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Monday, January 21, 2013

The Devil You Know Part 9

It would be twenty years before I would learn the truth about what really happened to the Gemini Jazz Cafe. Two days after the fire was put out, the insurance company refused to pay for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons was that the fire started in two places and they couldn’t determine what the accelerant was and the second reason had something to do with the smoke and fire alarms. 

Rumor circled through the community and through Albany, which is how we got our news. No one knew what had happened for sure and David had gone out of town for two days for some emergency.
The staff of the Gemini Jazz CafĂ©, had not been paid in about two weeks and I had officially started working there. 

Jack, pipe in hand given me a piece of advice, so I had told the owner of Balloon-Age to fuck herself. Jack had heard me talk about how I was being booked repeatedly to do nothing but stripping with a balloon delivery. “Seriously”, I told Jack, “I wouldn’t have hired me as a stripper for bachelorette parties.” Clearly when I showed up, I was a skinny, scrawny extremely gay kid who would put his all into it. The problem was that I was a nervous wreck and couldn’t wait for it to be over.

The only good news that came out of this was that I never had to produce my nonexistent driver’s license to the owner of Balloon-Age. I had bills to pay and no money. Jack and Frankie were allegedly arrested on their boat in Florida during the week and maintained that they had nothing to do with the fire. There was no way that anyone was getting paid.

Unbeknownst to me, Bill M. would be on his way home from the hospital soon. I was screwed and I needed a plan. The next day, I went to the SUNY Albany Art Department and start to work as a nude model for their advanced drawing classes. It was easy; I could start that very day.

No one tells me what to do or how to do it, so I wing it. I’m wearing a tiny robe with nothing on underneath. At the front of the room was a little stage and the chairs surrounded it. Students were already sitting there with blank paper on their easels as I spot the teacher. She smiles and motions me to the stage.

I   turn my back on the students, drop my robe and pose without moving for about 15 minutes. After the third fifteen minute pose, the teacher kindly come over and asks me if I wouldn’t mind facing front for “at least one” of my poses. We negotiate for about five minutes and I get to sit in a folding chair if I will face front.

During my legs crossed, sitting on a folding chair pose, I began to think. This was money and I needed it and it was money and it paid bills and got me things that I needed. Soon I began to ask around about other jobs and looked in the help wanted ads in the back of the paper. I walked up and down Lark Street looking for a job. 

One day I walked into a gay card store that was located in a basement building and asked if they knew of any jobs. From behind a small row of poppers, the desk clerk tells me that I should meet his friend, a photographer named Joe Romeo.

To be continued……

Geoffrey Doig-Marx holds all written and electronic rights to his writing "A Day in the Life". It can not be reprinted in part or whole without his written consent. 

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