But the man there said the music woudn’t play…
Live from the Sacred Store (East), March, 1970.
But the man there said the music woudn’t play…
Live from the Sacred Store (East), March, 1970.
What’s Billy whispering in Mickey’s ear? Leave your best guess in the comments and win a footrub from TC. That’s right: TotD has contracted with TCTCB (Taking Care of Tom Constanten’s Business) Productions to bring you this once-in-a-lifetime encounter.
TC will come to your home (as long as you don’t live somewhere stupid like Canada) and attempt to give you pleasure. Via your feet.
Notwithstanding the question of whether the prize is to be desired, let’s see your captions.
Also–and this is just laying all the cards on the table–TC will most likely stay with you a while. At this point, he’s just kind of a homeless elderly man with a foot fetish.
Big-Dicked Sheila opened her shop early that Tuesday morning. She had missed the breakfast meeting of her group of gender-fluid exotic flora lovers (Trans’ Transplant Plants,) but for a hair emergency: this is what Sheila lived for. When she opened Big-Dicked Sheila’s Hair Salon for Rock Stars and Their Ilk almost a decade before, she knew there would come a day unlike any other.
Sheila had a hand in most of the great rock haircuts: she introduced the Crüe to Aqua Net; told a balding Isaac Hayes to shave his head; took Elton John to a hat shop. She had talent, sure, but she also had perseverance and vision. Sheila once got Lou Rawls an afro pick at four in the morning. Easter Sunday morning. The impressive part is that Lou didn’t even know he needed an afro pick.
Sheila was born “out in the boondocks and straight to the docks, sweetie.” That was as much as you’d get out of her. When Sheila thought about her childhood, she remembered something she read in a book: Some childhoods are lush forests; others, deserts: we don’t get to choose. We do get to decide to move on or not.
Sheila chose to move on: her salon was her family now and it was the best in the city. The gay guys were cattier, the women were cattier, the shop cat was actually two shop cats, thereby making it cattier as well. Everyone was always accusing someone of trying to destroy them, and no matter how many seminars about compound interest Sheila sponsored, not one person was saving any drama for their mama.
She had been at this game awhile, so when the phone rand at four in the morning, Sheila was ready. By her bed was a pen and paper. Also, a shotgun loaded with rock salt for the next time Billy pulled any of his “panty raid” bullshit.
The phone’s earpiece shrieked and hawed and cried: no one would put that to their heads–FLLLUCRES MYYYYYDOQleeamyyyyyyydoqSHRFIIIIIIIIIIIII–and a smelly ooze leaked from the handpiece, out of all the seams of the heavy Ma Bell telephone set.
And a whispering: my will is the will of the dirt and decay join me join me your soul for me and mine for me “–sorry about that. Ned Lagin picked up the other phone and that’s what happens.” Phil said.
“I heard about that: thought it was made up.”
“Now you know. You should see what happens when you take a picture of him. Actually, you shouldn’t see it ever: looking at the photos is bad.”
“Bad,” Sheila said.
“Uh-huh, yeah: bad.”
“You wanna elab–“
“If you looked at the photos, you’d kill your family, let’s not talk about it, I called for a reason, don’t tell people about that, but seriously: don’t ever look at a picture of Ned Lagin.”
Sheila was used to middle-of-the-night calls from maniacs on drugs, but this one was an outlier. (Sheila had, in fact, been almost exclusively dealing with maniacs on drugs for years now, and mostly after midnight. Landing in the Bay Area with $86, Sheila quickly put what she had to use and began going to rock stars’ houses (or their ilks’ apartments) and cutting hair, or selling drugs, or banging. You had to get a haircut if you had sex, though: she wasn’t that type of girl to charge for that. The haircut would cost two hundred bucks, though.)
“Big-Dicked Sheila!” Phil said.
“Just Sheila works for me.”
“I thought that was your first name,”
“You thought my first name–“
“Let’s get past that. Sheila, can you help me?”
“Well, of course I can help you, Philbert J. Lesh. You silly man. Come on by.”
Sheila flicked the lights on and fixed herself in the mirror. She was doing an early-90’s grunge thing this week: a slip dress and Doc Martins. Shirt hair, spiky. The whole thing was an admirable package. Another admirable package lay beneath the slip dress.
Big-Dicked Sheila had a big dick. Not comically big: usefully big. Big in an economically viable way: it opened doors, checkbooks, and legs everywhere she went. Sheila thought of her dick like a teaching degree: it was something she could always fall back on if everything else didn’t pan out.
Some wanted sex, others just to marvel at the thing. Men and women painted it. A guy in Sausalito liked to lay on his back and bat at it like a kitty. Sheila was not fond of that guy, mostly for the commute. A surprising number of people–gay, straight, male, female–wanted to do lines off it. Almost everyone who saw it wanted to do lines off it, honestly.
Dime out of a dollar, that’s what Sheila saved. Every hundred that came in, ten went in the bank. Took her a few years of haircuts and strangers snorting cocaine off her penis, but she had the down payment and the drive and the rolodex and this was motherfucking America.
Big-Dicked Sheila was a small-business owner and a job creator.
