Coney Island Halloween

[Originally written 11.1.02 ]

I have been brainwashed!

Last nite was so much fun.  Definitely the very thing I needed to get my head straightened out.

Met up with Jon in Newark where I stashed my car and climbed into his Chevy.  Was very impressed with his voodoo zombie costume [which went well with my Dead Dolly ensemble] and he presented me with a small plastic cauldron with plenty of treats.  Did shots of rum, smoked a joint and then he surprises me even further with a bit of nose candy.  What a great friend.

There wasn’t really a lot of traffic on the drive out.  There’s usually always traffic on the Goethels, or at the very least, a big jam right after you pay the toll because people don’t understand the concept of merging.  However, there was none of that this time around, which made for an excellent drive to Coney Island.  Windows rolled down, psychobilly tunes blasting at high volume and each of us with a joint in hand.  Had the feeling it was going to be an excellent evening.

My favorite sea-side playground was pretty much deserted, and I wasn’t used to seeing it that way.  It was eerie and beautiful at the same time. It wasn’t sad tho; it’s not like everything is closed forever.  It’s just hibernating.  And in March, after a long sleep, it will be awake once again.

We parked in a free lot so we could do a few more shots, smoke and snort.  Feeling good, we headed over to the sideshow building.

There were four other people inside [not counting the band], so the group we were in wasn’t that big.  Didn’t have to wait long for the tour to start.  It was slightly cheesy, plastic and yet still funny as hell.  I’m sure there were people who thought they wasted their money.  Not us.  It was done in the true spirit of Coney Island, and hey, they got our money anyway, didn’t they?

The tour started with the pointing out of generic Halloween decorations in a cage that I’m guessing was supposed to be spooky, the ‘Fiji mermaid’ and an armadillo leaking sawdust [my personal favorite].

Then it was down into the basement, which was really awesome, even tho I was expecting something to jump out as us.  Witnessed the washing of a plastic brain.  *mmm*  Braaaaaaain.

Then we were escorted to where a blood spattered mannequin lay.  Not very impressive, but whoever said that the point was realism?  With the cocktail of substances in our bodies, everything was slightly different from what other people were seeing, so Jon and I were fully enjoying ourselves.

Went back upstairs and past the already brainwashed janitor to the outside.  Then we were handed over to Tyler [tho the name of his character escapes me] who was so great at his part.  Had the patter down pat and the sexual innuendo’s were funny as hell.  The best was when he offered the one guy to handle fire-eating because he looked like a flamer.

Then we went up to the second floor, one by one, and had a rather vicious doggie barking at us.  We were escorted into the reception area, which was not fun, as it was fucking dark.  Jon held my hand, which was sweet.  [Smart little me used some glow-in-the-dark make up, which was the only thing I could see aside from this tiny little sliver of light that emanated from the door in front of us.]  We were warned that one of the big snakes had gotten loose, and that if we felt it, it was just saying hello.  Of course I was expecting something to grab my leg, and I’m still wondering about the horrid creaking noises that went unexplained.

The door opened and we were led into the final room, complete with spinning hypno-wheel. [Which I found ironic, since I had worn my hypno-contacts].  Were were asked to sit by the nurse [played by the lovely Angelica] and watch the spinning wheel.

Somehow I was volunteered to be Madame Electra for the nite.  Gee, how much did I resist?  ::grin::  Now I have seen the act before, but actually being the act was such a high honor.  Smiled as I sat in the electric chair and the patter was flawlessly delivered by Tyler, answering an enthusiastic “Oh yes!” to any question I was asked.

The switch was thrown and I could hear the tesla coil buzz above my head.  I was handed a rather lengthy light bulb which immediately lit up in my hand.  And just to prove that it did not run on batteries, for those skeptics in the audience, I was asked to run my hand up and down the length so they [the audience] could watch the light move with it.

That’s good“, I was told, “Now do it a little faster.”  I’m sure you can imagine what that looked like.

Then a torch was held over the end of the bulb, and I watched a blue spark jump out of the end of it and light the torch.  Sweet!  The fun did not end there.  Oh no.

