THERE WAS A BOY and a dog and a bar this time. Also a girl and a photographer and two more dogs. I have a photograph, that’s all that’s left me. The boy was named Charles but he called himself Randy. He was one of those men who is always a boy, a Californian who wore fringed buckskin which was distinctive and out of place even back in the most distinctive nothing in its place East Village Eighties. RanDee had a different accent on all things. Said he was a builder and he was. Which made him different from most in the East Village who said they were something but were not, at least not yet. Fragmented times. Fragmented. Sentences. Sue. Me.
THE BOY HAD A DOG named Charlie. As you might guess, that made the dog CharLee. I served the boy gin and I served the dog water. You couldn’t keep the dog out of the bar even if it was a health code violation, not when you had a cat walking on the bar to get to the mice. They were mice, never rats. So the man who was more of a boy who was named Charles Johnson but called himself RanDee would have something to say about this. JoSeph, you got a cat and some mice, but not rats. What about my dog? I couldn’t say anything even if the health inspector would, so the dog would come in and much water and a little less gin would be drunk. The gin he liked with an orange. The dog would sit at his feet, sometimes quietly, more often not.
MY BOSS WOULD COME in and look at the dog. Or hear the dog because the bar was dark. I would look at the cat who occasionally ran through the bar past a table with a mouse in her mouth. I could say nothing and the cat didn’t either. My boss would give a shake of the head to RanDee and a wag of her finger to me and the dog CharLee stayed at RanDee’s feet. The cat was silent somewhere enjoying a mouse appetizer out of sight. Such was the logic and life of Avenue A at the corner of Ninth Street in 1983 in the zip 10009.
VONNEGUT HAS A NEW BOOK OUT [story] I saw him once on the street at the corner of Lexington and 55th in Manhattan. A curly taller Mark Twain he is. Swimming in his clothes. About three thirty in the afternoon as I recall. I looked down and he had a ping pong paddle in his hand, lightly tapping it against his thigh. Said he was late for this regular three thirty game. You have to have priorities. I never said a word. I love New York.