A young man wearing horn-rimmed glasses lies unconscious on the floor of a public restroom, his pants and underwear down around his ankles: “Morton had no idea that reading a novel in Penn Station after midnight would lead to him being molested, but now that it had, next time he would read a newspaper, which, he assumed, would be infinitely safer.”

Bandsaw Accidents

Lou Reed, his hair close-cropped and dyed blonde and his eyes shielded from the fluorescent lights above by a pair of over-sized aviator sunglasses, waits for a journalist to put a new cassette in his tape recorder while a small Japanese man wearing a kimono sits in Lou’s lap, clipping his toenails: “I tried to engage him in conversation, but nothing worked. Finally I asked him if he would be touring any time soon and he told me he couldn’t tour because he couldn’t find a good enough guitar player to go on tour with him. When I remarked that it couldn’t have been that hard to find a good guitar player he scoffed and told me I had no idea what I was talking about. He said he could count the number of good guitar players in the world on one hand, a hand that had lost a couple of fingers in a bandsaw accident. He held up his hand and hid his pinkie, ring, and middle fingers, holding up only his thumb and forefinger. When I suggested he ask Mick Ronson he scoffed at me again and said Mick Ronson was a shit guitar player. When I playfully suggested Jimmy Page he said Page was even worse. Then I asked him who he thought was a good guitar player and he said Derek Leckenby, the guitarist for Herman’s Hermits. Lou said Derek Leckenby was the best guitarist in the world, always had been, and if he couldn’t have him – and apparently he couldn’t – then he didn’t want anyone, except for maybe Dewey Bunnell of America, who, for obvious reasons, he also couldn’t get. I asked Lou if he had asked anyone else and he said, No, I haven’t asked anyone else, there’s no one else to ask, why should I ask anyone else, I only want the best, Derek Leckenby and Dewey Bunnell are the two best guitar players in the world, if I can’t have them then I’m not going on tour, so why would I ask anyone else? A small Japanese man wearing a kimono walked into the room and started screaming at Lou about how there was no milk, or, there was milk, but the milk had expired, and Lou patiently explained that he didn’t know the milk had expired and how was he supposed to know it was time to get new milk if he didn’t know the old milk had expired, and the Japanese man told him that he should be constantly checking on the milk to make sure it hadn’t expired, how this was Lou’s job, to check on the milk, and Lou waved the Japanese man off, and this really got the Japanese man angry and they started cursing at each other, but it wasn’t like how married couples scream at each other, or friends, it was like two stevedores, “Fuck you right in the ass, you cocksucker,” and, “I’m going to come over there and beat the shit out of you,” and, “Just try it, motherfucker, and I’ll hit you so hard I’ll kill all your unborn children,” and it went on and on like this until the Japanese man pulled out a switchblade from his kimono and Lou stood up and pulled out a switchblade from the back pocket of his black jeans and they circled each other, knives out, for a couple of minutes, still swearing at each other, and then the phone rang and Lou dropped his knife, said, Maybe that’s Derek right now, but it wasn’t, it was Lou’s mom, who Lou proceeded to curse out with even more gusto than he had the Japanese man before ending the conversation with a perfunctory, I love you too, Ma, and hanging up. Lou disappeared for a couple of minutes (although it felt like an hour, as the entire time Lou was gone the Japanese man lectured me about work, and how working hard at something you love was the only way to go through life. When I asked him what he did for a living he said, Nothing) and then reappeared holding a manila envelope, out of which he pulled a thick stack of glossy 8 x 10 black and white photos of people who had lost their fingers in bandsaw accidents, which, he said, he procured from a fan who worked at Saint Vincent’s. I tried to look at the pictures for as long as I could, probably because I wanted to prove to Lou that I wasn’t squeamish, but after a while I started to feel a little sick and Cried Uncle. Lou put the pictures away and said, I had no idea there were so many people in New York who owned bandsaws, and, Maybe I should get a bandsaw, what do you think? When I got home I opened my satchel and was surprised to find that Lou had tucked in a bunch of the bandsaw accident pictures. I closed my satchel immediately and forgot about the pictures until I was reminded of them when I heard my kids scream bloody murder. I ran upstairs and found my wife hugging my son and daughter, the pictures of the bandsaw accidents lying face up on the carpet. My kids didn’t stop crying about it for almost a week. Every time I got within spitting distance of them they screamed for their mommy.”

Insult Your Shoes

A lanky, golden-tressed and toasty tan dentist with chiseled features (wearing a white dental lab coat with the sleeves cut off) and his equally Aryan-esque dental hygienist (wearing a tank top and a miniskirt) stand stock-still and stare at the extremely squat and Semitic-looking patient who has just projectile vomited all over them: “Despite over a dozen diode laser hair removal treatments Harold’s entire torso – including his back and shoulders – remained covered in a thick, coarse pelt of black hair, making him – in his eyes, at least – the most unattractive and least desirable young man in Redondo Beach, and causing him to engage in petty acts of rebellion against his fellow denizens, none of whom, he was sure, would ever understand what it felt like to have your body be your adversary or to dread the scorching late-summer days when wearing a turtleneck was virtually impossible and probably dangerous from a thermoregulatory standpoint. These physical manifestations of Harold’s despair would help abate his self-loathing, but only for the moment.”

