Written by Jonathan Aryeh Wayne, March 9, 2016
Remember that night on Bleecker Street last summer when you watched me devour a stale day-old cupcake from Magnolias at the 11th hour at a chess table? You weren’t the only one there. You both followed me on a late night summertime jaunt across lower Manhattan from one haunted village to another as one of my 200 sugar demons got the best of me. You in particular, an actress, an accomplished voice artist, a weekly tour guide-goddess who gives dessert walking tours in the dead of winter from the Washington Square Arch, a cupcake-viewing collaborator, a pipsqueak masticator. You were out uniting couples at corner cupcake plazas, while I was looking for ice cold glasses of organic, grass-fed milk to accompany my sweet treats of devils past. Whether it was my druggy sugar run to the Swedish candy shop on Christopher Street a bit further north, or whether my post-sugar fatigue bested my initial sugar cravings, you were somehow a spectator to my shameful urban vices of the biggest city for most pragmatic souls. And there we spouted off about the deadly symptoms and consequences of sugar addiction in another parallel universe, while we talked up shops, mops and teeny bops. You and the other person there started getting into metaphysics and doomsday, thanks to the effective triangulation of our astrological harmonies. Your Aquarius air fueled the Leo fires and staved off the earthy Upper West Siders until further notice. I was already sick from the cupcake overdose. I had purchased two with buttermilk icing and one with peach icing, and I had only eaten one before I knew I was already too far gone. The rats underground sensed that I was approaching comatose sugar levels, but they were waiting their turns to try their luck on tonight’s regular dumpster diving tradition. I sensed that our other friend beside you had underestimated you until this point.
You’re always somehow available every time I’m in New York City too, whether its a day’s notice, or a year’s notice. I usually notify you ahead of time on the Internet before my arrival, but dependability is part of your DNA despite being a supposedly flakey air sign that is often notorious for being somewhere in the clouds. Not you though, at least not yet. Both the Manhattan rats of yesteryear and Brooklyn cats of hereafter couldn’t read you, even if you were located on the first floor of the Strand bookstore. Drama and narcissism are easy for you to take in, especially coming from a natural extrovert with a penchant for dinner reservations like myself. I guess it also helps that you’re one of my clients on the Internet, as your webmaster. Sometimes I hear from you when you want me to add some new head shots, or maybe update your portfolio, or perhaps add a new reel to the homepage. I notified you not long ago that I myself had signed up for an acting class, and in my excitement, had to mention just how my blood sugar had improved dramatically too. I sensed encouragement and agreement rather than disdain for my flamboyance and robustness that I would have otherwise received from a difficult Scorpio or two.
“You saved my life from a crazed, angry, psychotic older woman later that evening, one of the 2 remaining women who accompanied our walk in Hudson River Park.”
You’re like the 21st century version of Jane Fonda, always trending on the late night infomercials, despite being off the air. I don’t even have to pay a ticket to see live theater on Broadway, for I can just give you a call and meet you somewhere on St. Marks Place and watch you perform a monologue for 20 minutes. You’re an actor, you never get nervous, you’ve been to plenty of soirées in Jersey City, where the open bar didn’t call your name, because the liquid confidence had already established itself in your pancreas at an early age. One recent Autumn afternoon you even telepathically talked to the ghost of John Wilkes Booth’s older brother in Gramercy Park. And last summer you rolled up your jeans in a particular state park and posed for photographs, while the indifferent rose bushes could only sit and stare. You specifically were witness to a virginal woman I had invited along for entertainment one evening, a woman that was slow to illuminate and ruminate despite being vigorous and vivacious. We walked the High Line later that night, and were telescope voyeurs, elevated 30 feet closer to Earth’s moon.
And how could we ever forget that night I turned 36 years old and you and 2 other women accompanied me to a West Village Italian restaurant. Had you not stolen the spotlight in those early moments, I probably would not have been pressured into ordering a Tiramisu for the whole table, that melted faster than fresh mozzarella. You saved my life from a crazed, angry, psychotic older woman later that evening, one of the 2 remaining women who accompanied our walk in Hudson River Park. I would have been bobbing up and down in the Hudson River like a forlorn wine bottle cork, fighting the current, hoping to reach Ellis Island downriver, or if not that, the other island with the Statue of Liberty on it, before I ended up in the Atlantic Ocean on my way to the Bermuda Triangle. There, I would have for sure disappeared without a trace, ending up in some parallel universe where I was a 41 year old female actress living in an apartment in New Jersey with a view of an IHOP restaurant from my bedroom window. And had I finally drowned one morning in a vat of artificially flavored maple syrup, whatever remnants of myself that came pouring out of a septic pipe in a deep subway station under West 4th street would have been put to good use by a family of medium-sized rats. Yes, had you not rescued me from that crazed, demented woman, I would have been reduced to yet another toxic stain in her gangrene brain. Instead of that trauma, mini gummy eggs, berry buttons and salty licorice from that Swedish candy shop were part of a unique reduction sauce digesting deep in my small intestine. Sure, my body didn’t appreciate the overdose of sugar that night, but the alternative would have been far, far worse.
“Let us reminisce about those chess tables back on Bleecker and Hudson though, and that warm summer night, when we communicated with extra sensory perception while I slowly killed myself on sugar.”
Remember that April day when you found yourself in a cozy little parklet tucked away in the East Village not knowing where you were exactly? We were all air and fire sitting in the cold sun, occasionally tapping on our smartphones lost in a dehumanized trance. Behind me, a homeless man was lounging peacefully in the sunshine, one foot on the chair swing and one foot on the ground. His can of soda and opened bag of vanilla shortbread wafers was within arm’s reach, and lying on the cobblestone. The plastic birds were tied to the branches of the Oak tree, and one of us started petting them without discomfort. You were spaced out, and part of you was still reciting lines for a character you were supposed to play next week in an indie film production. We all talked quietly at a bar called The Burp Castle after night set in, and we were told by the lone bartender to lower our voices in a pleasant and considerate manner, once the room hit a certain decibel in volume. Unafraid to burp and slurp, we all sat there as proper patrons, transported forward in time to a true speakeasy, when jukeboxes didn’t overpower our freedom to speak, when technology didn’t distract our conversations, when people had interesting things to say and could enunciate their words slowly and carefully. And afterwards, we could hobble outside and be true conspirators, wearing blindfolds on the neon streets without the fear of being hit by the amniotic fluid of a four winged metal machine, when we could hear ourselves breathe in public places without having to wear noise-canceling body suits, when we could pet real plastic birds who made real plastic bird sounds and bit us with real plastic beaks.
Let us reminisce about those chess tables back on Bleecker and Hudson though, and that warm summer night, when we communicated with extra sensory perception while I slowly killed myself on sugar. I awakened to the sound of rain, pitter-pattering, never flattering. I stumbled to the bathroom door, better out than in evermore. The clouds parted the naked sky, I found my calling in my third eye. I walked to the window to undress the drapes, I finally found my fire’s escape. I let the air in, and funneled my nostrils, time is not kind to cupcake fossils. They’re buried in the earth, where they’ll remain until the birth of another sugar junkie whose late night run on the New York City streets ends in withdrawal. Tonight, Chinatown offers no sweet treats for me.