Rod Townsend (aka our commenter Momo), sometimes receives telephone calls from The Past, a mysterious entity that remembers where things used to be in New York before Starbucks and Whole Foods came to town.


"Wrigglerump? Is that you?"

"I would think The Past would recognize my voice by now."

"Sorry. I'm a little groggy. Took a Percocet."

"Your recreational drug use—"

"Listen here, Judge Mental. You go and get hit by a cargo van on the West Side Highway and see if you don't want to take a pill or five."

"You were hit by a ..."

"Anyway, mon putain pour pamplemousse, everybody knows that Percocets are dirty highs and that the anti-addictive additives that are in them give you a pill hangover the next morning. If I had my druthers, I'd have crushed up the new kid in town, Oxycontin, and snorted it right up."

"Okay, fine, but what were you doing on the West Side Highway?"

"I bought these new things, Rollerblades? They're like roller skates, but the wheels are lined up like ice skates. Anyway, I was rolling down Christopher Street and waiting at the corner for the light to change. There were these three Jersey-looking queens prancing and singing 'Gypsy Woman.' By Crystal Waters? Oh. And I guess I should mention that I was a little stoned."

"Well, that's sort of a given."

"Right? So they were all in unison, 'As she stands there singing for money,' and I started to cross. Then, ka-wham! Moving van."

"That's horrible!"

"But it was so worth it. Those Jersey queens were all up on the van. They opened the passenger door, and were waving Lee Press-Ons in the driver's face and screaming, 'Sue her! Sue her!' and 'Murder!'"

"So what did you do?"

"Got up, poured some water on my bleeding knee and went to the piers."

"But you were injured!"

"Who isn't in this town? Anyway, I saw Candace and Girlina on the other side of the street and wanted to say hello. Their night at Crow Bar is my favorite."


"Yeah, Crow Bar. Anyway I chatted them up, reminded them to take their One-A-Days and rolled to the main pier off Christopher. It was a good day to be out. Somebody had a gigantic ghetto-blaster playing some Danny Tenaglia mixes, and the queens were working it out. Then I rolled over to the better pier."


"Yeah, you have to go through a hole in the chain-link fence. It's all decrepit and there are holes in the asphalt floor where you can see right down to the river. Toward the end there are concrete barricades, and just over those are all the nudie-boys."

"What's a nudie-boy?"

"Oh, just guys lying out in the sun, nude. Granted most of them aren't really there to get sun. In fact some of them have little screens set up to block the sun and just want to give schlong shows. Sometimes you'll see some people hook up, more toward sundown."

"Well, I've read about the piers and how they were just massive orgy-pits."

"Not really, tickletongue. That's more the Distant Past. Things are very discreet now. Much more conservative. I haven't seen someone get fucked on the pier in, gods, weeks. So after a while I got tired of blading around, so I smoked up for the trip home. But smoking made me lazy, so I went to the parking lot down below Houston Street, jumped in some married guy's car, and let him diddle me for a bit."

"You had sex in a parking lot?"

"Nah, I just put out enough to get him to the manipulability point. Then I convinced him to give me a ride back to the Lower East Side. Married guys from Jersey. They're all so nice."

"Actually there was a New Jersey Governor..."

"Whoa. Stop. I don't 'do' politics. Do people still go to the piers?"

"I actually went last weekend. There's like a nice park from Battery Park all the way up the West Side now. Trees and bushes and flowers."

"Ha! I bet there's a lot of frolicking there!"

"Well, yeah, there was frolicking, but..."

"Whoa. Heh. I, wow—I should let you go. This pill's really starting to kick. La da dee la dee da ... La da dee la dee da."

Earlier: Past, Over