There was nights I’d storm around the city thinking angry thoughts, and wind up cruising Battery Park; Where the first shots of the American Civil War was fired.
That part of Battery Park facing Fort Sumter was lined with old cannon and cannon balls.
I’d climb up on the muzzle of some big old cannon and see into every car for a block.
There was a two-lane road that circled the park and the queers just drove around and around.
One time I got picked up by a guy from Atlanta who was staying at the Sheraton Fort Sumter.
It had rooms straight out of Hollywood!
I went into that room and jacked up the air conditioner because I liked the idea of choosing my weather.
One night I was out on the Battery when this guy in a blue Mustang pulls up and says, “Do you need a ride?”
I said no, “but–could I bum a cigarette please?”
The guy motions for me to go to his car to get the smoke.
So I do when suddenly this other guy pops up from the back seat and points a pistol at me: “Git in.” He sneers.
Well I hauled ass! I know I heard that gun go off! That meant I moved like a cyclone!
It was dark and there was a row of cars parked along the sea wall; I hid in the shadows on the passenger side of a black VW.
I thought I heard breathing and looked up.
Some googly-eyed guy had his head stretched out the window and was staring down at me: “Kin ah hep you?” He asked.
“There’s men drivin’ ’round this park tryin’ to kill me!”
“Well son, why don’ ah give you a ride?”
He opened the door.
I crawled onto the seat and kept my head low while he started the engine.
“Hain’t it a little late fo’ a boy yore age t’ be out?”
“I ain’t really so young,” I said.
“Could you take me to my Momma! She works in restaurant on King Street?”
I felt his hand in my lap: “Some pretty dangerous men hang out on The Battery at night,” he said, “never know what one’ll do with a boy yore age!”
I shoved his hand off: “Now my Momma works at the Dine-O-Mat which is a restaurant on King Street! Would you take me to her please? If it ain’t no bother!”
The hand was back on my thigh: “Know what kind o’ men roam The Battery at night?”
“No!” I punched him in the face and got out of the car.
I had truly forgot.