Davey's so-called flat
he bellowed, “at least it's MINE.”
And prattled on 'oer the fact that
it wasn't at 1st & Pine.
No, 'twas not an exquisite setting,
this stark view of building's backs;
lest the reader be forgetting
this site was just north of the tracks.
Just one block a-heading south,
a hop, skip and proverbial jump
then lo and behold, well shush my mouth:
that place looked like a dump!
And that elderly train station came into view when looking from Davey's front
window, down past the main drag and its seedy storefronts front and center.
bath was down the hall
for a while used only by two;
idyllic, yes, was privacy's call
when need arose for the loo.
Oh, that bathroom wasn't much, its cheesy linoleum floor and space heater
providing scant comfort on cold evenings, but hells bells, at least it worked.
In fact, for the price – which, if Davey recalls correctly, was $60.00 per
month – the bathing accommodation was mighty fine.
So for most of Davey's tenure at the flat, he shared that floor with a somewhat
reclusive chap named Curtis, who occasionally imparted wisdom parsed from his
chosen ascetic lifestyle.
Curtis worked at the train station's little newsstand, no doubt delighted at
his hop, skip, & a jump-to-work situation. Yes, he had told Davey so on
more than one occasion.
Moreover, Curtis loved the idea of simplicity in general and did not hanker
after wealth or seek entertainment beyond simply reading books quietly in his
room. These characteristics set him apart from the vast majority of his peers;
indeed, Curtis was, in so many ways, a RARITY.
Davey couldn’t squelch his curiosity regarding Curtis. After all, Davey worked
in a venue where men craved little else but MORE MONEY.
indicated at one point during passing casual conversation that he was offered a
substantial raise, but forthrightly turned it down, because in his words, “I
didn’t want to just end up paying more in taxes.”
Hell, he could have gotten $9.00 per hour – a princely sum in those days, but
opted instead to stay at around $6. and change.
Ahh, the simple life;
such a topic to broach!
Davey single, no wife,
but with many a roach.
He stayed at the flat,
though at times impaired,
and Curtis the frat
with which it was shared.
Now, about those roaches:
reader of Davey's silly memoirs and logic-challenged meanderings may by now
have realized the insouciant make-do proposition Davey's life situation had
And it could be rightly surmised by selfsame readers that Davey's nutritive
intake was no exception.
Oh, he had a hot plate and little motivation to do anything with it, so mostly
it was takeout at Freedo's Pizza joint about five blocks north.
Theirs was a properly made pie with minimal shoe leather 'grips' – that ridge
around the perimeter of other vendors' half-assed pizzas that edged out cheese
and sauce in favor of an inedible husk.
indeed, Freedo's took the time and TLC to spread toppings evenly and prevent
offending 'bake-bubbles' from breaching that smooth, greasy sheen during
Their slices were superb. In fact, two of them made a meal
Davey also frequented a decent sub shop around the corner, toting his catch
home in the requisite brown paper bag. Add this to similar wrappings obtained
from one of several nearby liquor stores, and it wasn't long before Davey began
to amass a collection of such paper products, which he absentmindedly shoved
into a small gap between the legs of his meager room furnishings.
again, absentmindedly, Davey pulled one of the bags from the growing sheaf. In
an instant, he was bathed in a shower of cockroaches.
Of course he FREAKED and nearly shat his pants as some of the gross 6-legged
scavengers scrambled up his arm in their dashing getaway.'Damn', he thought –
that whole building was no doubt infested.
It wasn't like roaches had anything much to eat in Davey's room. No matter;
Davey later learned that roaches can live without food or water for over three
weeks and could, if need be, subsist on a diet of cardboard indefinitely.
rarely mentioned Vontertsa, and Davey didn't bitch about him, either, figuring
it was futile mentioning the roach
incident. Nothing would be done anyway. But Vontertsa COULD do something: he
owned a friggin' chemical company.
