- Beer #1 Having passed the female cop guarding the Ave A power station, I went to the Phoenix, 2-for-1. Crowd was small for a beer special nite, didn't see anyone I knew, and I could tell I was in my usual irritable mood anyway, so I quickly downed the draft beer, and went for a bike ride. Canal St is still lined with various types of cops, behind barracades, mostly just standing around talking to each other, occasionally checking I.D.'s of cars trying to head south. Over on the West Side Hwy, passing state troopers in greenish uniforms, 3 guys are still doing the "Thank You Brigade" holding signs, flags, etc as vehicles drive past. Lots of yellow ribbons are still tied to the fence along the bikepath, and a few tattered candle/flower memorials are still there. I stopped at one, saw there was no way to light any of the worn-down candles, and slowly got back on my bike, catching the eye of a cop. He gently smiles, that "knowing look" that is mostly gone from folks, but seems instinctual at moments like this, 2 am, along the river, him guarding a parking lot of official vehicles, me looking at the splattering of dried flowers leaning against a few "missing posters".
- Beer #2 Heading back east, I figure the Ramrod might be a good spot to stop, and I quickly grab some sort of 4 dollar beer. Within minutes, a guy starts up a conversation, and although at first I was rather cool to him, he kept the conversation going, talking about the "good old days" in his neighborhood, Chelsea, and we compared notes of our history in New York. He's lived over there for close to 25 years, and I've lived mostly in the Lower East Side for 18 years. Conversation turned to vintage porn films, me finishing his sentences when he brought up names like Scorpio, PM Productions, George Payne, etc. Was a nice distraction, but a few minutes after an old pal of his appears, I make my excuses and leave, hopping on the bike, heading east on 20th St.
"Where do you think you're going!!??" he barked. I stopped my bike, walked it back a few feet to the police van parked on the corner, and looked in to see the swarthy cop in the driver's seat. I simply explained I was heading to 2nd ave. to then turn south, and his demeanor changed, gently telling me only residents are allowed on the block. We both made our apologies ("sorry I rode past you so fast" "sorry I startled you by yelling"). And if you want me to rate how HOT he was on a 7-10 scale, I won't. That's tacky.
- Beer #3 At The Cock, with the shrill early 80's soul-disco blasting, nothing really clicked for me there. I didn't even want to smoke any pot, which I usually do once I feel some good music, a good mood, or spot some cuties I want to stare at from afar. I got my 5 dollar beer, roamed around the place like a dog who couldn't quite find that comfy spot to land in, and didn't last there much longer than the beer. I walked back to the Phoneix, leaving my bike parked in front of the Cock, knowing I would most likely be back (although it was well after 3 at this point). Peering thru the window, I saw less than 4 people inside, so I didn't bother going in.
- Beer #4 I was just unlocking my bike, and hopping on the seat, when 2 cabs stop in front of the Cock, and a drag queen gets out of one cab, some tall, modelish guys get out of the other. She comes over to me, says "Where we going?" and I say "Hop on, you tell me" She straddles the bike behind me, as the guys from the other cab start squealing stuff like "ooh girl, how you doin'???" She scream some sort of hello, turns back to me and says "Why are you leaving so early?" "I ran out of beer money" and she grabs my hand, and tells me to lock up my bike. She asks my name, then gives me hers - Girlina (which I knew already). It takes forever to get from the curb inside the bar, as everyone had to stop her and say hello, kiss kiss, etc. Inside, she takes my jacket, puts it somewhere in the deejay booth, then asks me what I'm drinking (all the while kiss kiss with tons of fabulous people, of course). Once we get our drinks, she pulls herself up on the bar, spreads her legs, and pulls me in, asking me questions. Being older than she thought, unemployed, boring - all these things seemed to get her more excited, as she pulled at my chest hairs, laughing, and still working the crowd of admirers who kept streaming in at 3:30 a.m. Quite honestly, it was rather fun, made me laugh, even when she offered "look, you don't have to stay here just cuz I bought you a drink, you see something you like, go for it!" Soon the lights came up, she joked about me riding her home, but she no longer lives in the neighborhood, so we said our goodnights........ Riding home, the smell of downtown's smoke still in the air, I see the woman cop in her patrol car, in front of the power station, in the background one of the few candlight memorials around that still has lit candles , and she looked up briefly from her comic book as I passed.