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THE "NEW" NEW YORK | Giuliani Suck My Dick | Meatheads

FADE IN: (Faint strains of the Clash's "I Fought the Law and the Law Won" can be heard in the background. Behind this, even fainter, but steadily growing louder, is the sound of chains ominously clanking, metal against metal. The combination is eerie, almost menacing. Then, suddenly, just when it becomes nearly too much to bear, it ends.)

As I write this I am literally in hell. I am waiting in a long, winding, never-ending line of degenerates and sketchy, gum-chewing, scum-of-the-earth types. I am in the downtown Manhattan courthouse, waiting to appear before a judge, even though I wasn't charged with anything, or at least anything that warrants this kind of activity. I am here at this Godforsaken early hour, waiting to be sentenced like a common criminal, because of fucking Giuliani, because I have apparently violated his "Quality of Life" program, am a victim of his "No Tolerance" bullshit, because his cops have quotas to fill. I am being made an example of.

What happened was this: I was going to see my friend's band play at a little club in the Lower East Side, where they don't sell alcohol but you can bring your own. I went to a deli on the corner and purchased a bottle of beer, which was not a twist-off, so I had the guy open it for me before I left. Mind you, I had the thing in a paper bag the whole time. So I'm walking the half-block back to the club when all of a sudden a police van spots me and screeches to a halt. Five cops jump out and run up to me, shining their flashlights in my face.

"What do you think you're doing?" one of them yells. "You can't have an open container outside!"

"Okay, sorry," I say, backing up towards the club, the entrance of which is mere feet behind me.

"Where do you think you're going?" yells the same cop, grabbing the beer out of my hand. "You're not running away from us, are you? Have you got something to hide from us? Huh? Do you?"

"Uh, no," I say nervously, "not at all. I just thought you wanted me to take the beer inside, that's all."

"It looked like you were trying to run away," says another cop, who glares at me.

By now they've made a circle around me, just in case I decide to actually make a run for it. They're still shining their flashlights on me, trying to intimidate me, which would have worked, if not for the fact that they're trying so hard to be tough that's it's almost comical. The funniest is this doughy one who's uniform doesn't fit him quite right - the sleeves are too long and the waist is too high - who's doing his best Kojak impersonation, all scowls and gnashing teeth. It's a riot.

The sole woman pig asks for my driver's license, which I give to her, and she takes it back to van, obviously to run it through the computer to see if I've got any warrants or previous arrests. Two others go with her, and another one does a quick check of the street, apparently to see if there are any other dangerous criminals lurking about. I am left with only one. The tough guy.

"You know what you did was wrong, don't you?" he asks, fixing his stare on me.

I count at least four chins on him, popping out over his collar. "Uh, yeah," I guess so," I say. "But look, all I was doing was-"

"It's illegal to have an open container in public," he says, cutting me off.

"I know that but-"

"It's against the law," he says, interrupting me again.

"I know what 'illegal' means. But all I was doing was-"

"No buts. It's something that can't be tolerated."

The man was parroting Giuliani. He was also taking his job way too seriously, like one of those suburban assistant store managers who yells at his employees for making the French fries too crispy, or because their shirts aren't properly tucked in. I realized that there was no way this guy was going to listen to reason, that nothing I could say was going to change his mind. So I just apologized to him, again and again, going way over the top with it, saying that I felt terrible about what I'd done, that deep-down I was a good person and that I'd never been in trouble before.

"What was I thinking? How could I have been so stupid?" I say, slapping my self on the forehead for added effect. He totally buys it.

"Now, now, don't be too hard on yourself," he says in consoling tones. "We all make mistakes."

He even starts feeling bad for me, telling me that there's nothing to worry about, that it won't go on my record and that there's not even a fine.

"Although, I could give you one, if I wanted to," he adds. "I could bust you for public consumption, which comes with a fine. But I'm a nice guy, so I'm just going to write you up for having an open container."

"Thank you, thanks a lot. Thank you so, so much," I say, grinning. "I really appreciate it."

"Don't mention it," he says, writing out the ticket. "There is one thing though. You're still going to have to appear in court, before a judge."

"Excuse me?"

Then the chick cop comes back with my license. "He's clean," she says.

"Okay, you're all set," tough guy/doughboy says, handing me the ticket. "Stay out of trouble, you hear?"

"Oh, I will occifer, I will. Don't worry about me. I've learned my lesson." Dickwad.

This is how I have come to be here, in hell. I have just finished moving through the first line, which took over an hour, only to be told to join another one. This new line is twice as long and leads into the courtroom, where I will throw myself before the mercy of the judge.

"Your honor, I am throwing myself at your mercy! I'm not sure why I'm doing this, or even what that means, but fuck it, it just seems like the right thing to do. So I am at your mercy! Be merciful with me!"

