Kiss Your Brutal Hands
This short story is an adaption of a solo theatre piece
I performed in the New York International Fringe Festival
Summertime and it’s Saturday night. I am hanging on my corner, my little patch of sidewalk, it’s all cracked and broken like somebody’s been playing hopscotch to death. Got my streetlamp up there right over my head, but it’s sleeping now. Doesn’t wake up till after dark.
This is my corner. I don’t own it or anything. It’s a public park. Doesn’t anybody own it. But I call it mine. I can call it whatever I want. I know my rights. I know the law. I was not born stupid. Took me years to get that way. That’s a joke. That’s irony. I do that all the time. I put a little something on the ball, little snap a the wrist. Make it sink down just when it’s crossing the plate if you follow me where I’m going.
Most folks are a bit taken aback when they see me for the first time on account of the way I dress. Like right now folks are staring at me here on my corner.
“I see you lookin at me.” (Yeah I said that out loud, which it’s ok. Sometimes you gotta say what’s on your mind.) Uh oh. Now they’re all looking at me. They are saying to themselves, is he in his right mind? That’s ok. I’m used to that. Fact is I kind of enjoy that. ‘Cause it ain’t what they think. I wear all these pairs of pants cause my legs are all swole up and it makes me feel better. I wear this dress on top cause I like it.
“It makes me feel sexy.” Yeah, said that out loud too. (Oh boy, did I take my meds today? I can’t remember.) And this umbrella strapped to my head, it’s not an antenna for talking to God. “I ain’t talking to You.” (To the casual viewer it could look like there’s a random disconnectedness to my way of communicating with the outside wold but that’s not my problem.) And He’s not talking to me either. Not lately anyways. And it isn’t a device for communicating with the space aliens out there in the sky. “I’m not talking to you guys neither.” Nuh unh. Not since that thing that went down which I don’t particularly want to go into it right here and now. I mean they come down here, they think they own the place cause they got a nice ride. They zip around in their whizzy rocket thing and they get inside people’s heads, even get inside their dreams.
Now I really have to think: did I take my meds or not? I’m feeling a little winky dinky. I got’ em right here in my shopping cart. Damn. I got ‘em in here somewhere. I’m all out? Hey I’m all out. How long has it been since I…? I need a refill on my prescription.
I hope I see Susan today. I need her to help me out here.
Anyway it isn’t any of that stuff. I wear this umbrella to keep the rain off. It’s a purely practical matter. Fine I will take it off. If that will raise the prevailing comfort level. Isn’t any rain in my forecast anyway. See I did it again. You gotta stay with the pitch, batter.
See people want to believe what people want to believe. They see a dangerous criminal, he’s got an umbrella on his head and they think he’s crazy. I am too a dangerous criminal. Look at me. Do I look like a straight shooter? Do I look like a solid citizen? And this shopping cart, just cause it’s filled with a shitload of inexplicable trash to the uneducated eye, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for everything and everything in its place.
Some guy comes walking by and I can hear him what he’s thinking inside my head cause I got powers far beyond those of mortal man, so I reply, “I ain’t no shitface wino.”
I mean, man, it’s not like I’m stalking the streets of the East Village lookin for a handout.
“Although I do accept gratuities thank you kindly, I’m not too proud to admit it. I need a little help ever now and then. Hey man what’s your problem, you never heard of Christian charity?!?!”
Oh boy now I know I didn’t take my meds. I’m shouting at the customers. That’s bad for business.
“Just cause you got you a job and money and a wife and kids and you coach soccer on Sundays up in Riverside Park.”
Who the hell are they kidding with that soccer shit? There is no future in soccer. I am a homeless streetwino sex offender and even I know that shit ain’t true. I am too a sex offender. It don’t get any sexier than this. Don’t get more offensive either. Ha! I told you. It takes mental toughness to hang in there with my screwball. Think it’s coming right at your chin, it goes right over the plate!
