Tag Archives: Hyman Gross

I Really Taught Me To Watusi

Yes I did not post yesterday. It was a friggin’ holiday and I decided to not write, which in turn gave you all (both of you) the opportunity to not read. A ‘win win’ situation wouldn’t you say? I know I would. Yesterday was very much a mellow day, Bill was home the night before after driving to Massachusetts and back. Sleep came fairly easy, dreams somewhat disturbing. I was up earlier than expected thanks to some neighbors taking advantage of rebuilding after the storm to remodel their apartments without building permits and it sounded like a basketball game was in progress.

I’m sure there are a few people in town avoiding the building permit scene and doing whatever remodeling they could do. Some people are definitely in need of rebuilding but in my building a tenant is merely trying to make room for his wife moving back in. So being up early allowed me to go to the supermarket nearby to get a few things before the Thanksgiving last minute rush kicked in. I got a few things and then headed home where I had a nice breakfast. Bill was still asleep when I came back and of course I let him sleep.

He eventually got up and got himself together. The plan was the same as last year, dinner at Oscar’s Brasserie in the Waldorf Astoria. We started going there two years ago with Hyman Gross. He used to go with his lady friend and since she passed away we decided to treat Hyman. I was working then so it was doable. Then Hyman passed away and we went to honor Hyman. I don’t know if we’ll go again next year. We get dressed up to find no one else is dressed up. The food is great though.

After dinner a walk across town back to the bus terminal as we smoked our cigars. Someone blessed me with a few Cubans so it was especially enjoyable. Not too long of a wait for the bus and not too many people. A couple of hours after we left Hoboken for dinner, we were back in Hoboken, sated. Not much on the television so we watched a Harry Potter marathon which Bill seemed to enjoy. I of course told him to pay attention at certain points just so he would know who was who and what was what. It helped somewhat.

Soon it was bedtime for the Bonzos. Bill slumbered off first and I joined him shortly thereafter. This morning Bill was up first and out and about. I woke up to an empty apartment. I knew Bill was driving tonight and had no idea where he was. He soon came home, after spending some time talking with the neighbors. I showered and had some coffee that Bill made. He came home with more groceries and things he was going to need for the drive tonight. We spent some good time together before he headed out leaving me in solitude.

I unfortunately couldn’t help but feed the trolls. It seems a woman was photographed at Arlington Cemetery giving the finger to a sign that requested silence and respect. Yes, she flipped the bird to a sign. This of course cost her her job because she was disrespecting the dead, soldiers and veterans all at the same time by flipping off an inanimate sign. Oh she has stalkers after her, true ‘patriots’ screaming that she should go to Iran. You can just smell the tea and semen on their chins as they type.

And me being me, went to this woman’s defense. Yes it was a stupid joke, but ultimately it was harmless. ‘I have 37.5 relatives in national cemeteries and blah blah blah.’ Truly pathetic. I was slandered as well for pointing out the hypocrisy of terrible spellers. Pedro felt obliged to intervene and request that I stop feeding these trolls, and eventually I did.

I am quite glad there was no internet when I visited Ford’s Theater with my family in the 1960’s.

I also saw Shlomo at the smoke scene. He was hanging out with some guy named MJ. I just gave Shlomo a book that I’ve had for the past couple of years about cigars and tobacco, a handbook of sorts for tobacconists. I wasn’t using it as anything besides a doorstop and figured Shlomo would be better off with it than me. I think he figured I was angling for a free cigar but with the Cuban bounty that washed up on our doorstep, I could afford to walk off with a simple handshake. I don’t think Shlomo is used to someone like me, just being kind for no particular reason.





I’m The Urban Spaceman

I Can’t Wake Up

Another day, another doofus again. I am the doofus, the day is the same yet somehow different. I am cigar shack bound, yesterday flew by- today not so much. Still somehow I did better than I expected sales wise. I was dragging ass, not through anything of my own doing, circumstances dictated how things went.

I had a customer and was walking into the humidor when it turned out to be an old customer of Calvin’s so that meant the customer went with him. I was fine with that, content to do half of what I did yesterday. But things being what they are, and leaving just Jerry Vale and myself in the shack, somehow I caught up on things. A flurry of customers helped as well as an out of state shipment.

Just had a nice chat with my favorite customer, (or one of them (sorry my friend my friend- you’re still top ranking) Jimmy Seltzer who said that I was a good writer which made me blush and flustered. Still a good thing to hear. As I was writing about my friend my friend, my friend came in, back from Southern California. Not a good trip, close relative passed away.

Good to see him, and though he and his close relative weren’t THAT close, I still offered my condolences. It can’t be easy even if there is distance between 2 people.

Now I am home again, Bill is at Le Poisson Rouge in Destinations tonight. That means he won’t be getting home until late, and then he has to wake up and go to work again. He’s done it before so we know it can be done, but sometimes he does it so often, perhaps too often that he has a physical breakdown and winds up crashing and having to spend a day or two in bed.

The other night as we were driving home, we drove past one of Hyman Gross’ haunts and I mentioned to Bill that I missed Hyman. Bill agreed and said he did too. Tonight as I waited at the gate at the bus terminal I found myself missing him. And now with Patrick Morrissey possibly dead as well, well I suppose that this is how the future will be.

Remember so & so? Well they’re dead. And wakes become social events. I wrote the other night how seeing a flamboyant bird like Patrick walking down Washington Street unmolested made me decide that Hoboken was the place for me.

About a year after that, I was a living on the floor above Patrick and his then boyfriend Alphonso Portillo. I had a car at the time and in early 1985 or 1986 I was driving home on a winter evening and slid on black ice through a stop, hitting a car driving up Adams Street. I hit my head, and my car conked out.

I restarted the car and a huge flame shot out from under the hood. I got out of the car and ran to the fire station a block away. It was all within sight of my apartment building, two blocks away. The firemen put out the fire and of course the police arrived on the scene.

My paper work was a mess. My license, my registration and my insurance had three different addresses on each one. The police officer started giving me a hard time until Patrick showed up. Patrick told the officer to knock it off, to leave me alone.

The cop turned and said, ‘He’s a friend of yours Patty?’ And Patrick said I was. The cop backed off and Patrick walked me home after my car (my last car) was towed away to the junk heap. Patrick invited me down for dinner, meat loaf with a cream cheese filling (the only time I ever had that) as well as possibly the first time I had white wine. It was certainly a bonding experience.

Patrick and I had further adventures and escapades which I will write about some other time. If the news is the worst about Patrick, I certainly hope he is at peace. If not, I hope to see him again. I figure if someone living in Peru can read about Hyman Gross on this here blog, then someone in this world might be reading about Patrick Morrissey.




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 Am Thinking Of My Pickanniny Days

Oh how to start, where to start. I keep expecting to see Hyman when I turn the corner at the bus terminal. I expect that to go on for a few more days. Today was a long day, a double shift. Calvin asked me a few weeks ago and I agreed to it.

Couldn’t really say no. I didn’t mind really. I was going to be working with Thomas and he’s actually a pleasure to work with. Getting there was the problem. Actually waking up was the problem. Alarm clock set, took melatonin last night so that was a good night’s sleep.

Had a dream where I was frantic because my iPod lost its power. Oddly enough I did not plug it in last night and I wanted to delete a track from a playlist I created, don’t really need to hear Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love in the middle of May. I did delete the track, before heading out into day three of the rainstorm.

Before that I did get a phone call from Bill asking me if his keys were on top of the stove. They were and I put them in my bag and headed down the stair when I realized I did not put my knee brace on. Quickly put it on and headed down the stairs into the aforementioned rainstorm. It was crowded on the bus, filled up quickly. And there was traffic heading into the tunnel.

I texted Bill as we approached the tunnel so he could meet me at the bus terminal. His office is only a bloc or two away so it was no problem for him. The helix outside the tunnel was closed and all the NJ bound traffic was being diverted.

I made it to the terminal and saw Bill who walked me to the subway, letting me use his unlimited Metrocard to pass through the turnstiles. A quick kiss and I was on my way and Bill on his. Luckily, since it was still rush hour there was a train pulling in almost immediately.

Made it to the cigar shack with time to spare to get an egg sandwich and some coffee. I made it in, turned off the alarm. Luckily since I closed last night I knew everything was going to be in order giving me time to enjoy the sandwich and drink some coffee.

I was going to be alone for 2 hours and so I needed to take care of a few things before things really started to happen. A few calls for Marcus and for Calvin, both of whom were unavailable for the day. A couple of customers came in, asking about pens of all things and found the pens I showed them either not up to snuff or merely too expensive.

Thomas eventually showed up and he was great. A lot of fun to work with, while still maintaining an air of professionalism. Many laughs were had and he really helps bring out the best in me. The day didn’t fly by as expected and Thomas kept things competitive always trying to one up on sales which made things interesting.

