I really want to get this going....

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

THE JINGLE MAN FROM TOFFENETTI'S


21. THE JINGLE MAN FROM TOFFENETTI'S:

He was tall enough for a madrigal singer (I thought) but he moved stiffly as if some mistake in the wiring had thwarted his ability to gracefully connect one effort to another and - as his head was high above everyone else's - he stood out awkwardly as very tall people do and had that somehow alarmed-at-something look in his eyes : he turned and started speaking some gibberish in the doorway - "you're allowed in here for one or two hours at the most the very most and after that of course we'd expect you to be finished and gone so as to free up a table for another set of patrons and I hope you understand this is a business and the idea here - besides service and quality - is to turn tables over and make money - that can't be so hard to understand right?" and we nodded as one - the few of us waiting - and as I stayed around he started again talking specifically to me "I only like intensity and white light and I do have trouble with any of the idleness that most men go by but nothing of this leaves me happy nor gay nor do I find it worth any whimsy for this is all after all a job and nothing more (they've asked me to be 'strange') and you'd never find whimsy in a fire would you ? nor is there much comedy at a funeral but distraction is what people want anyway - we get a lot of theater people AND theater goers at once and the two crowds don't usually mix very well so I must of course too keep my eyes open for trouble and it's trouble only when the lights are down really but as an austere person I guess I know I must deal with it all and entirely and the only real 'underworld' left in Manhattan is the 'Theater' - in actuality it's nothing but a large criminal activity (did you know that?) and money is washed passed and laundered on ridiculous budgets and enormous loss factors in plays and productions that last two or three weeks and are gone...but which leave a trail of both cash and expenses which the insider mind can deal with very well and which criminal connections sniff out like a dog does meat" and then for a moment he turned away and the silence as he stopped talking was just as fearsome as the noise he'd made when talking and I couldn't quite figure out if he was paid to be a raconteur of blarney or perhaps to make stuff up to entertain the crowd or what but he was soon enough back to his post of scanning the meager crowd at the doorway - which doorway as composed of two fashionable doors leathered in some form of red and brass with two large adjoining gold-lined and decorated windows through which some portions of the dining area could be seen (and from which I'd supposed diners too could - if they cared to watch plebeians - view those taunted and belabored souls awaiting entry - some odd form of class warfare pitting the 'in' against the 'out' in a social register comprised of fame digestion and shame all at one time - and I thought to myself 'such are the vagaries of New York' where it seemed at every turn there was always something in front of you to taunt your presence or your very being - the person before you with the six-hundred dollar coat scoffing back (you knew) at your thirty dollar castaway the Rolls or Lincoln nuzzling up against your Nova (so to speak) the trip to Paris up against your recent struggle to view Pennsylvania in person - but one of the seven deadly sins as I recall was (and is I guess) 'envy' so far be it from me to worry on that count and at the same time I've never walked a graveyard yet in which it was listed what apparel the deceased was buried in - so any of that only goes so far - but this guy again (back to the doorway) was making it a habit to scan the crowd and do the occasional turnaround to check behind him as if he was some sort of performance artist himself and actually the only reason I was there was to watch - for I couldn't have cared less about entry or seating or any of that and my closest approximation to the ins and outs of what was going on would have been George Orwell's 'Down and Out in Paris and London' a great book by the way which takes the reader on grand and royal tours of kitchen areas and restaurant staff happenings and conditions in ways that would bleed an eyeball dry - so for me all of this was but one huge joke at the expense of the idiots struggling to get in so as to pay something like $47.95 for a questionable piece of meat and some potatoes to go with it but they wouldn't know - being ensconced as they are in the dead-middle of their own wild and varied fantasies - but this doorman guy I remembered had once told me that long ago he'd been the 'jingle man' as he called it a place along Times Square in the grander old days called 'Toffenetti's' some place long gone and unknown now to me but what he meant by 'jingle man' I'd never gotten from him and really would have liked to know (but this was better) - his name was Gerner (and that was a first name) and the last name sounded like some Saxony royal name or a line of princes who'd been convicted of crimes against the people and beheaded with malice or the kind of name in old Europe which had laws named after it (actually I forget what it was but will here call it 'Mannhein Ober-Mueller') but in reality if he was so proud of himself why would he ever get set up in a position like this - ('doorman par excellance' perhaps) and the kind of 1960's cars parading by gave him away anyhow - he was nothing more than a crack hired hand to deal with the normal debris which New York City produced as well as deal with the stupid dumb marauding sorts of appetites which suburban mental cases in the city for 'theater' produced and it was all a ridiculous scam an endeavor no better than purse-snatching or theft and he probably knew it and he probably was sunk so deep in the muck and crap of stealing or setting people up for being stolen from that the warlords who'd hired him were amazingly happy to have such a gendarme on their side - as I saw it he FRONTED for the Mafia Game which went on within the building and in him they had at the least a first-line of defense against whatever and whomever could be coming in or at them through one of the main entryways - but it was a good living in the old sort of way (no pucker-faced ghetto gangs demanding their own extortion) and he did seem to do it well but you had to be 'inside' this stuff for a really long time before anyone trusted you but once they did you were set up real good - and no one ever asked me about any of that nor offered a career option to me for this sort of thing (not the doorman stuff for I had not the size nor presence for that) but if they'd ever done so I would have jumped at the chance to do some 'insider trading' or back-stage wizardry myself and the way it usually started was you'd be asked to carry a message or take 'this' or 'that' out to the trash or bring a 'package' somewhere and return with something else and that was the first start and if you did that well enough they'd show you the sort of rewards possible so as to whet your primitive appetite for the next level and then they'd ask something else of you another task sometimes involving travel or night hours or another person BUT all the while you KNEW you were being watched and evaluated and checked out for smoothness and reliability and connections and all that and then they'd (of-course) throw sex into it - figuring every man (as they were) was always interested in pussy as a wedge and since most were it always became a reliable factor in pushing the product along and slowly and gradually over time the options would get more and more criminal or outside the ken of regular and licit activity that eventually you knew you were sunk and committed and most of the time it was (hopefully) only 'up' from there and the option of failing was usually death (bullet in the brain East River car accident thrown off a building poison whatever - there were a million ways).

4 Comments:

At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 6:50 AM, Blogger Calen said...

Thanks for the review of my blog. (www.calenshelpinghands.blogspot.com). I thoroughly enjoyed yours as well. Very intellingent literature and context. You definitely have a way with words and your descriptions are flawless. You may mention your neurocity towards your work, but your dedication (healthy or not) shines in your pieces. I most definitely look forward to reading further posts.

 
At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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