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, Dir. Joseph Manduke, 1979


Julius Erving sits in the driver seat of his Lincoln Continental Mark V and stares into the distance while the young white woman sitting next to him, who bears a striking resemblance to Little House on the Prairie’s Melissa Sue Anderson, holds a compact mirror and applies more lipstick: “Here are the people who wished Dr. J a happy 29th birthday: his orthopedic surgeon, his dentist, the President of the New Jersey Nets, the Owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, his agent, his accountant, Bob McAdoo, David Thompson, Daryl Dawkins, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Diana Ross, and an assortment of other hangers-on, fans, and associates. Here is who did not wish him a happy birthday: his mother, his sister, and his son.”

The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant


Rainer Werner Fassbinder pushes Richard Gere up against a wall in the bathroom of Studio 54 and pokes him in the chest: “I spend all day imagining that you and I are married and that you are the wife and I am the husband and we make beautiful babies together and then we live in a home in Nyack and we go on hikes together and I feed you berries and then we go home and we sit on the couch and watch Dallas and you won’t stop telling me how beautiful Patrick Duffy is and I get so jealous that I lock myself in the bathroom but you don’t care you just keep watching Dallas and ooh-ing and ah-ing over Patrick Duffy and I can hear you all the way upstairs and you’re doing it just to torture me because you know I’ll never look like Patrick Duffy and I give in to my despair and grab a scissors from the medicine cabinet and slit my own throat and I don’t even make a sound when I do it and then I fall to the bathroom floor and I die and then I am reincarnated into the person I am now the person who is not married to you who is poking you in the chest and that is not the person I want to be the person I want to be is the person who eats the eggs and toast you make for me on Sunday morning the person who shares his New York Times with you the person who reminds you to wear shoes when it’s cold outside because to be honest with you Richard you look like the type of person who doesn’t wear shoes when it’s cold outside although right now between the two of us the only one not wearing shoes is me what happened to my shoes where are my shoes and what is all over my feet?”

The Devil And Shirley Temple

“I’m sorry I yelled at you.”
“That’s okay, Scratchy.”
“And I didn’t mean to slam the door.”
“Oh, but you did.”
“Yes, I did. You’re right.”
“I’m not mad at you anymore.”
“It’s okay if you are.”
“What can I have for breakfast?”
“That was unacceptable. My behavior was over the top.”
“You told me you were in a bad mood.”
“I did, I did.”
“How come you were in such a bad mood?”
“Things at work. It’s not important. With my boss.”
“What happened?”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s over with. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
“Are you still in a bad mood?”
“No, no, I’m fine.”
“It sounds like you’re in a bad mood.”
“I’m not in a bad mood.”
“I don’t like it when you scream at me.”
“I’m sorry.”
“I get scared.”
“I know.”
“And then I have bad dreams.”
“You know what would help, though? If you stopped talking in that voice.”
“What voice?”
“That voice. That one. The one you’re talking in right now.”
“I don’t like it. It’s irritating. It puts me in a bad mood.”
“You just said you weren’t in a bad mood.”
“Well, now I am.”
“You’re a liar.”
“No, I’m not a liar. I wasn’t in a bad mood until you started talking in that voice.”
“So I’m not going to talk to you if you’re going to talk in that voice.”
“Can you make me some flapjacks?”
“If you ask me in your own voice.”
“You know, I’m not going to let you spend time with that Jane Withers any more. She’s a bad influence on you. You go over to her house and then when you come back you act like her and you sound like her. And that’s not okay. I don’t want to live with Jane Withers. If I wanted to live with Jane Withers then I would live with Jane Withers.”
“You can’t tell me who my friends are.”
“Oh yes I can.”
“No, you can’t.”
“I can do whatever I want, little girl.”
“I want flapjacks!”
“Ask me nicely.”
“That’s not going to make me want to make flapjacks for you.”
“I said please!”
“Say it in your Shirley voice.”
“That’s better.”
“Pretty, pretty please with sugar plum fairy dust on top?”
“There’s my Shirley.”
“And you can’t scream at me any more today.”
“Fine, fine.”
“You promise, mister?”
“I promise, I promise.”
“And you have to be nice to me all day.”
“Okay, okay.”
“Can I eat my flapjacks out here in front of the radio?”
“Sure, why not.”
“Thank you, Scratchy.”
“You’re welcome.”
“I love you, Scratchy.”
“I love you too. God, you’re cute.”
“After breakfast let’s take a shower.”
“Okay, but I don’t want to wash my hair.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Because my curls are just perfect today.”
“Yes, they are.”
“And can I have a lolly before flapjacks?”
“Please? Please? Please?”
“Fine. Where are they? Here.”
“Oh, this is so yummy. I just love my lollies.”
“I know you do.”
“I’m going to savor this one.”
“Yeah. It looks good.”
“Well, are you just going to stand there all day watching me suck on my lolly, or are you going to make me some flapjacks?”
“Uh, Flapjacks, yes. Flapjacks coming right up.”
“With lots of butter.”
“And loads of syrup.”
“Hey, why are you staring at me like that?”
“What? I’m not, I’m not.”
“What are you thinking?”
“What am I thinking? Hooray for Hollywood.”