So weeks and months dragged on, with Davey
at this hovel. And when the blizzard of '79 came, he didn't need a
Hell no, it was just two steps once outside the building envelope, and he was
off and walking, not running; on the day of the most voluminous snow the town had
seen in years, he was able to get to the shop.
other worker showed up that day, and he was the janitor/maintenance man. So
Davey luxuriated in what was possibly the best 'skate' opportunity of his
entire career, bar none. So, had he been possessed of more presence of mind, he
may have quipped the following peripatetic prosodic postulations:
Davey, the skate-bored,
a few rods he fizzed,
so wavy, not late toward
the bathroom he whizzed.
No bosses or losses,
it was fun galore;
no need for coin tosses
or waiting 'til four!
He went home at noon
not a minute too soon
without any fat ox to gore.
That wintry interlude was a boon to Davey’s otherwise
mundane and ethanol-tinged existence, short-live though it was.
It was good for a few laughs.
Most days he walked to work when on day shift, then upon completion of the
day’s duties, he hitched a ride in Bill Bauman’s Mach 1 Mustang. Or so at least
it MIGHT have been a Mach 1; maybe Mach 2 or some absurd sh**.
Anyway, it was one hell of a muscle car – the best and brightest of American
manufacturing from a venue that included such duds as the Pinto, the Maverick
and the Granada.
Bill’s Mach had white
paint with offset racing stripes front to back on each side and one
over the top.And by what privilege did Bill acquire this muscular
gem?Savings, pure and simple.Bauman prided himself on
industry and thrift, quipping to Davey during one of their brief
jaunts, “I managed to save up a thousand bucks so far. So I’ll
take out ten bucks for tonight (Friday). What’s ten bucks out of a
thousand?”‘Good question’, Davey thought. The point was
not lost on Davey; though Bauman may have been aware he was talking
to a spendthrift.
It was at the juncture
of this Mach 1 & Bill Bauman tightwad thing that Davey realized
he was sinking further into the depths of ne’er do well land,
should such a place exist. And along with that revelation –
which wasn’t the first installment; only the most recent and
dramatic – he figured he’d best get his sh** in one sock. Or at
least try. Make some kind of lame attempt at joining the ranks of the
self-sufficient working class members that bought their own tools,
drove themselves to work, and fit into their respective niches with
dignity.Slowly, he’d motivate.
First order of business
would be to find some wheels. ANY wheels. Even a poor excuse for a
pimpmobile would do at this point.Davey was growing dependent on
rides home in bad weather, not to mention his regular and frequent
jaunts with Dodd in pursuit of recreational intoxication.So
one thing led to another, perhaps not entirely dependent upon what
came through the grapevine in terms of vehicular availability, and
along came Mitch. Not a bitch, Mitch.Mitch was a big dude –
maybe 220 pounds on a 6’ 3” frame. He wore a white boy ‘fro,
don’t ya know?
Mitch non-bitch had an old Buick Electra 225 , or maybe it was just
an oversized F-85– a HUGE boat, 2 B sure.It ran fine,sucking
gas in a manner commensurate with its bloated girth,but Davey
greeted it with petrol-loaded mirth.So that pimpmobile analogy
wasn’t just for fun,once the deal was set and done.The
only potentially serious problem the 225 had was a leaky power
steering pump, which meant adding fluid every few days was a must.At
least this was disclosed up front.Hey, it was looking like Mitch
was an honest guy.
deal was set,and cash exchanged;thus Davey would getsome
wheels arranged!He drove away,and cried, “aw shucks.”Good
deal that day:for fifty bucks!At least that's the figure
memory serves.And that bigass boat still in memory swerves.So
very little time it did takewith Davey and Mitch on a mere
handshake.Funny, Mitch still lived with his parents, who
didn't oversee the sale.One glaring detail worth noting in
this impromptu, highly informal transaction was the error of not
signing over the title. Neither Davey nor Mitch had given it a second
course this would turn out scurrilously advantageous in the ensuing
weeks after the sale, as Davey received a parking ticket – which he
summarily ignored – for parking in front of his own damn flat.He
tended to get pissed at sh** like that.So rather than gripe or
moan or bitch,he just didn't worrywas not in a hurry:The
overdue notice went to Mitch.Mitch ended up paying the
ticket, letting Davey know, and with an “oh, by the way” moment
encapsulated in that communication to the effect that perhaps they
should sign over the title to Davey.
