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So-so Saturday
April 11, 1998


     Yesterday's story put me in the mind of an incident in New Orleans, October 1990. John and I were enjoying a mid-week pub crawl until we got too lazy to leave a particularly congenial bar which had once been a stable, which was ironic because stable was exactly what we weren't by that point.

          The place was empty but for the bartender, a lousy caricature artist who couldn't draw noses and a singer whose repertoir consisted of three songs, the endless repetition of which provided an ideal soundtrack for a lost afternoon. "Skinny Legs" was our cue to order another round of two hurricanes, $4 a piece and one dollar each for the bartender and singer. The toilet was in a cramped room out back and on my last trip there I found it covered with reddish vomit. I tried to spray it clean with my pee, thinking I was doing someone a favor. I came back and told John of my janitorial service. He sheepishly admitted to being the one who'd vomited. "Dude," I told him, "you missed."
          The beautiful thing about New Orleans is that we weren't the only ones staggering around legless at 2 on a Wednesday afternoon. We found a crowd gathered around an either dead or unconscious man with snot hanging from his nose. I broke through the circle and knelt to photograph him. "What you wanna take pictures of that for?" asked a cop who I hadn't noticed before (how drunk was I? Those are after all cop legs in the picture). With my best drunken logic I smoothly lied, "I'm not taking pictures," and joined John on the bench where I shot a series of him sitting stupefied in his red cap. Three tough pigs in black leather came over. "You think that's funny, boy?" "No, officer, sir," I said, sensing menace, the cop's hand on his club. I gave him my ID. "Yankee, huh? Well, we do things different down here: we'll break your legs, book you, THEN bring you to the hospital." Maybe he meant it, but my biggest fear was that he'd smash my camera, or at the very least force me to expose my film. I guess we both looked sufficiently terrified so the gestapo-wannabes let us off easy: "You got 10 seconds to get the fuck out of here and if we see you again today we're going to break your fucking legs." We didn't need to be asked twice.