Madame Electra would also be lighting the torch with a spark from the end of her finger.  And do I even need to mention where that was held?  [Think: crotch area].  “Now just stroke the end of it with your finger, just like you would at home.”  [At this point I was grateful for the vast amount of white face powder I had put on, otherwise my face would have been rather red.]  I did so and was shocked [excuse the pun] to see a blue spark emanate from the tip of my finger as I touched the end of the torch.  It didn’t really hurt; about as much as it would when you get a shock from touching a doorknob after scuffing across a carpet.  Two more strokes and *FOOM* there was fire.  That was so cool!  [Noted here that my best friend was all smiles and loud applause the entire time.]

Of course I knew that was not the end of the act.  Oh no.  For the finale, Madam Electra would be lighting the torch off of the most sensitive part of her body.

You know,” Tyler said to me, leaning close, “the pink wet one.”

Of course he meant my tongue!

Was asked to brush the hair out of my face [having my weave being set on fire would not have been cool], lean my head way back and stick out my tongue.  Hey, you don’t have to ask me twice.  I did so [and maybe surprised everyone with the size of the metal bar that resides in my talented muscle] and as the torch was touched to the tip of it, I could feel the shock and *FOOM* there was fire.

Took a very gracious bow to much applause, but the real acclaim of the nite came from Tyler who patted me on the back and said “Good job.”  Praise from Cesaer.

Was rewarded with a rub-on eyeball tattoo from Angelica, who said she normally put it on people’s foreheads but would put it on my hand because she didn’t want to ruin my make-up.

Sadly we were then shown the exit.

Sat and watched the band for a while when we returned to the main part of the sideshow building.  They were pretty good for a trio with a singer, and not really having all the luxuries of a club.  The vocalist [female] had an awesome voice.  Her range went from operatic and melodic to death-metal out of hell.  The bassist was right on.  The guitarist [who was a very androgynous female, as I didn’t realize she was a she until I heard her speak] was so-so.  The drummer was on time, and didn’t have to hide behind a big kit; kept it fairly simple actually.

Left the sideshow building around 10:30 and ventured out on the beach where we consumed the remainder of the ‘treats’ Jon had brought.  Have no idea how long we were out there, but lots of interesting things happened.  Which included hallucinating from coke and laying in the sand for hours on end, just existing with one another.  Damn this horrible memory, as I have no recollection of getting back in his Chevy or returning to Jersey.  Or even how I managed to get back to the house.

Fell asleep with my contacts in and didn’t remember that I had them in until I woke up.  Luckily they didn’t decide to meld with my eyes.  That might have been disastrous.

After last nite’s experience, I want to do sideshow even more than before.

Tales From the Road

After pulling up stakes in Clearfield, the crew packs up and moves on to upstate New York, where the fair grounds and crowds are much larger.

August 14, 2005 – the Big Time

Two tents in two days.  It was physically exhausting, and at times I was unsure if we would be able to do it.  Pounding stakes into asphalt is just down right awful, and took up so much time it was ridiculous.  Was hoping to have everything set up inside so it would not have to be done the following day, giving us all a chance to relax.  That went sour, as there was a lack of pullies and rope for the banners.  Since leaving Pennsylvania, a new tent has been added for the sideshow, which comes with its own banner line and thus the shortage of materials.  There was a general lack of leadership as well.  We only know so much about everything, and with this being the first time the sideshow has its own tent, some guidelines would have been nice.  However, we all pitched in and managed to have a good opening day.

There are two new additions who hail from Texas.  Timmy does fire-eating and a slew of magic tricks; Elk will be doing sword swallowing, Human Blockhead and Human Pincushion in the Blow-Off.  They are quite professional, having performed with troupes down in Texas, and Timmy offers very helpful advice on how to improve our acts.

Miss Cara is still utterly useless.  No matter how many times someone tells that girl to do a job, she finds any reason not to.  She constantly comes off the bally stage for water or gum, to get something out of her purse and so on.  Her ‘breaks’ take much longer than they should have, and as I understood it, the Bally Bitch is supposed to be up there all the time to get the tip in.  The other day she brought drama to work.  Some low-life poser waste of flesh comes poking around the back of the tent, looking for Miss Electra.  He was politely told to fuck off.  Later on, some other grimy dude is standing next to our sleeping quarters, holding her purse.  Apparently she had also hooked up with some random guy during her 45 minute break.  Which I feel is a direct insult to the Boss, who just gave here a speech the night before about how she should have more respect for herself.  We all know she does not listen, which is why she spent most of that day leaning over or squatting down while on the bally stage and chatting with any guy who gave her just a shred of attention.

