Friday, January 22, 2016

It's Only Me- Chapter 9- 2132 Ocean Avenue

John and I, along with Jimmy decided to rent 2132 Ocean Avenue simply to get away from our respective homes. That and also to have a place to bring home girlfriends without any problems. We had established rules such as no overnight “crashing”, chores and things of that nature. Things went well for a bit.

Friends began dropping by and it became a continual party. John opted out and was replaced with a guy named Joey who was a friend of a friend. We were already starting to make mistakes.

Joey was great at fixing things up, wiring phone extensions and stereos. He also worked at a hardware store around the corner and got “five finger” discounts on a lot of things we needed. But he also introduced us, falsely, to someone he said was his cousin. We believed him. The “cousins” name was Mike. He was really a friend of Jeff's. This would begin one of the darkest times at 2132, which, prior to this, had been a lot of fun.

Mike was a guy who was a Vietnam Veteran and told great stories and seemed to always have good drugs. We took a liking to him very quickly.

One night he was over very late and so he “crashed” in the living room. When Jimmy awoke in the morning and saw him sleeping, he kicked the bedding that Mike was using, waking him up with a terse “No crashing here- time to go.” And Mike left.

This was just before we found out that Mike was involved with some very “heavy” people. He was also implicated in putting 2 guys in 55 gallon drums and tossing them into the East River. Not for fun or anything- apparently it was a “business” transaction.

At this point Mike began supplying us with pot by the pound on credit. We began to have even bigger parties and our neighbors were very upset. We had people coming and going at all hours of the day and night.

Mike added another character to our little world in the person of “Kevin”. Kevin was about 16 and mean as a snake. He was the type who probably tortured animals for kicks. We didn’t like him and the feeling was mutual, but by this time we were into Mike for several thousand dollars and so had to put up with his continued presence.
So, as you can see, the rules had all gone out the window and by this time we had a “crash pad/ drug house”. Eventually the hardware store closed and that left only Jimmy working and paying the bills. He kept a tab listing our debts to him. I can only imagine how pissed he was at this point. He had also realized that Mike might be angry with him for waking him that first morning and I began to hear a thump sound from Jimmy’s room late at night. He used to padlock his room from the inside at night- when he had his girlfriend Melody staying over. Later I would learn that he slept with a hatchet and had gotten quite good at hurling it to the door. The thumping I heard was the hatchet embedding itself into the wooden door frame.

The parties were non stop and of epic proportion. You could literally go to sleep and wake up with someone in your bed! It was like a movie. And we were the stars.If Jimmy or any of us wanted to talk privately we would lock ourselves into a bathroom. It got the point where if you wanted to get into the bathroom party, you were either a close friend or girlfriend.

Eventually we found out that Mike had been ripping off our drug connections and selling the stuff back to us on credit. We also began to realize that he was connected to some very bad people- people who owned gambling casinos and dealt in gun running. This involved the Police Department and organized crime. We were in way over our heads!

I took some of the purloined drugs back to the people who had been robbed. Don’t take me wrong- I was no saint- I merely told then that I had purchased only half of what I had and returned that while keeping the rest to sell and use for myself. There are no friends in the drug world- only opportunities. And to top it off I now refused to pay Mike.

Around this time Mike had run into some sort of trouble with either the bad guys or the police who had been assisting him in some of the gun activity. It seems that certain people wanted him “removed”. I was actually given a Korean War M-1 Garand, fully converted to automatic with two 30 round “banana” style clips. I carried it with me in a bass guitar case anywhere I went.

One night Joey and I shot a round or two down the long hallway in the house at like 2 AM. Mr. Rosenberg was down in an instant banging on the door. “Boys, are you alright?” he shouted. He was a World War Two Veteran and knew the sound of gunfire when he heard it. We opened the door with the lights out and asked sleepily, “Yeah, what’s up?”

Around this time in the summer of 1973 Mike needed to leave NY in a hurry and began a blitz to collect his money. I didn’t have mine.

One night, and I don’t know why, Mike and Jeff, lured a few of our friends to mythical cocaine party at the apartment of Leslie, a 27 year old woman whom we all knew quite well. She was a gentle soul, into free love and drugs. Funny thing is that she worked each day in an office - masquerading as a straight person rather than the true hippie she was.

Anyway, this particular night Joey went with Larry the Bird, an obnoxious local DJ of no note, whom everyone disliked. He treated his dog, a beautiful German Shepard like dirt, beating it for things like peeing in the house after he had not been home for 3 days. He was told to bring his “spoon” as it was to be a large party. His greed for the powder made him a guaranteed show up.

What ensued for the next 24 hours was an orgy of violence. Larry was beaten, tied, burned and whenever he passed out he was revived in a cold shower and the show went on, and on. Sometime during all this Leslie was assaulted. This was done by “Kevin” as far as I know. Mike had an AR-15 and I believe there was a handgun present as well.

Meantime, I was home at 2132 and got a call from someone- maybe Kevin- that made me realize something was up. So I packed my M-1 in the bass guitar case and went to Steve and Donnas’ to hide. By this time they were living over Schlotsky’s Deli on the West End of Kings Hwy where no one would think to look for me.

The next day I returned home and found out about all that I had missed. By this time the cops and the FBI were looking for him in earnest and I was told to set up a meet with him at my place. The FBI and NYPD detectives arrived with shotguns and hid on the porch. I was supposed to open the door and they were going to kill him!
At this point Mike Held, also big, came by tripping on acid. When he came up the steps the cops asked who he was and I answered “Mike”. The sound of many rounds being chambered at that moment is still fresh in my mind as I write this. “No- that’s the wrong Mike!” I yelled. Mike Held stuck his head in the open window. Seeing all the guns and cops he let out a “Whoaaa…” and hastly retreated down the street.

A few minutes later the real Mike was in a car at the corner waiting for the light to change when a uniformed patrol car saw the plates and recognized that the Dodge Charger was stolen. He attempted to pull Mike over but Mike hooked a U-turn on Ocean Avenue and headed to Coney Island. There he ditched the car and led the cops on a foot chase- firing into the crowd to create the confusion necessary to escape. And he did.

Three weeks later he was captured in Lumberton, N.C. while asleep. He woke up with guns pointed at his head and chest and told, “Don’t fucking move!” He didn’t and was transported back to NY where a Grand Jury was waiting.

Eventually he got like 12 months, with time served counted towards his release. In exchange he helped bring down some of the people who had given me the M-1.

When last seen, around 1979 or 1980, Mike had made the cover of NY magazine and was doing anti crime commercials.

This was the first half of life at 2132. I went to live in Ohio after meeting someone there- but returned in December of 1973. This would begin a new and more pleasant phase of life at the house. By June of 1974 the house was sold and I began what I call my “lost years.”

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