Archive for July, 2011

Can’t sleep the ghosts will eat me: Vietnam Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2011 by SLUTLUST

“And the gangsters are buying us shots…but OJ got yelled at for pulling out the camera #undocumented” @Scarlettsmithin

I already keep shitty hours. Day and night mean absolutely nothing to me back in New York – in Vietnam they mean even less.  I leave Kara on the bed alone around 4am to go down to the floor below us with a balcony, dormitory styled game room, and communal computers with limited internet access in order to write. I later blame it on jet lag. I owed MIRF an article about a road trip we took back in September – I really just wanted to listen to The Doors and lurk on the now forbidden fruit of Facebook.

My dragging power cord bangs against the ceramic 3rd world floor slightly bothering the drunken Aussie passed out on the couch. the noise was enough to remove his hands from his crotch and thigh sandwich. The Facebook site is blocked in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for some (anti-revolutionary) reason and the program I need to get around it is down. Whatever. The shit hammered traveler on the couch burps in punctuation. That gives me an idea. I turn around and go back to my room and write a story about a friend’s drunken black out in Baltimore.

Later in the day I would save a nearly canceled guided tour by pointing out to the group their missing  (or “kidnapped”) tour member (as they suggested themselves in a barely controlled panic) was sleeping his demons off under the couch upstairs.

The communist announcements being air horned off an overcrowded military jeep awakens Kara. I’m already 3,000 words, a couple of Tumblr posts, and a planned extended layover in Germany in. In retrospect I have to admit how hyper I was, toying with the oily scrambled eggs that came with my fried tomatoes and pineapples breakfast. There was a fruit that looked like a Styrofoam dice but I couldn’t remember its name or stomach its taste – all I knew was my stomach was going through the motions and I was putting Kara through the motions.

The higher the sun went up in the sky the louder, brighter, and stickier Hanoi became.  Our German layover – in which I would have stayed in Frankfort an extra day to visit a friend while leaving Kara to travel the rest of the way home alone – was 10 days away – if I could even book it. And there I was on the internet making a million moves when I should have been sharing the moment.  I was officially being “Hanoi-ing”.

The weather is like someone invented a spicy jalapeño cotton candy blend and fed it to you in a jungle mist. You sweat just to make your clothes tolerable. The breeze is like the exhaust that comes out from behind a school bus on a 90 degree Manhattan day except it’s inexplicably clean minus the noodles and rotting fish smell I’m already partial to. The day is bright but I can’t see the sun through the smog of a billion motorbikes moving wheel to wheel like cells through a blood vessel. I used an anatomy reference because of the efficiency of their movement was as facinating as the human body itself. Yes, there are a million tiny bike horns being honked and everyone seems annoyed but no one gets into any accidents and everyone peacefully moves along at their loud and frenetic pace. They all wear these vinyl jackets where the hood zips all the way up to the eyeballs making everyone look like sperm.

This mesmerized me, hypnotizing me like a little white girl staring at the dead air on the TV screen in the movie The Poltergeist. Crossing the street was like entering something wonderful, yet dangerous. Kara went from holding all of our important documents and money in order to keep them safe to holding my hands in order to keep me safe.

After an intense bargain shopping, moped dodging, and “what street is this?” asking totally blind tour of the Cho Hang Be Market and its surrounding alleys we return to the silence of our obnoxious hostel. Kara wants to book our flights to Cambodia – I want to sneak in my selfish layover in Germany – we combine and transform into The Impossible. Our cooperation in this matter dissolves into her taking a nap and me cruising/ cursing all over the internet. The gooey Vietnamese sun sets by the time me and her set an accord. We squeeze an outfit change and a roundtrip to Cambodia before our makeup dinner at some Lonely Planet approved restaurant.

Our meal was cheap. The pizza I ordered was horrible. Our fight was 400 dollars more than had we ignored the advice to book our flights in Vietnam instead of in advance.