He maintained the lead in sales throughout most of the day, I jumped ahead when I took a call when there was an order from a cigar bar nearby. Unfortunately I messed up the order and had to correct it, so when things quieted down in the shack I made my way over to the cigar bar, they were happy to see me there and offered me a beer.

I would have taken it but had to get back to the shack and finish up with Thomas. And after that was when I had started to crash. 12 hours on my feet didn’t do me any favors but thanks to Thomas it didn’t hurt too much either. Fave customer Jimmy Seltzer came in and mentioned that I reminded him of Stephen Fry which isn’t so bad.

I am glad to be off from the cigar shack tomorrow but there is something that I will be involved with for the first time tomorrow. If it goes well I will probably write about it somewhat, and let’s face it, if it doesn’t go well I will probably write about that as well. Fingers crossed.

Have a good night, I know I will.




for Hyman Gross






I Am the Walrus

The rain poured down quite heavily this morning as I was sleeping, it was raining hard enough that I wondered if there was to be flooding when I headed out to work. It stopped for a while when I walked to the bus stop and held off as I made my way to the cigar shack.

Things are improving at the cigar shack, the new regime isn’t fully installed yet but I assured Calvin that I was up for the task of working underneath him. I don’t want to see him fail and will do my utmost to support him.

The day started out easily enough despite working with everyone’s favorite cipher the brain dead Bradley. Calvin was in a meeting with Marcus in the man cave as I set about starting up my duties. I spoke with Bill a few times and was surprised to get his call about an hour later.

He had some sad news. Our friend Hyman gross had passed away. The information was sketchy, gather from Hyman’s nephew. Apparently Hyman died either en route to the Jewish Home in East Harlem where Hyman was going for rehab for his broken ankle, or once he was actually placed in the home. It was a shock, though we knew it was going to happen sooner or later.

Hyman was about 84 years old, his heart was broken since his companion Joan died in 2009 and he was very lonely. Bill and I could only fill that void so much, and the moments when Hyman was alone, waking up almost every night at 3AM. He told me sometimes he felt so alone that he would call the suicide hotline. He never went that far, but I’m sure the idea was there.

I feel bad, and wish I could have done more for him. I also wish he didn’t hit my buttons so much that I would tell him how upset he was making me.

I am glad that I was able to see him in the hospital and bring him the New York Times. I am also glad that he was able to see Bill perform in 2 plays. And I am happy to have been able to take him to what turned out to be his last Thanksgiving dinner at the Waldorf Astoria with Bill.

I tried to get Hyman to write his life story down, he had quite a few tales to tell. Being cruised by Rex Harrison was just one of the stories.

At the end of the night a vendor came to the cigar shack with a bottle of champagne to toast Calvin and his promotion. I was asked to sit in and I gladly did, enjoying a cigar and a flute of the bubbly. Calvin turned to me and asked how I was doing since I told him about Hyman’s passing.

I told him I regretted not being able to say good bye and Calvin understood. I then asked if I could make a toast to the memory of Hyman and Calvin and the vendor and I clinked glasses in Hyman’s memory. It was nice. Calvin was able to get a ride home with the vendor and I closed the store, making my way to the subway.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Hyman, how he was surprised that I would walk from the cigar shack to the bus terminal in minutes (before my knee got jacked up of course) and be able to catch that 9:42 Willow Avenue bus with him.

He always brightened up when he saw me and I was usually tired and grouchy by then. Still I would sit and talk with him. The bus drivers knew Hyman and tonight when I told the bus driver what happened to Hyman, he was visibly saddened.

I am sad to see him go, and I hope he is happy somewhere out there in the universe, hopefully with Joan. Rest in peace, Hyman Gross.

Hyman Gross

I Am The Champion

Here I am again at the cigar shack. Where yesterday flew by, today was a day of the crawl. Calvin just left which is giving me this opportunity to get some writing started.

Yesterday I took a Xanax before I came in and today should have been the day for that. But I persevered and it all worked out. It was the brain dead Bradley and Calvin and myself today. It has been an edgy day nonetheless.

Calvin had an idea, right before I went to lunch to do something about the non-communication between the brain dead Bradley and myself. That ruined my lunch somewhat, distracting me from enjoying Keith Richards life.

And I am almost done with Keef’s autobiography and it’s been an enjoyable read which I highly recommend.

Lately I’ve been wrestling with myself and coming to terms with the fact that I am an artist. I’ve always been which could explain why I’m usually out of step with most of the human race. I play guitar, I write, I take photographs, I’ve also shot movies, acted and written poetry.

I guess I wear many hats. I am avoiding the jack of all trades line as well as the Renaissance man label.

But like I said, it’s been a long day and now a customer has just walked in, so guess who gets my attention dear reader. Sorry but it isn’t you. I mean you do get my attention in the space of writing (no not really, I just go into writing mode and ignore most everything with the exception of Bill).

The customer is now gone, he was just browsing. At least he wasn’t tire kicking, which is when a customer asks to see something and then they hem and haw and use the line that I myself had given to sales associates all over the place. ‘I’ll be back’.

I reckon 300 words is a nice enough cut off point until I finish this at home.

And now I am home. Had to close the store you see and also finish a damaged cigar that was in the damaged bin. No one wants to buy a cigar that is unraveling at the foot.

I was out of the shop and waiting on the platform. Caught an express train which got me to the bus terminal rather quickly, but not quick enough to catch an earlier bus. I waited for the 126 bus that I usually catch with Hyman Gross.

The bus driver was quite interested in how Hyman was doing, and seemed sincere. Tonight when I got on the bus and asked the bus driver how he was doing, he merely grunted.

I thought I had a connection of sorts with the driver but apparently I didn’t. Tomorrow night, if and when I get the bus I will try to get an earlier bus and will probably continue to do so until Hyman starts riding the bus again.

Monosyllabic drivers are so passé.

Bill is fast asleep in bed, sleeping soundly and quietly thanks to the new sleep apnea mask. All is well.

I thought this guy was a junkie, turns out he was thoroughly engrossed with his iPhone/Blackberry

I Am Mine

Monday Monday, Can’t trust that day. And here I am on a Monday and it hasn’t been so undeserving of trust. Yesterday was quite an interesting day, much more so than today.

For one thing, it was a Sunday and it was a day off. I requested it earlier at the beginning of April. I had plans to visit Hyman Gross in the hospital, first visit post-surgery. His bone density was enough that the surgeon felt setting a pin in his leg/foot/ankle would suffice.

I only expected to be there for an hour but it turned into 2 hours. Hyman had an ultrasound on Friday pre-surgery and while he was waiting there was an alarm in the hospital causing most of the staff to abandon Hyman on a gurney in the hallway, leaving him to holler in vain as he heard the scurrying of mice around the wheels of the gurney.

I hung in there with Hyman, and even offered to move the gurney back to his room so I could get moving along myself, but it was advised to have an orderly do it. I figured it was no big deal since 20 years ago I carried dear Harpy from one floor to another when he was in the hospital.

Luckily Harpy weighed less than the 98 pounds he usually weighs and carried him in my arms down a flight of steps. It all went well with Hyman and I was able to head to the Hoboken Art & Music Festival, a little later than I expected but really it was no big deal.

My main goal was to see Ian Hunter and the Rant Band playing featuring Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro. And with Jim involved that meant it was more than likely that Lily, Ruby & the funniest girl alive, Meghan would be there. And they were. As was Chaz!

I met Ivan Julian who I have seen on stage a few times. Ivan played with Richard Hell & the Voidoids as well as the Outsets. He looked great then and hasn’t aged one bit, looking as sexy as ever these days. Steve Fallon was around as were several other people from the Maxwells days. I kept mainly to myself though, after saying hello to Steve.

I missed the Steve Wynn & Peter Buck thing, the Baseball Project but I didn’t really know they were playing until about an hour or two before I left the apartment. It was great to see Meghan and the girls, Lily off to Bard, Ruby to be a sophomore next semester and Meghan maintaining her reign as funniest girl alive.

Ian Hunter took the stage, opening with All the Way from Memphis, and doing Mott the Hoople and solo hits, Cleveland Rocks, Once Bitten Twice Shy among others like Somewhere from West Side Story, finishing off with a sing along of All the Young Dudes.

It had gotten cooler and after saying my goodbyes to Meghan and Lily & Ruby and the Jack of Hearts I started for home. Ran into Rand & Lisa, and then the three of us ran into RoDa & Elly with Logan and Autumn in tow.

RoDa, born & raised in Hoboken knows everyone and we lost track of him. Rand & Lisa walked me to the corner of my block before they headed to their home. I came upstairs, quite slowly since once again I was standing on concrete for a few hours, though wearing Airwalks helped.

