Monday, March 06, 2006

Chapter 27 - Billy Slaughter's Place

So we managed to scrape enough together to get a cheap apt here in Greenville, SC, but the word quickly came down that J's credit was not good enough so we looked around at some cheap motels but quickly stopped that when she fought back tears after the first look at a room, dark and dingy walls, dirty carpet, the smell of dust and death and I started to imagine those curtains closed, J gone, me sitting in the darkness behind them listening to the sirens staring at a nearly empty bottle on the pressboard table.

Of course my credit was shot through the temple, a neat little hole going in, a mess that only time could heal on the other side, with the eviction in Jersey. So we stiff upper lipped it like the British who we are both starting to admire more and more, for their understatement in times of crisis more than anything, and looked at houses. There were many to look at, most run down to the point of no return, most in questionable neighborhoods, with S.C. ranking higher than Detroit for violent crime making them out of the question-- even with Dog of Chuckie (Hank).

And then we found it. Right next to a little bar called Billy Slaughters Place. We both loved the name. It was a finely built little house with a large living room that looked out onto a busy road. The rental owners were nice, funny and ran no stupid anal probe credit check, charging us only 450 a month for a whole house, to be paid month by month. Our first night, since we don't have enough for the $200.00 electric deposit (more anal probing) was spent in candlelight and with our lantern. It was wonderful. The next day we shot some pics and got some of my jewelry up on R.L. and are awaiting their decision. Could take a few more days but we are confident they will deem it worthy of their wonderful site.

We shot the pics of the jewelry with our digital camera at Starbucks. I asked the big man managing the place if it was okay and he said it would be fine. But we did not look right, too wild perhaps and while I was adjusting the copper wires with colored Swarovski crystals on them that, hairlike, extended from a jacaranda pod filled with concrete I had died purple, the manager came out and said, "How's it going?"


"Well, listen, I don't want to interrupt you or anything... but I was just wondering how much longer you folks'll be?"

"Oh, I don't know," I said, suprised and now on guard.

"Well if you could give me a timeline..."

"Another hour maybe." We had only been there less than an hour. "But we don't have to do this here. We could go some place else."

"No no. That's alright. Another hour should be fine. It's just that we like to keep those cushioned seats in the corner open." The place was deserted.

I told him we would be happy to move to a table and he said that that would be fine and we could stay as long as we liked. But I was put off. Irked, I told J about it and she wanted to go immediately. I argued a little and she told me she had a much lower tolerance for being a spectacle than I. So I wrapped it up. Took all the set-up down off one of the outdoor tables and angrily loaded it up with all the jewelry I had lined up to shoot.

In the car she said she knew for a fact that he wouldn't have said that to a businessman looking guy, say if he had his papers spread around him and was working on his laptop. "He could be working on child pornography but if he looked like a businessman is supposed to look around here that fuckstick wouldn't have said a goddamm thing!"

The truth of this made me angrier and I grasped for something that would explain people like him. J explained it for me.

"He just wanted to assert his authority. Something about you, us, bothered him. It was like an itch. He couldn't understand what it was but it bothered him. We didn't look right and he couldn't figure it out. We don't look like his conception of artist either. We would need berets for that..."

I knew she was right and told about how Allen Ginsburg, having so much flak to deal with because of the way he looked, was told buy his buddhist teacher to wear a suit and this simple advice saved him a lot of hassle. She agreed that this was probably useful advice but told me I secretly needed that kind of attention. I disagreed but maybe she is on to something. All I know is if I did in the past I don't anymore. But I also don't want to cut my shoulder length hair since it took so long to grow it. And certain clothes are just more comfortable than others. Still, in our society, if not every society, you are judged by the way you look. This is a fact there is no getting around. When I had my short, military style haircut a few years ago I got immediate respect from many sectors and then, while visiting a bookstore in Ann Arbor a young woman looked me directly in the eye and hissed at me. Of course I couldn't resist saying, "And what might your major malfunction be missy?" To which I thought her tomato colored face was going to explode all over the nice shiny book jackets.


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