I swear off taking advice and eating pizza in any country not the United States on Twitter in a colorful yet unimaginative rant. A agitated patchwork of ‘fuck this’ and ‘fuck all thats’. My first full day on the other side of the planet and it’s spent trying to mentally convert the Dollar into the frustrating Dong (Vietnamese currency) and finding an open computer with a running communist roadblock buster. Twitter just wasn’t enough.

It’s during a nerve soothing smoke break is when the genius of asking for a local travel agency hits me. I light another as I wait for Kara to meet me out front. Of course it takes a minute for her to get the message because I told her in a classic fashion – over the internet. She walks into a situation where I’m trying to figure out how and why the Asian man sitting next to me outside has my watch on.

He returns it with a weird National Geographic type laugh; I’m too tapped out to ask how and pretend to be very grateful when I’m actually awkwardly confused and completely baffled.

The price of a Jack Daniels on the rocks goes between 2 and 4 bucks give or take several thousands in Dongs. Kara handles all the money and makes sure every glass of mine is followed by a beer.  I am now on vacation. Our bar hopping takes us to a place called The Pub. The bar offers us two floors of drunk and walls filled with artwork by local artists. You could tell this is a tourist/ transplant bar by the pop art nature of the canvases – and the scent of patchouli – we probably found the Vietnam hipster bar.

We spot a Pac-Man themed acrylic painting. Instead of just enjoying it we ask how much it would cost to buy it OFF THE WALL. The initial price offered by the management translated into roughly 250 bucks. We somehow got them to go down to 50 dollars. We should have ended that exchange with cowboy boots and a cigar, being that we were intoxicated by the idea that we made off like oil barons. The dirt cheap alcohol made us sloppy and obnoxious art collectors

We drop off our million dollar Dong painting back at the hostel. Most of the bars are all in walking distance as our hostel was in the middle of what I would call the Hotel District of Hanoi. Our hotel party bar lobby is (finally!) closed. Apparently closing time in Vietnam is around 1:30 in the morning. My watch is still set on Lower East Side time. We run back out in hopes of finding somewhere with a late last call. Next thing you know I’m dipping in and out of side streets bombing everything with the 1134 stickers Mike gave me back in home. This is when I start to notice how much darker the streets are and how much more aggressive the street vendors were. I’m being sold everything from bootleg Viagra to hot-pot street gutter beef to weed. I guess if I was selling weed I’d want to be a little extra pushier to the guy wearing dreadlocks, but this one pair got a little too pushy.

It was something in the way he turned his head to the guy riding behind him on his moped. The way the following moped curved around him, stop, then proceed like a look out. I’ve walked in enough shitty neighborhoods to know when something is about to pop off – the air thickens and everything turns into the color of red.

“You want mardyjuana?”

“No I’m good.”

‘You want green? Green, green smoke”

“No, no, thank you, thank you, no I’m good.”

“You want book? I have books”

“Uh no thank you… Wait, what? No… Kara?”

The first kid slows down as the guy riding in back hops off while the other guy curves his bike in an attempt to corner us. One guy actually pulls out a couple of books. I’m confused. Is this guy trying to sell me pot or a book!? He keeps repeating the same offer over and over again. I’m watching his eyes dart from corner to corner and I match them in speed. This fuck is trying to rob us. I spy some cops or military guys in the near distance in between the shadows cast by the jagged edges of the oriental rooftops and start becoming firmer in my rejections. I added a bass to my now echoing city bred monotone. I spread my arms in an attempt to seem larger than life itself putting distance between the tiny men and Kara purse. Kara? KARA?!

Kara was live tweeting the entire event, giggling like her phone was a Telli-Tubby telling a dirty joke.


I now have a fire in my eyes. My forehead stress lines are now spelling “fall back”. Our hostile companions understood the look, rescinding their offers and riding off into the shadows. Kara is oblivious as to what just happened and demands to know why I’m being soooooo cranky.