I turned on the TV and noticed there was no audio. Instead I watched a DVD via Netflix. An Australian movie, Animal Kingdom. I heard it was like the Australian version of Goodfellas and this was way more intense than how I remember Goodfellas to be.

It was so good, nicely paced and so intense that at one point I thought about turning off the movie, it had gotten that far under my skin. Jacki Weaver who plays the matriarch was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar, but went home empty handed. This movie was bound to give her more notice, worldwide if not the States.

Bill came home in the last 20 minutes of the movie and I told him about the cable audio being out so he called the cable company as I watched the extras on the DVD. The woman on the other end of the line instructed Bill who instructed me to unplug the cable box and plug it in again so the box would reboot.

Fair enough. But before that I had turned on the TV to show Bill how it was not working when we saw the Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Big news indeed and here we were without any TV News.

The NY Times website had the info and Bill relayed the news to the woman on the phone who was understandably excited. We eventually got the audio back and watched the news being repeated eventually deciding on the BBC and waiting for President Obama to make the announcement regarding Osama Bin Laden being killed.

Bill went to bed after a little while, I stayed up late watching and not getting anything but the basic information. Tomorrow I have off from work. Bill is taking a half day since he is singing the National Anthem at CitiField before the NY Mets/ San Francisco Giants game tomorrow night. Very exciting and we are understandably nervous.

Bill more so than I am, but still I will probably catch up eventually.

Ian Hunter's Back!


Ian Hunter & Jim Mastro



Baby, It WAS You


I Am A Cider Drinker

Another day in the cigar shack. It’s been a long day, but it’s been a productive day and my sales, while in the third place are still pretty good, four figure range. It’s Calvin and Thomas and myself once again.

Tomorrow I am off as I requested at the beginning of April so I could attend the Hoboken Art & Music Festival on Washington Street. I am really looking forward to seeing Ian Hunter and I believe Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro is playing with Ian Hunter. Hopefully that means Meghan and Lily and Ruby will also be in town and it is always very good to see them.

I spoke with Hyman Gross earlier in the day and apparently his bone density is good enough that a pin may have been inserted and not needing him to wear a cast and be incapacitated for 12 weeks.

That would not be good for Hyman since he thrives on getting around and having him housebound would not be a good thing at all. Bill and I plan on seeing him tomorrow in the hospital and all three of us are looking forward to it.

I had lunch with Raymond, aka Dave who used to work alongside me in the cigar shack. We didn’t eat, we smoked cigars on a bench near the park. I ate before heading out. It was good to see him, I hadn’t seen him in a while.

Bill is driving once again to Atlantic City. I did not see him at all this morning, he missed the train he usually takes and had to catch a 10:00 train which is when I was headed to the bus stop. I gambled and hoped that a 10:30 bus would show up and much to my surprise it did.

So it’s been a busy and relatively fun day in the cigar shack.

Now the fire alarm is going off. We are on alert. There was no need for alarm and there was no need for the alarm. It turns out some kids pulled the fire alarm then ran. I suppose a false alarm is better than an actual alarm, that is unless there was a need for the fire department elsewhere.

No, I didn’t do it. I was too busy taking pride in my job, you know, me and millions of other people not complaining or whining about having to stand on concrete floors for 9 hours a day. Because we are all exactly the same, we are all in the same situations.

The knee seems to be getting better, new shoes helped but at the end of the day I look forward to an ice pack on my knee the same way a businessman looks forward to a martini or whatever when they come home from work.

And of course climbing up subway stairs as well as four flights of stairs doesn’t really help the knee but instead of sounding like I am whining, I might as well just stop writing right now.
UA-9199038-1 from Toms River?


Raymond aka Dave


I Am A Tangerine

Another day at the cigar shack and another day without the brain dead Bradley, which means another good day. Thomas and Calvin as well as Marcus have all been on board today and it hasn’t been such a bad day after all.

In fact the day started out slowly and then all of a sudden there was a rush, a line of gents and the occasional woman in a queue to buy some cigars and accessories. It certainly made things go faster for a while which made a difference. It all went splendidly, like a well oiled machine.

The day started out with Bill phoning me, telling me he left his iPhone at home. I couldn’t find it, so he had to call and let it ring so I could locate it. That was done then it was a text asking me to find some cables for his phone. Found those cables and I told him I would bring them to him on my way to work.

I figured I was going to be a little late going in and so I phoned the store and told Calvin that I was going to be a bit late. I didn’t figure that the bus I was riding in on would make a right turn and head to 34th street rather than make a left turn and go directly into the bus terminal.

It was a slight diversion but luckily the bus driver knew what to do and a delay of 5 minutes wasn’t so bad. I made it over to Bill office building where I found Bill standing outside waiting for me. It certainly was good to see Bill if only for a few minutes.

Then I headed to the subway to the cigar shack. I was only about 15 minutes late which was better than I expected. Still I don’t handle being late very well and was a wee bit rattled.

Now it’s me and Thomas manning the ship and it’s so far, so good. Thomas is sticking around tonight to begin to learn about closing. He’s supposed to be watching my every move. It should be interesting.

An hour or so later. And it was relatively interesting. Time flew by and before I knew it, it was time to close the cigar shack for the night. My shadow Thomas looked over my shoulder and occasionally out the window looking at pretty girls walking by.

Still he paid enough attention and did what I told him to do, which was basically count this, count that. Count it again, now write this here, check that box and move that there. It was all easy and I wished I had someone like me showing me how to close the registers properly instead of the haphazard way I was taught.

I did have an interesting chat with Marcus and Calvin earlier today about closing the shop and OCD. Marcus had it happen to him as well, not really sure if he closed the shop at night and going so far as to get in his car and drive back to the cigar shack from home just to make sure the door was locked.

I didn’t go that far and it was good to make sure that it was locked with Thomas around.

I also heard from Hyman Gross who had surgery this morning and according to him it went well. He’s looking forward to my visit on Sunday as well as hearing from Bill tomorrow. Bill is presently driving a bus down to Atlantic City tonight and I expect to hear from my beloved in an hour or so.

The weather is quite nice tonight, like an early summer or late spring evening. Turning Japanese played endlessly in my head throughout the day after hearing it on my Ca Plane Pour Moi iPod playlist today. Is it really about masturbation? 30 years later I still have no idea, but man do I have itchy palms and a hankering for sushi.





I Ain’t Worried

Well I’m in an interesting position. Nothing earth shattering or life changing (or maybe it is, I don’t know). I’m home, a day off. Laundry folded and put away. Groceries bought. Nap was taken. Can’t say it’s been productive for a day off, but I did get some things done.

I saw Hyman Gross in the hospital. Once again asleep when I arrived. He’s scheduled for surgery today and he just called me quite unnerved. I tried to reassure him that he would be alright and told him I would visit him in a few hours.

I keep wanting to go out but don’t know where to go. I love Hoboken but it is only a mile square and I’ve covered a lot of ground, though not recently. Itching to do something but lack the impetus to do so.

Last night Juan came over again. And once again it was good to see him and have him over. Bill was even awake for it last night. Didn’t stay up too long, he went to bed while Juan and I hung out and watched some television, the Colbert Report and a repeat of 30 Rock.

Around 12:30 I started getting tired and had to send him out as I was falling asleep. And I slept really well, longer than I anticipated. I was awoken not by the alarm clock but rather my cellphone two rooms away. I didn’t recognize what it was at first and didn’t rush to get out of bed to find out.

Eventually I did get out of bed and found that I missed a call from Hyman. He knew I had off today and was looking forward to me stopping by. I thought he said something regarding his surgery, which was scheduled for 2:00. I went over around 12:30 and sat with him for an hour.

It didn’t seem like he was scheduled for surgery. We chatted for a while about old movies, and I got him some cologne and the New York Times. Then it was a trip to the supermarket for some groceries and picking up some dry cleaning on the way home.

And that’s about it. I want to go out, but then again I don’t want to go out. I will be going to see Hyman again in a little while I guess, but first I’ll call to make sure he is out of surgery. And if so, he might be drugged up again and therefore unconscious. Visiting hours are until 8:00 and it’s now 6:30. I guess I will give him a call about 7:00.

I’ve been asked to do something with regards to my writing. I am asking you, the reader- to perhaps let me know, which of the previous entries struck a chord or made you laugh or cry or punch a wall in either disgust or sheer bliss.

I hope I’m not asking too much, but you are reading this and I reckon that you might have read somethings before. You can leave a comment here in this entry about what’s what. I’d appreciate it.

I just called Hyman. He didn’t have the surgery since he wouldn’t sign the paperwork since they wouldn’t give him a straight answer. 83 years old and still pretty sharp with regards to legal matters. I keep trying to get Hyman to write his life story, from what I gather he has led an interesting life.

