Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Facing tough choices


Deacon James and I run int each other at the coffee wagon parked on 86th. Each our on breakfast.
Rudolfo again. That same sad face. Woman troubles again. Tiene un Red Bull? he asks, Quiero tomar Red Bull...So we find him a Red Bull and he slowly walks off.
RL walks in. There’s been a surprise. His crew went up into the attic, accessible only by ladder. And found a former resident hiding out back in the shadows, under the eaves. Apparently all three jumped at least six feet. There were also more graphic descriptions. 
Danielle goes upstairs to bring the stowaway down. I was just checking out somethings and they jumped in on me. Happened on me. Surprised me. That’s all. Just checking out some things, he says.
I look at him. Silent.
I’m taking short term jobs off Craig’s list. Looking for  full time job again. Can you just give me one more week?
No. I can’t do that. Here is the address of BRC. Here is the number of the man who’s been working with us. You’ve got to go check this out. You can’t be here.  I know it's tough cboices, but...
OK, I understand. Danielle and I look at each other. Nothing else to do. Feel the sadness. At some point....
Keith comes in. Later this week, he’s due to go to Rochester. To the VA hospital. For a treatment. Where’s Rochester? he asks. I pull up  a map and show him. they sat it’s in the country. Are there horses? I can hear the anxiety in his voice. How far away is it? Danielle looks up from her computer. About 5 hours 12 minutes.
That’s a long ride, he says. I don't know...

I know Keith. . Relax, enjoy it. When you know the name of the hospital, let me know. I have a friend there I can let know. Ask to visit him. 
I’ll be gone a week. He says. I don’t know. I been to Iraq. I don't know...this is different. We talk. I try and reduce the anxiety. But how can I? Tough choices. Another person facing tough choices.
RL comes in. Keith says, I like the hat. RL tips his cowboy hat, says, Thing about ths hat is, all the moivng parts work except for what's underneath... RL has given Danielle two of his prized writings, Idleness leads to vice...a children's story (well kind of, a fable) and a multi-chapter short story, the Company Man...
Need a break. Go up to visit RL. Poet Tim came in earlier. went up to wait for him. Dvorak’s New Wolrd Symphony is playing. From his time in New York. Roger is with them. Tim is trying to make the connection between Antonin and Luba, who produced RL’s first CD. Luba an artist on his own. And a direct descendant of that Dvorak. 
The Dvorak House, 327 East 17th Street 

I explain the statue that the Czechs donated. How the New York Philharmonic stashed it on the roof. When they renamed a part of East 17th Street for Dvorak, the city paid to have his statue moved to across the street from where where he lived. Dvorak Way, they call it. He like so many others, had become one of us, a New Yorker. 
Roger in the Tenant
We talk with Roger. He had played Michel, a war damaged waiter in the Tenant  two years ago. He’s been downstairs to take pictures of where his old apartment in the play used to be. Now a garbage storage area. He had a cot there. A helmet. A cross. At the beginning of the play he was in his lair, lying on his cot, thumbing through the Bible. He’s glad to be back here at West-Park. He is starring in Matt and Stan’s play. He’s got over an hour before rehearsal time. RL promises to play for him some  Dusty Withers Episodes next time around. It's good to have Roger back in the house.
Outside Geoffrey is in the steps. I didn’t recognize him at first. No more prophet’s robes. He’s wearing jeans and a polo shirt. No African straw hat. A close cropped hair cut. And most surpising, there’s something else. Geoffrey, I say, there’s something different. 
I have taken a good shave  for myself, he says. And indeed he is clean shaven. Clothed. And in his  right mind. And shaved, you might say.

Tonight the steps are empty. 

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