Today she was supposed to raise the banners with me, and I already knew that would not happen from the moment we had been paired up.  Enlisted the help of Elk to shake the truck where she was sleeping but no dice, and we decided to just do the job ourselves.  When she finally arrives [being very late], she just laughs when we tell her about trying to wake her up.  Then Elk took her aside and had a nice chat with her.  Poor little Cara had to go for a walk, probably to cry or something.  When she returned I decided to have some fun with her.  Found out she had been sleeping and reminded her that she was supposed to be in the tent like everyone else.

“Fun time is over for you,” I said.  “Your job is to be up on the bally stage, and right after the Electric Chair Routine is done, you go back on the stage, not fuck around or come into the tent every five minutes.”

She totally flips out and says she wanted to leave anyway, her face all read when she stormed off.  Then she comes back with the Boss; outright lies and drama follows.  He sends her down to the menagerie tent and it’s about fucking time.  Of course that means the rest of us have to make up for her absence, but if we all do our part everything will be fine.  Get the feeling Cara is not going to be around much longer.

The Manager is on his way back to California, apparently not doing the things he was supposed to and said everything was too much for him.  It is a shame because we had fun for the first two weeks, but he was just not in control as he should have been.

Other than that the show has been going well.  The people are fairly cheap, not wanting to pay the admission or trying to get in with tickets, but I guess between the parking and gate fee I can understand their hesitation of parting with more money.  Had the chance to be the Insectivore for the Blow-Off yesterday and it was fun.  Crickets are pretty tasty, but those legs can get to you.  In a weird way, I have this sense of pride performing the act because is the closest thing to being a real Geek these days.

We were all invited to this OABA Jamboree that was held at the Zoppe Family Circus tent.  What a real traditional Circus they are, complete with single ring and classic acts.  [There had been an opportunity to see the show for free one afternoon.]  The Jamboree consisted of a dinner for all of the Carnies, which would be followed by a raffle, the proceeds benefiting the organization.  It was the first time we really associated with those who were in charge of the rides, games and concessions.  There were rows of tables set up for everyone to sit at, the food laid out buffet style.  Set aside was a group of tables especially for the Zoppe Family, which made me smile a bit when I thought about the significance.

During our meal, this guy asks us what we do and Elk explains that we work the sideshow.  He replies with “Oh, you mean with that Miss Electra who gives blow jobs for twenty bucks.”  Despite the embarrassment [because the sideshow really needs to have a negative reputation], we informed him that she was no longer with us.  Suffice to say I am very glad she left.

There will be a new member joining the crew on Wednesday, though I am uncertain if he is staying.  It would be nice to have another person, though Timmy will be bringing a female friend and fellow performer up from Texas at the end of the month.  People come and people go, but the show must always continue, hopefully with no further problems.  There is always something though, and maybe that is just a part of the business.

By the way, I finally got that shower after five days.  The stall in the bathroom was not as gross as the one in the bunkhouse, but nothing spectacular either so I kept my flip-flops on.  Will try to stop by there again later tonight, as there is just no time for it during the day.

Happens to be raining at the moment and feels like it is going to be one of those days that just drags out.  It might get better later on, as it usually does.  The Boss said he will be giving us a few dings to see how they move, because we should all be generating extra cash for ourselves.  Made decent tips in the Blow-Off yesterday and have three more days working it [including today] so I am looking forward to that.

There are times during the morning and afternoon on weekdays where there is not much of a crowd.  A maximum of five people will be enough for us to do a five minute show, even if we wind up doing it two minutes later and so on and so forth.  We also do not pitch the Blow-Off unless there are at least ten people in the tent because people are less likely to part with an extra dollar.  These moments are usually spent keeping each other entertained in creative ways.

