Sunday, April 7, 2013


  The first time I fell through the cracks was sometime in 1987. I was subletting an apt. on E6th and Ave. A from a brother of a friend who had gone to LA to go to law school. Each month I paid the rent with a money order signed with the original lease holder's name. Even with this precaution in the sublet game, the landlord somehow got wind that something was amiss in his slumlord universe. One night I came home to an envelope slipped under my door. It informed me that I was in illegal possession of said property and should evacuate within 24 hours. I was already having a bad day. This put a nail in it.
   So I loaded up my pick up truck with some bare essentials and headed for the hills. My buddy, artist Dave West, took over the pad as he was in need of a squat. I holed up for a couple of weeks at Wolf Lake, periodically checking in with DW to see if the other shoe had dropped. It hadn't. There was no word from the landlord. After a few more days i decided to return. I got in town about 10 AM. The shades were drawn and there was a party in full swing. A cloud of cigarette smoke, a room full of strangers and piles of empties greeted me. Those were the days you just took this kinda shit in stride. I tossed somebody's works in the bathroom garbage and settled back into my pad. Party's over.
   Four years went by (without me paying rent) before another envelope was slipped under the door. It informed me I owed $29,000 in back rent and once again had 24 hours to vacate. I knew I could've stretched it out, but decided to take my four years of free rent and split. Let's not be greedy. Slipping though the cracks wasn't too bad.
   Then there was the time my mother ordered cable TV for the family cabin. I'd finally gotten a phone installed during my exile from 6&A in 1987. But we still had an antenna with horrible reception well into the 90's. Cable was a giant leap into the 20th Century, when the old man finally placed the call. Mom was a stickler for paying the bills. She knew right away that it had been a couple of months since she'd received a cable bill. Then a couple of more months went by. And, God bless her, she had enough outlaw in her to stay quiet. It's been 20 years.....and counting. Free  cable. Keep your mouth shut if you ever want to get invited back.
    These days I have satellite TV at the shack. Unlike my mother, I'm horrible at paying bills. NYSEG is constantly threatening to cut off my juice and the phone and TV robot calls informing me of my delinquency are constant. I'm just lazy. It's a pathology I can't seem to shake. I have my routine. When they eventually cut the TV off (which they always do) I pay up. Funny thing though. The calls have stopped and the TV is still on. Still got my Showtime. Still got my TCM.  Could it be that the chasm is opening again? Most people don't let it go this far. You have to be able to recognize the signs. I don't want to jinx it. I think I see another tumble into the abyss.  


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