Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vengeance Is Mine (added to)

Money Continues To Not Come In
3 Dollar Tuesday
Health Continues To Be Good
Flashback: August 11, 2012
I will make a sign kind of like the above

Drinking first Monster Energy Drink in 2 weeks causes mild symptoms (just an itchiness around side of neck) coffee suspect, as cause of mild tinge of depression felt upon waking.

Business 

I went out and played Tuesday night, beginning about 10:30 PM, and actually went 3 hours; for almost nobody and almost no money. I got some darned good practice in; and brought up to snuff a few songs that I had previously avoided, as they weren't quite up to snuff.

At one point, a waitress from a nearby business gave me a thumbs up as she walked past.
I was playing some chords and singing something like: "Let me set my psychological baggage to music and sing it to you; come join me in my mindset and feel my hopelessness and desolation..." and other improvised stuff.

The thumbs up, I interpreted to mean, that she was suffering through the same dearth of tourist money flow; had probably taken a walk to spend all that she had made that night on something to take her mind off of it, because there were no customers at her tables; and, yeah, a thumbs up is good; especially since the good opinion of the people who run the bar on the corner is good to have.
There is an unstated push to make everything the "finest," on the block, from the Hurricane drinks (that have to be better than the ones that Pat O' Briens makes) to the guy who sits almost every night and plays under the lamp post down the street. That is just a fact of life.
The Way Out
My repertoire has been influenced by the Piano Player inside the bar, and so I can be kind of an extension of the atmosphere in there when playing songs that, if not the same one "Tiny Dancer," by Elton John, are very similar "Rocket Man," by Elton John so that I can purloin some of the good cheer by identifying myself with that vibe, and become in effect: "the guy on the way out." As in: "Be sure to tip the guy on the way out..."  

I have a certain set of lyrics that I set 2 different chord progressions to; each progression is kind of just a riff, and needs "a middle," -some kind of chorus to jump to before returning to the riff.

The progressions are open to a bit of interpretation, and the application of the C major harmonica has warped them towards being kind of blues-ey. My challenge is to try to make it a jazzy, interesting blues, and not just another guy honking on "that note that you always hear."

The Way In

And, I have heard enough times, from the lips of people walking past, who are, dependent upon the quality of their vision, just identifying Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern.
Their phones are telling them that it is 50 feet ahead, but they don't believe it because all they see is a very old building lit by candle light inside and out. No neon. Nobody beckoning like a pheasant under glass for them to enter the bar. "There it is; right there!" I hear several times a night.

So, now I have begun to Set:
 "Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern
...the oldest bar in America
...established in 1772 by Jean Lafitt the pirate
...and his brother Pierre....
...though they never shooed a horse there; they used it to fence booty
...from international pirate raids....."
To a little chord progression.

"I got the 'sick of the blues' blues" - Me

I don't think mankind will ever get sick of hearing the blues. I think that is because the shift of a chord up a fourth mimics something that happens in the brain at the "wave" level, when one's mood shifts to the positive. For example; if you are in kind of a foul mood, but then remember that you have a letter waiting for you at your home from a dear friend; your brain waves will actually modulate in a way that has the same common denominator as "up a fourth" in music.
It has to do with overlapping waves and intervals that were set in motion during The Big Bang. Colors that "match" are just higher frequency depictions of the audio notes that harmonize.

In light of current events; I will now feature:
 
FLASHBACK: August 11, 2012
My Own Brush With Baton Rouge Police


I had been rewriting a story from my time in Baton Rouge, 4 years ago, when the cops, spearheaded by one in particular named Chutz, arrested me for "disturbing the peace," with "public intoxication."

It was the summer doldrums in New Orleans; like it is right now; like it was 4 years ago, middle of July.

Back then, I found that I could evacuate to a nearby city; either by hopping the freight train to Mobile, Alabama. Or by taking the 5 dollar Hotard bus to Baton Rouge.

These cities seemed to welcome the sight of a busker who was making their little downtown section "just like Bourbon Street!" if just for one night. The novelty of it; and the concept that they might only have that one chance to tip the guy was a winning combination.
The drawback is that, unlike New Orleans and its 24/7 nightlife, these cities come out on Friday and Saturday nights and then leave the rest of the week to the tumbleweeds to blow past the closed bars and restaurants.

