“Of course, George Orwell said, ‘The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty.’”
“That‘s what he told me.”
“And Ambrose Bierce defined being obstinate as ‘inaccessible to the truth,’ so I would certainly hate to be that since this might truly be an opportunity to have fun.”
“Though he also said opportunity is ‘a favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment.’”
“Which means you’ve got a book of quotations on hand and like an asshole you‘re flipping through it reading at random to sound like some fucking genius.”
“Well, I’ll bet anything it doesn’t have what my Uncle Jimmie used to say.”
“‘There’s no wrong time for a good time.’”
And that’s how Sid Telmer convinced me to go out this Halloween. It wasn’t much of a hard sell really, I just felt like fucking with him a bit. I love Halloween. It’s the only time of the year you can watch people acting the way they want others to see them. There goes a hero, there goes a superhero, I’m sexy, I’m clever, I’m very good at making costumes, all that shit. In a sense, it’s the best holiday there is because people can pretend to be what they never really feel like; and better still, a person can show off their personality more grandly than usual.
Suffice it to say, after our little chat I hung up the phone, put on some clothes (it’s my apartment, I’ll walk around naked as much as I like thank you very much old lady across the alley who shouldn‘t be peeping through my windows anyway -- ya get a good look at a healthy dick that hasn‘t decayed to pigeon grey and can only hang flaccid like your living dead husband you withered old cunt?), and headed to meet Sid. We downed a few pints at the Village before making our way to the yellow line.
We smuggled a fifth of bourbon onto the train, which is far easier than anyone cares to admit because everyone likes to think ‘Hey, how badass is this, I’m drinking on the El,’ and settled in to the trip downtown. Sid and I planned to meet up with Toby Jackson, Pete Donovan, and Willie “Yodel-In-Beaver” Alva in Roger’s Park. A car would’ve been quicker, however, riding the El into and around the city is something of a tradition for Sid and myself.
The deeper the train stabs into the heart of the city the more it fills with hellish and hookerish delights. Demons of all shapes and sizes crowd the compartment. Seven Hunter Thompsons muttering to each other at one end of the car. An abundance of zombies shamble on and off at the subway stations. Eventually every genus of vampire is glimpsed from the glittery uber-romantics to the rat like classics. Fans turned to athletes, a Beetlejuice, gangsters, celebrity slashers, sex machines of the literal and figurative variety, the ever constant possibility that isn’t the best hobo costume in the world it’s an actual bindlestiff -- it‘s a trip through Halloween.
We made it to Jackson Ave. when a pic from Toby prompted us to head for Roger’s Park. It featured a lineup of young women dressed as nuns whom no convent would ever deny admittance, so slutty were they and clearly in need of saving. We got off and headed up to the street to grab a taxi. However, as we stood at the corner trying to hail a cab a strange scene unfolded across from us.
A crowd was forming, people cheering. Sid and I craned our heads to see what was going on. It looked like some kind of performance. A man walked quickly down the street, periodically grabbing hold of pedestrians then marching away as fast as he could without actually running. The people he passed immediately started to stagger, clutching at themselves and screaming in terror. One by one they collapsed on the sidewalk dark pools forming around them. The man carried on. No one tried to stop him. Some even applauded. The man crossed the street, and we watched him pass by, the act seeming to continue, as he slipped down into the subway. A woman stumbled over to us clutching her side, pleading for help, and Sid couldn’t avoid laughing, “She is really selling it.” The woman fell at his feet, her eyes going dull.
“Helluvan act,” I said. Then we grabbed a cab and went to the party.
47 people died that night. The man was never caught, despite several witnesses, all of whom gave conflicting descriptions. And I suspect I’ll be telling this story till the day I die. It just goes to show you the importance of timing.