Monday, June 17, 2013

Daniel Daily Monday Edition

It is certainly Monday; and I have to dig back to last Thursday to start to catch up; so I will hit upon only the "highlights," which is what this blog will hopefully focus upon, anyways.
I sure do have a lot less traffic when I don't post daily...

IntheQuarter Again
Thursday night, as I recall, I was at Caseys by 7:30.
I had only about 4 dollars; and Tanya and Dorise were not there yet; and so I took the opportunity to go inside, where Casey himself and one of the bartender girls were at near the bar.
I walked up and said "You must be Casey," to Casey, already knowing he was, but alluding to the fact that I had been in his bar a couple times, yet had never been introduced.
I really wanted to appologize to him for coming to his bar, when I am usually broke.
Casey reminded me of Jimmy Fusco, who was an Italian mobster whom I worked for when I was 17 years old.
Coming Of Age Story
I had initially gotten a dishwashing job at Scampi's Restaurant and Lounge, in Leominster, Massachusetts.
I guess I was a pretty good dishwasher; worked fast and worked in a 108 degree, and quite steamy environment.
My immediate supervisor, Ray, was gay.
He had made overtures to myself, as well as one other young man who worked in the kitchen.
He said that he usually went to Worcester, Ma. to pay for gay sex, but would rather get it right then and there from either myself, or the other kid that worked in the kitchen, and threw some pretty substantial monetary figures at us, as far as what he could offer us; factoring in all the gas and time he would save from not having to drive to Worcester and back.
One Of My First Songs
I wrote one of my first songs about him.
It was called ...er..."Gay Ray," and my approach to it was to try to rhyme as many words with "Ray" as possible in a 3 minute song.
Lines like "Hey Gay Ray, what do you say? How are you today, do you feel OK, gay Ray? How 'bout a lay, but you'll have pay, gay Ray. Hey, Ray, the sky is gray and I'd love to stay, but I must be on my way..."
So, when the boss, owner and made man, Jimmy Fusco came into the kitchen one evening and was mentioning to Ray that he needed of a barback; and for Ray to keep his eyes open for one and myself, overhearing the conversation said "I'd like a job like that," Ray relinquished his stewardship over me as a dishwasher, shook my hand and told me that I had done a great job and could always use him as a reference and freed me to become the barback for the restaurant and go to work directly for Jimmy.
I think there was a tacit understanding that Ray was anxious to hire a new young man (or two) to wash dishes; in hopes of finding a "kindred spirit" in one (or both -yeehah!) of them.
We're Here To Make Money
Jimmy's first words to me were something to the effect of "Look, we're all here to make money; that's it. You're here to make money, I'm here to make money; we're all here to make money...That's why we come here every day!"
He was an Italian mobster.
There wasn't a whole lot of "whacking" of people or fingers being cut off; just a network of businesses which were all run by family members.
The booze came out of the back of a package store run by Harry, untaxed.
They owned a huge music club called The Cinema Club, due to its proximity to the Cinema Theatres, which they also might have had their tentacles around. It was to there that I was entrusted to take up to 500 dollars to exchange for smaller bills.
They owned a strip club, called "Steaks and Crepes,"
This was where the industrial sized ice machine was located and to where I had to drive the van to with an empty trash can to fill with ice, every once and a while.
Since this is a coming of age story:
I Learn To Drive A Standard
I learned how to drive a stick shift after Jimmy told me to take "the van" over to Steaks and Crepes to get ice.
There was no way in hell that I was going to tell him that I had never driven one. There were naked girls there...
I kind of understood the concept; and after stalling the first time, and then chirping the tires and stalling the second time, I was shifting smoothly; and by the time I got to Steaks and Crepes; I "drove a standard." I haven't stalled or chirped since....
I was able to go into the nether regions of the club, where the girls were relaxing and walking about; pretty much naked or swaddled in an unfastened robe; in order to get to the ice machine, which was in the basement.
The girls seemed to enjoy teasing me and trying to make me blush like the 17 year old which I was. Plus, they outnumbered me 10 to 1...
I would be sitting and staring at the stage when the phone would ring.
The mobster who worked behind the bar, "Joey," would say "Yeah, he's here...he's watching the girls..." before hanging up and then telling me: "Jimmy say's to get that ice back there before it melts!"
I never got chewed out when I returned.
It was as if Jimmy conceeded that the ice fetching errand to the strip club by the 17 year old was just going to go very slowly as par for the course...
Jimmy often tested me by leaving valuables where I could easily steal them.
He would have a pile of money on his desk when he called me in to discuss some random issue.
It would look like an unorganized pile; but; after someone would call him out into the bar area and he would leave me alone with the pile of money on the desk (which hadn't even been counted, right?) and in which could be seen all kinds of presidents, he would return and then finish up with me; excuse me; and then count the money for the third time in order to see if he had a thief in his midst.
(Once, I added a dollar of my own money on such an occasion, just to mess with him.
Sure enough, he emerged from the office 5 minutes later and handed me a dollar and said "This must be yours.")
By then, he had started to trust me.
He was famous for materializing out of nowhere in an instant, trying to catch me with one of his drinks in my mouth, or my hand in the till.
Once, I had set down a box of liquor and turned my back upon it and someone stole it.
I came in the next day, which I had off and handed Jimmy the 35 dollars which it had been worth.
He smiled and asked "So, how was the party?' thinking, perhaps, that I may have taken the booze and had subsequently felt guitly about it.
"No, there was no party. I just feel responsible for it because I'm the one who set it down in the hall where no one but employees are supposed to go; but, I guess sombody did. If I wanted to have a party, I would just go to Harry's, and buy it. I still live at home and I don't have much else to spend money on..."
Plus, I wouldn't steal from you; I'm on your side; we are all here to make money; not for fun.....
Well, I had a very good summer working for Jimmy Fusco. It was a "coming of age" time in my life.
He was a no nonsense boss; and if I had decided not to go to college, I might be a made man today...
My point is, that Casey reminded me a lot of my old boss, Jimmy. It was almost nostalgic.
My intention being to appologize for always showing up their pretty broke, I did so.
"I hate coming to bars when I am broke," I said.
"Yeah, we hate it too. We're here to make money..."
Somehow I knew he was going to say that.
He went on to tell me that I left my stuff (backpack, guitar, second guitar) all over the place; taking space from "paying customers," and that I didn't spend money.
The bar hasn't been full to capacity when I have been there; and I sensed that there was more to the story.
"Tanya usually buys me drinks," I offered.
"Tanya is just being polite," he said, making me wonder anew if Tanya has just been being "polite" since the day that I met her. ...where would he get that information unless from the horses mouth...
"I don't want other people buying you drinks. I want everyone to buy their own," he then said.
"And, you were asking people for cigarettes last week!"
The previous week, I had asked a couple people if I could buy a single cigarette off of them. One of them told me to keep my quarter and then handed me 3 cigarettes. That must have been what Casey saw and what turned him against me.
Another guy, whom I spoke with, asked "What are you drinking?" and then bought me a glass of gin. That must have been strike two.
"Well, if I go play on Bourbon and someone throws me a 20 dollar bill, would I be alright to come back here?" I asked.
"Let's just take a week off," said Casey.
Meanwhile, Tanya had shown up, carrying the first armload of equipment (her violin), saw me talking to Casey, and quickly went back outside.
"I talked to them before last week about you..."
So, then and there, new light was shed upon the way I had been treated the previous week, and I once again began to doubt Tanyas assertion that if she had ignored me, it hadn't been "on purpose."
I left and went to busk and made 9 dollars in about an hour.
I decided to knock off at about 11 and rode the purple bike past Caseys.
Tanya saw me and smiled and waved.
The older guy, Dennis, who plays violin and seems to be a student, was sitting there, next to Tanya.
He must spend money in there in exchange for his violin lesson.
I couldn't interpret the look that he gave me...
I am reserving judgement upon Dennis. He does, though remind me of spirits which I have encountered in the past; but I will give him the benefit of the doubt for now...
I concluded that the whole situation was a result of my not having played well enough the first time I jammed with Tanya.
If I would have done something to get the whole bar applauding, rather than trying to hit it off musically with Tanya, then the whole dynamic might have been different.
Or if I was in there dropping 50 bucks on food and drink, of course.