So I am standing on my corner and the people they are passing in their fancy Saturday night finest. Car horns honking, dogs barking on the leash, baby buggies, madmen in big baggy shorts huffing and puffin and going round the park in circles. I hope they make it. Anyway I am about to start my show. I am waiting for my streetlamp to wink on like a big eye waking up. That’s how I know it’s showtime. See, I am making a movie here. This is my film set. It’s a little indie. Like a low budget thing. I guess you could say it’s kinda like a musical. Like we’re putting on a show about putting on a show. No no no. It’s a crime flick. Is what it is, I think. I haven’t seen the whole script, yeah but it’s a crime flick where the killer is a whole lot smarter than the law only he’s got a fatal flaw they gotta figure out what it is before he makes a fool out of the whole NYPD Blue. Yeah I got a good little career going on, I could be on Johnny Carson one of these days. Or maybe Merv Griffin, I could be sitting next to Ed McMahon or even Arthur Treacher with my legs all crossed, smoothing down my silk tie, going ha ha ha Johnny, I got a funny story I would like to tell. Maybe Joey Bishop is sitting in for Johnny. See now I got a nice crowd starting to gather around. See they are all looking at me now, stopping for a chat with their bigass cups of coffee, dogs sniffing each other, whispering up each others butts.
The dogs I mean.
Hey my streetlamp just woke up, and it is showtime here in Tompkins Square Park in the heart of Manhattan’s exotic East Village. Saturday night and the sun glowing orange on East Eighth Street where it crosses over Avenue A looking for the East River.
“Hey Folks, how’s everybody doing tonight?”
I say that so nice and friendly. I am establishing a rapport with my audience.
“Please bear with us folks we are shooting on location here tonight. We will need your cooperation.”
I don’t have to say that. I got a very sophisticated audience down here in the park. They all know how to act around a film crew. I’m looking out at my crowd and what do you know I recognize a few of my regulars. There’s that crazy little Mexican dude walking very very slow cause he don’t know when the sidewalk is gonna rear up and slap him right in the head. But he never drops that bottle. Isn’t that something? Sometimes he come to a total halt just standing there like he’s one a those tai chi folks come creeping into the park on Sunday morning, only he’s not Oriental. And there’s that sweet little momma with all the rings in her face. Must be about a hundred. She is mighty fine. I don’t know here name. I wish I did.
Hey there’s Office Jesus. I don’t take any shit from him. He’s my biggest fan. Always comes around to watch my act. He’s got a girl with him, some girl in a ponytail. Who the heck is that? Must be some little lost kid he’s helping her find her way home. Wait a minute, do I know her?
So I go, “Hey Officer Jesus. Como estas?” That’s like Spanish for “What up?”
“Hey what do you know if it isn’t Danny. How you doin’, Danny? How’s every little thing? You gonna be making trouble for me tonight? I would recommend you don’t make me lose my cool.”
“I’m just standing on my corner,” I go right back at him, ‘cause I don’t take no shit. “It’s my corner. You don’t own it.” “Come on now, Danny. Don’t make me exercise my authority. Don’t make me ask you to leave this park. Got somebody here wants to talk with you.”
“You have no authority, you fatass cop!”
Uh oh, that’s my phone. Excuse me I gotta see who it is. Excuse me it’s in my shopping cart. I don’t got a cellphone. I got a landline. They’re more reliable, you know. It’s Shulevitz. It’s my lawyer. Excuse me, I gotta take this call.
So now Shulevitz starts in on me like he does in that just slightly infuriating voice of his. At first you don’t know why he is already pissing you off but then you go oh cause it’s Shulevitz and his voice is like bees. And he goes, “Danny jesus christ for crying out loud what the hell is the matter with you bubie, are you trying to make me nuts? You cannot shoot this film. I read the script. I read it. Are you out of your mind? This is not kosher. This cannot happen. You shoot this you are fucked. You understand. This thing is treyf. As you legal counsel I am advising you this story cannot see the light of day.”
Shulevitz. People say he sounds a lot like me but I don’t hear it. I only hope I don’t sound like that. He’s got that bigshot voice it sets your teeth on edge you end up with an aching jaw.
“Shulevitz! What are you telling me? Don’t pester me in the middle of my show. I don’t come down there and pester you in court.” “Listen to me, you stupid putz, you cannot break their law. I cannot work miracles. You make this, you are treyf. They will hang you up to rot. And if you do, I never read this script. You never got this call.”
I can’t listen to this guy, he sounds like the brakes on the Broadway Local. I’m hanging up.
That Shulevitz is a pain in my ass. But he’s a good lawyer. And a man’s gotta have a good lawyer in this town. That is a fact. Even if he is a Jew. I don’t understand those people. They make me crazy don’t get me started. I mean they are the chosen people got a straight line to God and he kills them off six million in one whack? Who are they kidding they should be so chosen?