with the passage of so many gaffe-laden decades, Davey doesn't justly
recall if he compensated Mitch for the parking ticket. Alas, this is a
foggy, unpleasantness-tinged gray area in Davey's gray matter,
hampering retrieval.It seems Mitch's parents DID get involved
at this point, perhaps realizing that their semi-enterprising son,
despite his size and heft, was a softy when time came to kick ass.Truth be told, he just wasn't wearing the right type of boots, aside
from the fact that his vocalized nostrums carried a soft timbre; not
exactly the proper recipe for potentially emphatic interactions with
Davey’s newfound pimp-mobile became a close ally for a short time, and he
rolled it to the shop as well as for partying excursions.
That title thing never did get fully resolved, if memory serves, and the plate
sticker would expire at some point.
At that point in time,
Davey would spout the following rhyme:
May as well keep the pimp-mobile
though it can’t go far;
because it has that weighty feel
yeah, it’s a heavy-ass car.
No insurance or title on her
while the boat is here;
all too soon she’ll be a goner
away, away she’ll veer.
Before relinquishing “ownership”
of his $50.00 prized pimp-mobile, Davey had decided, however inadvertently, to
go on a tear.
One such nasty incident follows:
It was a typical Sunday afternoon at Dodd’s, and the usual football-watching
klatch of suds slurping munchkins were going bananas as per tradition.
Somebody decided to head over to Cartaparra’s Sub Shop for a passel of those
famed pontoons they made. This greasy gorge, combined with many bottles of
expensive imported beer, would make for a killer afternoon.
So the subs were BAD
And the suds were had;
Watchin’ football so glad;
‘twas all that they had.
Cartaparra’s subs had to be seen
to be believed: so much meat, cheese and fixins were heaped upon a giant roll
that the whole thing laid flat no matter how hard you tried to roll it up.
It’s a wonder that place made any money.
And U bet you’d stuff your face, honey.
Somewhere midway through this overstuffed obnoxiousness, Davey grew disgruntled
at the slow pace of intoxication the suds were providing, and decided to take a
cruise in search of adjuvants for bolstering such altered states.
Bad news, for sure; now he had wheels. THAT was recipe for dysfunction.
It was off to the Byway Head Shop
to see what interesting brain cell destroyers were available.
None of the usual stuff, thank you; nothing in the powder, pill, pipe, or bong
department was of the least interest for Davey.
But he had somehow found out that he could obtain ‘whippets’, or nitrous oxide
canisters, here at the head shop, so he got to huffing a bit then and there on
the spot, liked what he felt, and, in a grand, inglorious faux pas of
inordinately unsafe proportions, he got back behind the wheel of the by now
Davey continued, against what
should have been his better judgment, to huff nitrous while driving up through
town, west on 12th, a brief hop on I-95, then onto Flack. It was
approaching Flack and Woolson that things began to go awry.
After a long nearly traffic-less stretch, the dizzied Davey came upon a gaggle
of cars stopped at the Flack & Woolson light, where he hesitated before
finally stomping on the brakes.
WHUMPP!His reflexes decidedly piss-poor, Davey bashed into an equally sturdy
station wagon, bending its rear bumper.
Out stepped a retirement-age woman who puzzled over Davey’s white-as-a-sheet
sloshed as he was, Davey still had enough presence of mind to know he could be
in deep shit at this point, so it was
time to think fast – against all odds.
Yes, thinking was largely out of the question, Davey's brain being out to
lunch, so it was prime time for primal reactions to take over.And grab the
reins they did.
“Let's pull over here,” Davey slurred, pointing to the Wawa® parking lot just
past the light. Handily, it was on the right.
The woman agreed. She got back in her boat; Davey returned to his pimp-mobile.
mounted in Davey's by now semi-conscious tepid flesh as the light turned green.
