The Amnesia Memoirs and Diaries
April 1994 - 1/2
Mon. 04.04: In the morning I go to fax a reply to Norbert's letter on Bradway and 101st. It is addressed to Me. Laurent and I ask him, since he was present at the meeting, to explain a few points in my brother's letter, particularly the business about a six-way split with me owning one seventh of each sixth. And also this thing about "a death that would complicate matters", meaning "if we split in seven".
I go to the building management office to get my mail. Jose is just sorting it. He gives me today's issue of the Law Journal. Bonarti is sitting at the desk. On the front page is the silhouette of a man with the amount of the jury award for personal injuries, with arrows pointing at each part of the body. "$500,00 for a knee! Holy cow" I say, knowing that this is just the kind of info Bonarti wants to keep me away from. I knew from the start it pissed him off that I get legal information, is this piece is a big one. Ed had told me he had gotten $150,000 (and that not much had been left after he had paid everybody) and my attorneys had given this amount as a reference. "I hope you get rich" says Bonarti. I ask if they haven't received a big envelope for me. No. "You guys are playing with my mail and I don't like it. It's a federal crime to steal somebody's mail" I say in an exasperated voice. "You're insulting me!" says Bonarti. I turn my head to him. "I'm not insulting you... "You say I've committed a federal crime." "I'm not insulting you ... I'm not insulting you, I'm accusing you. A pause. He raised his head to look at me and it was the first time in a long while that our eyes met. I had noticed he always avoided eye-contact with me. I look at him sideways with intensity. His face has the expression of the bullshitter who gets caught. Really ugly with the mouth in a kind of sneer, but at the same time you know it's his real face and that all you've seen so far was just a mask. I have rarely seen him like that but it has happened. "You do everything you can get away with." I say coldly and I leave the room. I realize that it's a way of accusing him of being party to my attempted murder, because of the expression "to get away with murder", and basically it's correct. Maybe I said too much but this constant harassment is a real drain on my vital energy.
Wed.04.06.94: I have realized that my mother has acted like the Temptress since I've known her. Her objective was to instill in me a guilt feeling so that she could exploit it to make me do what she wanted. If I didn't do anything that made me feel guilty, she would provoke the opportunity for me to do something wrong. An easy way for her was not to provide the essentials, thereby forcing me to steal them. It happened with school supplies, gym equipment and in my teens clothes and tampax.
Even I didn't consciously do anything wrong, I was accused of misbehaving and lived under the oppression of being under suspicion. Sometimes the pressure was so unbearable that to put an end to it I would accuse myself of doing something I hadn't done. My mother once scolded me for accusing myself because she knew I was innocent of the alleged crime. I think she enjoyed the emotional torture this caused me.
Sometimes my sisters would taunt me to do something that I knew was forbidden. They would put pressure on me to do it and I would give in and do it, and as soon as I had done it they ran to Mom and told her what I had just done. I could never tell my side of the story and I was punished. I ended up with a crushing sense of guilt and I understand that when the weight of unspecific guilt becomes unbearable, some people turn to criminality just to have a reason to feel guilty.
I made the big mistake of assuming that they would outgrow these antisocial tendencies. But since my mother didn't intervene in my favor, since she didn't listen to my side of the story before meting out punishment, she was de facto encouraging this behavior because it served her own hidden feelings of hostility towards me. It is quite possible that my siblings persecute me just in the hope of earning our mother's love, the unattainable assurance that they are loved. They are caught in the decision they have made subconsciously when they were children, of seeking their mother's love no matter what the cost, and because they have not recovered from the obedience brainwashing, they went as far as to kill their own sister. Because you can measure mother's love by how much money she gives, mother managed to take control of our father's estate by placing her own attorney and accountant in charge with her. And since every child vies for her favor, they go along with her decisions and carry them out.
Tues. 04.05: I find myself walking next to the postman in front of the building. I ask him how come I don't receive all the issues of my journal. He asks my last name. I tell him. He says that he remembers this journal, and that another postal worker had put it in the bag for another building. "I missed four issues!" I say. He doesn't answer anything. Later on I realize that Bonarti must have told him to say this to me.
Thur. 04.07: I go to the Post office to try to get the address of the old man who threw himself under my wheels and wrote me a letter asking for $500. But they keep the records for only 18 months and the thing happened four years ago. Behind me is an old black lady draws attention to herself by asking loudly to the person behind her if she has her ticket, and waving hers excitedly.
Sun. 04.10: I realize that if I had died in the accident, my family could have sued the TA for wrongful death. The award for this, according to the Law Journal, was 1,6 million dollars.
Mon. 04.11: I call Internal Affairs again. Vincentori is off today. I talk with Miller. He doesn't sound skeptical. He listens without passing judgment. I tell him I had been the victim of an attempted murder disguised as a traffic accident at the time my father was dying of lung cancer. I say I'm calling him because I have received a death threat by fax from my family. He asks for date and time of the accident. "The bus snuck up behind me and cut just in front of me. What he wanted to do was throw me to the ground and run me over." I say dispassionately. Then he asks why I use the word "accident". I say that when I use this word I put it between quotation marks. At one point he asks me to hold on and I wait for a few minutes for him to return. Towards the end of the conversation I say that there has been a legal cover-up. "What do you mean?" "The personal injury attorneys who handled my case were in fact helping my family." He asks if there had been previous attempts against my life and it's funny because just recently I had remembered a scary thing that happened to me in 1985 when I lived briefly at Floyd's apartment at 65 West 95th and it was only now that I understood the meaning of the incident.
