan’s Hot Dogs stand. My friends and I did not notice much.

One night I overheard about how the National Guardsmen raided the rest area. It seemed that there was a lot of undesirables loitering there doing unnatural acts at night. Basically a bunch of closeted and not so closeted men would drive there and cruise each other, having sex in the bushes. So the National Guard came in and harassed or busted a few heads open, all in the name of decency. I didn’t pay much attention to the violent aspect of what was said but the thought of sex with men in the bushes stayed in my mind.

One night while alone at home, I did wander over there and saw some things and even participated in some action. I enjoyed it a lot and likened it to being in the sexual revolution. While my classmates at Paramus Catholic were busy trying to unhook bras or even trying to get their girlfriends to ‘just give it a little kiss’ down there, I was getting blown by their fathers, uncles and neighbors. I figured that if what I was warned about was so much fun, that a few other places must have some similar things to offer to a horned up teenage boy.

So whenever I had the chance, I would check out these places I was told to stay away from. The Garden State Plaza had a public restroom underneath the mall in the subterranean concourse, next to Bambergers. It was a goldmine of sorts. And there was a system set up to warn the men there doing things with other men to cool it, someone was approaching. It was a very hot scene and through a system of one guy being a lookout, informing another lookout, a glance to the guy constantly washing his hands and someone whistling, doors were shut, men left hurriedly and in under 60 seconds it was like nothing was going on, just the smell of musk and man scents lingering in the air.

One time while going there, I stumbled into the vice principal of Paramus Catholic enjoying himself in a stall. I don’t think he recognized me (he was also a councilman in a neighboring town) but I certainly recognized him. There were crackdowns on occasion, mall security would come in every now and then and clear everyone out. One time, a former neighbor was working as mall security and noticed me as part of the horned up group of men zipping up on the way out. I didn’t think much of him then, he was a bully and treated his wife and kids quite badly.

All this while juggling school and work. Living a double life at age 16.

Mr. Impatient

My Guy

21 My Guy

I Lie Around

It’s been another day. Today was a Saturday and as far as I know it still is, though for some of you it is already tomorrow. Glad I did not have to wake up early for another round of Pakistani charades like yesterday. Who knew Bradley was so versant in Urdu?

Bill was up before I was and actually started to converse with me as I lay sleeping. I pleaded (read: snapped) at him to please let me continue sleeping. He should have known better, but still what he said was encouraging. He keeps saying he has my back and I certainly believe him. He knows what has been going on and has been able to make light of the situation.

I caught the bus as usual, rode into Manhattan. Near the bus terminal was the usual weekend flea markets and the avenue was filled with people headed to a food festival. I avoided that so I would not be late for work. My co-workers were Jerry Vale, Bradley and Zack. Jerry Vale was his usual effervescent self, Bradley just grunted and Zack to my surprise waxed effusive.

I set about doing the things I do, making sure items were in stock so the store would run smoothly. There were lots of fingerprints on the glass, doors and windows so I took care of that. Some of my favorite customers came in, some specifically looking for me and it was good to see them.

It was a busy day over all. I had three Asian women to deal with and as I finished their transaction I asked if they were Japanese and they said no, they were Korean and pretty. ‘You certainly couldn’t say that if we were Japanese!’ I nodded and then kept my mouth shut after thanking them as they headed to the door.

Lunchtime came soon enough and I decided to check it out. It was in Hell’s Kitchen which used to be dodgy, but now it’s like Chelsea now, meaning pretty gay. And things being what they are I of course ran into a former hook up, Ruben. He lived nearby as I remembered and wondered if it was a Freudian thing that got me there.

There must be something in the air, perhaps its spring fever since it finally does feel like spring, but I allowed myself to be seduced and went back to Ruben’s studio apartment. It was just as I remembered our previous encounters, lots of laughs, quite a bit of moaning and throbbing and I have to admit it is quite sexy when Ruben talks in Spanish during intercourse.

It’s like a Gomez/Morticia thing, with Gomez going bananas whenever Morticia would speak French. A few pile drives later and a quick jump in Ruben’s tiny shower and I was back on the street headed back to the cigar shack. Luckily I stretched beforehand so there were no Charlie horses to contend with though my shoulders did ache a bit from Ruben’s legs resting on them.

It was great to see Ruben once again and we exchanged numbers. His schedule is quite erratic, more than mine- and said anytime I wanted to stop by on my lunch hour- he was up for it both literally and figuratively as am I, even right now. A Five Hour Energy drink was purchased on my way back to the cigar shack so I would not have any flagging spirits throughout the rest of the day.

A few hours later and Bradley split first, then Zack with Jerry Vale and I manning the fort. It was a bit busy oddly enough before closing and I thought about paying Ruben a house call on the way home, but decided against it since I am working with Zack and Jerry Vale tomorrow. I did text Ruben and we might have a lunch date tomorrow, so that’s something to look forward to for sure.

Ruben Ruben Ruben (old modeling pic)

04 From a Buick 6

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

Well it certainly was not easy getting up this morning at 6:00AM to attend Bradley’s swinging training session but I got myself together and was on my way at the appointed time. Lot’s of buses to choose from and I chose the right one. Pretty colors and flashing lights and all that, that’s what got my attention.

I received word the the Red Herring was in town, code name Albert Ross. He wanted to meet up for a quickie and I explained that though I was more than willing I had this meeting to attend. I chatted with Bill and didn’t bring it up since we have a DADT thing. It’s a lot like what GZA said. Who knew the former genital massager would still have my back even when his legs used to rest upon my shoulders.

I was the last to arrive at the gilded cigar shack. There was Bradley in his Klerk Kunt mode, Thomas and Jerry Vale all standing in the front of the store. Much to my surprise, Zack wasn’t around. Bradley ran down a list of things he wanted from us, how disappointed in our performances despite hours and hours of rehearsal, we just can’t get that one…two… down pat.

Thomas blamed Jerry Vale and Jerry Vale blamed me and we all blamed Bradley who turned beet red, like the day the it was announced Zack was going to be the manager and not him. It was truly a sight behold. Also the score that Zack provided us left a lot to be desired, things like a beat, even notes. He can swing a harmonica though.

Zack eventually wafted in on his gossamer wings looking like a faerie prince. He alit on a chair and fired up a cigar like a Lewis Carroll character. We watched Zack blow smoke rings, and after trying to stay awake during that we walked into the humidor for an impromptu game of charades.

Thomas scored big with The Effect of Gamma Rays on the Man in the Moon Marigolds which I suspected was the answer but dared not say aloud. Bradley and his interpretation of a Night to Remember was totally forgettable so that’s just what we did. We had the option after the meeting to stay or leave and come back at our assigned start time and that’s what I opted for.