One example is what I have come to call the Hand of God.  Some weeks back, the Boss had extended use of this long metal rod to practice sword swallowing.  However, common sense dictates that such an object cannot be compared to a sword, not to mention the fact that the smaller diameter can cause said rod to go in the wrong part of the body — like puncturing the lungs for instance.  Since no one was going to be jamming it in their throat any time soon, it was used to create tiny lightening bolts when waved over the Electric Chair.  This spawned the idea to place a cricket on the chair and then zap it with the Hand of God.  It was amazing to watch the electricity shoot from the metal rod into the cricket, which obviously toasted the insect, guts oozing out and a smell that reminded me of fresh roasted peanuts.

What can I say, we are very juvenile in our humor

We are in Hamburg until Saturday, then jump to Syracuse and after that we head to Maryland.  We will have a week to relax before doing the show there and know that we are all thankful to have that down time.

Coney Island Photo Trip

[Originally written 3.10.03]

The journey to Coney Island was not an easy one.  It seemed like everyone on the road was trying to hit us. Traffic galore on 1&9.  Then easy going to the Goethals, until after the toll.  Traffic was heavy almost all the way to the Verizzano.  Why?  People don’t know how to read.  There are numerous signs that warn you of a merge ahead, and yet people decide that this does not apply to them.  Then they try to squeeze and nudge their way in front of you.  How ’bout, fuck off? You chose that lane, you sit in it.  If you want to be an asshole and gain that 0.000000000000000000001 of a second by doing so, be my guest.  Sooner or later, the only thing you will be on time for is your own funeral.

Going over the Verizzano itself was no problem, but I ran into traffic all the way to Cropsey Ave.  How I survived without totally losing it and driving like the rest of the agressive apes, I’ll never know.  Perhaps Jon providing much smoking of joints and entertainment helped.

There was plenty of light for photos, which was good as the boardwalk was covered with much ice.  Slid once, but Jon caught me before I fell, as I was in no mood to bust my ass.  Tho there really wasn’t anyone around to see me if I did.  *heh*  Took a few pics of the still dismantled Parachute tower, a few of the snow covered beach—complete with plastic palm tree—a few of the deserted Thunderbolt grave site and spent the rest on the newly landmarked Child’s.  We never really ventured down that end of the boardwalk before, and I had to scold myself for not doing so earlier, as the building is such a great work of art.  Was dying for a bathroom and starting to get cold, so I took one last shot of the fading sunset, a few long shots of Astroland and one of the Playland building from accross the street before happily climbing back into my car.  Next trip out will be earlier and focus on the Bowery.  [I am trying to capture every prominant feature of Coney Island in all my shoots].

We encountered even more traffic on the way back, which was hell b/c I had to pee.  What I didn’t understand, is that there were bathrooms on the boardwalk, but none of them were open. Fought my way thru traffic and sped towards the Jeresey City mall, practically running to the bathroom.  Wandered around for a while and watched Jon do his thing, which is always amazing.  His hands are so quick one has a difficult time seeing what they are actually doing.  It’s such an easy process too.  Enter a store and commence browsing, having small talk about the weather or local news; nothing too loud or overly distracting.  While I pick up items and make the clerk behind the counter nervous, Jon is a few feet away slipping things into his pockets.  Again, it’s not that I really see him accomplish the feat, but once we exit the mall and get back in the car, he’s laughing and emptying his pockets like a human pinata.

This concluded my Friday, and I had fun, even though I spent almost all my money.  So what?  At least I got out of the house, I didn’t have to go to school and I calmed the urge inside me to visit Coney Island.  Definitely going again before the season starts [a month from this Thursday to be exact].

Of course, I always appreciate spending time with Jon…tho our adventures were only beginning.

 

Part II of the weekend

Not being able to sleep and wait for Jon to call, I readied myself and headed out.  Stopped in at CVS, hoping to score some smokes.  Should know better by now that all the kids buy them up, as they were all sold out of the ones I wanted.  Settled for some cigarello’s, but didn’t like them as much as the regular ones I buy.  Might go back one day during the week to see if they are in stock.

The drive down to South Jersey is never really that interesting.  Sure, there’s some trees and ground and other cars.   The best part is actually getting to Avalon, as it’s one of those towns literally on the Shore, far removed from everything.  Which would bother some people, but it gives me peace compared to the constant hub of activity I find myself surrounded by.