So there is no need to go to the hospital tonight. I guess I will stop by on Sunday, my next day off, on the way to going to the Hoboken Art & Music festival.





I’m going to sit on the front steps, have a cigar and read the New Yorker until it gets dark. And I did just that and then it started getting dark.

It was nice to just sit there and read last week’s New Yorker, an article about 2 of my favorite subjects, Time and the Brain. In this case it was how the brain perceives time. My type of article.

I Ain’t Thru

A quick one while he’s away. Calvin presently sitting in the man cave finishing up a cigar he started a few hours ago. It’s all good. He was interrupted a few times so it’s not like its owl stretching time. It’s been an alright day working with Calvin and the Braindead Bradley.

As Bill was kissing me goodbye this morning I had to ask him if I was working today, so deep in sleep I was. Bill told me I was and I had no reason to doubt him. I kept hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock, finally getting out to the sound of Herb Alpert’s Rise which I took to be a sign to get out of bed and to start the day.

Last night I watched I’m Not There, the pseudo bio-pic about Bob Dylan starring Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Marcus Carl Franklin, Ben Wishshaw, Christian Bale and Richard Gere, each playing a facet of Dylan’s persona. I had seen it before and just picked it up from the bibliothèque.

Since it was due back today I thought I should watch it. I’m pretty much sure I enjoyed it more the second time around, but decided not to try for the Fourth Time Around. Did not watch much of anything else after that, Bill had gone to sleep by that point.

I am reminded of Jimmy Seltzer, fab customer who comes in and hangs out in the man cave after hours. He asked me last week how many jobs have I worked and I came up with the number of 18.

Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich, 1330 Corp, EnRoute messengers, Friedman Alpren & Green, San Loco, Murdoch Magazines, Take One Video, Rizzoli, Skyline Studios, Right Track Recording, Deniz Productions, Arista Records, People Magazine, The Lodge, Staffmark, Adecco, Vanguard Staffing, Putnam Lovell NBF, Wolff Olins, Legend Staffing, Bio-IB, and now the cigar shack.

22 jobs actually. Forgot about a few when I was originally asked, and there maybe be some that I’ve forgotten. Does Farfetched count? It was part time and OTB. I’m sure Jimmy Seltzer had less of a job list than me. Then again, he’s a professional and I’m just a leaf in the wind.

Jimmy Seltzer and I also talked about most played songs on our iPods. I guessed correctly that the most played song on my iPod would be Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles. Now when I just checked, it is Just Be Good to Me by the SOS Band.

But having just played Tomorrow Never Knows twice, it is once again the most played song on my iPod. Sorry SOS Band, but I’m sure Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis would understand. After SOS Band, the third most played song on my iPod is I Only Have Eyes for You by the Platters.

I just saw Julio and picked up some shoes that I ordered and shipped to his place of work. I could have picked them up over the weekend but after having to deal with people all day long at the cigar shack, I am too wiped out to even stop by one of my dearest friends’ apartments for a beer and a chat. Another drawback to this job, standing on my feet in dress shoes for nine hours a day.

Yes I am complaining and yes I am trying to better myself in the face of bitterness. Even ambivalent to meeting a friend of mine and Harpy’s whom we haven’t seen in quite a long time. She’s in town until the end of the month and the only time to see her is when I would be off and heading into the city on a day off really isn’t something that I do these days.

Hyman Gross is in the hospital. Hyman broke his leg getting into a taxi on Saturday. Surgery will have to be done. I saw him for about an hour yesterday, he was fading in and out of consciousness due to the heavy painkillers he is on. It was good to see him nonetheless and I hope he pulls through with no trouble.

an interesting bird I saw this morning





I Ain’t Marching Anymore

Another rainy day, this time it is a Saturday. I slept really well last night. I took a fish oil pill/tablet early yesterday and then took another later in the day. My mood was elevated somewhat and I was feeling good.

Bill and I watched a talk show of sorts featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock and Louis CK. It was entertaining, and Bill certainly got a lot out of it. He went to bed soon after that and I stayed up.

The other night I stayed up and watched Frailty starring Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey and Powers Booth. I had seen it in the theater with Julio when it came out originally and I couldn’t take my eyes off it the other night. Definitely low key and engrossing.

Last night I don’t remember what I watched but wound up going to bed earlier than I usually do. I think the fish oil pills helped with my sleeping. When I woke up this morning it was all about rain. That made me want to sleep in some more but no, I had to get it together and get to work.

Bill was up and doing things on his computer. I shuffled about, making coffee, pouring cereal and stepping into the shower. Eventually Bill walked me to the bus stop where Hyman gave me a call.

Apparently he was getting into a cab and slipped and broke something. So instead of the cab driving him to the opera, it drove him to the emergency room. Bill was off today so he was going to visit Hyman in the hospital when he got a chance.

I was headed to work and killed as much time outside before heading in. Unfortunately the rain made me want to head in. Calvin was in the shop, Thomas was en route.

It’s been a slow day. I treated myself to a nice lunch at the Moon Rock diner and wandered around outside for the rest of my lunch hour since it had stopped raining. Still overcast and battleship grey skies, but no rain.

Just killing time now. It’s been an OK day so far and now it’s night time which for some is the right time, but for me it’s the time to go home. I was supposed to hang out with Julio last night but I postponed it to tonight and still despite my fondness for Julio I would rather just go home and not do anything at all.

Still if he calls I will show up. What’s a couple of beers between two old friends? Plus today is Alexander’s birthday, three years old! So maybe he would like to talk about that. I’d be cool about that.

Now Thomas and I are discussing the usage of the word ‘queer’. He uses it for describing things that he finds strange. I don’t. I hear it and think ‘derogatory word’. He said if he uses it and I’m offended, he won’t use it anymore. That’s nice to know.

No call from Julio and I am home now. Bill is coming home from visiting Hyman in the hospital, which is what I will be doing tomorrow. I am certainly quite happy, almost over the moon to have a paid holiday tomorrow.

Some good news from Harpy which was nice to hear, but it is still not my story and I won’t be intrusive but science does work, sometimes. Now I am waiting for Bill to come home from the supermarket.

And it is Sunday tomorrow, so no writing for me, unless of course there is something to write about.

a note in the hallway


a note in the vestibule





I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder

Just got home. Lately I’ve been starting this here blog, each entry at the cigar shack during some down time, which isn’t really down time, just a quick moment here and there that I can stand and spew out as many words as possible.

Today I worked with Calvin so there was not much of a chance to do such a thing. Which I suppose is fine, but I do like to get a head start on these types of things. It was a busy day though, Calvin did over $3000 worth of business and I did more than $2000.

There was no Thomas and the Bradley was out as well. Marcus made an appearance despite phoning in sick before I got in. It was busy enough that time flew by fast enough.

I also saw Lovely Rita this afternoon. She was in the area, heading home after some dog grooming. It was wonderful to see her, certainly a thrill. She looked great as we caught up about each other, our partners and our friends.

It was on my lunch hour that kept being interrupted by customers (I did not mind at all seeing Lovely Rita on my lunch hour). That always happens. I take lunch and lots of people come streaming in. It’s similar to the occurrence of me having a day off and it almost always rains, or is mainly cold and overcast.

I take a bite, chew and swallow then I sell some cigars as my once warm food gets cooler and cooler. I’m used to it. It used to happen at Wanker Banker, at Wolff Olins and at BIO-IB. At least at those jobs I was able to sit comfortably throughout the day.

Nowadays I spend about 9 hours on my feet, in dress shoes, standing on concrete. The left knee has slowly gotten better but standing around all day certainly can’t help the matter. Bill suggested looking into Worker’s Compensation which I plan to investigate as soon as I can.

Right now I’m pretty much tired. Working tomorrow and Sunday. Tomorrow it’s me and the Bradley and Sunday is back with Calvin. It shouldn’t be so bad and it will involve wearing business casual clothes.

Now I am home, Bill on the couch, Bill Maher on the TV. Yes, the TV has come back with some strange hickeys on its tube. No idea where it’s been and I’m not one to ask. Though we’ve been together for a few years, somethings are better left unsaid.

I saw Hyman Gross on the bus tonight on the way home and he said hello. Calvin was gracious enough to allow me to leave 5 minutes early which got me to the gate in time to be home before 10:00. Everything evened out and reconciling the sales was a breeze tonight.

I would have left 5 minutes early if Calvin wasn’t there anyhow. Hopefully I will be sleeping well tonight. I did last night and once again there was difficulty waking up. Still not a morning person despite Bill’s finest efforts.

Good night.


I Want to Be Free

Another day, another dollar, or something less than that I suppose lately. It’s a Wednesday and once again I find myself at the cigar shack. Life is great with Bill, my rock, the love of my life.

