Peculiar ethics of littering: a woman balances a paper cup on
top of garbage pyramid overflowing wire basket causing a
trashslide onto sidewalk but
her cup remains precariously perched atop so she walks away satisfied she's
done her civic duty. At the freak show an illustrated man with fewer tattoos
than I see some days on the streets of Seattle calls himself a freak then
contradicts himself saying he's just like us, has suffered hurt feelings
and has bills to pay, making everyone nervous that he's going to hit us up
for something above the five dollars we've already paid to sit on wooden
bleachers which years ago creaked under the squirming weight of genuinely
distressed audiences in the days before animal rights when geeks were geeks
and bit the heads off live chickens. But now it's come to this:
KoKo the Killer
Clown, a dwarf in whiteface claiming to have murdered his wife in a jealous
rage, thereby ending his lucrative travelling circus days, reduced to twisting
balloon hearts nobody wants (again fearing extortion), eliciting a reaction
only when they pop in his hands and he jumps up and down in genuine frustration.
Maybe they are just like us--but that doesn't mean they're not freaks.
real show begins on the boardwalk (and it's free!) which looks like a casting
call for a film about the criminally insane, each glorious lump of humanity
with his or her own schtick, the only thing in common their pride and we
enjoy the parade. They are the Lords of Ruin, one with the Cyclone overgrown
with weeds, the Parachute Ride like an empty wire hanger you find in the
street, and the faded signs and other traces of
former glories when sailors raped
their dime-a-dance dates under the boardwalk and calliopes played.
Poor service, pay toilets, and lamb testicles
drive us away from a boardwalk restaurant in Brighton Beach where the Russian
immigrants hold all outsiders in contempt and relish showing it.
On the beach itself, a couple lapfucks
discreetly, a monkeyboy pees ankledeep in waves, and sunburned boys dive
off the pier, careful not to snag themselves in the crabpot lines sagging
into the water for a meal of bottomfeeders plucked from a sea which was closed
to the public during the Heatwave of '88 after Mafia-dumped medical waste
washed up on the beach. And though the calendar says it's spring, it feels
like August. But amid the confusion of oiled flesh, the fried food smell
salted by ocean air, and the cacophony of barkers, radios, and loud talk,
a cooling breeze lets us forget the subway sweat and heat-soft asphalt of
the city, somewhere over there, lost in the haze.