The biggest problem some guys have when they get out is they get gunshy....they see a narc around every corner and wind up doing something stupid.
Not me, though. I had 5 long years to figure shit out. Of course if I had put this much thought in to things beforehand, I probably wouldn't be in this jam.
Too easy to flashback these days...too easy to get lost in the past.
I looked up. The yuppie dad with the over-priced cam-corder was trying to get my attention.
“Aww man, it's my break.”
“I don't give a shit, Bozo. I'm not paying you $100 an hour to sit out here fappin' on your cell phone thinking about where you're gonna score your next bag of weed. I'm paying you to keep my kid and all the other snot-nosed brats in there entertained...So get your balloon animals or whatever it is you do and get your ass back around to that gazebo.”
“Yes sir. Won't happen again.”
“You're goddamned right it won't”
The hardest part about this job wasn't the over-priced shitty birthday cake these Staten Island families always insisted on serving.
No. The hardest part was eating the shit. I knew this guy's type. Country Club membership. Personal Executive Locker at the Athletic Club. NSX in the detached garage.
I know his type because I used to be his type. That was a lifetime ago, it seemed. Funny what 6 months away from that lifestyle does for perspective.
Growing up I always took the train everywhere. That's what a kid from the Burroughs did. It took me a few trips before I could once again recognize the smell of urine in the passenger cars.
Perspective. This guy could sure fucking use some. Briefly entertained the thought of puncturing his jugular with his Mont Blanc.
But I wasn't here to educate the entitled prig. I was here to entertain the next generation of entitlement.
I worked that party like a rockstar. BIPPO the Clown was in the house.
The kids ate it up. And the desperate money-wives who were outside did, too. I got bookings on several more parties, and I'm sure a few of them didn't even have kids.
$400 was a lot to carry on the subway back to my one-room palace at my parents old place. But I wasn't nervous. It didn't take me too long before I looked like I belonged.
Besides...who's gonna fuck with a clown? Yeah. I didn't see the point in owning a car, so I always left for a gig in full-on clown make-up. Just like my pops used to. And these days, by the time I hit the bed, I smelled like grease-paint and whiskey.
Just like he used to.
Dad and I didn't agree on much. We both laughed at Uma Thurman's Fox Force Five joke..because Dad used to work with assholes who told stupid jokes like that back when he was doing the clown thing full time. And I just laughed when Dad laughed.
It was easier that way.
Neither one of us was laughing 6 months ago when I called him.
“What'd you do Jack?”
“I got caught Dad.”
“Dipping your ink in the company well, huh?”
“Something like that. Pretty sure the bitch had it in for me, though.”
“They always do, Jackie boy. They always do. Where ya at?”
“Jesus. I thought I had it rough.”
“It's fine. Some kind of joke by her old man. But, whatever. The rate's fine and the bedbugs haven't hit here yet.”
“Hmmph. Well, all your shit's still here. Your mom was gonna get rid of it. I guess there's one good thing about the cancer. Once less person telling me what the fuck to do.”
“Eh. It is what it is Jackie. You know where home is. Rooms clean. The neighborhood's gone to shit, but at least it's not the fucking Chelsea. Never knew why the hell Cohen ever wrote a song about that flea trap.”
“Pretty sure it's because Janis Joplin blew him in the elevator there.”
“Oh. That might do it, then.” He laughed through the cough that came with partial emphysema.
“I'll see you soon, Dad.”
“I'll be here.”
And that was how it went. Nothing formal. Nothing ceremonial. Most days we didn't even talk.