He made me breakfast, and it was already waiting for me when I walked through the door.  My greeting was a giant hug that lifted me off my feet just a tiny bit.  He definitely smelled as though he had just come out of the shower.  The awesome meal was consumed with much thanks.   Then we relocated into the living room, where we commenced to smoke ourselves stupid, watch horror movies [with proper interrupting commentary] and talk about random things.

One discussion in particular stands out, because it was just so hilarious.  Jon is telling me about the teeth the dentist made for him and how he didn’t like the fit.  [Long story short, he had a couple in front knocked out back in the day, and subsequently they were replaced, but the old ones were wearing out, so he needed new ones.] Somehow it spawned from me mentioning the BME BBQ that’s going to be in Jersey.  He was joking that he has another mod aside from what is already visible, and that would be his teeth.  Then I suggest that he should look into getting custom made teeth that have gems and whatnot in them.  *harhar*  He said he could get some silver teeth or something like that.  The more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it sounded.

At some point during the nite he decides to roll a couple of blunts—real ones—and break out the jar of ‘shine.  Which leads to more interesting conversations.  The dawn of a new ‘scene’ or ‘genre’ or whatever.  It will be loud.  It will be crude.  It will be 100% DIY.  It will be completely ghetto fuckin’ fabulous, yo.  It will be a riot.

Sunday was spent pretty much the same way.  Smoked ourselves stupid and consumed coffee spiked with Bailey’s.

Then Jon suddenly hits me with the notion that he would like to move away from here [read: Jersey] and go somewhere with me.  Considering that we were fairly high and semi-drunk, I did not put much thought into this nor did we disscuss it further.  Sort of was just something he blurted out and then pretended was never said, so I left it at that.

Before I left, he asks if he could see me during the week.  This piqued my curiosity.  There are a variety reasons as to why we have not really seen each other that often in the past.  Come to think of it, this is the longest that Jon has been around in the past couple of years we have spent as friends.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy spending time with him, because he is my best friend and I would never complain about seeing him too much.  It just struck me as odd…and I do kind of sort of have a relationship with the Asshole.  There was neither a yes or no answer from me…or much of anything while he hugged me tightly.

We parted ways on that note it has been eating at me since.  Mostly on account that I am recalling various points of our drunken conversation over the weekend.  He confessed that he gets lonely sometimes, and even scared at nite.  What am I supposed to say to that?

South Jersey Sideshow

[Originally written 3.3.03]

After spending the day with my sister in NYC, I was still pumped and did not feel like sitting around doing nothing, so I gave my best friend a call.  He invites me to come down.

As soon as I walk in the door I smell him cooking dinner.  Jon smiles, catches me with a huge hug, then immediately sits me down and says I need to eat.  Who am I to argue?

The rest of the evening was spent getting high and leafing thru the current issue of Weird NJ [the 2003 Roadside Guide] which jogs his memory of going to the drive-in   Listened to him tell me stories of how it used to be and from that a new idea was spawned.

Of course the rest of the weekend was spent smoking, drinking and just hanging out.  We talked about how Coney Island in Winter isn’t sad, but just goes thru seasons just like everything else.  Then I realized I forgot my camera [*d’oh!*] otherwise we would have went.  But staying inside where it was safe and warm was just as good.  Besides, we started planning our Spring adventures and I need to save up for that, so going on too many trips now wouldn’t be such a good idea.  We are definitely going to check out a lot of Weird NJ stops and go to Coney Island as much as possible.

Will have to work on other projects, such as this whole sideshow thing.  Didn’t pay to learn these acts just to let the knowledge go to waste.  At least I have someone who is willing to perform with me, even if we’re just doing basement shows and private parties at the moment.  It’s better than nothing.

Too much to do and not enough time to do it…tho now that I’m not staying late at school any more, I can get to those more important things.

One nite it would be fun to procure substances…go to Coney Island and take said substances.  Have not discussed this with Jon yet, but he would be way more open to the suggestion than the Asshole.  Besides, I like doing coke with him [not that I’m saying it’s a habit I want to get into at all, but it’s made for some interesting experiences thus far] and trust him enough to want to do other things.

That’s about it.