Kara’s giggle is too much for me and after my first natural – and less anxious – breath I break out in laughter. We don’t even discuss it. I can’t. We find an afterhours bar instead. Some guy balances a beer on a pencil in his mouth while we down glass after glass of nervous people whiskey. The room has a small group that could be from Brazil or from Spain but we can’t tell and don’t care. So far everything seems to be like another tourist trap for people afraid to venture far from their hotels. One guy looks at my dreads and breaks out into a medley of Bob Marley songs. This is new to me… obviously.  I excuse myself to break the seal and laugh without embarrassing the “bro”.

The bathroom is in the back of the bar next to a room that has a glass door covered in trash bags. I hear faint bass from what could be techno music coming from behind the door. After washing my hands I grab Kara and take her to the back room. We enter a small private disco complete with a DJ and a table loaded with the shadiest Vietnamese characters I’ve ever seen on this side of a pool hall in Chinatown. The floor littered with cigarette butts.

Everyone is wearing sunglasses. The cigarette smoke acts like a curtain that would hang a VIP booth, obscuring their chinky eyed intentions.  We look at each other – “uh” for a secound – and without skipping a beat break out into dance moves worthy of a Glee episode with a side of glitter. This is what we’ve been waiting for. The music sounds like bunch of pop songs re-sung by Korean performers and mashed up over beats that could double as the soundtrack to anyone of the Final Fantasy video games. Our dances go from serious to silly from shot to shot. The gangsters, surrounded by their clichéd pack of women, demonstrate their approval by quietly sending us 2 free beers, a couple of shots, and a message with the waitress asking me not to take any more pictures. I take one more and skip back to the safe room.

Everyone has left except for one couple. The bartender lets me You Tube DJ and all I do is play 90’s underground hip hop videos. We end the nights around 4am after trading stateside  stories with bleeding heart teachers from Scotland. I think they are hippies or “on a mission from God”. My whiskey face really didn’t care. I monkey walk back to the hostel. No one bothers us.

The next morning is a hung over moment of clarity. No one knows me here, and there I was… acting like Vietnam was the 6th borough. Something happens to us here and no one would know for months – and here I was feeling like I was back home. I can also get shot or killed back home. I have to stop. On our ride to the airport, I prayed to God that I would act like I knew better when I got to Cambodia. This is the jungle, what that Korean Army & Navy clerk on Houston Street warned me about. I was going to be very, very far from home, again.

And just when I was getting comfortable.


Osama Bin Laden Is Now Dead, Enjoy Your Flight. Vietnam: Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2011 by SLUTLUST

Really @SLUTLUST is writing his will on twitter #soft” @Scarlettsmithin

I have a 7:30pm flight to Vietnam on May 3rd. I wake up at 12pm. My girlfriend is already packed and at work counting down the hours to our adventure time. My stuff is part in the dry cleaners, part in the laundry, and half in a pile on my bedroom floor. I still don’t have a traveling bag. She sends me a couple of BBM’s making sure I’m ready and on time. I selfishly masturbate, smoke a blunt, and watch the Daily Show. Osama Bin Laden is now dead and my paranoia needed a travel forecast.

Her BBMs are now turning in text messages and phone calls. I wipe the blunt ashes off my chest and start my day in the middle of the afternoon. It’s 1pm when I get my laundry out. 1:45 when I bump into Frog at the barber shop on Allen Street and make an appointment for around 2:30. I love how I can always walk in and always find a barber available. My dry cleaning still isn’t done.  2:15pm when I pass my brother in front of The Hotel On Rivington on my way to get a military bag from the Army & Navy store on Houston Street. I haven’t even seen a boarding pass and I’ve already spent 200 bucks.  While paying for the bag I tell the Korean cashier where I’m going;

“Oh you be careful out there, they a little confused…”

Excuse me? Whatever, can’t think about that at the moment. I glanced at the glass counter and look for a Cambodian anti – cannibal repellant. Did he really just tell me that? When I’ve been all apprehensive about going to some jungle where they don’t speak English and Hanoi – North Vietnam – where they don’t like Americans?! I run back to the Barbershop and get my shape up. By the time I pick up my dry cleaning and give the yellow cab driver my traditional one dollar tip its 3:54pm I’m supposed to pick up Kara at her job on the way to Kennedy airport by 4:30. Her phone calls and text message has now turned into a full multi social network – anyway she can get a hold of me – blitz. I literally have to turn my ringer off in order to concentrate and perform the fastest packing job ever on this side of procrastination.

