Gigolo Joe, whaddya know?
Well, apart from the contents of my last letter, I had an interesting week. Left my gummint post behind amidst a bit of controversy. Without getting into too much detail, what happened was this: We, the temps, were told several weeks ago to start doing something. That something turned out to be illegal. Highly illegal, in fact. So on Friday we were interrogated by the new management (it changes every couple of weeks) as to why we were doing this illegal thing.
Being the Alpha Temp, it was up to me to tell them exactly who had told us and when. Fortunately, I remembered that information very distinctly, because I had voiced uncertainty to that individual at the time. After the 5th managererial grilling, I took a long lunch trip to the temp office. I 'splained it to them, got the requisite looks of shock & sympathy, then begged off going back. It wasn't paying that much anyway, & apparently Rich Bitch Clothiers has need of a bit more temp help starting soon. Whee.
I've taken this week a bit easy, though. As I write this, I'm sitting here in Prospect Park, under the Terrace Bridge. The breeze is cool and refreshing, the sun is bright and cheerful, and I feel like H. Ross Thoreau. There's a guy on the other side of the river with a pole and a big bucket of fish. The water and trees are rippling in the wind and I'm so relaxed that I barely even curse as an ant bites me on the knee. You silly ant. Know you not that this is a day of frolic and play, not of vulgar biting and creeping? Now be on your way, friend of nature. On second thought, you're an ant. Squishy, squishy.
Places like this are good for historically minded persons such as myself. This little area is probably much like it was in 1890, when the Terrace Bridge was completed. I can picture myself in a derby hat, journaling feverishly onto a sheet of foolscap. Or in a big shirt, composing overwrought nature poems for Harper's, trying to fit in as many minor Greek deities as my Ivy League education can muster. And peeing into the river. Ah, that's the life. But lo, the Dunkin' Donuts cup drifts leisurely downstream, and I am swept unwillingly back to my own station in the space-time continuum. Where's a Federation starship when you need one?
The fishing guy has left now, and I am alone. Yes, I've thought about the mugging thing, but I've decided not to worry about it. Man's gotta get mugged sometime, and they damn sure won't get much outta me. Speaking of which, I may have gotten a likely explanation of my Central Park bathroom incident. While we were drinking late into the night at a bar in Harlem (wow, that sounds like a better story than it is), my friend Paul explains that bathrooms in Central Park are quite notorious for anonymous gay sex encounters. It could be that my would-be assailant just wanted a ticket to Browntown. Why his ass decided to go Chernobyl all of a sudden is less clear, but it makes me doubly glad that I didn't offer my services, so to speak.
My evening in Harlem (largely good conversation and Pilsner, no gang fights) was sandwiched between two nights of Little Jack Melody Mania. As always, it was nice to see a show by my favorite Texas artist, but even more so in New York, where the music was not met with the quizzical audience expressions of Down Thar. And as always, I urge anyone who hasn't caught Little Jack Melody Mania to do so, starting with www.littlejackmelody.com. It's cabaret-tastic!
Wow, a big green scary boat/tractor thingy just wheel-paddled by and scooped up the Dunkin' Donuts detritus. The beast had "Lake Mess Monster" printed on the side. That's actually my first New York sighting of John Deere green. Nothing floats like a Deere. Man, I feel like a lumberjack out here. "The larch! The redwood! The mighty Stuts pine! We sing...sing...sing!!" Let's stop there, shall we?
I've been to Prospect Park many times, but I've generally just trodden the path along the outer edge. Today, on a whim, I ventured onto an unpaved trail. Before long, I was in a dark section of woods. Suddenly the trail ended at a huge, old stone staircase. The wind whipped up a storm of dead leaves, which blew raggedly up the dimly lit stairs. I heard a sharp CRACK, and a dead branch the size of a small tree trunk came crashing into the staircase, nearly blocking the path. My, I thought, that's ominous.
So I went up the staircase. When I reached the top, another branch smashed into the path I had just left, blocking the way back. Okay, did I just enter the accursed realm of Mordor or something? I followed the grey path through bent trees and half-crumbled stone walls, when suddenly I saw a light off in the distance. The trail was leading downhill towards the light, which I could now see was gleaming off a white stone monument, about 10 feet tall and capped with a sphere.
As I got closer, I saw that the monument was on the edge of a sloping meadow that was bright green in the sunlight. I approached the monument, which read "Good God! How many fine men must I lose this day? - George Washington" (a sentiment also voiced often by Joan Rivers). Coming around to the front of the monument, I saw that I was standing on a battlefield where the Maryland Four Hundred had "saved the American Army" in 1776. I stood in that meadow for a while, trying as I had at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to imagine the clamor and chaos of war on this spot. That's when I caught a glimpse of the Terrace Bridge, where I'm writing this now. Who knew all of this lay beyond that dark, forbidding staircase? See, there's a metaphor in there, but I won't be your Mister Rogers today.
I'm hearing orchestral music through the trees. Come with me while I search for it. Hmm, there's a big statue in a plaza over that way. It's Abe Lincoln! And for some reason he's at the entrance to the Concert Garden, full of dead composers' busts. And an oriental pavilion, it seems. I appear to have entered Non-Sequitur Land.
Here's one of those cool stone bridge/passageways where you can buy heroin. I exit the passage into...damn. I gotta come here more often. I'm standing in a HUUGE rolling meadow, with immense groves of trees on all sides. The music's coming from the far side of it (behind ze bookcase?), so off I go. Under another passageway and into a path between duck ponds. I like ducks. Try as they may, they can never look menacing. At the end of one of the ponds, there's a separated section of water called Dog Beach. It's full of dogs, splashing around and flopping back to their people.
Ah! I have found the source of the music. A big concert stage with port-a-potties all around the perimeter. Here endeth my tale.