Thursday, May 29, 2014

Man or an Angel by Mark Anthony Given

       He whose intellect overcomes his desire is higher than the angels: he whose desire overcomes his intellect is less than an animal. -Rumi   

 ______________


          I TRY TO REMEMBER my quick encounter with death every day because it reminds me I must have done something right but secretly suspect my life today is the result of of some bigger and more important barter with fate and destiny, in days past...  I imagine the oppressive weather of the bogs of Ballyutogue, Ireland and the miserable climate burnish a pure desire for something more in their life, something you would trade all your tomorrows for a single day of someplace other than here...
           HAVE YOU EVER through your very life on the line for one roll of the dice,
betting it all against the built in odds on the house, fuck it!  I just so fucking sick of my life I want to either life completely alive or dead and stinking?  I did.  At the very end of Interstate 10 in downtown Los Angeles having started in Jacksonville, Florida ten days or so earlier. Everything has to come to end and so do I burst across ten or twelve lanes of California car Crazy traffic flying at every bit of fifty or sixty miles an hour at ten o'clock on a Saturday night.  Probably a little drunk on the frenetic energy of the entertainment capital of the world, I rolled the dice to finally find out....
           RIGHT NOW as I 
write this I am trembling remembering it right this minute and every time I have thought of it 10,831 days ago because it ain't nothing you will ever forget.  And I wonder if that is exactly why I did it, if you can do this you can do anything.  I just wish I didn't have that damn backpack on because that is what almost got me killed... 
           THE  CAR'S FLEW by me in  a half a nanosecond and I can still feel the late summer midnight air and all the fluorescent lights and and the magical feeling Los Angeles has to it when you first arrive.  Even now, I have a overwhelming sense of "WAIT!"  "WAIT!" til an opening, there's no hurry... but like a moth to close to the flame I had to finally find out of if I was a Man or an Angel....



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Freemesser's Bar by Mark Anthony Given


________________________________________

Everything you are and do from fifteen to eighteen is what you are 
and will do through life.  - #FSCOTTFITZGERALD
_________________________________________
             YOU KNOW HOW in The Godfather where you got a room full hot headed Italian guys ready to take action and right in the middle of them is a smooth talking Irish guy as the voice of reason?  That was Freemesser's Bar with Frank Costas, in reverse.  Except he would party with the best of 'em but everybody knew he had the last word, and when he got ready to go home he would pick out the soberest in the lot....  First time I met him I was eighteen driving a white fake rag top brand new baron red Chrysler with Florida dealer tags I had stolen off a show room floor along the interstate somewhere in Florida. He had me take him home in it not knowing it was was stolen and refused to put his feet on the floor he was so impressed with it.  Couple years after I knew him we tried to goof on him about it, but he said he was too drunk to remember....
              FREEMESSER’S ON Clinton Avenue South in Rochester, New York, was a neighborhood bar owned by an old Guinea, Frank Costa's, and had been there for years. Smack in the heart of "Swilburg," now a mixed neighborhood before entering the suburbs, but once an enclave of Irish and German potatoes farmers. There were no bar stools, you had to stand up and women could not drink at the bar, but would come to the door of the back room to be served. I got busted by my parole officer for a dirty UA and locked up in the Monroe County Jail for a month or two. While I was in there, I had my girlfriend pick up my last paycheck and take it to Frank to cash and pay my bar Tab.
              FRANK WOULD try to have Frank Guesford or someone drive him home about six o'clock at night because he was tired and too drunk to drive, so if you seen him in there after six, something was going on. A wedding, a funeral, a party for Fire Fighters, Roofers Union, whatever. I walked in there about seven at night and the place was at full tilt, but still only twelve or fifteen people, which was a lot in a little corner bar. As soon as Frank seen me come in the door he pointed at me and hollered across the whole Bar, "There's that son of a bitch! I been in business twenty years and never had anyone send me money from jail! Drink's on the house kid!" You would have thought I gave him first Grand Son they way he treated me after that.  There were so many people in there all of Swillburg probable heard about it and it was a good feeling knowing I was always good for a 'few buck's a Freemesser's Bar....