I rendezvoused with Albert Ross at his hotel and really enjoyed a hot 60 minute session with Albert. I forgot what a totally hot lover he is and it brought back memories of screwing around with him for the past 30 years. I had enough time between the cigar shack and the hotel room to pick up some magnums and lube.

And the misbegotten cigar shack was miles away from my mind as we kissed, licked and explored every part of our bodies. Cocks and whatnot spewing forth. Albert was quite happy with the cigar I brought and it was nice having a quick nap in his arms when we were through and the shared shower was helpful as I soon headed back to the cigar shack with charlie horses in both legs.

I must introduce Albert to Bill sometime, even though Bill is not into men of color, no matter if they once played for the NBA. I mean, I knew Albert before the NBA and our intermittent hook ups were so enjoyable for him especially since I had no interest in whatever it was that he did, or does. It was always about hot man on man sex.

He did ask me to travel with him back in the day, asked me in a Swiftian way, but I have to admit it was merely a modest proposal. Albert is not gay, he just likes to bottom for me.

05 Always Crashing InThe Same Car

“Much more witty than the Columbus Circle blog aka cigar shack. Who knew Herkuleast still had my back?? I guess the GZA was right.”

I Know You Rider

So this is day five and this is the wall that accompanies day five. It has been a long day. Started with Bill over sleeping and kissing me goodbye. I asked if he made coffee and he hadn’t since he was running late. Neither of us has been sleeping well so getting up in the morning has been quite a struggle, a pain in the tuchis.

He was out and I was up about a half hour later, shuffle into the shower after making coffee and pouring a bowl of cereal. A conference call at 8AM was scheduled with the big wigs from who knows where. It really did not have anything to do with me but still my telephone attendance was mandatory. Bradley and Zack were at the cigar shack and their presence was felt online.

My presence was not felt so much and at 8:12 I had a text from Zack asking if I was in on the call. I didn’t find the text until 9:30 when the conference call ended and I texted Nimrod back to let him know that I was and couldn’t text and phone at the same time, so take that Mr. Blackberry.

I flitted about the apartment while the drone droned on. I had speaker phone so I wasn’t missing anything really. I got dressed, did my morning business and drank cup after cup of coffee in an effort to stay awake. And I did stay awake through the conference call.

After that, a stop at the bibliotheque where I dropped off some items and picked u-p other items. A walk to the bus stop, ready to head to the Path train should my lately non existent bus did not show again. But it did and it was Chief at the wheel. Long time no see and not much chat between the two of us.

I made it to work and there was Jerry Vale with Zack and the great possum. Braley reaped the benefit of Zack’s largesse today, Jerry Vale and I left to fend for ourselves. And we did an admirable job of fending for ourselves, especially when Zack and Bradley went off for a ‘nooner’. Interpret anyway you’d like.

AT some point in a few weeks, Thomas and Jerry Vale and Bradley and I will have to be in the cigar shack to give a review on Zack and his managerial style or lack thereof. I came up with a line yesterday which some people thought was hilarious. ‘He aspires to be half assed, but as of now he’s merely quarter assed.’

I’ve discussed it with the non marsupials I work with and we’re all a bit cautious and they are advising caution on my part, since I have a way with words and despite being told our reviews would be confidential, people would know it was me who said whatever so I had best be careful. I don’t care right now, and as Bill said, what I say will probably depend on how I get along with Nimrod the day before. I could say he’s great when he’s sober…but how often is that?

09 My Baby

I Heard It Through The Grapevine Gladys Knight and The Pips

Oh what a long strange day it’s been. It started out earlier than usual, with Bill kissing me goodbye in the morning around 6:30. He’s so sweet and gentle and I am just a wolf in bed. An hour later I got out of bed and got myself together. Not enough milk for cereal so it was just coffee and I was out the door.

I do not like the crowds at all and when it is so early in the morning I like them even less. One good thing is the fact that there are a lot more buses and the bus lane is open so I was at the bus terminal in no time at all. It did give me enough time to get an egg sandwich which was not as good as it is on weekends.

Each time I go in there they seem to be trying out a new short order cook. I can’t complain though since the egg sandwich was 25 cents cheaper than it usually is.

I got to the cigar shack which was dark and that meant that Zack wasn’t in yet. I started work almost immediately on getting the cigars back on the shelves now that the painters are done with their work. They did a good job though. Zack did make it in and the two of us were able to get most of the cigars back on the shelves, leaving the rest for myself, Thomas and Bradley to restock the shelves.

And Thomas and Bradley did come in, leaving Bradley to tell me that he wanted Thomas and me to do the rest of the work. We got it done, thanks to some regular customers. I had to run an errand at lunch time which coincided with an errand that needed to be done for the cigar shack.

Some keys needed to be made, and there seemed to be only one locksmith in Manhattan who would be able to do the job. Very special keys that are made in Germany. So I was able to do that, get my own errand done and I came back from lunch about 20 minutes later than usual, but it was excusable since it was cigar shack business.

I came back from lunch, Thomas was then headed to his lunch while Zack and Bradley were sequestered in the office having a very long meeting. The meeting it turned out was about a whole new bunch of rules which was sent out a short time before I was leaving and I was too busy giving Jerry Vale my sales since I achieved my own personal goal.

And I will not read the rules until Monday since I am off both Saturday and Sunday. No I do not do work related things on my time. You’re gonna have to pay me to do such things.

I asked Zack if I could leave at 7:00 instead of 7:30 and when he asked why, all I could say was my body clock is screwed up. It wasn’t good enough of an excuse so I stayed for a very long half hour, giving more sales to Jerry Vale. And right before I left there was Thomas getting a very serious call which made the atmosphere even more bleak than it was earlier.

He needs me to switch a day in April so he could attend some family thing. The catch was I would have to work a five day shift which is killer and no one wants to work a five day shift. I’m sure if I was able to sit in an office most of the day it would be no problem, but I am on my feet for 9 hours a day, so that would make it 45 hours of standing around selling cigars and whatnot.

Still, it is over, I am home and surprised I was able to write this much. Time to chill. Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight and tomorrow, but at least I will be able to see him tomorrow morning at my leisure and not so wolf like.

01 Feeling Good

I Could Be Happy (Again)

The oh so unhappy syphilitic life of Phillip Andorr began when he was raised in a box next to a garbage can of medical waste. His smother was next to a lamppost and may have been impregnated when an overzealous dog chased a rabbit which turned out to be his father who was the understudy in a Fenway production of Harvey.

Phillip was a Red Sox fan and only by the decree of the most holy roamin’ apostolic church of idiocy was he spared the child and spoiled a rod. Phillip was an unhappy lad, not liked by anyone at all which made for an extremely bitter life overall.

No sweetness for Phillip Andorr, all sour and scorn for him. A truly nasty beast which haunted most of Long Island. It couldn’t have been easy but then again, being a Red Sox fan more than likely helped with his disconsolate lifestyle.

