I answered the phone and an old raspy voice asked for computer help. This is the geek, how can help the? He first says he’s retired, then says he’s on disability, something something computer, my mind wanders. He doesn’t have much money is what I gather, yet he needs his computer repaired.
Well I think we can work something out; he at least needs data recovery, maybe a reinstall. Before getting off the phone he drops a hint saying that he used to own a record store for thirty years. He tells this as if its supposed to sweeten the deal.
His name is Dan, and he lives in Jackson Heights. Mytchie once made an observation about Queens and why she didn’t like it. Everyone forms a line when getting on the train or bus, or wherever they are going, and she didn’t care for that. Come to think of it, I hate that shit… lines.. are they serious, get fucking real people.
The part of Jackson Heights we are headed to is also know as little Pakistan. 74th st, ground zero for that experience, is usually where I wind up. The trees are lit for the holidays, the sidewalk is lined with muslim and Hindi men chain smoking, and the shop windows display samosas, pakora and sweets. Most items go for a dollar, unless you are heading to a restaurant, which changes everything dramatically. I grab one samosa and notice a stage with a couple of Pakistani muslim men playing bhangra rhythms on drums like it’s nothing.
When I got to Dan’s apartment he showed me the computer in question. Dan is a rather large old man with a tiny chihuahua named Joey. I fucking hate chihuahuas; hate how they shake and growl and bark their little yapping barks non fucking stop. Dan is in pain and has a heart condition. Their is medication bottles anywhere and I am scanning all of them for pain killers. For roughly 90 minutes of this dude moaning and grunting as rattled on about how I am not listening to him as he struggles to figure out what it is he’s trying to say… all this while Joey the chihuahua yaps away.
He has an a middle aged nurse sitting on a lazy boy watching TV. Every time I glance at her she just shakes her head at him, as if she can’t believe the man takes up any space at all.
At one point Dan began to realize that I knew what I was doing. He started giving me attaboys and patting me on the back, then offered me food. Not knowing what he has, I decline. In a place like that, it doesn’t matter what he’s serving…. I am not interested.
When all is said and done, I racked up roughly 4 hours of work and was ready to rummage thru his record collection. He has saved all the records from the shop that he used to own. He was in business for 30 years, but had to give up the business due to his heart condition. The guest room is filled with records stacked from floor to ceiling.
I started digging thru the vinyl as he began to explain how he got his heart condition. He partied a lot, he didn’t care, he had fun, but he saved no money. He said is twice “I didn’t save any money”. I found a couple Dusty springfield records, god I love that woman. Also the Specials and the Shirells. He tells me du-wop was his specialty, then I find a bunch of bootleg Stooges, GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!
He says “Oh yeah, my brother loved punk, he used to just get high and party in my record shop and then we did it together”. He tells me of a rock n roll fund which supports people in the industry who have fallen on hard times. He claims he approached them, they researched his history and now he is getting his rent paid for the rest of his life. I mean, as long as he doesn’t outlive the fund. We all think at his ripe age of 75, that should be a problem.
I grabbed a few James Brown rarities, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and a Shangri-La’s. He was thrilled. So many bad experiences, he told me about. So many guys not wanting to do all the work. I think to myself I must be a shit business man. I’ll bet those guys who don’t want to do all the work make twice as much money as I do.
I get back to Brooklyn and reckon I have 30 minutes before the butcher closes and realize that I am overdue for a visit.
You see, just up the street about six blocks up lies a Romanian butcher with a shop called the Ridgewood Pork Store. It’s wall to wall pork and he smokes everything himself right there on site. Smoked cheese, frankfurters, sausage, salami and double smoked bacon. Everything there is outrageous. I Have to be the luckiest boy alive… the greatest Italian bakery down one street, and Romanian hog heaven up another.
I got some bacon, some dried sausage, cheese, spicy mustard and frankfurters.
So as the sun went down and I realize what I want. Breakfast with double smoked bacon, and smoked cheese over green eggs…. it’s on.