I arrive at her job 4:45 after bickering over the directions provided by Google Maps. Our anger turns into an anxious vibration of anticipation. She passive aggressively attacks me with the dictionary sized travel itinerary she has prepared for us. I joke about how I’m just going to be the dumb trophy of a blonde on this trip. She knows me all too well; our flight really isn’t until 9pm.

Here I am – once again – in front of TSA. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of these checkpoints. I have nightmares thinking about a half empty bag of coke I might have in my tiny jean pocket or some weed residue I might have in my wallet. Can you go to jail for the redness in your eyes?  I stop at the bathroom before I pass the checkpoint. I’m wearing a business blue Gap button down with some dirty “tan” Converse, blue jeans with the American flag sown into the back pocket, and a athletic grey t shirt with the words “Under new Management” in the shape of the United States- a great outfit for the 4th of July or voting for a black guy, not so great for traveling to a communist/ socialist county. Did I mention my glasses were red shop class/ scientist goggles? The traveling hipster from New Yawk city! I clear myself of any accidental contraband and move my Yankee Doodle Dandy ass on.

Kara somehow walks right through security wearing what could be called a designer dagger hanging off her neck. We were leaving Singapore by the time anyone even questions it.

Dude we just killed Osama Bin Laden.

Kara points to page 67 in her itinerary. We have a stop in Frankfort, Germany. I thought the flight was 20 hours turns out its 300. I’m excited about all the airplane food and the muscle relaxer I’m going to take the minute Kara stops keeping it from me.  I dose in and out of sleep, only waking up to eat or adjust myself like trying to fit that snake Rubik Cube toy they used to sell in the 80’s into a trapezoid box. We joke about the Mile High Club and have one awkward trip to the bathroom. Fucking travel geeks. I lock the door – then she can’t get in – and she knocks – I panic and don’t open the door. I walk out; we laugh and collapsed into our corniness.

Germany is weird.  People are riding bikes in the airport. There’s something haunting and Aryan white about it – real Children of The Corn-ish. Even the chubby German at the gate with the soft chin and turkey neck seem intimidating. This is the first time I’ve been in a county that has been at war with the United States.  War. That’s right we just killed Bin Laden. Now my eyes are darting everywhere, looking for terrorist like a Dominican Elmer Fudd during “wabbit season”. All I see is the little Asian kid that would later kick the back of my seat all the way to Vietnam. I take a deep breath and try to ignore the newspapers reminding me of the extraordinary time I am living in. Couldn’t escape it – it was written on the carton of duty free Camel cigarettes I brought for a steal.

Singapore Airlines is just an orgy of food. They feed you every hour on the hour, making it impossible to sleep – or stop eating. It doesn’t help my cannibal argument. Are they fattening us up? My eye remains glued to the LCD screen the embedded in the seat 2 inches in front of my nose. My eyes slowly dilating as the little plane crawls over the Middle East. The Middle East?  I press my nose against the window. It’s dark as shit outside minus the full and pregnant clouds we were flying over.  Then I see the lighting. The clouds lighting up like they covered some cosmic pinball machine. There was no mention of bad weather. I had seen the weather being told in about 5 different languages by that time. Kara tries to convince me otherwise but my paranoia mushes her in the face. That’s war. Holy shit that’s war…

When I arrive in Singapore I take the deepest breath of my life. And I’m surprised that unlike Broome Street back in Chinatown NYC, Asia doesn’t stink.