Requiem For the Departed

How does one properly write about loss?  Over the years, I have kept the vigil for my friend, I have honored his memory on the day he died, and I have tried my best to celebrate his life on the day he was born.  That date passed on Wednesday, and I could not gather enough courage to express myself.  Even now it is somewhat difficult to find the right words.  There is so much I have said in the past, with the most recent ode revealing things I had never quite said to the public world of the Internet.  After all, it is rare that I allow things from real life to be displayed for all the world wide web to see.  Only those who are considered friends and a few random selection of others have access to that sort of information.

Jon should have turned 33 two days ago, and there is a slight bitterness in knowing that my whole situation could be very different if he was still alive.  Then again, there comes doubt because my best friend also had serious addictions and a bad heart.  The latter was something he had no control over; coarctation of the Aorta and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  In short, the defects themselves were detrimental to his health, and a part of him always knew that.  He didn’t really like to talk about the issue, and the choice to use drugs came with a high cost.  Watching your best friend strung out on dope or highly paranoid because he snorted too much coke really leaves a disturbing impression in a young mind.  All those years of DARE education were pretty much nonexistent in moments where all I wanted was to make sure he was alright.  It seemed like the right thing to do, because I wasn’t going to turn away from someone I cared about, even if it did mean seeing him at his worst moments.

That was the darkest part of our friendship, and in the lighter moments, it was always adventure time.  We explored the concrete jungles of New York City, chrome diners of the Garden State and got lost in time on Coney Island.  We caused chaos in Cherry Hill and haunted the woods of the Pine Barrens.  There is no doubt that Jon made my life happier, and all he ever had to do was be my friend.  Everything else was just a bonus to an already awesome dude.  When I think about it now, I wish I hadn’t been so restricted by jealous issues that certain people had.  Spending time with a friend was something I cherished, particularly when I felt completely safe, comfortable and the freedom to be myself.

There was one other thing which made me love Jon, and that was his inherited ability to hustle.  He could charm a quarter out of just about anyone, and if that didn’t work, he would slip one out of their pocket.  His sleight of hand was impeccable, and no one ever caught him stealing.  It was the thrill of using this skill that caused him to do it, not the reward.  Most assume that greed motivated any of the things he did, but he really just enjoyed fucking with people, as he would put it.  Of course I was always amused by these antics, and certainly had no complaint when he would treat me to a meal or two.  It was fun to see the way others looked at us when we walked into what would be considered a fine dining establishment.  Everyone else was decked out in fancy suits and dresses, while we looked like dirty punks and get seated in the back.  He said it was important to prove to society that they should not judge you on appearance, and despite a few side-splitting antics, we were usually on our best behavior.  He always tipped well, which led to being treated kindly on the way out.

There are countless experiences such as this that are precious to my memory.  The good comes with the bad, because Jon was only human despite the claim of Death Defying Daredevil.  As I have recounted before, he was never the same following that accident on the Wall of Death.  Not only did he lose the drive to continue performing, the injury he sustained effected his ability to flawlessly execute sleight of hand.  It practically destroyed him.  What does a Carny do when he cannot do what is in his blood?  There is no retirement plan or Social Security or any sort of government assistance.  Jon had spent his whole life doing and knowing one thing, so to change that when he was 27 seemed impossible, but he was willing to try.  It didn’t take long for him to grow frustrated and constantly drift into the old lifestyle, which unfortunately included heavy drug use.

The longest we were separated without any form of contact was Summer ’05, when I packed up my life and rolled out to perform with a 10-in-1 sideshow that traveled the carnival circuit.  There were many times I thought about Jon while I was on stage, knowing that if he had been in that audience, his smile would be one filled with pride.  We found each other again after that, as we always did, and I left New Jersey  at age 24.  The Hostile City then became my new home, which seems appropriate since it is the birthplace of American Circus.  Everything seemed to be falling into place, and I was thrilled that my best friend wanted to be by my side.

However, as I mentioned earlier, the good did not come without the bad.  While there are a few reasons I moved, one of the main reasons was to protect myself.  This is something that goes back to the Outlaw Cirkus days, and is one of those difficult points in the progression of a story.  There was more to the performances than just the acts themselves.  We wanted to send a message to the audiences, and on occasion, our opinions were not always appreciated.  While one would like to think that a situation like this could be easily solved, unfortunately not everyone uses the same thought process.  In short, due to the ignorance and malicious nature of some, several people lost their lives in a devastating fire, along with props and memorabilia from the shows.  It was an act of cowardice, and one that took members of my Family away.  Apparently, the person responsible meant to take us all out, but I had a migraine that nite, so Jon drove me back to his place.  A few others were lucky and went on a beer run.  Of course I have no idea where they are now, or if they are even still around.

