This is the time when things usually get going, but half of the power is out so I need to hold up on the laptop in front of the AC. All of New York is moving different. The conveyor belt has slowed down but everyone’s brains are still trapped inside. The mornings for me are still and a place to escape. Out the window it looks gray and with the air blowing on me I’m cold, which gives me a feeling for Old San Francisco. Now this is not the old San Francisco of those guys – the ones everyone might know about. The ones who talked about jumping on trains and living out of their hearts.
It’s only in the gray of the morning that I can write this story. It’s only in my escape from this heat wave that I can figure any of this out. Only in the space of a novel that i can have the control of life I’m looking for. Which in so many ways is sad because outside of this novel reality, life is not like that at all. It’s filled with meetings and sour faces, reflections in windows that aren’t kind, even if at times it’s mine.
So it’s the now that I can move, in these lines, in this world – creating what exists in reality and then lacing it in fiction. Perhaps it’s not for the reader at all but for my own sanity. If I think about it like that, there’s no need to concentrate on book sales or trivial items such as that. I can just focus on the road ahead. On the place we’re fighting to get to. When I say we I say about the we inside of my head. So let’s get back to one of the heroic figures in the story and place him where the others were.
It was 6:44 A.M. and we’d been out tagging all night and we now down at the end of Montgomery street skating and drinking our own irish coffees. I sat on the high wall sweating in the morning fog listening to the docks in the distance. There were still some ships moving in and out of port. I loved taking pictures of my boys down there. The girls as well, and there were a few who liked to hang out with us during the calmer moments when we weren’t moving through the city. The mornings were one of those times.
I saw that Bike Messenger I hooked up with the stripper connections riding with his lady on the handlebars up Market street. Early morning dates in the city. I needed to remember that. Without a job, though there were downtown times, the concept of having to be somewhere at a certain time and listen to directions fell away. With the photo shoots I was doing around town, things were easier for me. Money-wise, things were easier, and I’m not sure about people who say the more money you have the more problems you have – for me, it cleared away so much of the bullshit. I could take pictures when I needed to and when I looked through that lens, I was able to frame the moment I chose and capture it as I saw fit. I could release it back into the world at a pace that pleased me. That concept of control was appealing to me in so many ways.
I thought about the money I was bringing in and what that could do if I could get some of these guys to work for me, but none of them had the same skill set I did. How could I find out.
Everyone stopped skating when the security guards from the building came out and told us that it was our last warning before he called the real cops. That guy was alright with us and just doing his job, so we skated away and headed down in the middle of the streets which were emptier now without the bike messengers everywhere. Well, they weren’t completely gone, but gone enough for us.
One of my closest friends of my crew, the person who I shared life outside of skating with, was Henley Ransom. He was the kind of kid who could do anything if he practiced enough. Instruments, rapping, school, networking, girls – however you liked it, he could mold into. He had visions of becoming a lawyer at some point in his life, which is why he stayed in school and only came out with us at sporadic moments of his life.
“I’ve been making incredible money lately man,” I told him. “Figured I’d ask if you wanted in. Don’t want to speak on it in front of everyone else. Break out and meet me up in front of that park by McClastir. You know where we used to drink 40s.”
“Could use some cash no doubt,” he said, not breaking stride on his board. “They’re raising the tuition once again and parking cars is not going to cover that.”
We continued in silence with the rest of the pack until the sun was fully up. Everyone broke off on their separate routes throughout the city. We broke but regrouped at the park. I let him know what was happening. Now Henley was always taken aback at first when you told him something crazy, because he had that side of him that wanted to keep life on the straight and narrow. He wasn’t about to give up on that. However, he was smart enough to know that the world does not exist on that level, that the concept of what was good was often times created to keep people in line and have them pass by opportunities.
When I finished telling him what I was into, and the amount of money I was bring in on my own, he was floored. Money floors people who don’t have it because when you don’t have it, you’re hungry for the basics. When you do want it, you’re hungry for more. Either way, it kept you chomping, wearing down your teeth and looking harder to see what existed in the distance.