Right now, Bring on the Night is playing by the Police. It’s just Calvin and myself for the next hour, then he heads home and I figure out how to balance and reconcile the register with whatever transactions might have taken place.

The day has been not so bad, once again though I find myself trailing in the sales department, all through the luck of the draw and I’m all sixes and sevens and nines. Tomorrow is a day off which is something to look forward to.

The cigar shack is getting ready for an inventory this Sunday, which is something that I’m dreading though it probably won’t be that bad. My only previous experience doing inventory was when I was working for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and if it wasn’t for the canonization of my mother I probably would have been fired.

And justifiably so. Counting books, counting cartons of books all without the use of calculators. The non-use of calculators probably helped with the decision to get rid of certain people who simply couldn’t add and I was one of those people.

I was partnered with Lou Nagy, a gruff forklift operator with a mouth like a sewer and a pot belly to match. He was funny and also crazy and the fact that I wasn’t killed while being sent up hundreds of feet in a ramshackle contraption is basically a miracle.

Inventory meant overtime and that meant good money in the late 1970’s early 1980’s. I mainly recall inventory before the introduction of Julie Diemer and Andy Johnson and Noel Walls and the departure of Dave Manzo, Paul Lo Presti and John Vasichek.

Just had an arrogant yet cute bull of a man who seemed to be getting upset with the fact that couldn’t read his mind regarding the cigars that he had wanted to buy. I did eventually set him off on his way with cigars I would like after he showed me a text message he got from Elizabeth Marvel swearing that she would do anything he wanted since he hasn’t steered her wrong yet.

Perhaps a rendezvous is on the books for the Cigar bar a few blocks from this cigar shack. 20 more minutes with Calvin is on the agenda then another hour for me solo. I could have sworn I hit at least 500 words so far but no, not really.

Still below 450 which is disappointing somewhat. Time to put this away before Calvin returns from his beer run.

Now Calvin has split and I am solo. 20 minutes before I can close the cigar shack and count the money. Janet Jackson’s When I Think of You is playing. Really sweet song. Almost at 500 words.

Actually less than 14 words are due. Now less than 4.

And just as I was about to close, an old handbag of a woman walks in. She is wearing hipster glasses which makes her 70 something self seem ridiculous. She pulls out a bottle of Lampe Berger and asks if she can exchange it for a bottle that doesn’t make her want to vomit.

It seems her husband bought it for her and she is not one for the Ocean Breeze. I ask if she has a receipt and she doesn’t. I explain that any exchanges must be done within 14 days of the purchase and must be accompanied by a receipt.

She complains that she’s a regular customer and doesn’t deserve to be treated like this. I explain that I’ve never seen her before and she responds that she doesn’t come here, her husband does and she doesn’t smoke cigars.

I figure I have a minute left and don’t need her post-menstrual aggravation so I let her do the exchange, while mentioning that I could lose my job over this. The aging hipster decides on some bullshit and she’s relatively happy, flaky thighs and all.

Her horribly hen pecked husband shows up all smiles and I merely say, ‘Have a good happy’ and show them to the door as I watch her explain to her humbled and hobbled husband what just transpired.

I get the job done, everything balanced, ride the bus home with Hyman Gross once again and now I am home with Bill. Day off tomorrow. Happy about it.




I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell

Today is Friday and it’s also April Fool’s Day, making it April 1. It didn’t snow, in fact it was much like yesterday. Cold and drizzly mostly. It’s been a slow day at the cigar shack. Last night I left a few minutes early and was able to ride the bus home with Hyman Gross.

Tonight someone has to stay late (Calvin: Want to make some overtime John? Me: No. Get the Bradley to do it.) since there is some maintenance going on in the man cave. There is a very short man crawling around in the ventilation system, cleaning out a lot of gunk that has accumulated over the years.

Last night I took 2 melatonin tablets which helped me sleep so much that I really did not want to wake up and go to work this morning. I slept quite soundly and when I told Bill about the melatonin he asked if he could have a tablet since he hasn’t been sleeping too well as of late. I told them where I keep them.

I also saw Rand while I was waiting for the bus, just for a minute though since he was headed for a meeting at Stacks Pancake house. My type of meeting, lots of syrup. Reading the Keith Richards bio, which I neglected (didn’t know) it was written with James Fox, who probably deserves the lion’s share of credit for the exceptional narrative.

Now Keef is in art school and learning how to play guitar. He’s just met Mick and Ian Stewart and Brian Jones. It really is a fun book, I recommend it. I have until April 6 and since it’s such a new book I can’t renew it since someone is waiting for it.

My left leg is fine mostly. It’s when I stand up after sitting down, that’s when the problems start and then lately it goes away after a few minutes. Is it possible? Am I getting old? I mean in less than 2 years I will be 50 years old and I have to tell you, I never expected to make it this far.

And having written that, here comes a bus, barreling down after me, to make my words and give them that extra dose of irony. And since the Bradley is staying late (and he opened up my usual register) I get to leave a little after 9:00PM tonight.

I don’t think I will wait for the 9:42 bus to ride with Hyman Gross (sorry Hyman) but I would rather just go home and be with the one I love. And having written this much, it’s really one less thing I have to do tonight.

Well I might have written that too soon, since I haven’t hit the 500 word mark yet. For those that play at home, you probably realized that I write about 600 words every day lately, but tonight I will be satisfied with 500.

I hope you are satisfied with 500 words as well, but if you’re not, then TS. Thinks don’t always turn out as planned of course. I left the cigar shack at 9:00, leaving the Bradley behind the counter.

Despite my leg acting up lately, I decided to take my time, enjoy a cigar and walk (not stomp) down the avenue to the bus terminal. I was enjoying David Bowie, a playlist I made for my iPod. The cigar wasn’t that great but the weather was better than it’s been all day.

As I entered the terminal I noticed that I could easily catch a 9:25 bus and be back in Hoboken in no time. I was looking forward to reading more of Keith Richards book and seeing Bill soon enough.

I thought about calling Hyman to tell him I wouldn’t be on the bus with him, but decided and followed that line from Bob Dylan’s The Wicked Messenger, ‘If ye can’t bring good news, don’t bring any’.

I ascended the escalator and as I approached the gate I saw Hyman. He didn’t see me, and I almost kept on going. But I decided to see if he was OK. Hyman saw me and said he was glad to see me.

He said he was exhausted and I offered my arm and together we ascended another escalator and worked our way through self-involved twenty somethings to the gate where we needed to be. The bus I could have taken was idling and Hyman said I could take that instead of waiting with him, but I couldn’t leave him like that so I stayed.

I’m glad I did, it was a nice ride and a nice talk. Now I am home and don’t plan on doing anything else except to finish this entry. And the final word count, 803.

I Shall Not Be Moved

It’s a drizzly and cold Thursday in the spring, March 31, 2011 to be exact. I woke up and heard the rain as well as some mechanical sounds somewhere in the neighborhood. I did not want to wake up and get out of bed, but still that is exactly what I did. I wasn’t too happy about it but something had to be done.

I stepped into the shower after I set up the coffee maker and poured some cereal into a bowl. 5 minutes later I was drying off and hearing the coffee maker beep, alerting me that the coffee was ready. I shuffled about, getting dressed, checking emails and sending out resumes.

When I was growing up in Lodi, I remember seeing a movie starring William Hurt & Sigourney Weaver, Eyewitness. William Hurt played a smart guy who was happy to be a janitor at night and I thought at that time that being a smart guy while doing menial tasks was good enough for me. It sort of still is, but it’s now almost 30 years later and I’m working retail which is pretty much menial in itself.

It was cold and drizzly when I headed out, and the mechanical sounds I heard were of a tree being chopped down outside the nearby public school. Don’t know why they were doing it, it has been going on around Hoboken on and off the past half year. I didn’t stick around to see the damage done.

I enjoyed a cigar and walked up to the bus stop, talking to Bill on the phone as I stayed far away enough from the bus stop so as not to offend my fellow passengers. I’m probably known as the cigar guy around Hoboken these days. And I probably smell of cigars which I think is fine since that generally means no one will sit next to me on the bus if they don’t have to.

On the bus, instead of looking at the gray gray town of Hoboken through the bus window I read instead Keith Richards autobiography which is actually really good and a lot of fun. I’m sure he used a ghost writer, a very good ghost writer since it flows so easily and it’s quite descriptive, reading about growing up in Dartford, Kent in the 1950’s.

But instead of listening to the Rolling Stones, I listened to the Pet Shop Boys as I walked through the bus terminal. The day was OK at the cigar shack. Marcus was back from his vacation in the Dominican Republic and I hadn’t seen Calvin since Sunday.