A teenager with sticky fingers Phillip found himself banned from both strip malls and strip clubs. His misogynistic tendencies did not help in either location and when he figured out what it was that was causing his routine absence of sense it only amped up his disquiet.

Phillip barked like a mad dog at passing cars whenever possible and it was then and there that he found redemption or at least what passed for redemption but Phillip actually figured out what it was that was bothering him. It was himself.

He looked into the reflection of a hub cap when he was laying in the gutter and wondered why life had dealt him such a lousy hand. That was my attempt at getting back at a true wanker who was a horrible customer that I had to deal with. Drivel and nonsense and fun to write.

I know I know, you’re thinking ‘John Ozed, is this one of your lousy attitude flip outs?’ And it isn’t, though of course you have every right to think so. You have every right to think about whatever it is you might want to think about. But for this I have back up.

Bradley witnessed the whole event and would back me if asked. And it was caught entirely on camera, which by the way added a lot more than 10 pounds to Phillip Andorr’s expanding frame. As I walked Phillip Andorr into the room he felt like I was watching him to make sure he wasn’t shoplifting. Now the only person who might think that would be a shoplifter, but still I gave him a doubtful benefit.

I tried to explain why I was there but Phillip Andorr was adamant that I was being too vigilant with regards to the criminal escapades in his dark and dank mind. Bradley heard this and offered to help but realized that there was no helping this loose loser. He flamboyantly showed Bradley and myself what he got and Bradley thought it best to let him wait a few seconds so he can cool off.

I took Bradley’s advice and there was Phillip Andorr so upset, as if an Ulster man ran over his turtle. I did my best to get this cancer out of the store as soon as possible and Phillip Andorr helped by calling me ‘Sweetie’ and I am sure he didn’t mean it as a term of endearment since discharge like Phillip Andorr wouldn’t know a term of endearment if it bit him in the face (and it certainly looked like that happened). But Phillip Andorr is out of my life and hopefully it will have nothing to do with your life.

That’s the way it goes I suppose. I should have been a proctologist, what with all the assholes that have been crossing my path the past months. With Lazy Teat Greg still reading this blog every day, followed by Miss Shack Thing and now in the flesh and blood, Phillip Andorr.

Can it get any better? Can they get any more bitter? Probably.

I Can’t Quit You Baby

Wow. It’s Thursday. It’s interesting for me at the cigar shack. There are days when I feel I have a grip on things and I think things will be alright, then I go in the next day and all that is forgotten and tossed in the rubbish pile. Today is one of those days.

Yesterday was good, me and Calvin and joined by Jerry Vale, then today with Bradley & Thomas. Thomas is great, Bradley has the amazing propensity to be a pain in the tuchis.

Just had an interesting chat with Jimmy Seltzer who basically schools me on matters economic. He says things are going to get worse than they are now. I can see it, I can feel it. I used to look at Don and Raymond and wonder how they could work in the cigar shack for two years, and now I find myself in the same position.

No, it hasn’t been two years but I am over one year. That is simply the situation I find myself in. The mantra continues ‘at least you have a job’. Some people don’t. Some people are still looking. Danny the K and Greg Stevens have not responded to my email. It’s disappointing but what can you do?

More disappointing is the twenty something young man who was so fucking self absorbed, he wouldn’t move half an inch so someone could sit next to him on the bus. He was so fucking engrossed in whatever stupid game he was playing on his cellphone. A regular C U Next Tuesday type.

I was the unlucky guy to try to sit in the seat next to him. Oh how I wanted to punch him in the skull, but instead decided on saying ‘wanker’ when he got off the bus at 14th and Washington. He probably didn’t hear me and if he did he didn’t know I was talking about him, or more than likely did not know what a wanker was. Go ahead, look it up, I’ve got time.

It could have been a better day, but it wasn’t. Calvin was out of the cigar shack most of the day, attending a meeting across town. When he did eventually came back he was all doom and gloom which did not help matters in the cigar shack with Thomas and myself. Bradley usually plays the role of being aloof so how he felt was relatively unknown.

On August 22, the staff has to meet at 8AM across town to renew our tobacconist licenses. I don’t have a tobacconist license and frankly I wasn’t looking to get one. Perhaps I should. It doesn’t look like I am going anywhere else really.

A friend of former co-worker Raymond stopped by, Frank. Nice guy, he’s been out of work for nearly three years, and he has a wife and kid to support. He was looking to buy a gift for someone and after looking at a few items, said he would come back another time.

Before that I had to look at pages of what might be ordered for the store, such expensive items, no one I know would want or buy these things, but I guess a $14,000 humidor is just right for some. It really is a tale of two cities.

Bill just came home from rehearsal. He was feeling ill most of the day, took off from work and slept a lot. I checked in, in the morning and told him I would call again at lunch time. And I did just that, only I got his voice mail at the beginning and ending of my lunch hour.

So he’s alive and able to go to rehearsal, and leave me wondering if I would be coming home to a corpse in the bed. But he’s fine and I guess feeling a whole lot better.


CVS is a scam. Chris at writes like lazy teat Greg.

I Can Help Too

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Marriage Equality comes to New York State! The same-sex marriage bill was approved on a 33-to-29 vote.

It’s a Friday and everyone seems to be in a good, if not decent mood. And it was fairly busy at the cigar shack. Two special guest stars came in one was Casey Chasm who I hadn’t seen in a year or so. Good to see him, he was with a friend named Parik.

Casey looked good, clean shaven since the army frowns upon beards and whatnot. He’s probably going off to Afghanistan in a few months to do his Judge Advocate General routine. Luckily that doesn’t require being in the front, but still I worry.

And if I worry I can only imagine how Mrs. Chasm is feeling. And she now has 2 babies to look after, 2 girls named Annie and Clara. Casey wasn’t able to stay long, I was just one stop on his visit to Manhattan, he had a few other people to reconnect with. I was able to purchase a cigar for him as well as giving him a free cigar which was part of the promotion going on today.

And that promotion was what made the store extra busy. Quite a number of regulars and guys that hadn’t been seen in a while hanging out in the man cave smoking up a storm. The other special guest was Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam. He was in the other day and today he came back to buy some more items for his manager.

I don’t think Eddie Vedder is a cigar smoker but his manager seems to be, enough so to warrant a second visit. He was nice and trying to be incognito which explains the lack of photographs. I would be more impressed but I can’t say that I am much of a fan of Pearl Jam.

I spent my lunch hour once again on a bench near Central Park, smoking a cigar and reading Michael Azzerad’s entry on Mission of Burma. I totally missed out on seeing them, but did have Academy Fight Song which could be their most famous song.

Another story about a band too far ahead of their time. I did see a spin off band of Mission of Burma called Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. Almost as noisy and dissonant as Burma and I am pretty sure I saw them at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC with Jet during one of my sojourns down to the nation’s capital.

Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight as well as tomorrow night so chances are I won’t be seeing him until Sunday which happens to be my next day off. He’s been busy at work lately so my occasional phone call with him has been a bit intense.

It’s all good, but today he was talking so fast that I could barely understand him and even though I asked him to repeat himself twice I wound up missing the gist of what he was saying. I told him so later which got a laugh. Just treading water now, it’s killing time. And now I am home and happy to be here.

I Beg Your Pardon

Here it is again, once again, the incredible, the rhyme animal. I know I got that wrong but my heart is in the right place, under the rib cage. At the cigar shack once again, day two of a four day stretch. How did I used to do a 5 day work week?

Well I was generally sitting down a lot, and when I walked it was usually on carpeted floors. Nowadays, it’s not like that anymore. No, it’s all about standing on concrete floors for 9 hours a day. At this time last year I was unemployed about to start working.

A bit of anxiety was setting in of course. After being out of work for 11 months how could it not? It seems so long ago. I was working with a different crew then and now they’re no longer here. The only carry over from those days is Calvin. And now he is number one and that makes me number two by default.

Things are certainly better with Bradley. He’s a moody chap by his own admission though I doubt if he would be one to use the word chap.

I am home now and quite happy to be here. Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight and driving again tomorrow night so if I don’t see him for a few fleeting minutes, I won’t see him until Sunday. It’s a drag but that’s how it is I suppose.

It’s so bloody warm here, heat rises and being on the top floor you can feel it. The windows are open and an occasional breeze floats through. I heard from Pedro today, he was in town and was hoping I would be free to hang out but of course he calls when I am at work, so not free at all.

I still would like a Monday through Friday job, with normal hours or at least something close to normal hours, or what passes for normal hours. No word from Joe Monaco but like I wrote previously I have extremely low expectations with him. Still hope remains, just not pounding the drums like hope sometimes does.

I closed the store tonight as Thomas was headed off to something, maybe an engagement party for him and his fiancé tomorrow. He’s quite a funny guy though by the end of the night it’s hard to keep up with his sense of humor. Being twice his age, makes me wonder how people older than me were able to deal with me and my wacky sense of humor.

But I should keep in mind that these friends and I were not standing on concrete floors for nine hours a day dealing with all sorts of people, so it probably wasn’t too hard to deal with me. So here we are, or rather, here I am, on the Friday of a holiday weekend. It wasn’t easy to see people so excited to get out of town for the weekend, four days off for them. Even the bibliothèque is closed this weekend.

I did luck out tonight, maybe it was karma, but when I got to the subway platform this evening, an express train pulled right in. And as I climbed the functioning escalator at the bus terminal, I saw a bus pulling out. Then the bus stopped.

The driver was a friend of Bill’s (no, not like Alcoholics Anonymous), Orlando. He was one of the bus driving friends of Hyman gross as well. So Orlando recognized me and said a few words about Hyman as we were pulling out.

It was a nice brief chat about Hyman and how Hyman is missed. I told him about the plan Bill and I have to visit the cemetery next year when Hyman’s headstone is placed. Orlando hopes to join us. We shall see. Check in next year, early May.

I Ain’t Hearing U

Another dismal and dreary day exploiting the system whichever way I can. Today was yet another grey day, overcast skies, drizzle every now and then. But I didn’t mind, I was going to be at work anyhow.

Last night Bill and I watched Nurse Jackie. Sometimes we’re in the mood to follow through with the United States of Tara, but last night was not one of those nights. Instead we watched the second half of the Ed Show before Bill went to bed.

I stayed up watching drivel of course and surfing the interwebs once again. Slept fairly well last night, no complaints, no horses named Charlie making an appearance. My knee is still messed up though, despite what Miss Lazy Teat Greg might think or write.

Let it get it straight because as the universe can tell you I can never get anything straight. The indignant manner of which Miss Lazy Teat Greg was humorous in hindsight. The mere mention of looking into Workers Compensation really got its vaginal juices a flowing.

Imagine if I actually pursued such a plan. Lawyers and friends have suggested looking into it and I’ve been hesitant, but having the feeling that if I do such a thing Miss Lazy Teat Greg would have a hemorrhage could make it all worthwhile.

And Miss Lazy Teat Greg really thinks I should be a more dedicated worked like the Bradley. That was a super sweet line, almost like it was written by the Bradley’s cross dressing (Holy Week plug) cousin Jorgen.

But that’s neither here nor there just as the Bradley is neither here nor there. He’s not here right now and for that I am glad. No, he has left to run his Jazz and Cigars and Whiskey event at a local cigar dive. 5 people signed up for it so I guess it’s a ‘success’.

The other day the elderly woman on the second floor passed away in her sleep. Antonia was her name and whenever I saw her I was always glad to help with groceries or her mail and taking out her trash. I suppose if you’re going to go, going when you’re asleep would be the way to go.

There is a viewing tonight around the block from the apartment, but me being at work means that I can’t make it, and forget about the funeral. That’s tomorrow and I’m definitely working, after a morning meeting with someone who I hope thinks I’m the bee’s knees.

I could use a better knee and I suppose a bee’s knee would suffice. Just have to stay away from those pollen zones. It’s been another long day on my feet in dress shoes on a concrete floor.

I have to say I am disappointed that Miss Lazy Teat Greg will not reveal its secrets for keeping knees fresh, I guess a magician never reveals its secrets and it’s all about the sleight of hand with Miss Lazy Teat Greg. Thanks for giving me something to write about Miss Lazy Teat Greg. You’re a prince, or a princess or something to be revealed at a later date.

I did meet a wood worker named Bill Hampton today. Bill has been coming into the store and getting empty cigar boxes from time to time. Today he came in to show one of the projects that he worked on, a banjo made from a cigar box. He even let me give it a strum.

2 work days in a row where someone brought in a guitar (or a banjo) and let me give it a go. Richard Lloyd from Television came in a few months ago with a classic Gibson acoustic and even he let me give it a strum. So despite working with the brain dead Bradley and Thomas it wasn’t such a bad day but it could have been better and not bitter.

Bill Hampton and his cigar box banjo

I Want You, I Need You, I Love You

Well despite being exhausted and somewhat high from the medication and jazz ciggie, I did not sleep well at all last night. The medication Naproxen, made me quite out of it and the jazz ciggie made my eyes heavily lidded, but I couldn’t sleep, knees bothering me, could not find a comfortable position to fall asleep in and once again Bill was snoring.

I would tell him as he slept that he was snoring, and then he would stop, only to start up with a different sound of snoring. Sort of like singing a different song. Finally I fell asleep but it seemed like only minutes later, Bill was kissing me good bye for the day.

He was worried about me, mostly because he saw that where it used to take me 30 seconds to get from the TV room to the kitchen, last night it took a few stumbling minutes. I wasn’t playing it up either. I eventually woke up and decided not to use the Shelaleigh like I used yesterday. I had no problem using it yesterday but once my sister mentioned how brittle it probably was, it made me nervous to use it again.