I got all kinds of folks are gathered around and I’ve got to speak to them. So I go, “Ladies and gentlemen due to circumstances of a highly technical…” No wait, how does that go? “Due to circumstances beyond the blue horizon…” No that ain’t right. “Due to circumstnances… we are taking a brief time out on advise of legal counsel.” Good enough for show biz!
Look at that. They are all stunned. They didn’t know I got a lawyer. Hey I got a whole entourage. That’s what it takes in this day and age. I got a record you know. A rap sheet. That’s how we say it on the inside. I did ten years in Attica. “Ten years in the hole. Ten years without the sun.”
I didn’t mean to say that. It just came roaring out of me. That happens sometimes. And now I see that little red dot, that hot red dot up underneath my eyes. Why am I seeing that dot again? It’ss spreading out like it spilled out of a little bitty cup and it’s leaking all over the insides of my head, pooling up inside my temples and wow the back of my brain is getting hot as a toaster oven. Goddammit my eyebrows are starting to feel like brick. My whole forehead. And my voice is beaming out a me like sunlight and it is heating up the whole world.
Ten years in a toilet with a light bulb and a tv camera watching me all day and all night long, not that I could tell the difference between the two in that shithole dungeon, just me and that tv camera setting up there and watching me eat, watching me sleep. Watchin me everything I do. Everything. That’s right. Somebody pulls a blade on me, suddenly I got a date, it’s on TV. What am I supposed to do? You tell me. Sees everything. Or when I’m alone. It sees that too. You think I stop just because the camera is watching me? Camera isn’t gonna stop me, nunh unh.
Hey, here comes that little girl. What the heck does she want? I don’t know her. She’s getting up in my face. Hey hey hey, little girl. How old are you? Is that candy on her lips or is that lipstick? She is looking at me with big blue eyes and she puts a hand on my face. Hey hey hey. I don’t like this Susan better get here with my meds. She is tugging on my sleeve and grinning at me and I wanna do something I don’t know what it is but I know it’s wrong. This is not right. What is going on? Underneath my pretty dress something is starting to twitch. I think I know what that is. So I reach down into the folds of my calico dress. I don’t think I should be doing this, but I gotta see what’s going on down there. Look at that. It is a little bit torn and tattered at the hem, I gotta take better care of it. Hey hey hey young lady, she’s got some cotton candy in her hand like she want me to eat it right out of her palm. Feels like a big sleek scaly python is starting to uncoil down there. So I reach down under my dress. This is wrong. I don’t think I should be doing this. My brain is just one big red flashing light. If I was a street light I’d be saying stop right there, buster. If I was a cop car I’d be sayin get the fuck out of my way. I don’t know what I am, but I ain’t neither one of those so I just reach on down,
“And they are watching me.”
Lord I am shrieking. I sound like crows at sunrise. I wish that Susan would show up right now and help me out, I got a lot of anxiety going on inside of me but I don’t see her anywhere and I reach down under my pretty dress, it’s got a discoloration on the sleeve but you can’t hardly see it most of the time unless you already know it’s there, probably get some spot remover and work on that before it gets any worse.
“And they put me on TV. And they beam it up into the sky. And they show it to the whole wide world. And it ain’t basic cable. It’s Premium. And I don’t get a dime. Not one red cent.”
I know I should not be saying any of this, but you have got to go with the flow. You can’t censor yourself. You have got to express your deepest inner feelings when you are making your art or you are just another pretty face thinks he can sing for his supper and the world will fall at his feet.
Ok this is getting out of control. I gotta do what I gotta do, so I say, “Excuse me little girl but I gotta go take care of something,” and I try to get away from her but jesus she’s got a grip on her for just a girl I have to yank like hell but finally I get down behind my shopping cart, it’s got a Ford logo on the front, I found it in the street and I tied it on with shoelaces, gotta say it looks real cool. Finally got some privacy and Jesus Christ it’s huge, it’s enormous, it has never been that big before, what the hell is going on down here oh my god and it’s all cracked and wrinkly, greasy and slippery, feels like it died down there and it got mummified and I pull on it and I go, “Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Ahhhh!” Cause it comes off. It comes off right in my hand Oh holy lord in heaven my dick comes right off in my hand.
