Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fast Money

  • Second Sober Night Lucrative
  • Day 6 Of Fast

I posted here yesterday and then walked toward the Lilly spot, after picking up a gallon of distilled water, and a canister of cayenne pepper at Rouses. I am still on distilled water (day 6) but am adding cayenne to it.

I had 85 dollars on me. I decided to get some weed, since things had gone so well the previous night with smoking, but not drinking (or eating) and got 3 sacks for 10 bucks, instead of 1 for 5, as I usually do (Later, I would sell one to a tourist for 5 dollars, giving me 2 for 5 -the rich get richer).
I set the gallon down next to me at the spot, and then observed the husband of Lilly come out of the house and sit on the adjacent stoop, about 25 feet away. He is a rather large Portuguese man; probably about 60 years old, but pretty hale. I have seen him walking in the quarter; usually carrying a Rouses Market bag and headed towards the house; and he is always polite. He has a noticeable accent.
The two are separated, but still live together; through some arrangement.
I decided that I should try to play my best to try to impress him. I'm sure he has heard (a lot?) about me, and I wanted to do Lilly proud, as her "court composer," because I imagine her having heaped encomiums upon me as a person and musician.
Soon, Lilly joined him, in a black dress and drinking red wine from a large goblet.
A group of young black people walked by, with one of them yelling: "Can you play 'Baby Got Back?'"
I jumped into an improvisation and made up a song called the above, and dollar bills started to rain upon the sharks. I thought I continued to play well, and Lilly was probably happy to see me prospering, as I had to scoop up bills and remove them to my backpack several times, less skeezers be tempted, leaving 4 of them with the sharks.
The sharks have been provoking giggles from people
I think I may have been onto something with the spontaneously improvised thing, and did a heavier amount of that  the whole night. I made about 60 dollars.
I also went heavier on Paul McCartney songs; as he is coming to town soon.
I can't believe how much energy I have to play music, having not eaten in 6 days. And how easy it is to play.
The Economics of Sobriety
I made 60 dollars in about 4 hours last night. But I played almost a straight set, broken by a few 5 minute restroom runs.
When I was drinking, I would run to the beer store 3 times a night, taking 15 minutes each trip, and spending at least 5 bucks altogether. Then there would be 3 or 4 trips to the restroom after the beer consumption.
Based upon 15 dollars per hour, the trips to the store would cost me about 12 bucks in lost time; plus 5 bucks for the beer; effectively reducing my "4 hour" take from 60 dollars to 43 dollars. If I factor in a reduction in tips, due to sloppiness in playing after becoming too drunk, I might recognize the sum as being typical of what I have come to expect from playing drunk all this time...just food for thought....

When It Rains It Pours
I had packed up at about midnight (voice getting horse; otherwise I would have kept going) and was just sitting there; basking in contentment with the 41 dollars that I had made at that point.
I had nothing to look forward to except drinking water and going to sleep, and so wasn't in a hurry. I felt great, and just wanted to wallow in it. 
A group of 3 young men came along, and one sat next to me. "Play something good!," he said.
I took the guitar back out.
My Latest Tactic Against "Play Something"
"If you were stranded on a desert island and only had 3 albums, which ones would you wish they were?" I asked. I have been starting to use this question as a way of avoiding songs, or groups that people hate (and them waiting through the whole 4 minute song to say..."Yeah -I can't stand the Grateful Dead, do you know anything else? Or just walking off...) and as a way of hitting the jackpot by knowing songs that they love (Do I know any Jerry Garcia?!? Well, let's see...).
They seemed at a loss, so I "led the witness" with: "Surely The Beatles would be one of them..."
"I wouldn't cry if you played Beatles..." said the one next to me.
Well, I wound up playing about 5 Beatles songs, while the guy next to me sang (pretty good) harmonies. We seemed to have a tacit agreement that I would be John and he would be Paul. He seemed to immensely enjoy it; and his two friends seemed entertained, if the 20 dollars bill from the guy and the two 5's from his friends were any indication.
I called it a night after that, and walked past several barely touched drinks, on my way to Rouses Market, to get some molasses, when the doorman at the Bourbon Orleans hotel, offered me 5 dollars to run to that very same store for him (only a block further) and get him a drink and a snack. I was the only "skeezer" in sight whom he felt he could trust, as I have seen him several times throughout my almost 3 years (?!) here.

He let me keep the change, which was another 3 something. When it rains it pours.
I headed for the dock, and walked past a Styrofoam container sitting atop a trash bin which was laden with some kind of Mexican dish with corn chips (blue and yellow), cheese, tomatoes, black olives, sour cream, know, that kind of salad; and it was still warm.
Someone might have seen that I was the next guy coming by and ditched it there. And I hadn't eaten in 5 days.
I tore myself away from it. That would have been the absolute worst (and most delicious) thing that I could have broken a fast with. I couldn't bring myself to feed it to the rats though; that might be a little cruel to the skeezers.
Add Natural Vitamins
I had some apple cider vinegar mixed with honey stirred into my water with a tablespoon of molasses on the side, and went to sleep, once I got my mind to stop racing about how I am going to manage the $144 that I now find myself with; and my appetites have just about vanished by now...

I woke up this (Saturday) morning to the sounds of Ghost Town, coming from the stage nearby; part of the festival.
It has been easy to emerge from under the dock and blend into the crowd which has been here for the festival.
I pondered what to do about the 144 dollars which I have.
I brought the 3% jar-that-can-never-be-touched up to date by putting 31 bucks in it.
I realize that, if things progress as they have been, I might be sitting on 200 bucks or more by the end of the festival.
Haven't seen ol' Howard in a while...
I thought about getting some strong fishing line and a hook and going across the river to where Howard still camps in a wooded area alon the bank, with a sharp knife and some kind of tin foil pans, olive oil etc. and trying to catch one of the 3 foot long catfish that I see people pulling out of the river there all the time; and then just relaxing and cooking it up for Howard and I.
I thought about a harmonica in the key of C; fixing the tuning machine on the guitar; a nice set of headphones; getting my android phone to download music through Spotify by charging up my Walmart credit card then using it; a new pair of boots; maybe a hand-held stereo digital recorder; maybe a trip to Shermans to try to record a CD....maybe....

1 comment:

alex carter said...

Mainly you're operating on the economics of "no booze" that's the ONE big change.

I know one school of thought on fasting is that somehow, "pounds" of built-up crap accumilate in one's intestines, and the fast is a way to flush that out. But a simple study of physiology will reveal that it's all cleaned out, all the time, and in fact the stomach/intestines are continually sloughing off and renewing their linings.

However the economics of "no booze" are really good. It's how I lived on a few hundred a month back in the early 80s and now we're back to those economics now. It's how I can afford $700 cornets when I make about the same money as you do, with no Food Stamps.

I'm not sure how "no booze" works for a musician. Believe it or not I've taken your singing advice to heart, and found it's true, one can go quite high by treating one's voice box like an instrument, like a clarinet or something, blowing "through" it. Once warmed up, my lows go fairly low plus I can get the highs. I just sing for my own amusement, and after a given amount of alcohol, I go into this mode where I want to sing all this stuff, and do. I figure it's good for me, musically.