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There was a lot mumbling and muttering (or whatever the equivalent is in written form) about NYC during the Das Boot section, and whether or not Jay would end up there next. Well, sure enough, in these pages we find out he did. This section takes up almost directly after leaving the boat, and tracks his efforts during the first months to navigate the city and find a job and, maybe, love. Continues for several months in this fashion.

Hello, NYC! i (13/26)

March 26, 1991

Choose a different dreamscape

Return from Spring Broken finds a dusty empty apartment, devoid not only of companions and fun diversion but even any edibles in the fridge. No raman, no cereal, no other edibles neither. No television either, as per decree since I arrived, Dex being too busy or otherwise occupied to want one. And me neither. No television for us. The only distraction is the rhythmic scrape and creak (and occasional human groan) through the ceiling that tells me our neighbors are at it again. Or maybe never stopped. I stood for a few long moments on the threshold taking all this in, believe me, before letting the door swing shut, dropping my duffle and kicking it ahead of me the last distance down the shared hall and into the open ‘living room’ that has held my futon and my preposterous ‘desk’, for the past two months.

Back am I. 

And so I sit now in the threadbare butterfly chair which is my only other piece of furniture, put quill to lip (so to speak) and consider my options. It’s oppressively hot in here for one thing. Have I ever mentioned the system here in NYC, apparently all apartments from the Bowery to the Cloisters fed by the same ginormous steam pipes and vents that are form one massive arterial system beneath the streets (just one of several if you think about it: circulatory, nervous, gastronomical if you include the delivery chaps on their bikes). In any case, up that heat comes and through the radiators in such excess as to get them all bleating and banging and throbbing orange-red in the effort, whistling excess pressure out of those weird little C02 valves. In most apartments you’ll find windows open, even during the most furious arctic blast, in an attempt to let out some of this dry sauna pressure.

So, as I was saying: my options. It’s dusk outside: that lateral slice of window view broken by the black lattice of fire escapes all grown nearly as dim out there as it is in here. Still, I haven’t turned on any lights which makes the scratching at these pages all the more difficult and all the more mysterious. Who knows what words are actually being written, oh gentle reader, or whether they’re legible at all. I can’t tell, not from my angle, not without more light. I’ll leave that part to you.

Whether due to creaking implications of upstairs frivolity, or a slipstream musk from those murderous, bikini-wearing coeds down south, or maybe the stillness after traveling so fast so far, having finally returned – I’m feeling an acute itch for something. Maybe call up diminutive Debbie from two weeks ago (remember her?) in an effort to harmonize a bit with our neighbors upstairs? But no, I forswore that before I left and hardly seems ingenuous now, to go back on my logic just in the name of skinbarking. Besides, I’m exhausted. Better to just cut my losses and hit the futon. Night all.


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