I stand there in horror and disbelief and then I start to laugh. Oh my god I am one stupid idiot, it’s my lunch, my lunch that Officer Jesus gave me yesterday I put it down there for safekeeping. My kosher salami is what it is that scared me half to death. Now I gotta calm down. I gotta take a deep breath and say thank you God for giving me this kosher salami from Officer Jesus and not my shriveled gnarly old dick come right off in my hands right before showtime. Man, that was a bad scare.
And now I say, “Ladies and gentlemen we are taking a break on account of we got problems with the script. We got a problem and we gotta fix it. Cause I owe it to my public.”
I got my own channel you know. All over American they watch me all night long. I am a star is what I am. I do celebrity interviews, product endorsements. I got fan mail from admiring fans. I keep it in my shopping cart with all my earthly possessions. I’ll just reach into my stash and read you something. Listen to this. It’s a little hard to read on account of it’s written on a chinese take out carton but I’ve pretty much got it memorized: ‘Dear Danny. I am your biggest fan. I love to see the look on your face right before you go off. You look so sad, so lonely, so full of hurt and hunger. I would love to come and visit you in Attica someday, but I am living down here in Florida with my Great Dane Bruno and he is all I have to keep me company. If you ever get out of prison I hope you will come down here to Tampa and fuck me till I cry. I will let you autograph my middle finger.’
Isn’t that sweet? I’m gonna put that away and pick another.
Here, I like this one cause it’s on a take out menu from the sushi place, they don’t let me in there anymore. And this is what it says: ‘Dear Danny, you have the most sensitive hands I have ever seen on a killer/rapist of defenseless young women who would grab me roughly by the hair and shove me on the ground in the alley behind my house at 64 Sycamore Street, West Hempstead, Long Island, exit 34 on the LIE and make a left onto the Hempstead Turnpike, and make me beg for my…’ Well I guess I can’t read that part out loud. That is kind of personal and confidential. But then she ends it here by saying, ‘When you get out on parole I would like to come and see you so I can kiss your brutal hands.’
That is really nice, huh? Big fan.
Here’s another one, oh this is good, beats me why it got written on a box of Cheerios. ‘Dear Danny. You are a sex fiend. I hope you rot in hell and they keep showing you on TV till the day you die. Cause I can’t get enough of you.’
Isn’t that nice? Yeah. Means a lot to me. Cause I take my job very serious. I give’em quite a show if I do say so myself. Lotta rehearsal I put in. Takes a lotta work to make a good performance. Lotta competition these days. Brando. Depp. Cage. It’s gotta come from deep down in your soul cause the camera will magnify every imperfection, every false moment. Lotta pressure going in front of the camera. Look at Marilyn Monroe. Camera killed her. Wasn’t the pills killed Marilyn. Was the camera kill her. And every morning I wake up and I’m on tv and I gotta do my job, gotta give ‘em their show.
“I got blisters on my fingers!”
Who said that? I bet you know, don’t you? Yeah you do. Well I’m not telling you. (John Lennon.)
Oh no, here come that director fella. He’s some fatass jewboy name of Shulevitz made a movie with Denzel thinks he understand the black man. Understand my ass. I can’t work with this guy. Uh oh. Is he walking over here? Oh no, he’s gonna put his arm around my shoulder and whisper in my ear something sounds like a saxaphone is playing something cool and jazzy and tell me something real smart he thinks it’s gonna put me in the right mood for this next scene we’re shooting. I’m gonna listen real nice and polite, nod my head up and down very wisely, and then I’m gonna ignore everything he says. Oh yeah he’s walking over here with his Dodgers baseball cap on his big bald head and he’s saying, “Danny honey baby bubie, listen listen this is great, this is good, this is very very good, very very real, very deep. Listen to me it’s all about the work with you and me, no bullshit right? We speak each other’s language, right? I say this cause I love you, right? Just try a little something for me, cause I love what you’re doing, swear to god I really really love it, camera loves, everybody loves, but I was thinking ok ok let me see if I can put it into words for you. I got this image in my head….” He’s getting me all confused like he’s some kind of Miles Davis thing that’s got too many instruments all going at the same time.
And I go, “Shulevitz, life is too short, cut to the chase.”
But he says, “I see you naked in this one Danny. Yeah it’s very cinematic, very filmic. I hear sirens in the distance, I see you naked, sirens in the distance, see you naked, sirens, naked….”
Goddammit there is no rest for the weary. “I don’t want to do some nude scene, Shulevitz. What the hell I have to do a nude scene here?”
