5. more mix in the city

hendrix 3

March 1969

On this particular evening, a cockroach zoomed across our table top, on a beeline for the kitchen. We didn’t notice the cockroach. We were all focused on the attractive, skinny, yet  rather pneumatic girl (picture the silent movie star Louise Brooks in a tight little sweater) who was dancing alone, a neat trick if you can get away with it. She could. 

Looking at old photos of The Scene, it kind of looks like a dump. Still, the frequent presence of Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Winter (sometimes together) and an epic 3-week stand by The Doors generated plenty of glamour. The Scene was a nightly after-hours —meaning 3 AM on—  hangout for Hendrix and Buddy Miles and a few other musicians who were just getting off work. Sometimes, I got to tag along.

Although a bit old for me, probably pushing 25 or 26, the skinny girl seemed incredibly well-preserved. The music stopped. 

She kept moving as though it hadn’t for a few beats, then swerved easily into a walk, slowly traversed the space between the dance floor and us, then sat next to me, pulled me closer and kissed me on the neck. What was going on? For scientific verification, I reached up with a finger, felt my neck, and sure enough, it was indeed slightly damp. I glanced back at the various rock stars and musicians around the table, all busy not being interested.  Jimi gazing upward, nonchalant, counting ceiling tiles.

Meanwhile, my brain was melting. One arm was still around my neck and the hand on the other arm was wandering all over the place. Sure I had been through high school, and some college, but this type of aggressive behavior, from a stranger, defied all my attempts at scientific analysis; I was not processing the situation well. In my experience, getting to this stage normally involved a lot more work. But in this case all I had done was sit there, just a big stiff, and getting more so. "Hey, cut it out," I didn't say.

After a few minutes of mostly one-sided making out, my new friend rose and tugged me along after her, towards the exit and onto 8th Avenue. I caught a fleeting glimpse of Jimi and the guys waving goodbye. A car was waiting and we tumbled in. Finally I turned and saw and eyes locked and she smiled and said, “Hi”. The car headed east, then north on 5th Avenue as the making out resumed, and I found myself getting into the spirit of things.

We disembarked and entered the lobby of an old hotel, which I later deduced was probably the Sherry-Netherland at Fifth and 59th. We hurried past the front desk from which clerks did not look up. The ride to the 16th floor gave us 45 seconds of privacy, during which the tight sweater popped off nicely, then we were out and down a hallway. By now were both sprinting, and  topless.

It was big for a hotel room, more like a living room, and there were other rooms and a kitchen, or something like a kitchen. The furnishings were old and faded, mismatched fake antiques. The ceiling was all painted cherubs and tarnished gold leaf. There was a sort-of dining room with candles and silver set out, and in the kind-of bedroom, a canopy bed. Pretty romantic, but we were not being romantic. We were more like, hungry. We did regular sex, followed by inverted regular sex, then sideways upside-down sex, back-to-front sex, then sex like I had never even heard about.  I would start to get tired and dozy, and then snap awake, charged with comically intense pleasure. At some point I just started laughing. The gurgley, deep chuckles that rolled out were not me laughing, but Santa Claus. Or maybe that bass singer in the Temptations or the guy who did Bluto’s voice in the Popeye cartoons.

I got to Mars four times, way past my limit, and to the moon at least ten. She was good for two that seemed genuine, or she was an awfully good faker. (She was.)

I finally crashed heavily to sleep. I remember waking up around 7 AM and watching her open a window. A pigeon flew in and landed on the back of a chair. She spoke to  the pigeon: "Wukalukel... wukalukel." Pigeon talk, she said. I conked out again, and dreamed on.