It wasn’t that busy but for the first time in a week or two, the man cave was filled, mainly with new people. It was too cold and rainy to go outside and smoke cigars so they stayed in the cigar shack. It was an amiable group, most of the guy fascinated by a young woman who sat there telling her tales of Harlem while smoking cigarillos.

Once again I inadvertently had the top sales and once again it was all in the luck of the draw. In this instance, I merely answered the phone and took a phone order. The store as usual, slowed to a crawl, leaving Thomas and myself not that busy.

A customer or two came in but nothing major. I left the shop a little earlier, 5 minutes earlier and since the weather outside was crap, I took a subway which pulled into the station minutes after I descended the stairs.

That enabled me to catch a bus ride home with Hyman Gross who seemed happy to see me. I was glad to see him.

Snow is expected tomorrow but I am hoping that is just a cruel April Fool’s Day joke.


I Need Your Love Tonight

Letting the days go by. Today is Saturday. Once again, I find myself at the cigar shack, working with Thomas and The Bradley. Both are quite humorous, intentionally so. It’s a clear cold spring day.

I waited for the bus for about 35 minutes this morning, leaving the apartment early to catch the formerly reliable 10:15 bus. It was a no show, leaving me and a few others to wait in the cold for the soon to be standing room only 10:30 bus.

Hyman Gross got on at the next stop, having taken a taxi from his apartment to the bus stop. We sat next to each other and chatted a bit. I had planned to walk up the avenue so I could get something to eat, but as time became shorter and shorter and with the bus getting more and more crowded it was best that I take the subway.

I left Hyman on the bus as I descended the stairs. I listened to Public Image Limited, Album which I guess should be renamed Download since the cassette was called Cassette and the CD was called Compact Disc.

No one is on top of that one, but then again the label that had released the original versions is more than likely nonexistent. Goodbye, Virgin.

It brought me back to 1986, hearing the album in Jersey City when Steve Saporito lived above Chaz Charas with my former roommate William Charas. Late night after Maxwells. I have no idea how I got home after that but I do recall listening to the record. John Lydon with Ginger Baker and Steve Vai.

I’ve been here in the cigar shack for 90 minutes and it seems a lot longer. Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight, Hyman’s worried since a lot of buses are being pulled over after a string of bus accidents in the past 2 weeks.

I reassured Hyman that Bill’s paperwork was in order and that Bill inspects the bus before it leave the depot, from top to bottom and if there was anything wrong with the bus, then Bill would likely balk at driving that particular bus. I’m going to lunch in a few minutes.

It’s almost 3:30. Already did my usual Saturday afternoon phone call with Annemarie at 3:00. And there was a flurry of activity in the store sales wise.

And one of the former regulars, the one they call Nelson (to his face) stopped by more than likely to report how poorly things are since someone like him doesn’t come here anymore. I didn’t even notice when he left, cipher that he is.

And the day is now over and I am home. Bill is in Hell’s Kitchen as of one minute ago. I could have sworn he was driving to Atlantic City. When I last checked he was in Clifton. I’m sure I will find out eventually.

The rest of the day at work wasn’t so bad. In fact there were a lot of laughs at everyone’s expense. How smoothly everything goes when the meddlesome management isn’t around.

That’s about it. I’m tired. Tried some stretching that my sister recommended since the past few days I’ve been having a problem with the back of my leg. I also took some Ibuprofen which helped with the inflammation.

One more day of work tomorrow (mit Calvin) and then off two days in a row. And tomorrow is a shorter day and also a day off from writing so I guess I will see you all on Monday.

Hopefully there will be something to write about. But who knows, really?

Cheers.

Hyman Gross



I Miss You

It’s been a crappy day weather wise. Rain, sleet, hail and snow all accompanied by strong winds. I woke up this morning cursing. Not because of the weather but rather because I have to get up even earlier tomorrow since I have an appointment at 9:00 and I do not want to be late.

I didn’t realize how bad it was outside until I was actually outside. After my coffee, no cereal since I was low on milk, I started off to the bus stop with a stop at the bibliothèque to drop off Toy Story 3. I had never seen Toy Story 1 or 2 but since I heard so many good things about part 3 I thought I would check it out.

It was certainly heavier than I anticipated. The scene where the toys are facing certain destruction and they eventually all stop fighting it and accept what seems to be inevitable (death) was amazingly heavy. But things turn out for the best and the final scene with the boy, (now a young man) getting in his car and driving away, the gasp/sob from him is what really tugs the heartstrings.

I didn’t get a chance to watch the movie with Bill but if I get the DVD again, I will make sure Bill watches it with me. The walk to the bus stop was slippery but I made it and was able to wait for the 10:30 bus and enjoy the remnants of last night’s cigar.

The city was a mess of course and instead of hanging around the outside of the building which houses the cigar shack, I actually went inside and killed some time. Enough minutes passed and once again I was in the custody of the cigar shack.

Calvin recovered from his illness and was working with the Bradley, Marcus lurking about. Big event tonight at a big pricey cigar bar in the sky, I wasn’t sure if I was invited so I didn’t plan on going there. Ira, Georgia & James were playing a benefit for Japan and Glenn from the Feelies was making an appearance and I planned on going to that to lend some support and spin some discs or an iPod.

Since we had a full staff today I was able to go out for lunch and despite the weather being so crappy, I was glad to be out and about. Since there was the big cigar event going on, Calvin and the Bradley left the shop early.

And soon after they left it oddly got quite busy. I handled it admirably on my own. Luckily the customers weren’t the usual douchebags that sometimes come in, instead these people were calm, patient and understanding. And 2 of them had things that needed to be wrapped and I was able to do so under their scrutiny.

After that 30 minute flurry of busyness, things had slowed down quite a bit and only one customer came in for the last hour. I chatted with Jimmy Seltzer for a little while puffing on a cigar. He was thinking of driving out to the Hamptons tonight but after talking earlier with a customer who said the roads were freezing up, I convinced Jimmy Seltzer that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to drive all the way out there.

Plus he had an important meeting in the early afternoon tomorrow and he was also flying off to Europe with his wife tomorrow night. He didn’t need the stress and the treachery of icy roads.

I texted Calvin, asking if everything evened out cash wise with the registers tonight, would it be alright if I left at 9:15. It is now a few hours later and still no word from Calvin who is more than likely on the nod at the big cigar event. I hoped to get him pre-nod.

It’s just as well since the registers did not even out but I figured it out and corrected it and left the cigar shack at 9:27. I was able to catch the bus and saw Hyman Gross who was more than happy to see me. He said I looked good and told me to have Bill take my picture.

I’m glad to be off tomorrow and also glad that I am able to help out Ira Georgia & James and the people of Japan.



per Hyman's request, photo by Bill.

And rest in peace, Elizabeth Taylor. Thank you for the work you had done for people with HIV/AIDS.

I Got A Feeling In My Body

Once again, I am writing this at work. The camera will see me at the computer, but since I am not online per se, it really shouldn’t matter. I could always say I am sharpening my typing skills. So far no typos either which is out of the ordinary.

It’s been an interesting day to say the least. First off it was Calvin free (‘exactly’), but nervous laughter happens to most everyone sometimes and I’ve noticed the Thomas does it too. Bill does it as well but of course with Bill, I find it endearing.

And the day started with waking up to the terrible news of the earthquake off the coast of Japan. 8.9! Crazy. Not so much levity on the Today show, they were somewhat solemn. But the footage was intense. Houses, trucks and cars being swept away by the tsunami, like so many toys strewn across a floor.

Hundreds missing, perhaps swept out to sea. I couldn’t help but think that the time will come soon enough for an earthquake to strike this tri-state area. And of course that was on my mind most of the morning.

Waiting for the bus, keeping an eye on the birds since I heard that they will all take off, animals will start behaving strangely right before an earthquake. I waited for the Hoboken Daily News building to start swaying. And then it was a ride through the Lincoln Tunnel where I was sure it was going to collapse.

Then a walk through the bus terminal, followed by the subway where I was sure I was going to be in the real life version of the movie of the week from the 1970’s, where an earthquake struck Manhattan leaving passengers in the tunnels and for some reason they had to get across the East River, to Brooklyn.

I would be playing the Karen Valentine part, or the troubled boy with a junkie dog. Or more than likely, Karen Valentine playing the junkie dog.

When I got to the building I called Bill as is my wont, and he told me not to kill anyone at the cigar shack. And I hadn’t thought about that as I stood outside the glass towers that house the cigar shack. But it threw me off and I didn’t recognize Bill trying to cheer me up.

I am so not a morning person, but I would probably be more of a better morning person if I had a better job. But here I am stuck in a cigar shack and not liking it. I used to think it would be the best job since I do enjoy cigars, and maybe it is at other cigar shops, just not this one.

I apologized a few times to Bill, for being such a neurotic bitch and he accepted, in fact he knows it comes with the territory. He loves me despite the fact that a lot of the time I do not love myself. Make that most of the time.