Singapore has an amusement park of an airport. You can surf on the Coy fish that swim in the lake that’s in the middle of a super mall of an airport. I found a DJ lounge. They offer an outside smoking section surrounded by sunflowers and bamboo sticks and the most relaxed security ever. Someone mentions a spa and a rollercoaster but forgets to mention how huge the airport is. I smoke 3 Camels in a row and re-board, praying that little fuck of an un-aborted Asian sperm got on another flight or at least another seat. I settle on being grateful I made it over the Middle East alive – the karate kid is, once again, right behind me.

Kara is a doll the entire flight, even taking it upon herself to physically threaten the kid and vigilantly glare at him from time to time to keep him in check.  She mixes this up with a few Cambodian cannibal jokes to keep the experience interesting. I try to read the Keith Richards book in a panic but find it hard to read like a collage made by a heroin addict. The longest I’ve ever been on a flight before this was maybe 5 hours. This is now hour number 28. My clothes started to feel tighter than usual. This is a flying traveling triathlon. Kara patiently stokes my dreads until I settle to a quiet purr. I stare at the fasten seatbelt sign until it finally goes off.


I’m in Vietnam.

Our Hostel has arranged transportation for us from the airport to the front desk. Thank God. This is the first time I don’t complain about Kara’s meticulous planning. The airport itself is frenetic in the sense that every inch of it is trying to hustle you. Everyone sounds like they are screaming and angry or rabid and confused. It reminds me of the corruption I used to deal with when going to the Dominican Republic. I pretend I’m on the floor of the New York Stock exchange taking the best offer for anything that makes sense. Soon we are ushered past the tiny military men with their machine guns and are in our van. The car ride vacuums out the loudness and randomness of the city down to a gentle hum of the air conditioning. I catch my breath and squeeze the shit out of my Asian Adventure teammate as I realize I am totally in her hands. She has the itinerary with copies of our visas, passports, embassy numbers, and social security numbers, DNA samples. All of my money is in her bank account. Guess I won’t be starting any fights with her. Kara has now gone from my travel companion to my international life raft.

We arrive at 9 May May in Hoan Kiem, Hanoi: The capitol of Vietnam. Imagine the corner of Rivington St. and Ludlow in the town of The Corner of Rivington St. and Ludlow or Canal St. in the capitol of Canal St. The streets are just so full of “stuff”. Nick-knacks for a bottom feeder of an economy. Everything is a bootleg of something else. Everyone is busy moving around at a rapid spread – faster than money fluctuating – and I can’t capture anything because I’m fumbling with 2 film cameras dangling off my wrist and holy shit it smells like cinnamon!!!

I go from frazzled traveler to curious child. I let Kara handle absolutely everything. I’m on vacation from my vacation.

Our Hostel is an open door dorm room filled with foreign bros and a lobby that doubles as an internet café and bar. The novelty of this is quickly erased when I realize I can’t log on to FaceBook because it’s blocked by the government. Everyone here speaks decent English and is polite with a mix of apathy. I assume it comes from the loud music and the party hardy bar-tending that’s encouraging everyone to dance on the bar. Kara and I give each other the “way too old for this” look. They’re playing an abundant amount of Mexican music. Are Mexicans even in Vietnam?! Kara tells me Vietnam is known as the Cancun for Australian alcoholics.

Wait, what day is this?

 It’s the afternoon of a cloudy and humid May 5th. I started flying May 3rd. It’s May 4th in New York City. I decide not to fix any of my watches.

Our room is beautiful. The first thing I notice is the water hose near the toilet. For a 3rd world country they are pretty serious about hygiene down there. The room is decorated in warm Persian/ Oriental colors with Indian influences. I immediately pick that up when I jump on the bed. It’s literally a comforter over a queen sized wooden board. I lift off the covers to see if I’m sleeping on a bed of needles. Great, a huge cutting board for chopping up tourist. Sleeping off a little jetlag is now out of the question. I change my T-shirt and take my exhausted girlfriend to hit the ”Saucy Aussie” bar downstairs before a little sightseeing.