I couldn't afford the cocaine I was addicted to and was out as often as possible, and the obsession of finding someone who could give me some made me friendly with unsavory characters.At the short lived Bourgogne caf‚ on Amsterdam in the high eighties one fall evening, I met a man in a suit in his fifties with white hair, slightly under average height, and the look of a definite sleaze. However I was willing to put with some of it if the guy could give me some cocaine and soon we started talking. He was not Hispanic. He did have some, he gave me some but he let me know pretty early in the game that he was into heroin. I should have understood that he was a dealer but I didn't want to understand. I was attracted to him by the sleaze factor itself, which was so familiar to me and I warmed up to him. I found his language interesting. The second time we met he spoke about carrying a piece. I had never heard this before but I understood right away that he meant a gun. After the second or third meeting I took him to where I lived and we had sex in the bathroom, I standing up with my head falling to my knees.
He picked me up one night and we took a cab but he didn't give his final destination right away and didn't answer when I asked him where we were going. I should have gone out of the cab but a sense of fatalism made me stay and only when we reached the Hudson parkway did the man give an address in the Bronx to the driver. Why didn't he give the address right away I asked a bit indignant. "Because cabs don't want to go in the Bronx".
After a twelve to fifteen dollars ride, we arrive at one of those buildings that have beautiful lobbies and apartments with arched doorways and sunken living rooms. A tall good looking young man with light skin opens the door. He's introduced to me as having Haitian blood.
He invites us to sit not in the living room but in the kitchen where a free-base party is going on. At the round table sit an older man with a strange beauty, and a woman. My companion is much older than all these people. I don't know in which way they are friends but there seems to be an agreement between them about something I don't know.
I'm invited to smoke some free base but I decline. All night they are going to smoke free base until the wee hours. Meanwhile the man with the strange beauty speaks about his tour in Viet Nam. He seems very intelligent and has thought a lot but somehow he rationalizes his self destruction. This is what bothers me otherwise I find him fascinating. I take a few puffs of free-base during the evening but what I really want is a blow.
After hours and hours of mostly listening while sitting on a not very comfortable chair, my companion who had not taken part in any conversation and had gotten up and left the kitchen several times called me from the next room that was in the dark except for a candle lit next to the couch. I got up and went to him. He asked me if I wanted a blow. I said yes and we went to the couch. He told me to sit down and made a long fat line on a mirror. I snorted it up avidly with a straw but funny, it didn't taste like coke in the back of my throat. It had the same taste as heroin. I had occasionally had a small sniff of the stuff back in Paris when offered but I really didn't like smack. It was really a sick drug. And I didn't like the people who were taking it. Needles are very evil looking to me. But was it really heroin he gave me? For sure it wasn't coke. I said nothing. He invited me to sit back on the couch and left after a few instants. But I didn't want to sit alone in the dark. I was wondering why he had said it was coke and it wasn't. I had taken such a big blow. Then I started to feel the typical itch all over my body and I knew for certain it was smack my companion had given me.
At the moment I was realizing that the guy had betrayed me, he told me that we should leave and he was rather imperative about it and I didn't like his manner. I really didn't like the idea of being alone with him at this time of the night and on a heroin trip. I started angrily at him, telling him he had given me smack and not cocaine like he said and asked why he had done that. He reiterated his urge to leave as if to spare our hosts a scene but I refused to leave with him. He insisted again and again and I said I didn't trust him, I didn't want to leave with him. He had tricked me and I hated heroin, I just hated this drug I said. I refused to let it put me in the mellow and helpless state and to fight it I ranted and ranted about the fucking drug and acted in the opposite way I should have, being noisy in a way I had never been. He said "You came with me you leave with me." but I said I wasn't going and finally he left alone. I asked the young man if I could stay a few hours for the heroin to wear off and he accepted. I wanted to sleep but we had sex and while I was on top of him I scratched my arms and legs.
After a few hours sleep I took a walk with the woman but I was in a stupor due not to the heroin but to what the guy had done to me. I was unable to figure out why but I knew I had been afraid to leave with him. I didn't ask any questions about the guy.
The day after back in my neighborhood, I met the young man on Amsterdam avenue. I knew he didn't live around there and was surprised to see him. We didn't mention anything about the evening at his place and made rather small talk. I forgot the incident.
But it came back to memory and I saw it in its real light: the man would have killed me if I had gone out with him after taking the blow of smack.
So I say to the officer that there had been an incident several years ago whose meaning I hadn't understood at the time but I believed that it was a set-up to murder me. He asks for my name and address and gives me a log number.(9404181). Since he returned on the phone he seems eager to terminate the conversation. I explain briefly that by French law I am entitled to an equal share of my father's estate with my siblings. He says they're going to investigate.
