After 'Lusts'

Walking through a garish, gay-black-Carib neighborhood decorated with colorful crepe streamers on my way to a bar in Brooklyn known as ‘Lusts.’ At Lusts, a mixed crowd tolerated one another with détente. Plays and dramatic readings were common, even from the bar. Some not very effeminate gay men, but a lot of Veterans, especially from Vietnam. I tell M that at least on two occasions when I couldn't sleep I made the 4+ hour round trip there, driving to Metropark, then train, bus, subway. Walking the area I seem to end up in Queens awe-struck by the colossal buildings I had seen. But this area is more sedate with many buildings of merely four stories. -- Going upstairs to M’s apartment I get off the elevator at the 75th floor, the last before the exclusive 5 floors of Penthouses. But I have made a mistake, he lives on the 73rd floor on the far side near the rear elevator. There is a lower-level walkway which connects the building to one that Robert High resides in. I continued on.

Inside I become part of some small group of quasi-military trainees being led through exercises by a ‘Samurai-Don’ who resembled Ronald Reagan but had a prosthetic arm. We wore steel mesh gloves to stop sword cuts; but most exercises seemed to resemble jumping jacks. Called over for a consultation, I assumed a  ‘kneeling-stance,’ and put on my camouflaged steel ‘piss-pot’ helmet. Up close, as the light faded, he looked less like Reagan and more like Sinatra. His talk diverged to ‘hits.’ He recounted some notable ones in New York City in the old days for reasons like people got “twitchy,” or intercourse went bad. I waited for my turn so I could tell him about my recent gig investigating a Philadelphia Insurance company with an office in ‘Osaka.’ A retired police captain working for the Insurance company told me about the hits in Osaka.

He paused and asked me if I recently wanted to take somebody out just for the pleasure of it. Without hesitation I mentioned Folonari and briefly recounted his foray into my world and theft of certain articles. “How much were they worth?” The Master asked. Shrugging, I admitted abruptly it was my father’s Army portrait and worth less than nothing to anyone but me. Considering the sum dignity of Folonari I said it was worth his life but I had decided to spare him as it would be beneath my honor. The master was speechless. I had impressed him. He tried to encourage me to do a hit on Folonari and I realized I was in the wrong place. I said nothing and waited to be released.