Phil slouched in around ten, wearing a sweatshirt with the hood up and a baseball cap. (He was also wearing a hideous tie-dye tucked into a nice pair of chinos, but that’s a given. The hoodie and the hat are what you should be focusing on.)
“Oh, Phil,” Sheila said, bringing him a coffee that was so Irish it had died in the potato famine. “What’s the matter? what’s with the disguise?”
“Oh, Big-Dicked Sheila–“
“Just Sheila’s fine.”
“–please help me.” And with that, Phil exposed his head. “LOOK AT ME!”
“This is how you always look, sweetie.”
“I KNOW! Have I always looked like this much of a goober?”
Phil sat down in the chair; Sheila let him spin around and go up and down for a minute or two. Then, she got to business.
Sheila liked cutting hair and she would lose herself in it: the tiny little decisions, snipping four or five hairs at a time, changing her view. There was perfect haircut for everyone, she believed, and her job was to remove all the hair that wasn’t that.
So, she did.
When Sheila was done, Phil had all the sexy. His hair was light and shaggy and kooky-nutty like the kids all have today. Phil was–perhaps for the first time on purpose–fuckable.
“Finally,” Phil said as he stood up, got brushed off, put back on his trousers that he had removed beneath the barber’s robe. “Finally, I am as good-looking as Bobby.”
“Yeah? Huh. Ok, sure.”
“Send the bill the Dead office.”
“You guys aren’t going to try to pay in stolen telescopes again, are you?”
“We did what?”
Phil tipped Sheila well and left. She sat in the chair he had just occupied and took a deep breath. She had chosen the weirdos and there was no use complaining now. Besides, Carlos Santana was coming in later, and he wouldn’t take his hat off for his haircut, and it was just this thing with him, and–
The bell over the door rang. Phil stuck his head back in the shop.
“Do you wanna do a line off my boner?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well, get the fuck in here, then.”
Garth Brooks and Glenn Beck are the same person, right? Like, that’s where Garth was all those years: crying patriotically.
“I would like to thank you all for coming down to this press conference, which is being brought to you by Bill Graham Productions. I’d also like to thank Elvin Bishop for warming up the room and jamming and getting the dancing going.
“But, now: serious talk, real talk, gonna rap with you here and let everyone in on what’s going down. Also, I heard that one or more of the Dead wandered in, so we should all assume that we’ve been dosed and use the next 20 minutes in a professional manner.We will be closing down the Fillmore in June. We have been presenting shows at the Winterland and been very successful with that size venue and just couldn’t keep the Fillmore going: it didn’t make economic sense.
“The Fillmore was built in 1911 and was originally a whorehouse. Then it became a brothel. Then rock music. The rumor is that it will become a gay bathhouse. Time is a flat circle. One thing’s for sure: a lot of people got fucked in here.
“Bill Graham presented Miles Davis here, back when he was wearing his sharp suits and he was mysterious and dark and Miles and you know: Miles. He’s quite literally the worst human being that ever lived. My theory is that Miles only got that good at the trumpet for the freedom it gave him to be an asshole. So, to fuck him, I put Steve Miller on the bill with him.
“This is nothing against Steve Miller, by the way. Lovely man, charitable, a god of ping-pong–but not Django Reinhardt, y’know? He had a bar band and they played simple, catchy songs. Later on, it would be federally mandated that every roller-skating rink in America play his Greatest Hits record on a loop.
“Steve was a cutie and the drummer was good: the teens would come out and boogie in their seats and reach over into each other’s laps and times were good, you feel me? But play? No, he couldn’t actually play.
“This did not escape Miles’ notice.
“He walked outside the building. I usually discourage the artists from doing that, as they tend to wander off after being mugged. In those days, there was a one-to-one ratio of muggers to people in this neighborhood. Miles didn’t have any problems. No one was mugging Miles Davis.
“Or bothering his Lamborghini. Miles had left his $100,000 supercar outside the Fillmore, knowing full well that he was possibly the only human being alive who could do that and not come back to a smoking husk of car with a couple homeless dudes having a sex thing on top of it. Maybe Malcolm X could have left his Ferrari on that street, but the whole point of being Malcolm X is that you don’t have a Ferarri, so we’re in the realm of hypotheticals and Bill Graham don’t swing that way, tiger.
“Miles gets in the car and starts it up: vrooOOOOOM, you know those stupid things. He’s gonna bolt!
“But he doesn’t: Miles throws the thing out of the spot without looking at around 400 mph, screeches a u-turn in the street, runs over three squirrels (the first two were accidents, the third he aimed for,) doesn’t use his turn signals, passes a school bus with its lights on, and skids the massive beast of an auto into a spot damn near perfectly across the street from where he started.
“Miles gets out of the car, leaving the keys in the ignition. Walks into the Fillmore, up the stairs, out onto the stage. Then Miles called Steve Miller a no-playing cracker motherfucker’ and karate-chopped him in the neck.
“Later on I asked Miles, ‘I understand cracking Steve Miller’s hyoid bone like that, but what was the thing with the car?’
“And Miles said, “Street cleaning regulations, you no-sign-reading Jew motherfucker,” and karate-chopped me in the neck.
“Lot of memories here.”