FERRETS, PITT BULLS AND FRAGRANT STREETS AGLITTER WITH DIAMONDS…..Stop The World, I Wanna Get Off !

| March 2, 2011 | Comments (1)

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There are some questions that will never be answered. That’s because the question can never be asked, the reply forever remaining a mystery. For example, how could Tyra manage to pay $10,000 for an operation on her pet ferret’s upper intestine ? When she told me her sad story – or rather the ferret’s sad story – I was amazed and incredulous in addition to being saddened. Sad because the little creature ended up dying and Tyra suspects it was due to veterinary malpractice. But incredulous because I could not figure out how a young woman on a burger-flipper’s minimum wage could afford to pay ten grand cash for anything let alone ferret surgery.

Trya is a young latina who works at Pret-a-Manger, an upscale coffee house chain in midtown Manhattan (“Organic When We Can”…) Our friendship is an across-the-counter kind of love. I order and she delivers the cappucino. It’s  amazing how much conversation can be exchanged as the steamed milk is hissed into  a double shot of expresso. Tyra is rather butch and take-charge which is why I suggested she join the Army and get away from her dead-end job. She said she wanted to serve her country but she couldn’t afford to leave her pets. That’s when the story about Phillip – Phillip the Ferret – emerged.

It never ceases to amaze me the way some  people manage to come up with money you would never think they had. There are many examples: my friend  Poncho being broke and on welfare but managing to find $60 for a hairbraid job and another $20 to take a taxi to the salon. Well, in his case there IS an answer, I think. (He sells his booty for $200. an hour via the rentboy website.) But let’s forget about Poncho and talk about more edifying cases.

My friend Nicole recently returned from  Haiti and wrote a “Haiti Diary” about her trip. In it she detailed the almost inhuman conditions that prevail for most of the population, especially for those people in tent cities. But everywhere, she says, inspite of lack of electricity, abyssmal sanitary conditions, no clean water and abject poverty, Haitian children even from the poorest class are invariably turned out in beautifully clean little uniforms and Sunday church-going clothing. Where does this garb come from and how can they manage to launder and iron it? No one seems to know. But it happens.

Similarly with Tyra, I long to know how this hard-working young woman, who stands on her feet all day smiling at ridiculous people like me, can afford to support herself and a menagerie of animals, spending huge sums of money on their care and hospitalization. As devious and clever as I fancy I am, I have yet to devise a sufficiently oblique question which will draw out the information I seek without offending her with my nosy query. So Tyra’s late ferret will rest in eternal peace keeping his secret from me.

Which leads me to East 44th Street and some strange, wonderful and almost unspeakable happenings which occurred there today.

My appointment with a massage therapist was set for 2 PM. His studio is in the Beaux Arts apartment building between 2d and 3d Avenues, an edifice of  unusual but decidedly faded art deco  charm. Actually rather a seedy place. The facility – his workplace – was spare and borderline clean, smelling strangely kennel-like although no four-legged creatures were in evidence. Aside from a narrow massage table the room was furnished with a rope hammock and an unusual hanging chair. Had I entered a festishist’s den?

Ernst, the masseur, was a friendly, strapping fellow and set to work. Toward the end of the session which I would rate as so-so in terms of expertise and rather disconcerting due to the narrow massage table which I found myself sliding off of at regular intervals, I felt a strange and, I must admit, repulsive sensation in my feet.

Ernst had started low and worked upwards and was now administering a rather delicate, and it seemed, dangerous  cranial twist maneuver to my neck and head. (A quick snap in the wrong direction and would I  be paralyzed for life?)

The feeling in my foot could be described as nothing more or less than being licked by a giant, wet tongue. But how could that be when Ernst was now laboring at my upper extremities? What I felt was happening  six feet below. I tensed and was admonished curtly by Ernst to “Relax!” Relaxation at this point was impossible. I was being twisted into a vegetable state up above and down below…I knew not what was transpiring!

Unable to control myself, and mad with curiousity and revulsion, I wretched my head from Ernst’s grasp and looked below at my feet.  There I saw an ENORMOUS  Pitt Bull Dog with an even more enormous, viscous tongue licking my toes and regarding me with soulful, bulging  eyes. I heard myself emitting what sounded like a cross between a groan and shriek while  Ernst mumbled, “Oh, that’s Oskar!”

Enough was enough! I tore back the protective sheet that shielded my bare bottom, and still  slathered with oil and unwashed, jumped into my street clothes and fled the place.

Out on Third Avenue, I knew I had entered a demented state. The street was aglitter with the blinding light of thousands of diamonds and fragrant cream flowed in the gutter!  Was I truly out of my mind?

I thought it probably best to end it all here and now by throwing myself in front of an on-coming truck when I noticed a delivery van next to me with Bristol Cream Sherry written on its side panel. The  vehicle’s loading pallet had slipped out of balance and dozens of bottles of cream sherry had hit the street and were smashed to myriad shiny  glass bits. The air was heavy with the intoxicating aroma that is served up at the end of a long meal – cream sherry.

I heaved a sigh of relief and, with now dry toes,  moved down the Avenue, re-assured that my senses were with me.

All was back to normal except for that window- washer dangling from the 30th story of the UN Plaza hotel. As a crowd of overpaid  UN employees on their two-hour lunch break gawked, twittered and pointed,  brave New York City firemen executed a thrilling helicopter rescue.  Later that evening I saw myself on network television, part of the band of useless on-lookers.

Ferrets, Pitt Bulls and helicopters…  just another day in the Rotten Apple.

Care for a nip of sherry ?

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  1. jim arrigan says:

    Wow, what an exciting day for you. I think one of my ex yoga teachers does massage, will check , you can’t do worse.

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