Osama Bin Laden Is Now Dead, Enjoy Your Flight. Vietnam: Prelude
I hate collecting money. The simple act of having to hunt someone down to return a favor you probably couldn’t afford in the 1st place – but you do it anyway – carrying on like“giving” or “lending” is some commodity or a luxury item- fucking blows. I’m terrible at phone calls and short on text messages. My sarcasm is a curse to the most minor of social annoyances. My wit gets lost in translation and I can no longer keep decent eye contact in certain situations. I’d rather not even bother. But this is Mikes 4th bbm attempt to get a hold of me in the last week and it’s the last Sunday before my trip overseas on Tuesday.
I sold my first piece of photo art.
How can I not buy a beer in Vietnam with my dream money? I put my blunt out, throw on something weather appropriate, and take my lazy ass on a never ending trip to Brighton Beach.
I promise Mike a print of one of my photo’s from the Well Hung Amory show he helped curate with Serf as I leave his apartment/ studio. His walls are an overlapping cascade of work from all of the creative characters he’s encountered in his life. Many of the names are legends amongst the pigeons and patriarchs of New York City. I even spot Alden Fonda’s head shot, nearly spitting my Smart Water out. There I go convincing myself that I’m an artist again.
The check Mint gave me is burning a euphoria hole in my worn Kim Jones/ Umbro wallet. It would be the first and last check that wallet would ever hold.
The walk back to the train is accompanied by several requests for my presence back in the city. Wow, apparently people know I’m leaving and everyone wants to pay me my money now. Mike gave me a Mirf vs. Obey T-Shirt along with some stickers to post up on my trip. I swore to myself I would never wear anything with “Obey”on it. But this had a Mirf tag over it – considering The Battle For The Wall on Bowery I felt it was justifiably ironic – and perfect. Plus it was fucking cold, the beautiful spring afternoon had turning into a nipple seducing of a night and my Seinfeld suede Eddie Bauer jacket needed the extra help. Fucking graffiti writers and their street art.
My first stop is 50th street and 9th avenue. My small talk is limited to “no, thank you’s” and “I have to go’s”. I could never tell if this kid is from the Mid West or Spain – making it uncomfortable for me to relate to him. The bar we met in was one of those theatre bars for acting women who love cosmos and neon fuchsia lights hilighting day glow leather bar stools. It didn’t help his friends were Mario Cantone gay and I can’t stand a gay in a Polo and Dockers. Neither my style nor scene. The C train is nearby so I plan my route to Le Bain, a club at the top of the Standard Hotel, over random cock snobbery disguised as cocktail chatter. I pretended to answer a phone call, proceed to walk outside, and never come back.
The C/E train station at 50th street is science laboratory bright. You can still get cell phone reception because how open for an underground train station it is. I position myself on the stairway between both downtown trains in an effort to catch the first one that arrives. I take a picture – I’m bored – I scroll through my phone, and by “phone” I mean “Twitter” – bored by twitter – nothing in my text messages – ugh. I have a drink from my bottled water and check again. There’s a random news post about the President having to announce something to the nation. It’s Sunday night at 10:30pm. What could Obama possibly have to say to the nation??? At this hour???
Soon the Rumors start: UFO’s, Earthquake, We are being invaded, we are officially broke, Vice President Joe Biden is dead, Bin Laden is dead, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, 100011101001111100001010011000010010110.…
Then one kept getting repeated over and over: Bin laden is dead, Bin laden was captured, we know where bin laden is, bin laden is gone, a source said this, reports of that, this is confirmed, Bin laden is dead, Bin laden was captured, we know where bin laden is, bin laden is gone, a source said this, reports of that, this is confirmed, Bin laden is dead, Bin laden was captured, we know where bin laden is, bin laden is gone, a source said this, reports of that, this is confirmed, news, newS neWS, nEWS, NEWS, NEWS!!!
Holy shit. We got Osama Bin Laden.
I don’t know what took over me at that moment. There was something exciting about it. This is it! This is the party that New York City has been waiting for. I was born in this city. No matter how you felt politically, no matter where you were on the totem pole of society, 9/11 affected all of us. The memory of seeing my friends covered in World Trade soot or the frantic phone calls to people you knew that worked and frequented near the towers. My neighborhood being locked down for weeks, and then the families that experienced tremendous and deep loses. This was huge, it was The Yankees in 1996 huge, Obama winning the election huge, I need to get off the train and run to Times Square huge. This wasn’t like when I overslept and missed voting for Obama, I was a just a couple of blocks away from history.