To say Jon was a paranoid person is an understatement.  However, this was also usually only something that came out when he had one too many lines of coke.  Then again, there seemed to be a bit of truth to his ramblings.  He was utterly convinced that people who had been wronged by his father would seek revenge through him.  Not to mention there was always a reminder that we both could have died in the fire that claimed our Family, and that those people might want to come back to finish what they had started.  Or the fact that he was an outspoken and active anarchist [as many of the Outlaw Cirkus Family were] could have very well rubbed people the wrong way, and they would stop at nothing to keep him quiet.  While I cannot state for sure whether I ever saw evidence of these boogeymen, I was inclined to believe my friend.  Of course when I found anonymous notes tucked under the windshield wiper of my car, which let’s just say were quite blunt in their messages, he insisted that I had to get out of Jersey.  Shortly after I moved, I received a death threat via the Internet.  To this day I have no idea what either of us have done that would encourage someone to act in such a manner, but I do know that it hasn’t happened since then.

Circumstances surrounding Jon’s death were vague at the time, and I am not sure if I fully understand what happened.  He had been going through rehab to kick the drugs once and for all, then decided to come up to Jersey prior to Memorial Day Weekend.  According to the friend he was staying with, Jon had planned to drive into Philly and come surprise me.  He went out with a few people and had a couple drinks at some bar.  All I know is that said friend went to wake him up the next day, only to find he was unresponsive.  It is believed that someone slipped something into his drink.  The exact cause of death was heart failure, but with his history of drug abuse combined with the defects which had sent him to the hospital on more than one occasion, it was hard to determine exactly why his heart finally gave out.  There was a thought that perhaps he could not handle sobriety, or face the fact he could not perform the way he wanted to, and maybe [though it would be absurd] he had one last hurrah for himself, which was exactly what pushed him over the edge.  It’s not the most pleasant thought, but I had to rule out the possibility.  Knowing that his surprise was to fulfill the promise of eternal partnership, I highly doubt that he would let anything get in the way of being happy.

Here I am again, stuck on the right thing to say.  Continuing to perform has meant more than I can possibly type, especially knowing I am the last of the troupe from Jersey.  It is an honor to stand on stage and think of my Family right before I shove a sword into my stomach.  Part of me knows that they will always be watching out for me.  Part of me still wishes they were here.  It’s hard to explain that you want to recreate things that happened in a moment where you either were a part of it or you missed it and could only listen to the stories.  Even if I am the only one telling those stories, at least I am doing something to keep these memories alive.  In the end, that is all you really have.

When I buried his ashes in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, I certainly left a part of myself behind.  Everyone grieves differently, and so it is hard for me to accept that people understand what I have been through.  There are a few who get it, but even still, I wonder if anyone really knows the heartache I have endured.  It’s hard to deal with the fact that there will never be anyone like Jon, but I still yearn for that companionship again.  Truly he was one-of-a-kind, and it’s the only thing I want the most, though I fear I may not find it again.

Sacred Heart Tattoo

[Originally written 2.25.03]

Two days ago I went to get inked.  There was a girl ahead of me getting her very first tattoo, on her back, where many girls want to put their first tattoo.  I had to laugh at the fact that she was screaming from the pain.  Now really, what did you expect?  It took longer than it should and the woman apologized for that.  However, I showed her the piece I wanted and she asked me to come back again today, as she wanted to take her time in doing it.  She’s also going to draw me up something better and more customized as she saw I was already collecting good artwork.  [Kevin did most of my work and no matter where I go, those are the pieces I get complimented on the most].  So I had to throw myself in the shower and get there by noon so I could hopefully get taken first.

Artwork number fifteen now resides on my body, right between my scorpions.  And oh did it hurt; I will not lie about that.

I’m no longer apprehensive about getting new pieces, as I know there will be pain involved.  There was much of it this time around.  I felt it in my arm, my face, my neck, and for some odd reason, my left leg kept twitching.