 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Star On My Ass by Mark Anthony Given


______________________________

Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still know where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
 -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
______________________________
       

             I HITCHHIKED THE WEST COAST of California from just below San Francisco to Malibu and back again, its several hundred miles of the most magnificent views I had ever seen, centering around San Louis Abisbo where William Randolf Hearst's Mansion can be seen from Pacific Coast Highway 1.  Hairpin turns and death defying curves with death a second away if you look to see a dolphin in the brilliant blue surf it was everything I imagined it as a kid growing up on sixties television.  This was my second or third trip to California.  The first time I started in Jacksonville, Florida at the foot of Interstate 10 goes right to downtown Los Angeles and a shit storm of traffic going six different directions I think I was a little drunk and I knew if I didn't get run over at ten o'clock on a summer night, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's would grab me and save me from myself.  I turned around and headed back to Florida just to say I did.  Crossing twelve lanes of traffic in downtown Los Angeles at midnight my story almost ended and I must confess, is the most scared I ever been.  Looking back on it now, probably the stupidest thing I ever did but after Ms. Rita in New Orleans told me I had a "Star on my Ass!" after I give the New Orleans detectives the slip a couple of times, I felt invincible but I was a split second from being run over
by someone who never even slowed down. I thought about it almost obsessively for weeks and nearly quit hitchhiking for good. 
           SOMEBODY STOPPED for me in a midnight blue Pontiac Tempest with
headers and a 8-track playing REO, dude was kinda drunk.  He looked at me with wide eye amazement after I jumped in as fast I could and I told him I had had someone drop me off right there and was going back to Florida just to say I did.  He said "Well you better hold on," and floored it for twenty miles all the way to San Berdoo after he handed me a beer and a joint.  You will not believe this but God as my witness, hauling ass in that jacked up muscle car drinking a cold beer and smoking California Bud I noticed this was biker dude and I think he recognized Donald Duck sitting there that just like him, I didn't give a fuck and probably wouldn't start no trouble, but if you did....  Traffic at that time of night was thinning it was a eight or nine lanes somewhere around race track in Riverside, you can see along the Interstate, this candy apple red corvette appeared in the center lane tracking us to get a look at what we was working with;  we were doing every bit of ninety miles and hour the windows were open and I couldn't keep the joint lit this Vette took off like we was standing still... The last thing I seen was 454 across the hood of his car before evaporating down the interstate.  Dude looked over me at me and said, "What the fuck was that?"  "What size you engine you got in this thing?"  "427."  "Fuck that!" and he fucking stomped on it but we never seen more than his tail lights. The interstate was alight and everything was flying by as we went faster and faster weaving in and out of lanes passing cars the fresh California medical weed and Coors's beer were eliciting a building excitement I hoped would end with Blue lights on the headliner before this maniac killed us...
          NINE HUNDRED and seventy miles from Orange, Texas too Anthony, New Mexico, took me three or four days and probably ten rides of some of the loneliest road anywhere.  As soon as I got into Arizona, I was half way down the entrance ramp so the thru traffic could see me, it was perfectly flat and people who did get on there were hauling ass by the time they went by me.  An Arizona State Trooper stopped me and gave me the whole nine yards.   Ran my ID that I didn't have, read me the Riot Act about the perils of hitchhiking and then told me if he seen me hitchhiking anywhere there wasn't water he was taking me too jail.  Said people would wait many hours there and start walking off into the desert not knowing there wasn't another Exit for eighty ninety miles.  And besides, it's a great place to get run over by people dozing off at the wheel...
          I HAD NOWHERE TO GO and no hurry to get there and born with little or no ambition, all I ever wanted to do was be a writer but I had something more serious than "Writer's Block," I didn't have anything to write about.   I could tell you about growing up the only boy and twelve girls in an orphanage in Florida and the nightly trials and tribulations of The Temptation of Youth, but you would never believe me.....

          SOME PEOPLE CAN'T be alone and actually ride up and down the Interstate looking for people to take home.  You ever heard of anything like that?  After just a few months of being on the road I had to lay down some rules from what I had learned so far:  I ain't going to your house if it's more than a mile or so from the Interstate, and no hitchhiking at night.  It is ten times more dangerous and you will get run over and more importantly Bad People Come Out at Night.. bad things happen in the day but it's ten times worse at night.  More drunks, more fugitives, more felons, more feigns, more faggots, more desperation and you just feel like shit when you get where your going.  About an hour before sunset I'm looking for a somewhere i can pitch a small tent until just before daylight I'll be up and gone.... and feeling like a Champ.
To be Continued
 2:30 PM 5/21/2014