2 comments:

Alex said...

OK wait ... Tanya said they were talking to faux-Fusco about you? Does that mean she doesn't want to say it to your face, but she wants you to not hang out in the bar when she's there?

Bars/clubs/restaurants/Starbucks/hell CASINOS like the one I'm hanging out in now, hate visibly homeless people. Or, as they're scientifically termed, bums. Bums always claim territory by placing tons of bum-bags all over the place, and utilizing their bodily smell. It really hurts business.

So, the smart bum will *not look/smell like a bum*. It takes a little work and being "squared away", kinda like being in the military but it's do-able. And it opens a ton of doors.

Daniel McKenna said...

you notice things; like; when they posted on their Facebook page "Caseys tonight; be there or be square" and someone left a comment that said "It will be nice to listen to you somewhere that I don't have to sit on a curb" and I left the next comment: "I bring my own little piece of curbing to sit on.."
In the past, they always either "liked" the comment or commented back; but it was radio-silence the whole couple days leading up to the gig; I think Casey talked to them after the second week and well before the third. They were really distant the whole week, even on the street; but, yeah...I think that maybe the honorable thing to do if you're Chinese might be; if someone ignores you; you honor her silence and don't inquire as to what might be bothering her so that in dredging up an explaination she might have to revisit the negative feelings; or some equivalent thing. I think there might be a whole lot more to the Chinese culture than I understand; maybe, like the Christians loving their enemies; Chinese are conditioned to be as polite as you can, especially to people who repulse you; for in this way we find the door to the seven petalled lotus flower of one-ness.....