Summer. Times Square. I had just finished a monster night of shows at Sweet Carolines and was lookin’ to mingle. Having long since finished the jack-and-cokes I got paid with, I convinced Anthony, the venue’s plump owner, to let me make my own. We all called Anthony the Beaver, cause he looked like one.
Given the rare opportunity to Ben-size my beverages I quickly made two Jack-with-a-splash-of-Coke’s and drank them with a smile. It was going to be a good night.
Infront of the club my cell phone rang – it was Andrew, my old roomate. “Yo Benny” he said, “I stole a key to the roof, let’s kick it”. He and I had lived in an apartment with a killer roof-deck some time ago, and the idea of boozing up there again was very appealing. “I’m on my way”, I said, and with a click of my CD Walkman, set off for the subway.
Gliding at 140 beats-per-minute I wound through Times Square’s pre-apocalyptic river, as bourbon and adrenaline canoed through my veins. Making it to the 42nd street station I trotted downstairs giddy with the night ahead. As I rapidly approached the ticket-booth a warm creschendo of techno lifted my heart, and I jumped for joy. And then everything went black.
I was in the fetal position, and people were looking at me, that much I knew. Wobbling to my feet I touched my hand to my head in a daze, and it was covered in blood. Oddly I was most upset that this was going to make me late for the roof but when a huge NYC Thug walked up to me said “Yo. You fucked UP”, I knew this was serious.
Looking behind me I saw what happened – While jumping for joy I had launched my head into a low overhang, a sign for which was displayed so prominently it could have happened in the “Caution Low Overhang” station. Muttering expletives under my breath I held two bloody palms out to the woman in the ticket booth, and she called an ambulance with the nonchalance of ordering Dominoes. Once the EMTs came they asked what had happened. “Wheww hu see”, I slurred, “I whas jumping fah joy and I shmmashed mahead.” Just then my phone rang – it was Andrew. “Yo B, where you at?!” he asked, “Imma be a leetle late” I said, and then the EMTs made me hang up.
The New York City emergency room is not a nice place. Hallways lined with unlucky figures stretched endlessly into a beeping trench of shitty neon. Stepping over people who could be either sleeping or dead, I made my way to a dingy doctors office with a dingy doctor in it. “What HAPPENED?” He beamed. “Jussslike I saaaid – I was jhuuumping far johy!”. He paused, looking at my wound. “I’m going to have to shave your head.” “Noo!” I shot back, “Noo shave mahhead. Imma comedian… needmahair. What else you got?!” He looked around the room quizzically and settled on a staple-gun resting on a table. “How about staples?”. I paused, and for an instant the Staples commercial ran through my head and I thought “Yeah, we got that”.
He picked up the staple-gun and placed it to my dome. Gripping the handle tightly he slowly pulled the trigger, and with a KrrrCHUNK, began putting staples in my head. After twelve or thirteen had been laid across my cranial-gash, he wrapped my entire head with gauze, which bloodied as if I had survived a bombing in a middle-eastern market. After making me promise I wasn’t going to party any more he released me into the night, free to pick up where my head had left off.
Hopping out of the cab minutes later Andrew looked at my bloody-head-wrap in disbelief. “That’s a good look for you”, he said. Handing me a beer he and opened our old door and slunk through the rapey hallway towards the roof. Climbing up through the hatch on 199 1st Ave. the city lay out before us like an old friend that we could always crash with. Taking a long, cool sip of my beer, I hopped in place, finally content with my evening.
“What was that?” Andrew asked.
“Just jumping for joy…”