I met Ray Pinnox at the counter. It took a lot of guts to sit with ones back to that door. Counters were not originally installed like this.  Nobody wanted their back to the door, especially on the corner of Asbury and Langford. 

     The owner was a fence, who regularly borrowed against the joint to cover gambling debts or raise bail for one of his kids. The loot came to the back door, and the money came out of the cash register. The canned hams he bought showed up as diced ham in western omelets. A bag of free groceries might get the seller enough for a rock or bag of dope. I don’t now the details, but I ate the omelets. 

     The clientele was elderly, mostly Black, there was no other place closer to their home, which had been turned into a war zone and drug supermarket by a well crafted pogrom with the support of both parties and the community itself. 

      The community was managed artfully, and brilliantly. Genocide was a slow process. There was more than enough time and money to make it work. Genocide was high art, supported by both parties and the patriarchy. There was hardly a person there then, who had not lost family. Brave boys, missing fathers, stepped up to earn prizes and wound up ground up. 

      Ray and I sat with our backs to all of it. Phil Konvitz ran the rackets, and was at times the owner of the joint where we sat. Phil was the son of a Rabbi, who was fair, but aging. All the old folk who knew those rules, loved him. There was an established order, and dope was dope. The kids learned or died. No body could tell them anything. The elders watched, looking for talent...for hope, as they were believers. They walked through the streets and got to and from home safely. Yet there was a regular body count all around them. Kids were dying. Kids were having babies, and dope was everywhere, and also the driver of the post industrial economy on the west side. 

      It was perfectly executed. Hundreds of thousands of dollars found the small city each week. Moms and dads from all directions drove in to score and out again to their upscale suburban homes. Ray and I were not looking. We knew.

      It was just business, this genocide. The kids were dying to get a piece of it. It was their casino...the house always won. Why not legalize it? This genocide, I mean. Let’s get the dope out of the hood and into the doctors office, and let the chips fall where they may, and they have. The dope will still be there...when the doc cuts you off. You can still drive into the hood and score. Business has never been better. The death has spread out of the hood and into the upscale homes and it’s not just the poor kids now. American Ignorace...new diagnoses...new disorders, new magical cures for people of all ages. Dope! Packaged for all  possible disorders peddled to parents and given to tiring children and  demanding elderly, as seen on tv.  

     Genocide. Ray and I sat with our backs to it. Raytheone. Paybacks, are Old Testament.  We were not watching, we already knew.

Views: 95

Comment by J.P. Hart on January 11, 2019 at 12:54pm

157.70 USD −1.99 (1.25%)~ RTN `(NYSE)

Wisht I'd be able to L(IKE) today's a half dozen times, good man Robert. True it would be an experiment in creative writing to somehow type during an inverted hang.

Already had my belly laugh when Mr. Meteorologist quipped that, "The days are getting longer. We've another minute day x day." However, awoke with a start pre-mummified dwelling upon Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) and fell into the sun what with that filmic masterpiece (Y innit masterpeace?!)

'Garden Al Pacino and that outstanding moment in Revolution when his boy departs the colonies and romps West.

Holy Winter Soldiers!

This ship will carry our bodies safely to shore...not my words.

RIGHT NOW I'm crushed. (Only time??)

Need to deliver a grocery sack to a Coast Guard buddy (three at home...Mrs. works two part time gigs est. 50 hour Wok Week).

Minds eye has (OKAY one paper bag per arm) neatly arranged Jimmy Dean breakfasts. I can leave food on their porch. Lest he espys me and we wind* up kicking a 30 can case of Hamm's.

Good man! Paycheck disruption! Our 'chance encounter sleck' is: "...some people say I'm a no count...others say I'm no good..."

*wind down
phrasal verb of wind
(of a mechanism, especially one operated by clockwork) gradually lose power.

O! I almost forgot. OM and Gloria have a light supper planned with Seth Meyers. (thingsarenotroughallover)

And they've got me scootin' over to Cross Plains, WI (RT 12) to trailer back an Isuzu VehiCROSS. Buffed. Yellow and black!

Not exactly 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' here deep in Roosevelt's Rustbelt 11JAN2019.

HEY! No business like IT!

Comment by Tom Cordle on January 11, 2019 at 4:36pm

Well done, Maestro. The sad thing is the only thing that's changed is the drug of choice. And that sad scenario you describe isn't just played out in big cities. It is very much the same here in the heartland, in the Green Ghetto that is most of rural East Tennessee, where dark skins are scarce, save for the few remnants of the Cherokee to be found in remote places like Snowbird and living on narrow streets with interesting names like Long Hungry.

I interviewed one of the old guys who spent his entire life here, and he told me straight out, "When I was comin' up a young man, there weren't but two honest ways to make a livin' – loggin' and moonshinin', and I wasn't about to do no loggin'."  Interesting use of the word "honest".

Now, the same sort of hopeless white boys whose grand-daddy's used to make moonshine, now cook up meth. They either die young or literally rot away much too young, toothless – they call it meth mouth – shriveled and haggard. There's a reason Copperhead Road remains an all-time favorite tune in these parts.

Comment by Maui Surfer on January 11, 2019 at 5:23pm

This is golden; truth in storytelling. Bravo.

Comment by koshersalaami on January 11, 2019 at 7:00pm

Well done

Comment by Robert B. James on January 11, 2019 at 10:54pm

Thank you my fellow OurS people for reading and commenting. This is not right out of my fourth major writing project (aka book) MAHI ...but a readable recollection of what I have been dredging up from the post 911 fog of a place that was thought of as ground zero...before 911.  Note this is nonfiction. 

There was little meth. There was no market for it. There was some cutting of the crack with meth. Who knows how much? 

The long play...I made a commitment. Longy...the kid boss of the Third Ward in Newark made a commitment. Pinnox? Pinnox told stories. I listened. Behind us was a past we both knew had to be overcome, not forgotten. Learned. We didn’t look back because we knew. Too few knew. 

Pinnox had drank himself to death, and lived. When he came back I did not know who he was at first. He had lost nearly a hundred pounds. It was then that he decided to bring me in, against the will of the majority, of which he was the elder bad ass of all bad asses, resurrected. I had no idea who he was until he finally decided to break rank and cross the line...I do not know what he was thinking, but I knew he had seen something near death. 

American Gangster? Not even close. Pogrom. Genocide. American Fascism. We turned our backs to past...that self proclaimed half Cherokee, half Black invisible shaman  of the west side, and me,  but not before we knew it first hand.  

Comment by J.P. Hart on January 12, 2019 at 2:01am

Nothing but!

Comment by J.P. Hart on January 12, 2019 at 2:12am

I said too


Comment by Ron Powell on January 12, 2019 at 7:29am

This can be read as poetry or the condensed synopsis of a Broadway production or a Hollywood screenplay....

There's a good deal of truth here..

Comment by Robert B. James on January 12, 2019 at 10:08am

Well...if there is no fun, no joy...no love, what is the damn point of fifty plus jumps, if only to come back to a fascist nation of ignorant chicken shits? Now, don’t confuse me with jump school graduate. I never did. They all jumped when the man said jump. I volunteered to take pictures, not prisoners.  

If not for bootlegging booze there might not have been an organized rejection of the Nazis in New Jersey...who made the mistake of coming to the hood to strut there brown shirts. This ...was what beat the fascists here before WW2. American Fascism is a whole nuther creation. Slick and well packaged. Most still can’t see it, let alone track its rise...

I was a protege of kids who grew up bootlegging, depression surviving, and WW volunteering. This were not fascists. These were seriously organized motherfuckers. They ran their own show. It was not pretty, or easy, but it ran the coast. 


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