An hour later, I had a brand new piece of artwork permenantly inked into my skin.  I couldn’t be happier. ::smile::

A special thank-you goes towards the person who made it possible.

Was complimented on how well I sat there without crying or flinching, with both artists [Ron and Virginia] saying they wished that all of their customers were that well behaved.

Attempting to stand up after spending an hour having needles penetrating your skin is not a good idea.  My legs felt as tho they were rubber and I was overwhelmed with endorphins.  I sat back down and waited a few minutes before standing again. Made a diner run to replenish nourishment.  My last trip of the nite was to see Jon, of course so that he could see the result of his investment.  I told him to be gentle with the hugs.  I gave him a little peek and he liked it.  Then he joked that I’m going to be the tattooed lady.

Smoked pot while he made me dinner.  Watch wrestling and passed out before we even saw the end.  He kissed me good-bye before he left for work, which was a bit awkward but still nice.  Found $20 that he left for me on the kitchen table.  That boy rocks.  Left a note for him on the fridge to call me Saturday.  Would like to go out with him this weekend.  Nothing special really.  I want to go driving and search for some Weird NJ featured things, like the abandoned drive-in he told me about, to get some photos.  Maybe I can convince him to take a trip to Coney Island to at least visit the museum.  I’m mad at myself for not having the time to visit this month and must make up for it by visiting twice in March before the Cyclone opens on April 13.

Have to go take care of my new tattoo now.

NYC Trip

[Originally written 1.19.03]

Must start doing more to get people interested in the sideshow.  Have to start polishing my act.  I’ve had several dreams and ‘signs’ I guess you could call them that keep convincing me that this isn’t just some phase.  I’ve hit a wall and don’t know what else to do to get people involved.  At least one person understands my desire, and I can always count on him for good conversation as far as plans go.  Why is it so much easier to talk with him than the Asshole?

Those Coney Island books should be coming in soon.

That’s all of the grand excitement kiddies.  Another week of school to get out-of-the-way.  Yup…it’s going to be long.

The visit to NYC the other day was awesome tho, and that kind of made up for all the stupid stuff that seems to surround me.  Three bucks gets me a round trip [okay, I have to find a parking spot where I won’t get towed but that’s cool] and out of Jersey for a few hours.

Jon was waiting for me on the platform as I got off at Christopher Street and caught me by surprise with a big hug.  Walked down quiet alleys to smoke a joint and then continued onward to the Village.  All those times people asked if I liked to hang out there and I just looked at them like they were crazy, and now I find myself there quite often when going to the Big Apple.  He seems to know a lot of people, so there’s frequent stops to shoot the shit for a few moments before moving along.

We went to Saint Marks and made fun of all the fashion punks who are too holier-than-thou to even return a simple smile. Not everyone has a bad attitude, but those that do kind of ruin it for the rest of us that aren’t going to sneer at and ignore people who aren’t part of the scene…whatever that actually is.  No matter what people say, Jon never pays much attention to those who don’t understand his style.  They shout out the most ridiculous things in an attempt to label him, which results in us laughing as he shakes his head.  “The great thing about knowing who you are,” he says, a smile on his face when he turns to look at me, “is that you can be proud of it all the time.  These people need to get reassurance so they know they are acceptable.  Fuck that…I’m a Carny and they don’t matter.

The day was spent window shopping while getting high, stopping in several stores along St. Marks tho not really buying anything.  Wandered around Thompkins Square Park for a while and spanged.  Jon would go right up to people and ask them for a quarter.  Some of them seemed a bit repulsed.  *haha*  If they didn’t give him anything, he would wait for them to walk away before revealing he slipped several bills out of their wallets.  Don’t know how he does it, but his skills bought us lunch, dinner and dessert at three different places.  The food was so incredibly good that my stomach hurt a bit.  Then we went to have a  few drinks at CBGB’s, and it was definitely a nice added treat.  He says he likes to do nice things for me, because he enjoys how happy I am for the simple things.  Sure knows how to make me smile and blush.

There’s never enough time in a day to spend with such an awesome friend, and with school looming over my head, I had to return to Jersey.  Not before one last smoke and another awesome hug that put a smile on my face which hasn’t left yet.