An hour later, and the line has not moved at all. I cannot believe that I am here, that I actually have to get up in front of a judge because of a stupid fucking open container, like this is supposed to make me a better person. Fuck that. All this is going to do is make me work harder against Giuliani, against the cops, against all the recent gentrification, the "New" New York. I will become the patron saint of crime and anarchy, will not rest until the city has been turned back the way it used to be, will run for mayor myself on this very platform: Kick Disney out of Times Square and give it back to its rightful inhabitants, the pimps and prostitutes! Give Thompson's Square Park and Port Authority back to the homeless people! Make the streets safe again for casual marijuana use! A strip club on every block! A crack pipe in every mouth! A mugger on every corner! Graffiti on every subway!

I am the only white person on the line. Directly behind me, there is a guy lecturing his friend about how much he hates people like me (white), and how they should all die. He then says something about how he wishes he was here because he killed a white guy, rather than the actual crime he committed, which remains unclear. At least it would be worth it then, he adds. After this I stop listening.

Throughout my ordeal, I have managed to convey, at least on the surface, some semblance of strength, of toughness. If someone stares at me I stare right back. I can act as bad as I want to, because I have the luxury of knowing that I can walk away any time I want. If I was in, say, prison, which this scenario reminds me of, it wouldn't be quite that easy. In fact, I wouldn't last a day. Within hours, minutes, I'd be beaten up, raped, become someone's property, someone's bitch.

Heck, maybe I'll be good after all.

Endnote:

When I finally make it into the courtroom, and finally get called up before the judge, I am charged with my crime and asked to pay a twenty dollar fine.

"No, no your honor, you're mistaken," I say. "The officer who arrested me said there would be no fine."

"They say a lot of things," says the judge.

"What do you mean 'they say a lot of things?' What are you talking about? I was expressly told that I wouldn't have to pay a fine."

"Well, if that's true, the officer lied to you. The fine is twenty dollars."

"Your honor, I've been sitting here all day, and have watched people get up before you who were charged with fighting, with resisting arrest, with crimes that seemed much worse than mine, and you let them all off without fines. You asked them if they'd do it again, and they said no, so you let them off. Well, I'm telling you that I won't do it again. So do I still have to pay the fine?"

"Yes, you still have to pay the fine," he says, irritated.

"In that case, I'd like to change my plea to not guilty. And here's why-"

"If you want to change your plea, you'll have to come back and do this all over again," he says, now extremely irritated.

"You're not serious."

"You bet I am."

"Fine. Guilty then. Here's your money." Motherfucker.

So they got my money. They got my time. But they can't take away my pride (that sounds like a bad country song). That's something those fucks will never take away from me. Do you hear that? You hear that fuckheads? You hear that Giuliani? You hear that officer Fuckface? I still have my pride damn you! I still have my pride! And I'll never surrender it! Never! You're going to have to pry it from my cold, dead hands!!!

(Dramatic music comes on, rises to a fever pitch, then ends just as suddenly.)

FADE OUT

Meatheads

Meatheads. Everywhere I go nowadays I see meatheads. And I'm not talking about the usual places they frequent - Sports bars, downtown Manhattan on weekends, Dave Matthew's Band concerts, etc. Lately I've spotted them in my neighborhood. In OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Somehow they have found us out. The dreaded trip to Brooklyn, that trip no one ever wanted to make, it being so far away, has somehow become acceptable, almost routine. How the hell did this happen? I see them now almost every weekend. First they ruined Galapagos, which sucks, because it used to be a cool place. I mean, when's the last time you went there, if not to see a film or for a particular event? Exactly.

Then there's that Level X place or whatever the hell it's called. I hate that place. It has no right to be here. I remember when if first opened, and to attract business they had a girl standing in the doorway wearing a bikini and beckoning you inside, as if you were in Amsterdam or Tijuana or something, some serious cheap tourist shit. Now they've got a velvet rope and a bouncer outside. And for what? You go in and it's incredibly tiny, the music sucks, and worst of all the entire place is lit up in this annoying pink neon. It's like walking inside a vagina. The meatheads can have it.

The problem is that they've branched out. You see them everywhere now, at Yabby's, at Stinger, at Diner. And worst of all, they've somehow latched onto the party scene. How many Rubulad parties have you been to lately, where everything is great and you're having fun when all of a sudden a group of loud drunks invades your personal space and one or all of them begin to either a) hit on you, b) hit on your girlfriend, or c) hit you because you told them that they were obviously in the wrong place and should leave immediately (perhaps this last one only happens to me).

How have they found out about this stuff? Who leaked the information? There is obviously a traitor among us, a narc, someone who can't keep his or her mouth shut. I suggest we out this person and give them a taste of their own medicine. I'm thinking we dress them up in a baseball cap and a white T-shirt and white socks and make them watch hours of Baywatch Hawaii or Home Improvement or ESPN, then slip them some Rufies and send them to a sports bar or a frat party, where God knows what will happen to them. We need to make an example out of these people.

Of course, if it gets really bad, we can always take it one step further and show the meatheads exactly what if feels like when they come here, to have our space invaded. By this I mean a large group of us heads out to Long Island or New Jersey or the Upper East Side one weekend, hitting bar after bar, screaming wherever we go, pissing on the streets and slobbering over members of the opposite sex. Who's with me?

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[email protected] | February 2001 | Issue 11