[Click to enlarge]

The streets of Vietnam are an episode of Fear Factor for anyone traumatized by a car accident.  Having walked away from an accident less than a year ago myself, I Trojan Horse my fear into a hybrid of vacant amusement and fickle fascination. The traffic reminds me of a row of moped riding ants carrying large crumbs shaped like cars and trucks overflowing with cargo – or junk I couldn’t tell. Everything is so 3D I remove my poser glasses and put my aware face on. Kara is visibly nervous for me. She takes my hand as maneuvers me through the old Vietnamese women selling us weird fruits and the young kids in fake Dolce and Gabbana shades trying to sell us weed off their motorbikes.

Her hands have never felt softer.

“Hoan Kiem Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, meaning “Lake of the Returned Sword” or “Lake of the Restored Sword”, also known as Hồ Gươm – Sword Lake) is a lake in the historical center of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life.”

After leaving a “traditional offering” at Ngoc Son Temple, we take a stroll around the Hoan Kiem Lake. Life seems slower here, little kids are swinging on trees while couples sit near the water. Every once in a while I jump at the sound of a motorbike because there are so fucking many of them.  What calms me down is the sight of the floating gardens, these beautiful patches of flowers that float in the middle of the late. Kara tells me about the floating village we will see when we go to Cambodia. The humidity is now a wet and sticky breeze coming from the lake as the sun starts to take a dip in it. The vibe feels like a good blow job with the possibility of being caught… It’s dark, early, in a strange place – we opt for food and a few more drinks back at Cinco de Mayo Hell, aka our hostel, and brave the streets of Hanoi again.

Our 1st dinner in Hanoi: Beef Pho, shrimp fritters, some strange spicy fish, pineapple beef, chicken stuffed with mushrooms, & honey fried bananas. We water bottle everything in fear of some intestinal bug we can get from the tap. Of course the notion is silly, what do you think they wash the food and cook in? Whatever, we go into our table like fancy pants Americans just off a hunger strike. Next to us is a table full of European Businessmen in town for some banking conference. We scoff at them like they are petty tourist – with their ordering like they know the place – and swear we would never be like that. We pay our bill with our noses turned high as I put my 3 cameras away in a fanny pack and Kara puts the receipt and change in an envelope given to us when we exchanged our currency.

Our walk back to the hostel is more confident and romantic. The idea of war/ cannibalism/ being locked up abroad/ kidnapping and extortion/ basically anything that could go wrong on foreign land- and all the fears I had soon start to ebb away with every motorcycle I successfully dodge. I stop and take pictures of everything now, being careful as to not seem exploitive. Everywhere I go the kids point and laugh. I assume it’s my hair. The teenagers look at me with some MTV familiarity and everyone calls for me by yelling “Yo YO YO!” The elders looked at me like I’m some weird ancient living spell or an anomaly of existence while the grown men could care less unless I was going into my wallet.

I’m more concerned with the communist police force and their leathery cigar smoking  faces – terrifying like socialist flesh eating zombies.


The color red is everywhere. I soon get used to it and play it up. I treat it like a walk in the Lower East Side complete with undercover police and people I kind of know and wish to avoid – except here I really don’t know anyone here. Not even the little Vietnamese boy, who runs up to me, casually pulls down his underwear, and pisses right on my expensive basketball sneakers.

I’m not even mad. It’s my first hearty laugh of what will turn out to be the most epic adventure of my life.

The look on Kara’s face…

Even the Australian drunk that streaked naked past us while Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” blasted out of our ultra dorm hostel’s speakers as we were walking in, couldn’t change it.

Osama Bin Laden Is Now Dead, Enjoy Your Flight. Vietnam: Prelude

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7, 2011 by SLUTLUST

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.