Quick! Take that sharp left, this being a 'scissors' style intersection – as
opposed to a 'T'.
Sharp left, then an immediate right into the Fairglen neighborhood, a tromp on
the gas, then off to the next succession of dog legs en route to a swift and
hopefully clean getaway.
Next, park in the triple-wide entrance to Elm Lane Manor, shut off ignition,
set parking brake, disembark the stalwart pimp-mobile, tottering, and walk
through residential backyards to Mom & Dad's place in order to seek
had traipsed through these private residential properties many times before, as
did many other wayfaring youth. Yes, he was old enough to know better, but, as
the country song implies, 'still too young to care'.
So onward he did fare.
Short term memory was in complete dysfunction mode at this point, and with
heavy bones, the only thing on Davey's non-mind was getting horizontal to catch
some serious ethanol-fueled ZZZs.
He still doesn't remember at what point he landed face down on the living room
But, lo and behold, that's where he ended up, flat-out until Monday morning.
Dad looked fuzzy as he rustled Davey’s shoulders with
increasing force until finally Davey awoke from his drugged stupor.
Having been on that couch for at least 12 hours, it was time to shag ass down
to the railcar repair facility where, miraculously, Davey still had a job.
But not so fast, Bucko; this recuperation would take at least one more day.
Davey shook off the initial pain, ate nothing, and then tumbled back across the
many lawns and side streets to the spot where he left the pimp-mobile.Luckily,
no cops had spotted it.No tickets or Denver boot®.
on Flack, that Davey hack
determinedly got his ass on track.
With no hope
of getting to work on time
he sped like a dope
past the scene of the crime.
Barreling like that
with gas pedal down,
to his sloppy-assed flat
lying south-side of town,
he knew, tit for tat,
at the drop of a hat
he needed just to lie down.
And lie down he did
another full day,
then took off the lid:
his head hit the hay.
Had he a bucket
he threatened to kick it,
then came bad luck-it
was a parking ticket!
friggin’ nightmare. Davey had no alarm clock to speak of – at least not one
entirely reliable – and worse, had no phone.
So no options existed for an angry or concerned employer shaking Davey from his
The salt on the wound was the ticket.
Yes, on his windshield
was that ticket
in this whole field
where should they stick it?
Why, yes, of course
on the pimp-mobile!
This hit full force
how did it feel?
In a word, shitty.
Having already missed 2 full days of work, it certainly would be rough getting
back in the game.
which it frequently doesn’t
Davey then swerved,
for it was or it wasn’t.
But meter readers
were very well-heeled
and placed their damn bleeders
upon his windshield.
Holy sh**, this was NOT going to be easy.
Michael Jackson was at the top of his game during this gully in Davey’s career,
and from Jackson’s music, ‘twas hard to stand clear.
The pain of finally showing his face in Boss-man’s office that day was
memorable. Campbell, however, was very understanding. After all, he had been a
little lower on the totem pole once. His admonitions, therefore, were gentle.
need to get yourself a phone, boy!” Campbell said. Davey agreed, though knowing
damn good and well it would never happen.
The flat just didn’t feel like home – at least not a permanent enough one – and
was more of a place to escape from, utilizing it only to crash.
So no phone, alone, aligned with some trash;
‘twas Davey, sans solace in this flat to crash.
Yet no need to fear; to the shop he was near
and showed up when needing some cash.
Thus, the arduous, uphill work reentry began in earnest, with many, many brain
up where he left off many posts ago, and weakly attempting to redeem himself
whilst picking up the pieces of his broken life, Davey now chronicles the
accident that nearly landed his ass in a stretcher.
As an aside, this ‘picking up the pieces’ was not to be construed in the John
Wayne Bobbitt sense; after all, Davey still had a working member, however
flaccid. And perhaps that’s precisely the point: his LIFE had gone flaccid,
largely due to borderline injurious ethanol consumption.
The task at hand: cut out and replace a 3” x 3” vertical ‘L’ angle iron.