I was able to be mobile and took my time getting around the apartment. A shower and some breakfast with a Naproxen chaser. Made me out of it again. I took my time descending the stair case, hearing Alexander yelling (or merely talking) on the third floor, gave me hope. I made it out to the street and enjoyed a small victory cigar as I slowly walked up to Washington Street.

I tried to schedule an ultra sound yesterday but in Hoboken, the first time they could see me was next Wednesday. Bill mentioned last night to see if there was anywhere in Manhattan, close to the cigar shack where I could get it done. I looked at the insurance company’s website but in the Naproxen mindset I was in, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

This morning while on the bus I ran into neighbor Deborah from the fourth floor. I told her my tale of woe. Seems like all I have are tales of woe lately. Then again, I think a lot of people have woeful tales to be told these days.

She told me her tale, falling on some black ice a week ago and having to get an ultra sound for her hand, and also found a place close to work. Deborah and I parted ways in the bus terminal and I called Bill who had the same idea.

Since he was sitting at a computer he had better access and thankfully was able to find a place close to the cigar shack, make an appointment for me, and called my quack doctor’s office and get a faxed referral from him to the ultra sound place. I made it to work, and told Calvin and Thomas what was going on with my knee.

Thomas chimed in with his tale of woe. He has an ingrown toe nail. Yeah, really put my messed up knee to shame. He’s only 24 years old so youthful callousness can be forgiven.

It was another long day, 9 hours standing on my feet. I was able to get through the day and at 2:45 headed over to the Roosevelt Hospital area for the ultra sound. The reception desk was somewhat helpful, the actual ultra sound person, a very pregnant woman was a bitch.

It was over after about an hour and I limped back to work after nabbing a slice of pizza since I needed to eat something quickly. Later in the afternoon I was talking to a customer, and mentioned that my quack doctor suggested an ultra sound since it might be a cyst.

I didn’t think much of it being a cyst until the customer mentioned his hopes that if it is a cyst, that it’s benign. Benign? That means the opposite is malignant. That means what I didn’t want to think about. And that took up residence in the back of my mind for the rest of the day.

And that’s all I’m going to write tonight, I’m surprised I wrote this much.

I Love Only One Girl

And now I find myself at home on a Saturday night. I’m a bit hungry, haven’t eaten since 3:30 this afternoon and now it is 10:35. It has been a long day. Last night I stayed up until 1:00 watching a repeat of Letterman, and then finally going to bed.

It was still warm out so the window was open allowing me to hear the garbage trucks doing their thing as well as some drunken young adults yelling to each other up and down the street. Despite that I was able to fall asleep and sleep soundly.

I woke up around 8:30 this morning. Bill was coming back from the bus depot after driving to and from Atlantic City. He did have an incident on the bus, a young hoodlum smoked a cigarette on the bus which is a definite no no. Bill was livid when he called me last night.

He had the police involved with the young smoking hoodlum and the police did nothing which pissed Bill off even more. There was nothing that I could say or do to calm him down as he was in the Atlantic City bus depot and you know I did try to make the situation a little bit better.

I did see Bill for a few minutes this morning and he gave me a chocolate donut. We chatted as I was about to head out the door. Since he was outside already I asked him if it was warm enough to wear just a suit jacket and he said it was.

I headed out and by the time I got to Bloomfield Street I realized that I wouldn’t be warm enough, especially after the sun went down. I turned around and headed home. I tried calling Bill and got his voice mail. I got back to my building and hit the buzzer and then just headed up the stairs.

When I got to the 5th floor, the door opened and there was Bill. ‘Oh there you are…’ I said to which Bill replied quite angrily that he was in the bathroom. I had to mention that I was joking when I said ‘Oh there you are..’ and I was.

I merely said it the way I would have said it to Alexander, playing a game of peek a boo. I grabbed a coat and headed back down the stairs again, texting Bill a message of reassurance that I was only joking. No response. That was fine by me.

I made it to the bus terminal and walked up the avenue to the cigar shack. Lots of gay men in Hell’s Kitchen, more than usual which made me think they were in town for the bacchanal, the Black Party. Never much interested in that myself, no leather queen me.

The cigar shack was manned by the Bradley and Thomas. And it was a long slow day. I did run into a PBS host who graciously gave me a nice cigar from Havana which I will enjoy in just a few minutes.

Not much else to report. Tonight was the super full moon which left me somewhat whelmed. It just wasn’t as big as I had hoped.

That’s what she said.

Day off tomorrow. No work, no writing.

I Can’t Help It

One day off, another day on. Yesterday I was off of work, today I could be found in the cigar shack. It wasn’t so bad. Apparently yesterday was quite slow and I thought today would be just as slow, if not slower, but it wasn’t. It was busy and I did better than expected.

Some of the regulars have not been around, Mister Mitchell among others. Who knows where they might have gone? Another cigar shack perhaps? In any event I hope Mister Mitchell and the missing men are alright and not coming down with pneumonia again or something worse.

The day started out just fine. A good night of sleep and the usual hesitancy to get out of bed, bargaining with myself, another 10 minutes, another hitting of the snooze button. I realized I would have to get out of bed at some time and reluctantly did so.

Shuffle past the TV and turning on the Today Show, making coffee, pouring cereal and jumping in the shower. A shave was needed so conditioner was applied to my face. I was out of the shower and shaving when I heard the coffee maker beep signaling that the coffee was indeed ready.

I watched last night’s episode of the Daily Show and a few minutes of the Colbert Report which I actually watched last night. The weather report, or at least the last one I heard, mentioned that it would be warm during the day and then the temperature would drop about 20 degrees tonight.

Here I am 12 hours later, happy to say they were correct in their forecast. I dressed accordingly. I waited for the bus, enjoying a short cigar and staying far away enough from other commuters so they would complain or be upset with the cigar’s fragrant aroma.

The bus arrived a few minutes late, people flashing their passes, handing in tickets and other people digging in their pockets and purses for the correct change or asking if anyone could break a larger bill. The bus filled up quickly once again and soon I was walking through the bus terminal, listening to Devo, ‘Q: Are We No Men? A: We are Devo!’

Specifically the second side of the album, Too Much Paranoias, Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy and Come Back Jonee. I really wanted to hear Come Back Jonee since I think I figured out how to play it last night.

A lot slower than the Devo version, but I figured I would get up to speed soon enough once I figure out how to play the chords comfortably. It was enough of a jolt to get me ready for work before I actually walked through the door.

And I suppose it was a Devo way of looking at the world that got me through the day. Calvin and Thomas were good co-workers today, a few laughs were had. Now here I am at home, 12 hours later, happy to be here, where the heater is working tonight.