But he’s all like, “Now listen to me kid, your ratings are sky high, I never saw numbers like these in my life, it’s a gift from god you understand me? Your public wants you kid they want you and you cannot let your public down.”
And he is just about sticking some trumpet in my ear, it makes me shiver and shake. I get like that all the time when I go without my meds and I say, “Ok Ok Ok!”
And I walk the hell away. I hate to say it but these Jews they are all over show business like they own it or something. You cannot get away from them. I used to see them in the schoolyard with their curlycue sideburns everybody laughing and taunting and screeching at them. Why do they have to be so different? Why can’t they be like everybody else? Different don’t get you anywhere in life. Except beat up and spit on and chased and chased and chased and then you are on the ground with so many guys on top of you you can’t breathe you can’t breathe they are crushing the life out of you and you are begging please please please don’t call me that and they got a knife and they are gonna cut my face my face! Don’t cut my face!!!!
Hang on a second I gotta catch my breath and I can’t see outta my eyes ‘cause they’re all wet.
Where was I? Where was I? Where was I, goddammit. You see what you do? You make me forget who I am and what I am saying. No wait…no yeah oh yeah, ok.
So I hang up. “Filmic!” I am too old for this. I don’t need this aggravation. I reach down with my cracked and filthy hands and I pull my pretty dress right up over my head, there’s a tear in the lining underneath the armpit, I gotta find me a needle and thread for that one, and now everybody is oohing and ahhing and I haven’t even taken off my shirt, I don’t think it comes off anymore, I had it on ever since I don’t even remember when. I still got some nice muscle tone from my time up at Attica pumping iron with the brothers. They take it very serious. Folks know the second they see you when you get out of Attica where you been cause there is no one buffed out like a man who’s been up in Attica working out. And now I hear a great big roar from the crowd.
So I go, “Hey! Clear the set. Clear the set.”
I love my public, but clear the goddamn set so I can concentrate. I got work to do. I start pulling off my pants. This is gonna take awhile. I got six or seven pairs on me. And they is all kinda growing together like layers of skin on my bleeding swollen legs, but I don’t care. Director says he wants it. I got a scene I gotta do. And now I feel those hot lights on me. I look up and there’s the camera up where the streetlamp used to be craning it’s neck to get a good look at me. And I am taking off all my pairs of pants. Whoa, this thing is as big as Babe Ruth’s home run bat. I’m gonna have to take a few practice swings to get me loosened up. I don’t want to pull a muscle when I step up to the plate.
It’s just me and the camera now. Me and that camera setting up on the crane looking down into my soul and I got a good grip on my Louisville Slugger. And now I hear men shouting and females screaming. And there’s Officer Jesus and that little girl with the pony tail, damn she looks familiar, but I ain’t got no kids christ allmighty. They are coming right at me, so I go “Hey, you’re in the shot, man. Off limits. Get outta here, Officer Jesus.”
He goes, “Hey, Shulevitz, why don’t keep it in your pants, man?”
“I’m not Shulevitz!” I shout. Man, he’s got me all aggravated now. “He’s fussin with the camera. He is measuring the light. Leave me alone, copper. I ain’t your bitch. You are persecuting me on account of my sexual orientation which I don’t even know what it is, it’s so deep and complex, it’s almost biblical.”
“I gonna run you in you talk to me like that.”
“No no you can’t do that. I can’t go back to Attica.”
“You never been to Attica. Who you kidding, man?”
“I did ten years in Attica.”
“For walkin on the grass!”
“Yeah you some badass criminal, you are. They don’t put no winos up in Attica. I put you back in Bellevue you don’t keep it in your pants.”
“I did bad things,” I say.
“Like what?” he’s asking me.
So I go, “I got blisters on my fingers!” cause I’m getting a little lost in the intricacies of this conversation.
“You leave it alone, that wouldn’t happen.”
He’s laughing at me. They’re all laughing at me.
And then I get that stab of panic in my chest. Something’s wrong. Something’s really wrong. Can’t breathe. I feel real bad. I need my meds. I need my Susan to come and save me with my meds and make my panic go away, it’s like a bird is beating inside my chest.
No no no. I’m not ready. I’m not ready for the camera. I can’t face it. I can’t go in front of the camera cause something is really wrong here.
