The Sounds Of Cement – Part 1

Usually I just start the day continuing on with the story, but right now, with the trash trucks turning outside and that same cat sitting in front of the Bodega, thoughts are all on the release of The Last Block in Harlem. Still, the day has to be treated and worked on like any other, so head down and continue on with the writing of the morning. I left things in the fog of San Francisco for the past few days, which has cooled me down in the heat of this New York summer.

Just put on John Coltrane to start this day. I’m all over the place and not sure how I’m going to handle anything, so best to keep going with fiction to deal with this reality.

The sounds outside the window. That should bring everything back. The turning of wheeling and the exhaust spilling out of mufflers and cars looking for parking spaces. Everything exists in the mornings. Nobody is watching. Just have to keep telling myself that nobody is really watching this, but everyone is watching at the same time. The story is going to have to swing now to Vince for a bit and have him go away from his machines and through the city. Let’s see how he reacts.

Vince

I usually never hung around for the sunsets – mostly lovers and tourists were there for that, and I was neither. There were a few times I could have married but neither of them worked out the way they should have, so I just kept to myself and took care of the people – I thought of them as people – inside of the museum, oiled the machines and emptied out the quarters. It was enough for me after I had told myself it was enough. One could think I got a little lonely in there with only machines, but there are plenty of folks to talk to, many of them looking for that kind of character who rattles around old outdated machines to give them some advice on life. I have no advice to give other than to go out and watch a baseball game every now and then to gain some perspective on things.

I took buses all over the city which gave me solace from the sounds of the cars on the street. The busses run silent because of the electric wires they use to glide over the concrete and through the city. The collection at the back of the bus, which is where I always sat so I could look down the rows and see the backs of heads bobbling back and forth gave me comfort. The day after I got approached to hold the “events” late night, I had to go and visit my father, who’d just gotten out of the hospital not because he was better but because he couldn’t keep up with the bills. He own a small house in the suburban part of the city that was hidden from tourists maps and postcards.

He’d made his money, or rather he worked his life selling newspapers down in the financial district. Had himself a little stand and did pretty well. He had some things going on in the side streets as well, but nothing that would make you cringe. He provided. He was able to provide. San Francisco had always been a city like that – you might not live well, but you could survive working a job.

NOTE* I’ll have to change the job later.

Now, he was held up at home with a bunch of different conditions. He had this sleep mask he had to wear in order to breath right. Obstructive Sleep Apnea – the medication was expensive but the mask was the real bitch. Without out it, he couldn’t breath at night, which meant he wasn’t sleeping, which meant everything else was starting to shut down as well. Medication was getting more and more necessary. I can’t say that my choice was only based on my father’s need for medical care – that would make me a little too heroic and I can’t much paint myself like that. In truth, I was looking forward to seeing that side of life.

I usually took a grip of quarters out of the machines and went on over to North Beach to watch the nudie shows for as long as my money would take me, but today I was visiting my pops and I got to tell you I was a little upset at that. Now I knew he had visitors. He had some minor glaucoma is his eye that was getting worse with each look at the world he took, but the caregivers groups of San Francisco were starting up there and at least he had some nice marijuana to keep him from feeling how much pain he was in. There was this kid – tall skinny one – always leaving his house around the time I was getting there – but I never asked about it. None of my business how my pops would please himself. I could care less how people enjoy the world and I never made the mistake of making my father anything other than a human being.

He’d always have a refer rolled for me – excuse my old terms for things but I never adapted to any new slang. No need for that. One of the advantages of age. One of the many. We’d smoke and he’s have me read him the box score from the Giants game, then he’d tell me about the old days when Willie McCovey would rule the outfield and you could sneak into the park because everyone who worked there was drunk or on something or could be paid off for half of the price of a regular ticket. Those were the good times in bay area baseball – the freezing times. I looked through the catalog next to his bead and smiled because I new that I’d be able to buy him a new CPAP machine – that’s what those people who have obstructive sleep apnea need. You tend to become very well acquainted with the names of diseases and conditions when they start to affect you and your family.

I ran down the box score and prepared his meal for him – some days I’d order Chinese but I knew I had to watch his cholesterol, so I tried like crazy to cook healthy for him at his place, which wasn’t really fair because he was dying anyway and, when you’re close to the end, you should ought to be able to eat what you want.

OK. That’s the best I can do. Heading out the door for work. The book is out today and silly to try and think that i’m not going to be looking at that all day long. A great day.

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