I Wouldn’t Trade Christmas

Last night I went to see Ankhst. It’s the play Bill’s been rehearsing for the past month, maybe longer. I had left the apartment and headed to the bus stop a little before 7:00. I figured I would have enough time once I got into the city, a walk from 42nd street to 54th street should be no problem.

The problem was the Lincoln Tunnel traffic. We crawled through the tunnel and once we got to the bus terminal at 7:45 I was faced with a choice. To take the subway or to walk. I figured the walk would be best and so I hustled up Eighth Avenue, enjoying a cigar I started in Hoboken.

I got to the theater, which is in a municipal community center next to the Midtown North precinct. Bill had texted me and also told me the night before that there was a heating problem. It wasn’t that there was no heat, there was too much.

I got there just as the play started and had to wait for a chance to take my seat. The playwright greeted me and an usher waited with me, to give me the OK signal to take my seat. They asked if I was with a little old man and initially I said no, then I remembered that Hyman Gross said he would be there.

And there was Hyman, sitting in a seat. The dancers left the stage and I walked over, hoping that no one in the audience would think I was part of the performance. I had shut off my phone and reminded Hyman to do the same.

Little did I know that midway through the first act, even though my phone was turned off, an alarm I had set went off which I immediately silenced by taking out the battery. Same thing happened to Harpy when saw the Watchmen movie.

And it was hot. Though Hyman and I were sitting next to an old air conditioner, we could barely feel it.

The collar of my shirt was soon soaked with sweat and I was glad I had a bottle of water. Hyman was wearing layers and I have no idea how he got through it. After 90 minutes, there was a 10 minute intermission. I went outside for a quick smoke and some cool air. I almost got locked out and had to knock on the glass to get back in.

The first act was good, very wordy. Quite a few people in the cast, most of them flubbing lines and it was noticeable. I could tell and I didn’t even know the script. It took place in an Egyptian tomb, the discovery of a pharaoh, with no body, no mummy, just an urn of ashes.

To me it seemed like the playwright was trying to be like Tom Stoppard, and that’s not such a bad thing to be, but it lacked the wit and the pacing of a Stoppard play.

The second act took place in ancient Egypt, and was a bit confusing to me. The acting by all was earnest and they were doing their best. But it was too long and meandering and a little bit confusing. And the heat. It was so hot. I started to think that since the play takes place in Egypt, that perhaps they decided to turn up the heat to create an artificial dry heat like you were in the desert with them characters.

Hyman and I waited outside after the show and congratulated the cast members as they left on a good performance. We weren’t lying they all acted admirably. Plus, if they didn’t we wouldn’t tell them they were bad anyhow.

Bill came out and I thought we would walk to Ninth Avenue and get a cab to the bus terminal since walking would be too much for Hyman, but Bill decided to get a town car to Hoboken via his day job. Bill sat in the front and Hyman and I sat in the back.

As I was pulling out a collection of Evelyn Waugh to show Hyman, Hyman asks that the light be turned off as it was bothering him, so it was back into the bag for Evelyn Waugh.

Bill and I got out with Hyman to make sure he got in alright and we walked home from there. We watched some TV and eventually wound up in bed, fast asleep. I had dreams of preparing for a Zombie attack as well as being given Marlboro cigarettes since they were the only smokes available in the post-apocalyptic world.

Despite the dreams, I slept fairly well and got out of bed at 8:15 and started my day. By 10:15 I was at the bus stop and 15 minutes later, I was on the bus once again. Soon after sitting down, I get a text from former co-worker Don who asked if I was working today.

I responded and thought he was planning on stopping by. But that was not the case. He then asked who was opening and I texted back that the Bradley was opening. Apparently he was late and customers were texting Don wondering what was going on.

I thought that strange and checked the schedule I carry around in my notebook. To my horror and surprise I was supposed to be opening on a Saturday, which I haven’t done since July. For the past 7 months, I’ve been closing but for some reason I was scheduled to open.

I was anxious and figured that the Bradley needed to come in late. I wasn’t even sure whether or not I knew about the change since I had the schedule for 2 weeks already. In any event, there was no one to blame but myself.

I should have checked the schedule and not counted on the fact that for the past 7 months I’ve been closing the damned store.

Now the store is part of a complex and all the stores in the complex are supposed to open at the same time. Not the cigar shack this morning. I got to the store at 11:12 and immediately set about starting things up and counting money.

On schedule (or at least today’s schedule) the Bradley shows up. I explain that I had just gotten there myself and his drawer which I tried to count was way over. He knew that since he had the same drawer yesterday. He also knew that he was coming in at 11:30 (duh).

I figured that Calvin was having a few sips as he created the schedule on an excel spreadsheet, and put the wrong hours in the wrong cells. Or maybe he was just testing. The Bradley knew to check and I took it for granted. That’s how my day started.

The customers, so anxious to show up and start smoking in the man cave eventually arrived and took their places. My day was basically ruined, the edges of my perspective were tainted with anxiety and dread. The Bradley was no help and we spent the majority of the day not talking to each other.

It was just another reminder of how I have got to get the hell out of there. But I am also starting to think there is nowhere I would fit it. My best jobs I feel, are now behind me. It was an uneasy realization and didn’t help things.

Also my drawer was short $13.00 which I replaced from my wallet. I felt that $13.00 would be a small price to play to alleviate the turmoil from the past day.

Now I’m home, earlier than I thought I would be when I left this morning. Tomorrow is Sunday and I am scheduled to be in at 10:30. That means I have to catch the 9:30 bus.

Once again it’s me and the brain dead Bradley. At least I know what I am getting myself into. And I am also quite sure that the Bradley, golden child of Marcus and Calvin, is quite an asshole.

It’s rumored that he is to be the centerfold of Proctology Monthly later this year. He’s certainly not going to make Artforum.

Hyman Gross

I'm in there somewhere

I Wish You Love

Last night I wrote how I wasn’t looking forward to the interview this morning. The interview was scheduled for 11:00 and that meant I’d best be on the 10:00 bus into the city. Where I usually wake up around 8:00, this morning I slept until 9:00.

It was reassuring that I could get ready for work in an hour if need be. I always knew that I can do that, it’s just that I haven’t done that in a long time. I got it together and was soon on Washington Street in the cold winter air. Where it was 57° yesterday, today it was 27°.

I chatted with Bill on the phone briefly and rode into Manhattan, doing the crossword puzzle in last week’s New York Magazine which Bill subscribed me to. I really enjoy their crossword puzzles.

I made it to 1601 Broadway about 15 minutes early and if it were warmer out I probably would have stayed outside for 10 minutes, but since it was pretty cold, I headed upstairs to Bland Street Consultants.

I had an appointment to meet with Carrie with a “K” and announced myself at reception. Apparently there were 2 Carrie’s in the office. I was given the usual paperwork and sat down and filled it out as I sat there in my overcoat. The receptionist was too busy joking and talking with 2 recruiters who were standing around to tell me where I could hang up my coat.