I grab my pile of pants and my calico dress and I go running into the park looking for my trailer. Only my trailer’s not there. Supposed to be right here by the green fence with the chickenwire. But I can’t find it so I just keep running through the park looking for someplace to hide, skittering down the sidewalk and slithering through the grassy patches and the bonedry dirt, running till my lungs ache and I am coughing up phlegm and panting like a horse. I’m running deep into the park. Streetlamps are winking at me.
“Shut up,” I go. “Shut up, you give me away!”
Past an old dumpster. Smells like somethind died in there. I keep running, slapping my bare feet into the pavement so I know I’m really here. I go wizzing by a row of pink port-o-sans. Look like crazy aliens standing at attention. Deeper. Deeper. Gotta go deeper in the park where the lights are off. I stop and catch my breath. It is so dark nobody can find me now.
I am standing behind a tree and peeking out just to make sure they can’t find me. There’s an old brokendown bench looks like somebody ripped it out of the ground and left it here to rot. So I sit. I am all alone, so I put my six or seven pairs of pants back on and my pretty calico dress, there’s some threads hanging off the sleeve where it is starting to unravel, wish I had a scissors, I don’t wanna pull it apart.
I ain’t goin back there till I am good and ready. I don’t just pull these performances outta my ass you know.
Now who’s calling me? It’s my agent, my agent Shulevits is on the line and he is talking at me in that sweet thick banana smoothie voice of his and he is telling me, ”Danny Danny Danny what’s a matter with you I gotta call you on the set in the middle of a very busy day. I don’t have time for this Danny. Now please please please be a good boy and get back on the set, you got a contract you gotta fulfill. You don’t fulfill your contract you will never eat shit out of garbage cans in this town again. Am I making myself clear? Come on now Danny.”
And I am shouting, “Shulevitz, what do I pay you for if you don’t protect me? Whose side are you on anyway?”
“Your side, your side, I’m always on your side.” That voice of his, it feels like someone’s dripping pancake syrup all over me. “ I’m in your corner kid, I’m on your team, I live and breathe for you, it’s Danny Danny Danny morning noon and night with me, you know that kid, don’t let me down, go on, get back on the set, go on, play nice, you’re a star, be nice, don’t make me come down there, I’m doing deals for you Danny. Let me do my job and you do yours. Ok? Ok. Capice? Bye bye. Shalom.”
And he hangs up on me, the putz.
You see what I mean? These showbiz Jews?? Are everywhere!!
I do not understand this God of theirs, he wants you to grovel and beg and praise his name. What kind of God is this? He gives you sixty shitty years and then you’re dead forever. Fuck that. I want no part of that. And He’s got this book, His book supposed to answer every question how to live your life, you gotta study study study how to kill a chicken, how to kiss your wife, how to bake a cake, how to put on your hat, when to take it off, where to take it off, and why to take it off, and where do you put it when you take it off.
(I don’t have a yarmulke, but I got my Dodgers baseball cap in my shopping cart, it’s just as good, so I put it on my head. And I got my tefillin in here too, so I wrap it around my arm like you’re supposed to when you’re talking to God.) Where was I? Oh oh yeah.
You gotta study study study, to hear the word of God, how to pray, when to pray, why we pray, where we pray, how many times we pray, how to eat, how to sleep, how to breathe, how to breathe god almighty, can’t even take a goddamn breath you gotta consult a book so every MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE is spent with Him, is spent with God, He’s always in your thoughts, He’s always in your HEAD, He’s always watching, always listening, always judging, He’s so full of grace and you are so full of shit because you do not know how to LOVE HIM LOVE HIM LOVE HIM all day long.
YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF HIS LOVE.
You are unclean. You are unclean.
You look a woman in the eye, you are unclean.
You hold your pretty daughter in your arms, you are unclean.
You go with women of the night, they are so dark, they come from islands,
They got voices sound like music when they talk,
They whisper words you know you’re not supposed to hear,
They call you Danny Danny Danny all night long,
They’re on the streets, they’re in your dreams,
They get inside your prayers, you cannot talk to God, you are unclean.
And then you look upon His face, this ruler of the universe,
How could he be so great if He made you,
You look upon His face and ask Him why He made the world,
He strikes you dead.
Enough of that. I put my tefillin and my baseball cap away.
There’s that little girl again. How did she find me here? She better not be asking me for an autograph.
“I am in no mood, little girl,” I tell her.