I couldn’t help it, my heart tried to keep up with my feet while sending enough blood to my mouth so I could keep screaming “OBAMA GOT OSAMA”!!! At one point my feet didn’t touch the asphalt for blocks at a time. Everyone was looking at me like I was crazy. Although the news was starting to get around certain cable news outlets and being posted on the internet the major news networks still hadn’t picked it up or were waiting for the White Houses’ official statement. Soon the entire world would stop to hear Obama say the word I’ve already been celebrating for 15 minutes.
I get to 43rd and Broadway with steam blowing out of all of my ends. I must have looked like a dread locked Tasmanian devil when I stopped to ask a police officer if The president had addressed the nation from the huge jumbotron he was facing – hoping he’d confirm what I was already had foaming out of my mouth.
“Aye buddy I dunno if you wanna tawk abat it tawk ta dem they wanna tawk to ya nat me…” Then he turns around and walks away.
What the fuck? Before I had a chance to respond to Officer Sammy Salami’s Serpico era policing a camera is shoved in my face. The “dear in headlights” phenomenon makes sense as I now am one. A microphone comes at my face from the left like a random cock in a gonzo gang bang porn. Before I could even squint because of the bright light a question ejaculates on to my face:
“So what do you think about the rumors that Obama is about to confirm that we have captured and killed Osama Bin Laden?”
Remember that scientist from the movie, Back To The Future? How crazy he was when trying to prove something, and when he was right – he went even crazier? That’s how I would describe the outburst of a response I gave that camera. If you asked me to describe the camera man I couldn’t, I just spoke into a light. I can describe the piece of balding Italian feast street garbage of a cop that dissed me, but not who asked me the question. I was too busy regurgitating. It wasn’t words that fell out of my mouth; it was luggage full of sympathy for my city, conspiracies by the government, fear, and basic everyday common man joy and elation. It was preparing to say something for years then having that second to say it and it sounds like a super nova mixed in oxygen and saliva. This has to be what the female orgasm feels like.
Then it’s done, I don’t even wait to be asked another question or sign a release form. I bounce in the air from excitement like the Road Runner and peel off screaming like Tiny Tim or Paul Revere with a Black Berry. No one in 42nd street is feeling me. Everyone thinks I’m on drugs or really trying to advertise them. “OBAMA GOT OSAMA” sounds like something you would buy on a Baltimore street corner in The Wire.
I catch the A train and head to Le Bain. My screaming doesn’t stop underground either. I go from car to car. How that never made it to You Tube is beyond me. The United Colors of Benetton on the A train looking at raving lunatic yelling news from some invented future. Osama? We invented him. I continue screaming it out of the train all the way until I’m a few feet away from the doorman. I calm down – I mean this is Le Bain after all.
Once I pass the door gods velvet rope I turn myself up to 10 again and start yelling in the elevator. The President still hasn’t made the announcement yet. No one knows what the fuck I’m talking about and I’m all “fuck you guys, you’re all French anyway”. Boorish American behavior at it’s best. Next thing you know the elevator doors open up, we spill out, and I feel a heavy arm around me.
‘Yo Nigga what the fuck were you doing on NY1?
Blu Jemz’s cackle of a laugh is infectious. He shows me his phone and gives me the healthiest “this guy” on this side of the planet. Soon my phone starts to catch up and I start receiving all of these messages with pictures of me on the news. Mind you all of this happened in the last 45 minutes. I left midtown at 10:30, got to Le Bain by 11:20 – and Obama didn’t speak to the nation until 11:35.
The Rest of the night was a huge celebratory blur. A bottle of whiskey poured on a water color of an eventful evening. The next morning I woke up, cleaned myself, and collected my installation art from the Something I Ate art show. Read the paper and watched reports of huge crowds that came out in Times Square and at Ground Zero after the President spoke.
And I missed it all.
Yup, the first time I was ever way too early for a party.
My girlfriend told me she caught some of the news and recorded it for me. Great, the smoking gun. I scanned my DVR and there I was, on my favorite channel – losing my mind. If someone would have told me that a black President would catch the terrorist that fucked our lives back in 2001 I would have called Bellevue or the local nut house in your town on you.
I rolled a blunted and inhaled it all in and exhaled history out, sinking deep into the signs of our beautiful and extraordinary times. I sobered up with a hint of responsibility and work a cover shift at Beauty Bar in Brooklyn. I write my name all the way down Broadway when I got off at 4am – in case something happened to me on my trip – as a pre R.I.P. mural. Somewhere along the trip i get lost and wind up at Clare’s trap house with Paulie, Randy and some kid that keeps singing to his own music. It’s actually not that bad but oh my god I can’t do this and Clare’s ramblings. This is my last – beautiful – morning in New York City.
Could you imagine? I was going to fly halfway around the world for the first time in my life the a day and a half after we killed Osama Bin Laden.
At least I got on NY1. I love fucking that channel.