After the one sheet, two sides of paperwork, I sat and did some more work on the crossword puzzle. Finally Carrie with a “K” showed up and I followed her as she spent a couple of minutes looking for an office where we could meet.

And it was a brief meeting. She asked me who referred me to her and for the life of me I couldn’t remember. I sent her my resume a few weeks ago and figured she would have accessed the email before the meeting, but she hadn’t.

Once again I explained who Putnam Lovell NBF were (Wanker Banker) and what BIO-IB was. I explained that I am presently working 50 hours a week at the cigar shop and that I was looking to get back into the corporate world.

Carrie with a “K” asked if I would be interested in a temp to perm position.

‘I work 50 hours a week…’
‘Do you think working a temp to perm position would affect that?’ Carrie with a “K” asked.

Yes, she actually asked if I took a temp position would affect the fact that I work 50 hours a week. After about 5 minutes the interview was over. I was disappointed and felt I should have stuck to my original plan and rescheduled the interview.

I called Bill who thought I was going to head to the cigar shack, since he didn’t know I had off today. He was more upset with how the interview went than I was. I walked back to the bus terminal in the cold and had the same bus driver who had just picked me up in Hoboken earlier.

I did some grocery shopping on the way home and when I got back home I did some laundry after having a breakfast for lunch.

I also visited Hyman today. I brought him the New York Times as well as a Hershey Bar. He seemed in better spirits and remembered that I don’t appreciate negativity in my life right now. We had an enjoyable chat about literature and the New Yorker.

He was going to tell me about the latest issue, the double Eustace Tilly issue when I told him that I like to just read the New Yorker, I don’t read the table of contents when I start. He recommended that I read Evelyn Waugh and Andre Gide which I duly ordered from the bibliothèque.

It was nice to see Hyman again and if he is still in the hospital on Friday I will visit him again. He thinks he might be out by then and if he is, he might join me in seeing Bill in the play he’s been rehearsing. That would be fun.

I mentioned it to Bill on my way home and Bill said he would pay for the cab fare from the theater to the bus terminal since Hyman’s in no condition to walk the distance anymore.

Back to work tomorrow, off on Friday. The ‘night before’ anxiety sets in.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Another long day. Another half a tablet of Xanax. It wasn’t snowing or raining today at least. It was a balmy 40 degree something or other. Once again I dragged myself out of bed and got myself together, taking my sweet time which still got me to work on time, if not a little earlier.

It was Calvin and Marcus. Marcus was well enough to come in and Calvin recovered from the Prince concert he attended with the missus. My dear friend Lovely Rita was there and I would love to hear what she had to say about it. Her opinion is important to me. Most everyone else, I really don’t care.

It was a long day for me. Just me and Calvin and though he had his usual 2 hour lunch leaving me alone mostly it was difficult to get through the day. I didn’t have a chance to go outside today until about 4:30 which is when I went to Universal News which has internet access, $2.00 for 10 minutes.

Those 10 minutes allow me to check and delete email, and see if any jobs that I applied to lately have gotten back to me. Mostly they hadn’t. I sent an email to the guy I spoke to yesterday, stating that I didn’t want to be a bother but I was trying to set up my schedule for tomorrow which is a day off for me. No response so a few hours later I called and left a voicemail saying the same thing basically.

No response then either. I started falling into despondency, thinking that I had so much hope for this slim chance of a new job and it felt like the slim chance was getting slimmer and slimmer. I mentioned it to Bill and he felt that contacting this guy two times seemed desperate. But I was desperate. I am desperate. I really want to be out of the cigar shop as soon as possible.

Calvin had punished me somewhat this afternoon. Last Friday he mentioned to me, to tell everyone that we need to do a comprehensive inventory and order some cigars that we need. And I did mention it to my co-workers and nothing was done.

Today, Calvin came up to me and told me Marcus had chewed him out about this and so it was up to me to do this comprehensive inventory. One catch though and I had to tell Calvin, I don’t know how to do a comprehensive inventory.

He gave me a quick rundown on what to do and I was in the humidor for over an hour, not doing sales, just counting boxes, which accounted for Calvin doing about $2,250 in sales and me having sales of about $300.00. Of course I will be talked to about how my sales are quite low.

It certainly not the same cigar shop when I started in June 2010. Ron is gone as is Dave. That’s Don and Raymond for those playing at home.

Now I am home, Bill just loaded my computer with all the latest Microsoft products that he got via work for about $20.00. I’m happy with it and thanked Bill for his work. That’s it for now, I’m tired.

this picture was taken with the camera resting on top of my head.

I Have Dreamed

Bill and I just listened to The Hallelujah Chorus by the Roches. We sang our own version of it a few minutes ago. It was quite funny and ended with the both of us laughing quite a bit. Bill surprised me tonight, getting on the same bus that I was on at the bus terminal.

It was great to see him, the perfect end to a hum drum day. And the hum drum day started with the usual feeling of dread. Not wanting to go, but keeping in mind that it isn’t so bad, I would not have to deal with Calvin for four days.

He was off today and tomorrow, I’m off on Monday and Calvin is off on Tuesday. He’s going to see Prince, after the glowing review I gave last month after seeing Prince at Madison Square Garden with RoDa.

One of the things Calvin mentioned yesterday was that the staff spends too much time on the internet. So today I did not go online at the cigar shop. Neither did the Bradley or Sean. We were pretty good about that. It was a long day.

Yesterday we basically cleaned the shop, making sure everything had a price on it, as well as cleaning all glass surfaces. We do that a lot, cleaning the shop so that the cleaning woman has an easy time of it when she comes in for her 90 minutes of cleaning, Monday through Friday.

I did a lot of pacing on the floor, really. I should have been wearing a pedometer to see how many miles I accrue each day. And once again, former employee Don came into the cigar shop. He was in yesterday and left his scarf behind. Perhaps it was a Freudian thing, intentionally leaving it behind for a return visit, a ‘round two’ as it is sometimes called by former staffers. The present staff doesn’t talk like that.

And it was also the second day I had fore gone the free cigar from the owners of the cigar shop. It’s one of the perks of working there but it really doesn’t float my boat anymore. The whole experience of working at the cigar shop leaves a bad taste in my mouth and it isn’t from smoking cigars.

The cigars I enjoy are looked down upon by cigar snobs as being cardboard, despite the fact that this ‘cardboard’ pays the bills since more ‘cardboard’ cigars are sold than the top shelf cigars generally approved and given high ratings by the horrid Cigar Aficionado magazine. Lately it’s been such a drag dealing with Calvin and Marcus that I would rather just forget the whole thing.

Today since I was off the internet at the cigar shop, I went to an internet café and checked my emails, some job offers, and some red herrings. It wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be. $2.00 for 10 minutes and I was done with what I wanted to do and went back to work for more pacing and cleaning glass surfaces.

