Chanel No 5 And Angel Dust On 3rd Avenue

The Con

When I arrived at the gym there was only one elliptical machine available.  I considered myself lucky I didn’t have to wait for any machine at 3:30pm and I jumped up on the pedals and started to churn away.  Ten minutes into my workout, my gratitude to the Great Magnet for his benevolence in keeping my annoyance level to a minimum turned to raising my eyes skyward to ask why me, oh Magnet, why me.

You see the Korean woman next to me; in her blue tennis skirt leisurely pedaling away on her elliptical was covered in Chanel No. 5.  Each time she felt the rush of her perspiration coat her olive skin, she stopped her workout, wiped herself off with a towel and sprayed on some more Chanel. Personally, I like my workouts to be slobbering, sweaty affairs where all I can smell on the walk home are the poisons in the wetness on my shirt.  This woman?  Not so much.

I don’t know whether Chanel No. 5 is the hot perfume of the moment or simply a favorite of Los Angeles women but it seems to waft in the air wherever I go – the Valley, Brentwood, Westwood, K-Town, Glendale, and Echo Park.  I suppose the smart thing to do would be to run into a local Macy’s and ask the woman behind the perfume counter but I don’t have enough chutzpah for that simple act.  The fear of my single encounter with PCP is still too fresh in my mind, an encounter that took place in 1987.

When good pot wasn’t available from the Deadheads on the 5th or 6th floors in my dorm, we copped at a flower stand on 2nd Ave and 10th Street, where the Puerto Rican dealers paid a vig to the cops as well as to the owner of the Korean deli next door.  It wasn’t good shit but it was safe shit i.e. as safe as one can expect from street pot.

My pal John and I followed the usual ritual as we crossed 2nd Ave., nod at the tout, give our $20 to the cash guy, walked down the block to the end of the flower stand where a third guy gave us our two small blue dime bags.  We walked down to Tompkins Square Park and rolled a joint.  This was a bit unusual but it was a really nice 57-degree night in late October so we thought we’d enjoy our first hits under the New York City stars that we could never see.

Right after my first hit, my left side went numb followed slowly by my right.  I simultaneously wanted to march straight into the local bums oil drum fire and beat all four of them but was too paranoid that people could see my thoughts.  I looked up at John and his eyes were wide, as if they were trying to jump out of his head.  “Oh fuck,” he said.  “We’ve been dusted.

The pot had been laced with PCP – Angel Dust – in order to kick up it’s potency.  John and I knew we were in for a very long night and possibly long week as our bodies burned the fat that had Dust in it.  The one decision we were able to make, as the background of street, people and stores became super real and glowing was to take 11th Street back to our dorm at 10th Street and Broadway. We reckoned if we saw those dealers again with this Dust in our system, we’d beat them half to death.  However, 11th Street would be fraught with it’s own dangers.

In 1987, NYU had yet to truly exert its nefarious influence in the neighbor hood thus 11th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues was still a hooker stroll for the East Village set.  The good-looking young prostitutes were on the west side on 29th Street.  These young women all had some slight flaw – usually an abundance of tattoos or far too many piercings.  They weren’t out for the business clientele.  They were out for the rocker boys and NYU kids whose parents sent them a few bucks.

Our crazed, Mason like wide-eyed appearance seemed to keep most of the working girls from approaching us to offer their services. We got caught at the light on 3rd and one of the girls, an attractive sandy haired blonde from the rear with beaver teeth and a massive overbite from the front covered in head to toe in Chanel No. 5, came up and said she’d blow us both for $20.  $20 for both of us seemed reasonable but when I opened my mouth to ask if that was indeed the price for two, it came out as a scream of WHAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.  She showed no fear.  However, as she said ‘excuse me,’ her jaw seemed to leap forward toward my crotch.

Being students at one of the premier learning institutions this country has to offer, John and I looked at each other and chose a reasonable course of action: we threw the guys ahead of us into the working girl and ran the two blocks back to our dorm where we paced the floor and uttered loud threats to anyone who came near to ask how we were feeling.

Somehow I think the Korean woman in the blue tennis skirt in a Wilshire Avenue gym would behave differently in that same situation.







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