Fuck the Damage Deposit…
We’d actually joked about it in the past, how one of us would end up living there somehow because there really wasn’t any other way… My mind may have rolled the thought around a little more than rationality should allow but in the end Patrick said I wasn’t allowed to use the shower at the apartment nearby and people already seem to have enough trouble liking me without my wandering around with a week’s worth of accumulated filth to deal with. In the end Mikey took the office with no windows and water and I stayed with my parents. Cable lived in the loft for a little while but now he’s gone and Bret’s got some sort of dog-bed looking set-up and GiGi’s got a pillow under the VCR.
It’s closing down, well it’s closed now. Last night was the world’s last opportunity to wander in on a drunken weekend bender and marvel at the twisted rebar staircase that kept Bret from sleeping or to timidly ask if we had any dildos or if we did piercings or, for a little while, if we made fake IDs…
Four years and change I occupied the dark little hovel coasting somewhere between misery and an emotionless trance. Back when I didn’t have anywhere to go I’d hang out with Amanda on Sundays when she worked and we’d watch movies and smoke cigarettes and I’d run out for tacos or coffee or whatever… Started helping out and before anyone knew what was going on she was leaving and I had a second job.
It’s a video store and it was a time when videos were giving way to DVDs and DVDs were going to start coming in the mail soon… It was a decline and now it’s done and the landlord wants rent which he’ll have to make do without. Hey, we didn’t bother you when the fucking ceiling fell in chunks, the pipes in the back corridor rained, the winter came through the roof and ran down the walls or even when you skipped town for a month without paying the garbage bill and all the apartments lined our back door with their trash. Boris and his Russian maffiosos next door at the used car dealership flooded the back with oil and water and we griped about it as we flicked cigarettes into the murk, griped about those Mission kids with their cool clothes and their hair always unable to pay those late fees but always able to go out every night and drink themselves into a good time… We grumbled and drank in our dark little hovel and chased the crazies away after they’d watched too many movies standing in the middle of the room.
I’ve got this unfortunate tendency to invest heavily in places. Being dedicated in some way to something’s not bad but I’m not working for Doctors Without Borders or helping the infirm or the impoverished or the maligned. There was always more of a need to sit up till midnight pricing down videos and figuring out what to sell off than to get a band together or write a story or make friends.
When you spend so much time somewhere I guess you get attatched to it and you get attatched to the people who filter through. You look back at it and you see goods and bads and a lot of in between. Leaving was a hard thing to do, which is strange when you’ve pretty much scraped the bottom your choices are jumping ship or going back to drinking pints of gin all day and being reviled as a bastard. I left and it was liberating. I’ve been back to try and help clean up fifteen years of destruction and I feel strangely attatched.
Lots of life:
Bandaged a woman’s hands together when she wandered in one night, wet with rain. She said a spider had bitten her and the clinic was closed and the gauze was soaked. Her fingers were three times their size, the skin peeling off the bone and we had scotch tape and toilet paper. She came back in a cheap poncho with a yellow wig and tried to give me speakers which I turned away. She came back a week later and I took the record player she offered– I didn’t want it but I didn’t want her to feel bad.
Cops a couple of times. One guy writhing on the ground screaming, knocking things over, crying about insulin. It’s the only reason I called the paramedics but they heard him over the phone and the cops showed. They wouldn’t come pick up a guy who looked strung out, mumbling, delusional who asked me to have them come pick him up… I closed the store down and walked him to the cop shop the block down, smoked a cigarette with him and left him at the door of the station.
Frog and Andrew had an art opening for their window display. DJ behind the counter and a marching band played all night out front while the creme de la creme of the art-damaged kids swilled cheap wine and videotaped things. Regular customers avoided it like the plague but where else could you just have an evening hwoever you want an evening to be? Much better than when I sat watching Buzzcocks videos until four in the morning while some girl hung her puppets; she showed up hours late and was I supposed to chase her away with all these puppets?
I know a lot of people through the place and people still recognize me which invokes an automatic apology. People could always find me if they were looking for me and it’s nice to have a job where you can sit and drink and smoke cigarettes and hang out all night. Met three girls I ended up going out with, to varying degrees of success. One’s dead now, one won’t allow me to exist and one lives in Hollywood and always says she’s been meaning to call. Not many jobs afford you the opportunity to get to know, court, hang out and end up with a girl. Try that waiting tables or doing data entry. Met friends there, important ones and nice people and fuck ups and a couple of dead ones. A little cesspool of humanity standing still against time– the last little outpost was what the Mission was in 1990 crumbling in the bright lights of expensive restaurants and bars, new cars and crowds. I was always a little proud of the decay and the grit and how much it stood out in the end. Like I was of my parents house for all the years it looked like a crack house as the neighborhood grew around it, houses got painted, people dressed nicer, needles disappeared from the sidewalk.
And Bret. I started yesterday off listening to a J Church song about a priest who lost faith and is leaving the church. Bret’s existence as it has been for years has come to an end and we all stood inside the store looking around, polite conversation, moving shelves around a little; the only thing missing was the corpse in the other room and a table full of finger sandwiches. It’s hitting him hard and I’m not sure what I can do except make sure he makes it to a place he can crash before he crashes in the middle of the street. It’s hitting him hard now. He’s said he’s moving to New Orleans where his brother lives.
And in a couple of years Leather Tongue will be some boutique, the kind of place we all mocked. The flyers will be gone, it’ll get painted, the grafitti will be removed. You’ll walk inside and you won’t see your breath in the winter, you won’t choke of stale cigarette smoke and dust, you won’t stab yourself on nails and the person behind the counter won’t have a pint of gin or a 40oz embarassed on counter just out of sight. It won’t make a fucking difference, you’ll forget all about it, it’ll mean nothing to you. Most of the world doesn’t care and why should it?