Now I’m home, one more day of work then a day off, which of course can’t get here fast enough and will likely be over before I know it.

Not writing Sunday!

I Can’t Believe You’re in Love with Me

A day off. A cold day off. Slept really well, slept until 10:00. It felt great, like my body has adjusted itself to the time frame that I am used to. I intended to get up earlier, but things being what they are, and it being so cold out, sleeping in seemed the way to go.

After I had gotten up I had some coffee before running out to the supermarket. Got a few items, picked up some dry cleaning and then came home and had a nice breakfast. I was soon headed out the door, on the way to the Path train.

I stopped by the Guitar Bar where I picked up some slippers Annemarie had sent (‘quite nice and comfortable’ he wrote while typing).

A customer, or rather some one who hangs out at the cigar shop, is a photographer by the name of Ray Bangs. He had some photographs hanging in a store in Soho and today was supposed to be the last date for their exhibition. I decided to check it out and made my way down to Soho after getting off the Path train at Ninth Street.

It was blustery as I walked through Washington Square, down LaGuardia Place to West Broadway. There weren’t that many people out, possibly because it was chilly, possibly because the stores in Soho are quite pricey. It hasn’t been the fun place to visit like it was 25 years ago.

I loved going gallery hopping in Soho back in the day, now it’s all high end shops and very little art. I walked over to Greene Street and found Ray Bangs photographs hanging in an Italian furniture shop. It was nice to see them hanging on the wall and I also thought the furniture was wonderful. All white, almost minimal.

I then walked around the corner and checked out the Morrison Hotel which is sort of a gallery for Rock and Roll photographs. It was OK, nothing I really hadn’t seen before. I walked over to Canal Street (where there is now a Sheraton Hotel?) and hopped on an uptown train.

I was headed to Chelsea and couldn’t make up my mind whether to get off at 14th Street or 23rd Street. I opted for 14th Street and walked over to 10th Avenue to 21st Street. I indulged myself in a little herbilization before checking out some art.

I enjoyed Mimi Smith’s show at the Anna Kustera gallery. I didn’t know of her work before but enjoyed the show a lot. Certainly a lot more than the Robert Rauschenberg show a few doors down at the Gagosian gallery.

That was my main reason to go to Chelsea and I was dismayed at the fact that photographs were not allowed. In fact I was tailed by a security guard to make sure I didn’t take any pictures. I walked in there thinking it would be a nice way to spend some time and take some pictures while warming up, but the atmosphere was so oppressive that after a brief walk through I headed back out into the cold, where it was warmer.

I did ask the girl at the front desk about the banning of photgraphy and she said it was because of copyright issues. I then asked if the copyright problem was from the estate of Robert Rauschenberg or the gallery, and she said it was the estate.

I walked up to 25th Street to check out some more galleries but didn’t find anything that knocked me out. I walked up to 33rd and 7th Avenue, to the Borders bookstore. There’s a Borders near where I work and a week or so ago I was in there, and saw a nice 3D poster of the Beatles n Yellow Submarine.

I thought about buying it for Alexander, but when I went to buy it the other day it was no longer in the store. A salesman helped me and told me that I could pick it up at a few Borders stores in Manhattan and 33rd Street and 7th Avenue was one that he mentioned.

I walked to where the posters were, and once again I couldn’t find the Yellow Submarine poster. I asked a salesman who was of no help at all. I was hoping to get the poster to Alexander before he and his mom, Stine flew off to Denmark this Saturday, but now it seems unlikely.

Right now I am on hold with Borders at Park Avenue and 57th Street, thought I would call before actually showing up. 5 minutes is my limit for being on hold, so I hung up. I called again and spoke to a young man who said they had it and he would leave it for me at the register downstairs, so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs.

I’m glad to be home, nice and toasty in my new slippers. Bill is at his company’s holiday party. Bill will have his one Guinness and dance up a storm. I get to be the one who gives him a great big hug and kiss when he gets home.

Scott Buck?

Them again.

Mimi Smith

No copyright issues here...

I Need You to Turn To

Today is a day off, and it’s sort of been a non day. Not much going on, raining and drizzling most of the day. I’ve been busy but overall would rather put this day behind me. I slept until 9:30, a half hour later than I have been sleeping since the hour I start at the cigar shop is a bit later.

I predicted that I would wake up at 9:30 yesterday, for what that’s worth. I was soon in the shower as the coffee was brewing. After a cup of coffee I was headed to Washington Street, to buy more coffee, some bagels and the newspaper.

Then I stopped by Mr. L’s where my barber Tony was available. He fell off a ladder a few months ago and his arm is not healing as fast as it should. Plus he doesn’t like his doctor. Despite his handicap, Tony did his usual good job on my hair, and I’m quite happy with it.

No need to trim the goatee since I don’t have it anymore, but he did do the nose hairs as well as trimming the eyebrows. Once again he earned his tip. I came home, had a couple of bagels and spoke to a recruiter on the phone.

I filled out an online application last night while writing the previous entry and had an interview scheduled for this afternoon. The interview was scheduled for 3:00 this afternoon so I got myself together around 1:00, then ran some errands, dry cleaners and bibliothèque.

I had to return La Strada as well as Performance since they were due back tomorrow and I hadn’t had the time to watch either. Oh well, I will just have to get them again some other time.

I was early enough to see the 2:00 bus go on by, and I figured I would catch the 2:15 bus, but as usual, the 2:15 bus was late and didn’t show up until 2:35. Still I wasn’t running late and the interview was scheduled 2 blocks from the bus terminal.

And it was a pointless interview. The receptionist didn’t even offer to take my raincoat or show me where I could hang it up. My, how the front desk protocol has fallen. The recruiter who had contacted me was a short fellow named Edward and he asked if I brought my resume.

I told him I didn’t and I asked him earlier on the phone if I should. He said that would be up to me. I didn’t bring it since I emailed him my resume and figured he could simply print out a new copy if he needed it.

He also suggested bringing 2 forms of ID and I asked him if it was for an I-9 form. He said that it was and I mentioned that according to the I-9 form, a passport is the kind of ID that you need. No need for any other ID unless you lack a passport.

I sat wearing my raincoat as Edward and I walked and talked our way through my employment history, still some padding on it but kept the Wolff Olins in there this time. I simply explained that working there was a big mistake, a bad fit.

It seemed to go well with Edward and he stepped away and sent Rachel in his place. Rachel tried to talk me into taking temporary positions despite the fact that I mentioned that I would be available to in January.

After a few minutes with Rachel, she tried to pass me off onto Jason but Jason couldn’t be bothered to meet with me and made himself unavailable. It was just as well since I didn’t have much faith in these recruiters and would be greatly surprised if they actually contacted me with a job offer.

Back to work tomorrow, five days until my next day off. Expect late postings.