THE ROOM IN NEW YORK CITY, WINTER
John eventually worked up the courage to return to New York City. He had a room on D Street, in the East Village. Drug addicts and Puerto Rican dealers lived in the dirty apartment building with him. He had to share a dingy bathroom with other roomers.
It was late winter and he was going stir crazy.
It is February in New York City and I have no job. I lie on my bed in this cold, drab room, staring at the naked bulb in the ceiling. I smell the stink of Black Flag, and hear the soft scratchy convulsions of roaches dying from the effects of the poison.
The clock clicks dully. I bury myself in reading. Dreams loom large… Memories… Voices out on the street… Calls… Whistles… Cries… Violence lurks… Sirens… Subways… Footsteps hollow sounding in the subterranean corridors. Heavy clothing…Coughing… Sneezing… Snot drips down my upper lip… Who cares…? Chill… Fever… Silent meals… Weather reports… Bombing in Vietnam… Waiting… Empty waiting… Tiredness…
I’ve got to get out of this place.
THE BOSOM BUDDY
John walked up to the fountain in Washington Square Park. It was evening and getting chilly. He had decided to not look for a job today. Winter was coming to an end and he wanted to feel the sun’s warmth a little, as it broke out from patchy clouds. When he reached the smooth stone circle of the dry fountain he climbed in and sat down.
He had two books in his coat pocket, Walter Kaufmann’s The Portable Nietzche and Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Odyssey: a Modern Sequel, a hardcover edition that he had stolen from the University of Missouri library.. He watched people come and go; his eyes blank but with a slight frown. There was a young bearded man with a frizzy haired girl in a heavy sweater; two pale students reading paperback books; an old Negro man in a dark wool coat and several young mothers with strollers. In the center of the fountain was a little boy in a thick white snowsuit. He had been dragging a musical toy dog by a cord but now he stood stiffly, looking like a white grub.
John shifted his weight once in a while and tried to warm his hands in his coat…