And Bill has been good at greeting me at the door when I come home, offering hugs, taking my bag off my shoulder. Tonight when I need it most, for real since I feel like I am thisclose to breaking down, he’s not around. And I suppose that’s alright since with the mood I am in, I wouldn’t want to see me either.

I did run into Hyman Gross on the bus once more. He tried to cheer me up after I stomped my way down the avenue in 16 minutes 30 seconds from the cigar shop to the bus terminal. Listened to the Sex Pistols, from Holidays in the Sun to halfway through God Save the Queen.

By the time I saw Hyman I was still in no mood despite his efforts. On the bus Hyman chatted up a young woman with a pillow that had I Love You embroidered on it. I avoided eye contact with everyone and did not pay attention to their conversation. I was probably the best for all concerned.

I do need a hug, or rather I did need a hug, but the moment has passed and now I am home, alone.

I Apologize

So tired. It’s been a long day. Almost an entire 10 hours on my feet. It started out slowly this morning no jobs to send out resumes to. Rainier Castillo at Office Team never responds to my emails. Nothing much happening with postings online.

Joe Padilla, a customer at the cigar shack told me in November that his company bought Robert Half which owns Office Team and that he could help me get a job through him. And also Rainier Castillo was fired.

It turns out Rainier Castillo was not fired and Joe Padilla fabricated his story for some reason. I should have known better. I heard that Joe Padilla was a former coke dealer and I suppose I should have known that coke dealers, whether active or retired really can’t be trusted.

I got myself together this morning after breakfast and coffee and a lack of job postings and headed out for the bus. No usual phone call to Bill, things are a bit frosty lately between us for the past 24 hours. He’s not home right now and I have no idea where he is. And I am fine not knowing.

I am enjoying this time alone after dealing with customers all day. Don’t really feel like talking anyhow. Writing of course is something I also don’t feel like doing, but here I am, doing just that. An uneventful bus ride on a bus with a bicycle rack in front of the bus.

I had seen them in San Francisco years ago and thought it was good and so far I’ve seen a few buses from NJ Transit with them. The other day when I had to take the Path train since the buses weren’t running I saw one of those buses at the Hoboken terminal.

Bill insisted that those buses are not permitted to drive into the Port Authority bus terminal with the bicycle racks in the front of the bus but here I was again, riding one of those buses into the bus terminal.

I made it to the cigar shop at the usual time, early and saw Calvin behind the counter. It was first his first day back from a few days off. Marcus was floating around somewhere as was Thomas the new guy they are hiring.

Marcus left as did Thomas, leaving me & Calvin to run the shop. I took a Xanax at noon. Just didn’t want to deal with any nerves or jitters and felt it would smooth out the day. I was told that my sales for February were outstanding, both Marcus and Calvin were impressed.

Also had to sign a memo with a warning in the details about my taking for granted that I would always be closing the store on weekends. Apparently it wasn’t the drunken mistake made when someone was drinking and putting assigned hours in the wrong cell on the Excel spreadsheet.

Once again I did not get much of a chance to have lunch. Interruptions and stuck inside the cigar shop for basically 10 hours kept me on the sales floor. Marcus returned to teach his sommelier class and Calvin left at his appointed hour.

No one came into the cigar shop for about 90 minutes, then my friend my friend Bruce showed up a few minutes before closing, as did someone else who was buying cigars for a golf outing. Bruce’s timing was off. I really didn’t have time to chat and wanted to get the hell out of there.

It’s my Friday since I actually have off 2 days in a row. I’m too tired to be excited about it. I hopped on a train to the bus terminal and made it to the gate when I looked over at the next gate and there was Hyman Gross.

I decided not to get on the bus that was loading and walked over to Hyman and waited for his bus with him. I wasn’t too communicative.

He was asking about Octavia, a bus driver friend of Hyman’s and Bill. She’s the one who mentioned that Hyman’s absence in December might have been the result of Hyman attempting to take his own life, saying that it wasn’t the first time he tried it.

I think Octavia thrives on drama, both her own and other people like Hyman. I got off at Hyman’s stop a few seconds after he got off, not wanting him to fall and to make sure he got to his building alright. I walked him to his building and ran up the stairs to get his mail.

Then after saying good night to Hyman walked home to Park Avenue, feeling quite light headed for some reason. And now I am home, and quite happy to be home alone.



I think I’ve exhausted the Frank Sinatra song list and now I am using songs done by Elvis Presley. I don’t anyone has noticed or will notice.

I Won’t Dance

19 minutes, 4 seconds. That’s how long it took for me to get from the cigar shack to the bus terminal. It was a nice night so I decided to walk. First time in weeks actually. And it was all Echo & the Bunnymen. I’ve been listening to them lately. I don’t have much of their stuff, everything I used to have was on vinyl and I ain’t vinyl no more.

It was a long day, just me and Calvin running things. We got along just fine and I inadvertently took one of his customers. I didn’t realize it until after it was done. No harm, no foul though I’m sure he would or will cry loud if and when he hears of it.

No big deal on my end, he did take a sale from me before the December holidays. It was busy enough to both of our surprise. There were a few salesmen in the shop, one was sitting there when I came in. he was just socializing on behalf of the Alec Bradley company and gave me a cigar which was nice.

That’s how you do things. If you want the sales staff to sell your cigars, then you should gift them some cigars. I mean, everyone knows that, right?

Since it was just me and Calvin, that meant I wouldn’t be able to go out for lunch. That sucked of course, meaning that I would be trapped in the cigar shack for 10 hours. And I was. No escape, no exit. I was able to get a Shepherd’s Pie for lunch.

It was good and filling and since I was trapped in the cigar shack, I was also able to have the time and sit in the man cave and enjoy a cigar. It was interrupted a few times by Calvin’s need for my assistance, and I sat among customers who gave me their side of things about how the cigar shack has been run.

They also ran down some names of people that have come and gone while they have been fairly regular customers over the years. It was tiresome and I would have rather kept reading about Scientology in the New Yorker. But I did my bit, with a few ‘Oh really?’ and ‘No way’ comments on what was being said.

Tonight was all about a cigar tasting event by Ashton Cigars. It was planned about a week ago and it filled up quickly. A few regulars were there as well as a few people I had never seen before and some women even participated which probably got the men all excited.

It was crowded and smoky in the man cave as the event went on, though I didn’t get a chance to witness it firsthand. It ended on schedule and I was ready to go as usual, but somehow thought that these people would clean up after themselves.

They didn’t. That was left to me. I did a cursory clean up, throwing out crap and emptying ashtrays. And the Ashton representative did not leave me any cigars so I guess that means that Ashton is the brand I will not push. Their loss.

I am also off tomorrow and I am looking forward to that. Supposed to be 60°. And tomorrow night I am seeing Bill in Ankhst, the play he’s been rehearsing for the past couple of weeks, maybe months. It should be fun and I just heard from Hyman Gross who is out of the hospital and might join me in seeing Bill onstage. That would be nice, and understandable if he can’t make it.

Both Bill and I are glad that Hyman is out of the hospital.




Full Moon Waxing



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 Will Drink the Wine

Wow, yesterday was quite a good day, at least mood wise for me and today was the opposite of that. I did well sales why yesterday as well as today, but right now the main thing on my mind is why my drawer was short $49.50.

I counted the money a number of times, counted the money in the safe, counted the cash deposits and everything was in order except for my drawer. I didn’t steal the money and even now I’m not sure if it’s actually missing.

Tomorrow I will recount over and over and will even have Der Fred do some counting as well. Today it was the Bradley and Der Fred. The Bradley has been somewhat under the weather, coughing and hacking and burping all over the place as well as sounding like crap.

Der Fred did his usual spiel of how he doesn’t need the job, he has a full time job as an assistant manager at a big hotel in midtown, and how he just works part time at the cigar shack to get a discount on cigars which he loves so much.

And also the other spiel of how he can’t believe that I do this job day in and day out, polishing windows and standing around waiting for a customer to come through the door. And he whines about how bored he is working there. I told him if he doesn’t need the job, if he doesn’t need the money he should just leave. He said he wouldn’t do that, his love of tobacco is that strong and demanding.

I told him that boring people usually get bored and I’m hardly ever bored. I have an imagination which is always active. So active that it feeds these artistic impulses I have every day, almost every time I turn my head, I see art.

And that’s why I always carry a camera. I suppose it’s a Duchampian ideal, that something is art because I say it is. Something catches my eye and if I walk past it, I regret it so I usually turn around and take a photo, which is what I did tonight.

Even walking through the bus terminal under a heavy cloud, I look on the floor and see something that gets my attention, so I turn around and take a snapshot. Tonight after the counting over and over I was waiting for the bus and had a feeling I would see Lois DiLivio and sure enough, Lois and her husband Fred show up.