Wed. 4.13: It's only today that the full meaning of Norbert's letter becomes clear. It clearly says that they split the estate into six shares because someone is going to die and the notaire says that my two brothers are willing to wait a little longer. I live like a recluse, having no contact either in person, by mail or by phone. I keep writing in the hope that should I die this writing would survive me and expose what has been going on backstage for the 41 years I have been on earth. I write with the fever of one who has only a limited time to say a lot.
Some harassment has taken place lately at the supermarket that infuriated me so much that I started to consider revenge. I could drop a dozen eggs in the alley, or a big jar of jelly, or a bottle of oil during rush hour. But as I allowed my imagination to run free, I felt a sick feeling. I knew it would be stooping very low indeed to engage in such mischief and I discarded the notion.
First it was nothing really worth mentioning. A young black cashier asked me in a rather disdainful tone why I was buying this "dulce de leche". "I like it, it's Cuban candy."
A while later an old black lady asked me in the dairy aisle if I could read for her what was written on her milk carton. "Is it homogeneized?" she asked pointing her finger nervously at the word on the carton and holding her head back. Then she asked again because I wasn't sure I had heard correctly and she asked again "Is it homogeneized?" I leaned forward and said that yes it was. Could it be the first time that this old lady was buying a carton of milk, and couldn't identify it by its color? This word reminded me of the early days when milk was sold in cartons. Until then we had bought milk from the farmer. When we switched to supermarket milk, we learned three new words: homogeneized, sterilized and pasteurized. So could it be just by chance that this old lady asked me to read this word for her when all the milk on the market is homogeneized and there's no need to check, or was it rather a way for my family to let me know that wherever I go they can go too and spoil things for me?
Then another day, at a time when the store was almost empty of customers and the cashiers were idle, I arrived to check out the few items I bought when the cashier, a Dominican woman with buck teeth and heavy make-up started to speak in Spanish to another cashier instead of taking care of me. Since I understand Spanish I listened to what she said. She said that she was tired of this stupid, ill-paying job and that she was going to be a prostitute. For prostitute she used a word I didn't know so I asked what it meant. She said it meant prostitute. She said that she would work for herself, receive the men in her apartment. "It's not as simple as that" I said. Then she added that since men didn't respect women, why should women respect men? I said that I agreed that men and women, although needing each other, actually hated each other. I wanted to add that what mattered first and foremost was not other people's respect towards her but her own self-respect, which she certainly couldn't keep if she became a prostitue, but I was not interested in a philosophical debate with the cashier. I said I agreed with her, it was terrible, terrible, I didn't see how the problem could be solved, and I said that under the circumstances, including the economic situation of the country, it was madness to bring children into this world, in this city. I said I was single and it did me a lot of good not to have any problem with a man. "No man, no problem" I said. But she looked vaguely disappointed and irritated, as if I had been talking besides the point and she checked me out without saying anything more about the subject.
The next incident was that the same cashier who had asked me disdainfully why I bought the "dulce de leche", one of a pair of twins, checked out my merchandise and after I had paid she started with the next customer. "This is not mine" he said about a carton of buttermilk. It was indeed mine, so she said she had not included it in my purchase, she made a new ticket, I pulled out my money a second time and I paid for it.
Then one Sunday I went to the supermarket with the New York Times and I went to check it in and take a number. "Why do you want to check it?" the guy asked me disapprovingly. "Because it's heavy" I said. But what right did he have to question my wanting to check something? I was angry at him and wanted to tell him when I left the supermarket but he was too busy at that time.
Finally, once I bought, among other things, three cans of cat food for one dollar, a young man packed my purchases, I gave him a quarter for his service, and once home there was only one can. I returned to the supermarket with the ticket and when she saw me arrive, the same twin took the two missing cans and handed them to me. "What happened?" I asked. "I don't know, she said. The boy packed your things, not me." "Where is he?" "I don't know." I looked around. He was just coming, a nonchalant air on his face. "How could you miss these two cans?" I asked. "I don't know, I didn't see them." "And I gave you a tip for this!" I said, indignant and I left.
Now this is not the first time that sales people give me a hard time. Last summer there had been the woman, owner with her husband of a green market where I used to buy. They always had been greeting me with "Hello, how are you?" and didn't say this to all their customers. Did they like me particularly? Should I feel priviledged? It seemed their smiles were not heartfelt and it alerted me to their possible hypocrisy. However I didn't see why they would be hypocritical with me.
Then last summer, while all the horror regarding my lawsuit was unfolding, around the time I discovered that the driver's testimony and hearing transcripts were missing, I was approached by James and his skeletal "wife" at this very place, in front of the lady.
And shortly thereafter, as I was looking at some tomatoes which didn't look too good, I asked for the price. Since she didn't answer I turned around. She was standing ramrod straight behind her cash register and looked at me with her lips pressed together, and instead of answering she walked to the back of the store and disappeared. I understood right away that she was dissing me because it was so impolite of her to walk out on me without answering my question. But it was so heavy handed that it was obviously a staged event. I left the store before she returned and never set foot in it again.
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