I had been in Baton Rouge for a few weeks by then, had established kind of a routine that centered around busking and running to the beer store and sleeping at any of about 3 different spots.

I later learned that an all out war against the homeless street people had been waged by the criminal justice system.

Chutz had made a beeline to myself and two other buskers whom I had stopped to chat with; upon seeing us; and had insisted upon seeing ID from all of us.

We were on 3rd Street in Baton Rouge, which is like the main street which just doesn't happen to be named main street; not far from where I had been busking on the weekend nights. It was only afternoon, though, and a Saturday.

I had been doing well enough to live (homelessly) for the rest of the week on what I was making Friday and Saturday nights. The downtown area (5 blocks of 3rd Street) was bustling on those two nights; desolate and dreary the rest of the week. I had left New Orleans, due to the fact that it was even slower there at that time of year. It is that time of year, as I write this...
Howard Westra

Howard Westra had come with me. Initially, we were trying to get "to California," but had become mired in Baton Rouge, partly because I was able to eat and drink comfortably on what I made on the weekends; and because Howard was following my lead.

The Summer was dragging towards fall, though, in Baton Rouge.

And fall meant LSU football; and LSU football meant alumni returning to the city of their alma mater to see the homecoming game and then to check out the clean, safe downtown area where they are sure to be impressed by the detail of that cleanliness and the appearance of safety in the absence of anyone whom even appears homeless; and that meant the mayor or somebody even higher up giving the green light to the police chief to dispatch cops such as officer Chutz, to the task of getting as many "street people" off the streets as possible, to make way for the homecoming season.

That worthy, upon observing myself talking to the other buskers; made a beeline towards us.

He was dodging good citizens left and right, to get to us.

It was a bad scene.

Chutz was a short-ish, stout-ish, shaven headed guy, who was a rapid talking, rapid gum chewing type; of the sort who hopes the guilty will trip over their own tongues in trying to keep pace with his conversation; which more like verbal sparring than talking.

He made me sit down with the other 2 buskers.
 "Do me a favor. Run down that sidewalk as fast as you can,"

The question of "What is this about?" was answered with "We're gonna find out what this is about," or something as cryptic and zen, that I know in hindsight meant: "We're gonna try to arrest you for whatever we can get away with."

Chutz acted like I was being a smart ass for mentioning that in the United States of America one does not have to carry an identification card wherever she goes; and I might have thrown in that, unless he had observed me breaking some law, I was free to just mosey on away, right? That made me more of a smartass.

Chutz then told me that I didn't pay taxes, and that I just sat and played my guitar and hoped people came by and gave me money; and well, I didn't pay taxes.

He then asked me if I had been drinking.

I truthfully told him that, I sure did, try one of those new (at that time) Lime-A-Rita's in the 16 oz. can.

Chutz and his partner concluded that I had just given them "an admission," and that was enough evidence to book me in to the jail for public intoxication.

Then, I found out that the judge was in cahoots with whomever after she gave me the maximum sentence (45 days) allowable under the statute, for public intoxication, an offense that is typically treated by throwing the citizen in jail "overnight" just to sober him up.

After I was put in the back of a cop car, parked in the sun on a blistering 90 degree afternoon with just one window cracked an inch, for about an hour while cops tore through my belongings.

But that was not before Chutz had told me: "This is what happens to smart asses," as he put the handcuffs on me, one notch tighter than necessary; and then had told me: "Do me a favor. Run down that sidewalk as fast as you can," before putting me in the back of the cruiser.

I have always been instructed that, as a civic minded guy, I should do whatever an officer tells me to do, even if I don't agree with it. I can take the matter up through proper channels later if I think he is wrong, but in the meantime -just do as they say.

I was driven by Chutz' partner to the jail. He had one hand on the steering wheel, the other on his phone and was doing 90 MPH on the interstate, drifting at least once into another lane; while I sat in the back with my hands cuffed behind me and no seat belt on at all. I'm glad he didn't ticket me for that.