I am sitting on the park bench with my six pair of pants and my pretty dress, its got a little bit of lace left around the collar, I don’t know what I’m gonna do when that goes, and she sits down right next to me. And I am thinking thoughts I do not want to think. Her dress is paper thin. Like I could tear it right off a her in one motion like tearing the wrapping off a birthday present at my party. And I am hearing sirens in my ears. Is this the scene? Is this in the script? I do not for the life of me remember. I don’t think I read the ending. My thing is twitching like a dreaming dog in my lap and I know I am in trouble now. She must be about thirteen if she’s a day. And I can see her baby tits like little mice running around underneath there where the paper is stretched so thin, I think I hear it tearing right now and I don’t think I can help myself. No I do not. My thing is hard as ten years in Attica and I say to myself Danny, no, that ain’t right. You know it ain’t. Something is wrong here. Don’t you fall for this. She can’t be but sixteen and her tits are popping out a her shirt like they was suffocating in there. And I am hearing the holy moan of sirens in the distance. Is this the script? I wish I would of read it. And now she puts her fingers in my mouth. Oh God in heaven. She has put her little fingers in my blistered bleeding mouth and I am gonna have to do something. She can’t be a day over twenty and her tits are spilling out all over me and banging on my heart. And this is what I’m here for. This is what they pay me for. I know this scene. I done it so many times before. In my dreams. On the street. I don’t know. I don’t care. But this little girl has stuck her fingers in my mouth and I am gonna have to have my way.
I grab her by the hair. I wanna shove her down onto the concrete except it’s wrong it’s wrong I know it’s wrong and I am gonna have to tell Susan what I’ve done, I can’t do that. I feel a hot wet shiver go all through me. I hope they are getting this. This is good stuff. This is great. I am in the moment. Look out Brando, you punk. I’ll show you how it’s done. I am a pro. I feel the lights. They’re bathing me. Filling me. Her face is in my lap and I want her to kiss my brutal hands!!!
Then something smacks me so damn hard I don’t know what. I am swimming and falling and swimming some more. Can’t even open my eyes so much light is flooding over me. But I get one eye open feels like I’m slicing it open with a knife. This is good stuff. Cameraman better be getting this. Don’t know if I got another take in me. And there is Susan! Looking down at me! She’s here. Susan. My social worker. She, her face is all smeared with blood and tears, it looks like tears. And her fist is in my face and she is yelling, “Meds, Daddy, meds. Take your meds. Stop hitting me!”
Thank god, it’s Susan and she showed up just in time to give me my meds cause it was getting very weird there for a while. She is in a rage. She is yelling, “Meds, Daddy, meds!”
And I shout back at her, “I’m not your Daddy, don’t call me that. My name is Danny. You’re name is Susan. Your Jewish name is Rachel.”
I am trying to figure out why I said that, but Officer Jesus he’s got his foot on my neck and I cannot breathe. I am spreadeagle on the pavement. My joint is crushed into the concrete. God I hope they are getting this. This is gold. This is dynamite. This is Academy Award winning stuff. Officer Jesus rolls me over, grabs me by the collar and rips the shirt right off of me. Ahhhh! Feels like someone tore the skin right off me. My arms and chest are all cut and raw. I am sweating and bleeding and I can’t help it I am shouting and crying and I want to shut up so bad I can’t explain it. And I look down at my arms and what is this I see??? My arms are covered in strange painted tattoos, they look like letters, look like Japanese but it ain’t Japanese cause I hear them in my head and they are chanting in a voice that sounds like Shulevitz my rabbi, he’s got a voice it sounds like echoes in the Grand Canyon, Shema Yisroel Adonai Elohenu Adonai echod, it’s shouting on my left arm. My whole body is covered in these words. Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu melech ha’olam on my other arm. My whole body is shouting at me in Hebrew. So I start tearing off my pants to see if there is any part of me is not covered in Torah and Talmud AND THAT IS ALL SHE WROTE!! Officer Jesus has got me by the throat and he is shouting in my face. It isn’t me shouting this time, It’s him. And he is shouting, “Goddamn Shulevitz, didn’t your momma teach you to give it a rest on the Sabbath? I gotta haul you in for Lewd and Indecent?”
My eyes are stinging like I got too close to the trash fire and I am smearing tears all over my face and I shout back at the top of my lungs, “I am not Shulevitz! Don’t call me that! That is not my name!”
And that is all I got. I can’t do another take. This one will have to do. So I shout, “Cut! Cut! Print it! Save the light!”
Fade To Black<