There is a last drive back to New York, maybe just two of us this time, Lynn and myself, another half-hearted attempt by me at staying forever, catching a ride with David Cohen, getting stopped again in some small town because David has a CB radio with a whip antenna that is on the same frequency as the local police. Again being let go after questioning David about why he answered some official police communication. That’s the trip after Bill and I have the small apartment, him off to summer stock, me to home and college again, then me back again and him home from a season of stock, the three of us crashing with Martha Devine and Ellen Britt, staying with them for weeks, months, in their two-bedroom apartment on East 77th. Both Martha and Ellen have jobs and knowing we are imposing after a week we clean the apartment completely—sweeping floors and mopping, lining up magazines on the coffee table precisely, flushing toilet and bathtub stains into the East River. When they come in from work and come down the hall, stopping in the living room doorway, after an intake of breath and a quick survey, we are told we can stay as long as we want.
And I will never forget the green-flecked apothecary bowl filled with Dexedrine and Dexamyl, the nightly parties, staying up for days at a time, people coming and going during the day, night, an endless stream of friends and tenants in the same building, me hooking up with some girl from Brooklyn and being on the roof with her, clothes scattered and the wind moving them over the gravel and tar like whitecaps on a dark sea, her holding a sheet over us, it whipping in the wind also, laughing hysterically while trying to consummate the fun. Speeding days on end and the body giving out, screaming for sleep, lying awake and alert and hurting for hours
No idea how long it is before the welcome wears thin, before Martha posts a duty roster, rules and regulations about who does what when, the long list igniting deep anger and speeding like wildfire along drug-singed nerves. The image of holding the roster in my hands is there, of sitting down and posting some wild burning-the-bridge takeoff on it, probably saying something to the effect that being called down the hall to service Martha in her room should be rotated like all the other duties. Posting it, packing my bag, having called my mother for bus fare home and being told by her I better use it for that, then a cab ride to the Greyhound Bus Terminal and the long ride home, days later talking to Lynn, who is laughing so hard about Martha’s reaction that I can barely understand him.