OK, that story was blogged about already. August 11, 2012 was the night of the arrest; the next blog post was somewhere around 45 days later....

If Someone Shoots Chutz?

I just wanted to revisit that story in regards to the recent tragedies that have occurred in the nation and in Baton Rouge in particular. I will eventually cut it and paste it back into August 11, 2012; overwriting the rather scatter-brained rendition that is there now.
My Cellmate in East Baton Rouge Jail


When I heard that 3 Baton Rouge cops were killed and 2 wounded, in the most recent incident of violence against police; Chutz crossed my mind 
I was indeed ready to be satisfied that, had he been the one killed, it would have been better that it was he, rather than any other random cop on the force; who might be a decent person and a credit to the badge.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord....

EPILOGUE: But A Harmonica??

After I got out of jail, I was missing a lot of possessions that I had when arrested.

I had watched them rifle through my stuff, as I sweated in the back of the squad car, wiping the sweat out of my eyes off onto the knees of my jeans, as that was the only spot I could reach with the cuffs so tight.

I noticed that they had separated a lot of my stuff into a large, clear plastic bag.

I had thought, at the time, that it might be the items that aren't allowed inside the jail; the ones that an inmate has to go pick up somewhere else, after her release.

These items each have their own reason for not being allowed inside -they don't want your baloney rotting inside a storage locker over the next 45 days; they don't want your alarm clock going off in a storage locker causing alarm and confusion on the part of the staff who might all reach for their cell phones at that time; and I think they don't want your guitar in there among your possessions because they don't want some guard who has rock and roll aspirations to be taking the thing out and playing it rather than watching his monitors for suspicious activity. There are as many reasons behind the items being banned as there are items. But, a harmonica?

At first I thought that they were going to take DNA out of the harmonica and the hair brush and the nail clippers, to try to link me with a cold case while I sat in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Then, I realized the enormity of the operation in it's quest to either lock up every homeless person or to make sure that they go and "not live" somewhere else.

Killed by my cellmate
It turned out, after I had inventoried exactly what was missing that it was the things that facilitate homeless life; alarm clock -so you can be "up and out of there before the guy comes to open the place in the morning- a flashlight, can opener, and other things to make eating easier; batteries, of course; and my harmonica...to make working harder.

In hindsight, I could have saved myself 45 days in jail had I given the cops any kind of address as where I "lived." This they would have had to* write on an arrest report, rather than checking the homeless box.

I believe the 80 or so inmates who crammed the lock-up cell so that they had to sleep sitting up all belonged to a stack of paperwork, with each sheet having its "homeless" box checked.
One guy was in there for littering. He had emerged from a store with a freshly bought pack of cigarettes and had thrown the cellophane strip on the ground after opening them. He was handcuffed and booked and received the maximum sentence allowable under the stature for littering something like 30 days. He wouldn't be out until well after the Homecoming Weekend was over, either.
I was thrown into the overcrowded and oxygen depleted lockup on a Saturday evening. There was no way to bail out; as bail had not been set for any one of us. I was absolutely trapped for the next 36 hours.

*although, with these rogues, there is no guarantee they will adhere to any policy

My cellmate, throughout the 45 days of confinement, was Dominique Smith, who went on to be convicted, along with his girlfriend of murdering his ex girlfriend, along with her/his 4 year old son (shown).

1 comment:

  1. This is why you really don't want to be a dirtball. Dirtballs get hassled - and worse - like you experienced. Do you think "clean cut pilot-looking guy" would get hassled like this, even if he were hitch-hiking? No, he'd explain to the cops that he simply didn't have money to travel and wanted to at least get a ride to the nearest truck stop to catch a cross-country ride, and like as not the cop would take him there. If he didn't have any ID he'd sheepishly tell the cop that his ID got taken, along with his wallet, but a clever New Orleans pickpocket, isn't life a drag sometimes? Chances are Mr. Clean and Mr. Chutz would be old pals in no time or at least on friendly terms.

    As for a sign, how about:

    HOME

    TO

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Nice and simple, and no one has to play "identify-the-state" which some are OK at and most are not.

    ReplyDelete

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