(38 hours without an alcoholic beverage)
I woke up this morning with 84 cents, and a sense of moral victory, of sorts.
Last night, after a day without beer, and hardly a cigarette, I sat down and played at my acoustically superior spot. I had walked by the Heroes pub, and there had been a group of people eating outside. There was no audible music. This seemed like an invitation to sit across the way and play, yet, I wanted to warm up and decide upon material first.
After I warmed up, and hadn't seen much foot traffic, and after a vehicle rode by and someone shouted "Guitar man, move up the street," probably an acquaintance, I moved up the street.
Heroes Cafe, or whatever it is called, is the place where the manager came out while myself and a young black man were standing on the sidewalk one night and watching the Celtics game on their large-screen TV. He pointed at us and said: "You need to take "this" either over there, or over there," indicating first across one street and then the adjacent one.
I sensed that the patrons present shared in his mindset, as I played "over there." At one point, I broke a string and heard a females voice say "What happened to the band?" as I had paused to replace it. "You mean the one guy with a guitar?' rejoined another.
It was a guy getting out of his truck who came across the street and put the 84 cents in my case. This was 3 cents short of a beer, which I thought fitting.
I don't think the good Lord wanted me to be tempted by having beer money, and I wasn't surprised after I had only made 84 cents.
To Lie Down With Bums
I went to sleep in Cooper's Park. I wanted to change up my spot, to stay ahead of those, who's business it is to watch everything and every one, and look for patterns. Too many consecutive nights spent in the same spot could draw their ilk to it. At best, they might wake you up to ask for a cigarette, once finding you.
There was a park full of sleepers, almost every bench occupied. I washed up with "the hose," and then slept by the waterfront, away from them all.
99% of the time, if they speak to you, it is because they want whatever they can get from you. This has proven to be a natural fact.
The reason they congregate together, is so that they can share whatever falls into the hands of any one of them. They all wake up sharing in the same predicament of indigence. Then they go out and do it all over again.
When they see me coming, they see a possible cigarette coming. I've accepted this. They are trained to notice a persons equipage, -whatever is written on a tee shirt, is common -and use it as a springboard to launch a conversation, which will eventually circle around to the person (we'll call him the "mark,") being asked for something. In my case, the device is usually my guitar. "Do you play that thing?" ;No, I just carry it around; and "What kind of stuff do you play?" are the two most common things that I hear. This is the inroad to an eventual request for a free cigarette, or spare change. They are careful to avoid "What kind of guitar do you have in there,' as that could be interpreted to be an attempt to assess the value of it, and could make me leery of their motives. The pros avoid this.
I arose around 4:30 am., still away from them, and feeling a few light drops of rain, and moved to my other spot. The Coffee Club was a short walk from there, after my alarm ran at 7:30.
Serda's Songwriter's Open Mic (S.S.O.M.)
I then went out to The Ant Spot and made 3 dollars (and was bitten thrice.) After buying a cigarette for a quarter, and another coffee at McDonalds, I now sit here with $2.59.
I am here to print out some songs, to play tonight at Serda's Songwriter's Open Mic. I am on a mission to redeem myself, next Monday at The Garage, by doing stellar versions of my new originals.
On my way here, I paused at the crossroads, which lead here one way, and to the beer store the other way. I talked myself out of the beer, went around the other corner, and met a young man, who offered me a sandwich, and a cigarette. It was an American Spirit cigarette -all natural tobacco and very expensive...
Now, to get my two songs printed out, and to go practice them. I might try to do that at a playing spot, where money might land in my case as I am honing my craft. Last Wednesday, Serda's took my last dollar in change for my coffee. Tonight, I would like to be able to pay full price for a cup, and show the world that I am indeed on the rise.
I'm trying to get ready, my song about bums.
Some of them, I swear to you, have got no brains at all; they'll
steal your underwear from you; (oh yeah,)...shit stains, and all...
-from "The Bum Song," by Daniel McKenna