Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal.
Guru played over and over again for all of us then. That first Jazzmatazz album was a key point for all of us. I mean all of us. Everyone in the city was listening to that. Even the old beats who sat across the street from City Lights at Cafe Trieste thinking about how the days have moved past them and they were never included in the same category of the glorious 3. Or Glorious 4 – however you want to look at it. San Francisco does that to you. You live for the City – those buildings are all haunted by so much – even though a fire took down most of the physical history, the work that went into creating the large scale dollhouses required that the souls of those who built the city stay in the carved out would and perfectly painted exteriors.
Dating there was tough because nobody was looking for love – only to get as far out in the world without loosing your life. One of the main meeting houses was the guy we bought our herb from. He was one of those strange guys in the city who slept with anybody he happened to feel attracted to that day. He sold everything – all of the powders that kept those clubs going, but for me, I wasn’t really that into him or what he was about, but his herb was always amazing and he had a big crush on a member of our crew. This guy, the one the dealer was crushing on..names, right, let’s get the names down. I wish I could just use the real names of the people because they were the only ones that truly fit what was going on. We’ll guy the main guy Levi, which was short for some Arminian name that I never could remember, which I guess is why he called himself Levi. Yes.
So Levi lived just up the hill that led down to Castro street. His house was unassuming from the outside – one of the more normal places in the city, but inside, in that living room and behind the closed doors of the bedroom, the deeper you looked, the more intense it got. There were girls everywhere all of the time, but they made sure not to pay attention to anyone more than they did Levi because he sold drugs so that he could be at the center of it all. He was so flamboyant and clean. I think he got up in the middle of conversations to go into the bathroom and shave.
Out of all of my crew, he was really into Madison. Madison was the closest any of us came to actually being from the city. He grew up in a suburb about an hour and a half away, but would come down to play when high school had gotten too dull for him. He went a little too far on the side of experimenting with what Levi had to offer, but that’s how he lived. Phil, who was from a similar spot just outside of Chicago, related with him on that level – both having time to do what they wanted and explore the limits of what their bodies could handle. For me, I was pretty broke all of the time, and this guy gave us herb on credit and extended that credit beyond what anyone else would.
Trying to remember specific timing there is difficult, so I guess I can talk about the first time I met Jenny over there and move on from there. Phil and Madison were back on the couch zooted out of their heads, but my eyes were on her. She wore these gray stretch pants that were tight around her entire body and a v neck t shirt that outlined her breasts in such a way that they just seemed perfectly round whichever way she moved. She was into Levi more for the scene he had around him. They went to clubs and stayed out until sunrise on whatever Levi happened to have with him those days. I wasn’t into clubs that much. The music and the people moving around like that was boring to me. Even the drugs that people took there was a little to bland for my tastes.
I took a moment and started talking with her.
“Want to grab something to eat,” I asked.
“Don’t you think you should, like, ask me my name?” She said, pulling back and lifting up the V in her shirt once she saw I was looking at her breasts.
“I know your name. We’ve talked before.”
“Well, I don’t know yours, but, I’m hungry. Come on, we’ll grab a cab.”
She got her stuff together and I nodded at my boys on the couch, who weren’t interested either way if I stayed or left. They were on the fence right then about entering that club life, which I knew I didn’t want any part of. My interests were finding love in the city and exploring moments I could capture on and off paper. Thing is in San Francisco, those were anywhere you went.
Jenny put her hoody on, kissed Levi on the cheek, and led me downstair and out to the streets about the jump into the vein of the city again. She hailed a cab and jumped in. Thinking back on it, I think she could have just plugged me in for any image right there – everyone had a story they were trying to live out – like they were in the middle of redefining themselves from who they really were. She started rolling a joint, but asked the driver first if it was okay – I can’t remember what his face looked like, but I remember his ambivalence to what she was doing. Jenny was two years older than me, which at twenty is like dog years. Especially if those years are ones spent in San Francisco.
She rolled and we smoked. The cab driver had on the radio and One of the tracks from Jazzmatazz was playing. Loungin’ I think. Well, for the record now, it’s going to be the song. We drove down market street smoking an listening to era defining music while the world around us existed but mattered not. She was amazing in how she moved with such confidence and directed the cab down different streets. Market rain like a shotgun down the center of the city, while the cab moved out from all of the trains and busses that tried to stay in the stream of concrete. Funny how different it was inside of a car. Most of my time there was on foot or trains, but this was a different way to see it all.
She knew the one street to turn left on that would lead us to the spot in Chinatown she wanted to go. We zoomed past the buildings that held the workers who visited my new room mate’s sex dungeons – they were, at that time, now home with their wives and children, away from their jobs and second lives of getting beat down. Everyone was living daytime lives and nighttime lives.
The cab let out out in front of a spot in Chinatown that I’d never seen before and I had spent plenty of time there in my own right. She tipped the guy well and gave him the rest of the joint, which he put out in his ashtray and saved for later. Back into the night for him and into the spot for us, which was filled with only Chinese folks. Being the only non Chinese in a spot eat, stoned out of my head, with a girl who was taking me for the ride, played out like a novel right in front of me. This is why I was here. Her body was outlined so perfectly now – I remember thinking how cool she was and how amazing I felt to be the one she was with.
She talked to the waiter in Chinese and was ordering for us before we even got to the table. She seemed a little rude to me, but who was I to say what was proper and what was not.
Damn, I wish I could continue with this, but it’s time to go to work. I need to write some oncology web copy before 11. Both of my worlds are crashing up against each other again, and I’ll have to leave one behind eventually. Again. Anyhow, this part is dedicated to GURU – who I’ll be listening to on the train to work.
Part V on the way as soon as I can..I remember that scene at the Chinese spot. Should be fun to remember more.