Today's Manhattan sunrise comes early on the 4th floor. Attic exposure, arresting deathly slumber, aroused like the turret of an empty Sherman Tank, whirling awake heavy eyelids, ammo-less, defenseless, a casualty of last night's "last call." My "Oh, God," goes unheard by celestial relay to the big guy, even as hands clasp both sides of my head, a mere mortal's plea for relief. Any relief. "God, you there?"
Outside, answers vibrate
Oh that sound so annoying most mornings, Ravel inspired Boleros, an out-of-tune Pollock rendered Greek chorus, angel voices of another kind, these feathered friends. Three grays and a white this morning. Prancing, gliding, pecking any and all the dirt they can off this top-floor window-fanned escape I call home. Well, temporary home for in-between-relationships wannabe artists like me. Respite. Yeah, respite. Hands! Gimme a cigarette. Take them away from your head and extract your first Gauloises of the day. Tobacco from Syria and Turkey-rationed luxury and world travels. Escape in a drag. Gleason, you got it right; "How sweet it is."
Below me, 3rd floor dance and body movement classes geared to start in an hour.
Below that, 2nd floor circular stage-Albee's The Zoo Story rehearsals already in motion.
Even further, 1st floor entrance, flanked by The White Horse Bar and Jenny's Coffee House. Ah, the decisions on Sunday mornings. To the right-a stack of dollar pancakes, ninety-cents. To the left-condiments fresh at 10 AM every day, the beer drinkers banquet. Mustard pickle, little white onions, carrots, celery, olives, plain pickles for the plebs. Free, BTW. Nurse a fifty-cent beer, eat all you want.
I've got to get there first. Navigating three flights of stairs while kettle drums continue tuning up in my head makes for a Blitzkrieg redux.
Swinging legs over edge of bed begins this formidable mission. Where're my socks, my shoes, my jeans, my one t-shirt (working on the rips. No actor worth his salt wears a hole-less t-shirt.) Step at a time. Both hands steady to the temples. Third flight of stairs, the narrow ones, using the walls to keep me from falling. Damn...that was some "last call."
"Hi Sara," I mumble passing the mirrored third floor dance hall. A nod. All I ever get from her. Damn, such a waste. All she does is dance and teach, dance and murder her feet.
Second floor stairs wider. Wobbly still, hands unsteady, bracing against linoleum faced walls, Houston Street special, floors, stairs and walls, one price, six rolls of poly-whatever, shouldered by me and three buddies for the short 6th Ave subway ride. What a nightmare; trying to make room for that much bargain-basement-remodeling in a crowded subway.
Stage work-lights illuminate Zoo Story, mid-act scene. Park bench with Jerry and Peter, iconic figures of Manhattan conflicts. Nine a.m., and already immersed in the hell of Albee's classic tragedy. Sunday morning. Tragedy. Well...what else is there for twenty-something-aspirants in the ‘60s to focus on.
Concentrate. Make it to the entrance. Decide. My head. My head. Okay. What would Marlon do? Place hands in pockets. No. Light another cigarette first. Yeah. Cool. Pancakes, here I come.
Across the threshold, Sunday's communion wafers-in-a-batter await consumption by the confessed. All the sunrise remnants of the disappointment's coping. Sometimes weary. Sometimes not. A thespian's ritual. Action as art-for-art's-sake determined. Communion of the other kind.
Sabrett hotdog for lunch.
There's always another "Last call," coming up.