They had just seen a cabaret act at Don’t Tell Mama and were quite happy. Then I told them my tale of woe and inadvertently brought them down to my level, or at least unconsciously tried to. They were sympathetic of course, Fred telling me how things like that happen at the supermarket where he works. I know he tried to help, but it didn’t.

I also mentioned that I have a feeling that I’ve been set up. I did tell Calvin a few weeks ago how burnt out I was, after earlier that day telling him how the cigar selling business will soon be over. I probably should not have said that, since selling cigars is more than likely the only thing Calvin knows how to do. If they charge me with theft, then the company wouldn’t have to approve any unemployment benefits to which I am entitled.

Maybe it’s my usual everyday paranoia. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they did do something as underhanded and as nasty as that. They love the Bradley, he’s their guy. Marcus and Calvin wonder where the passion is, the passion that I showed when I was interviewed last May.

I just heard from Hyman Gross. He’s still in the hospital, he has gout. Bill is going to visit him tomorrow and along with the newspapers Bill will bring for Hyman, Hyman asked if he could borrow my phone charger. I have 2 and could spare one for as long as he might need it.

It brought to mind something that Pedro said the other night on the phone, something that I usually tell other people, that someone is always worse off than you. And here was Hyman telling me how good I have it, to have someone like Bill to come home to.

And he’s right. I do have it good and won’t let $49.50 get me down. That’s much easier said than done.


I Went Down to Virginia

It’s been quite a long day and a busy day at that. Last night was just as I wrote, helping Hyman Gross get into an ambulance. I had hoped Bill would be awake when I got home but he was fast asleep. We did chat on the phone when I was walking home and he offered to stay up, but I said there was no need.

I thought he would have stayed up anyhow, but no. He’s been so exhausted lately and as soon as his head hits the pillow he is in nearly a REM state. I could have used some contact, a hug, but no, there was none of that waiting for me when I got home 10 minutes after we disconnected on the phone.

My own garden of Gethsemane. Couldn’t you bastards stay awake for just a few minutes?

Anyway I wrote and wrote till I was done. Got a lot of positive feedback from my Facebook friends after I posted about helping an old man and picking him up off the ground. Didn’t say it was Hyman Gross since hardly anyone on Facebook would have known who he was.

According to my friend Kevin, he looked like a William S Burroughs type and I could see what he meant. He also looks like what Patrick Morrissey would look like if Patrick were in his eighties.

I got up around 9:00 this morning since it was my day off. I had an interview this afternoon with another recruiter which led me to believe I wasn’t blacklisted yet. I made some coffee and there wasn’t nearly enough so I had to go out and get some more.

So it was out into the street, getting coffee, the paper and some bagels. Came home and was going to fry up some eggs when I realized I was out of eggs. No matter, I was happy enough with the bagels. I did go out again, this time to the supermarket and the dry cleaners.

Picked up a nice suit for my interview and after some more coffee when I came home I was out again on the street. I had enough time to be early for the interview and walked on the sunny side of the streets, taking my time so I wouldn’t be too early.

10 minutes seemed fine and I sat in the reception area of the agency and filled out paperwork which took just a few minutes. A 30 minute interview with Lauren, who was born in Ridgewood, grew up in Oradell and now lives in Cranford. A Jersey girl.

The interview went alright I suppose. I was soon out on the street and headed to the Path train for a ride back to Hoboken. Stopped by the Guitar Bar and saw Mr. Wonderful, Jim Mastro who was busy with a customer.

Then I headed to the hospital where I saw Hyman Gross, back to his usual cantankerous self. Understandably he was anxious to go home but I told him it would probably be best that he stay one more night.

He was worried that his cellphone had only one bar of juice left and since it was a Samsung phone, I told him I would bring him a charger later, as well as the New York Times. And so I came home, changed out of the suit and had some food before heading out to get Hyman’s papers as well as my charger. I did not buy the NY Post, but I did get the Daily News. No money for Murdoch.

Hyman was eating dinner when I got back to his hospital room. He ate and asked me questions and seemed back to normal. We discussed having someone clean his apartment. Someone with no sentimental attachment to the various things he’s collected and picked up over the years. He agreed but to me it seems unlikely that he would do anything about it.

I also spoke to Bill on the phone and he is so proud of me, for the way I took care of Hyman over the past 24 hours. I didn’t think it was anything special, it’s something anyone would do for a friend isn’t it? Perhaps if I find myself in a similar state when I’m Hyman’s age there will be someone to do the same should I need it. But by then it will all be Logan’s Run and if that’s the case I’m a sitting duck.

where Skyline Studios used to be


the view from Hyman's hospital room




photo by Hyman Gross

I Want to Thank Your Folks

Today was an exceptionally shitty day. Decided to forego the Xanax and went in freestyle. I figured that since I wouldn’t be closing with Calvin it would be OK. It was almost OK. Calvin had the usual 2 hour liquid lunch, interrupted by yours truly when I was doing something and before I completed it, decided to check with old’ Calvin to see if it was done correctly.

I was never trained on anything properly in the cigar shack and felt it would be best to get a green light. The look of resentment on Calvin’s face was priceless and worthwhile and there was one tiny thing that I did not do which the lush noticed before heading back to the man cave to continue puffing on his cigar.

It isn’t easy trying to be busy for 9 hours in such a small space with cameras constantly watching. Still I persevered and was a bit stressed while doing so. I thought things would be better when Der Fred came in but he was more of a pain in the ass.

Constantly busting my chops, but to Der Fred’s credit, not once did he ask how I could work there doing the same thing over and over and over again, day in and day out. After I came back from my lunch at 5:40PM, Calvin seemed to be feeling no pain and had this bright idea to remove a bunch of mini cigars that arrived yesterday and put item numbers on them.

For some reason, Marcus ordered quite a bit of mini cigars and no one ever buys them. But just in case they do, we now have hundreds of them, just collecting dust waiting for someone to purchase them. We obeyed the lush’s suggestion and started moving the mini cigars into the man cave, when I got fed up and decided to just label them where they will be sold.

Much easier and no need to move a whole bunch of shit. I think Calvin just wanted to get Der Fred and myself out of the front of the store and increase his sales and also make phone calls. Perhaps make phone calls to any of the four young men who stopped by the cigar shack today and dropped off resumes.

Calvin left an hour after signing out, just sitting by himself in the dimly lit man cave and enjoying yet another cigar, postponing going home to the wife and kid. I guess there are something’s he just can’t do at home. Der Fred and I closed the shop, things were easier with Calvin finally gone.

I closed the shop solo and headed to the subway. Hyman Gross is back in Hoboken and I missed him the other day, opting to take an earlier bus. Tonight after the day that I had, decided to catch the earlier bus since I needed to go down Washington Street.

As I descended the stairs to the subway, my cellphone rang. It was Hyman. I answered but there was no one on the other end. I hung up and saw that an express train pulled in and got on board, making it to the bus terminal in no time.

I tried calling Hyman back once above ground but got no answer. I texted him saying that I would be on the Washington Street bus as I approached the gate for the Hoboken bus. I noticed two policemen standing over someone lying on the ground and hoped that it wasn’t Hyman. It was Hyman.

Apparently he collapsed and the police were going to send him to Bellevue, when I called Hyman’s name and he recognized me. One of the cops helped me get Hyman to the gate where we waited for the bus which drops him off about 20 feet from his apartment.

That bus arrived and I was surprised at the understanding of the other passengers, allowing Hyman and me to take our time getting on the bus. Hyman said his knees locked up and caused him to collapse. He also said he was on Xanax, as well as another medication and also took a caffeine pill.

We got off the bus close to Hyman’s apartment, things going slowly but going nonetheless. As I got on the step, using Hyman’s key to open the door, he collapsed again on my foot. I knocked on a neighbor’s door for help despite Hyman’s protests but there was no one home anyhow.

He lay there confused, not knowing what happened and kept blaming the Xanax. I called the Hoboken Police department and requested they send an ambulance to Hyman’s building. I waited with Hyman for the ambulance which seemed to take forever to arrive.

Hyman was nervous and we did get him up and I set up his walker for him to lean on. I also used his keys and opened the door to his apartment which could almost make the Collyer brothers look like minimalists. The smell of mothballs was overwhelming and I could easily understand why an 80 something year old man would not want to spend his days there.

He also had a plastic shopping bag and was terrified of losing it. When the paramedics arrived they helped him out and I put Hyman’s bag in his apartment, shut out the lights and locked up. I told the paramedics all I knew about the Xanax, the caffeine pill and the other medication that I couldn’t remember the name of.

I made sure Hyman got into the ambulance and told him I would stop by the hospital to see him tomorrow. It’s my day off.

Hyman Gross