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Flip Frost Loves New York

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His awakening thought: The roaches were probably still sleeping. They only come out at night.

He looked in the cracked dresser mirror and yawned. Gazing down at his 1960‘s analog clock radio (the only artifact from his childhood he still owned), it non digitally registered 5:45. He figured it must be afternoon.

After all, his foggy alcohol drenched brain is slowly recalling stumbling out of CBGB’s to the blinding morning sun. He also remembers breakfast at Leshko’s on Avenue A. Ordering pancakes with his new friend Johan from Germany and those chicks from that fetid excuse for a punk rock band, “The Sanitary Napkin.” A Typical New Jersey art school chick wanna be band.

“Imagine that chick, “Rayon” refusing to give me a hand job under the table! Fuck her,” he indigently said out loud. “Obviously she does not know who I am.” His dry mouth now feeling and tasting like he drank a glass of Tang after some astronaut pissed in it.

Luckily, the single bathroom on the fifth floor of the converted loft to skell SRO (Single Room Occupancy) hotel he occupied was empty. He drained the dragon and cut some rather smelly and wickedly wet farts. A solitary minuscule turd followed.

Plop!!! The cold piss laced toilet water shot up his matted hairy dried shit balled(commonly known as dinkelberrys) ass.

He reached around: “No toilet paper again?” he groaned.

Flip remembered he had some napkins in his room from his 4 day old left over Indian take out food delivery. He gingerly stepped back to his domicile (as not to get liquified shit on his already stained undies) and took care of business. Flip threw the wet shit stained napkins out the window, barely missing the container of orange juice on the ledge.

Relieved, he immediately somewhat sobered up to reality. Flip Frost or as his birth certificate documented the beginning of his existence on Tuesday, August 15th 1950 as Martin Frederick Defano was waking up to his world.

“What a long strange trip it’s been.” Flip sung as he lit up a partially smoked Kool Menthol from the overstuffed ashtray by his bed.

*******

Martin Frederick Defano left somewhere in Middle America in 1972 set to become part of and ultimately conquer New York City. On a late August evening, he stepped off a bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal as Flip Frost, a 22 year old naturally talented, self taught, musician, artist and actor, (his own self-description.)

Within the hour Flip was mugged on Eight Avenue. Two Hispanic gentlemen relieved him of his cash and guitar at knife point.

“Is this any way for a grateful city to welcome .....Greatness?”

Flip always believed New York City was more edgy than the West Coast. Ergo, he was also convinced New York City deserved Flip Frost. Flip Frost was bestowing himself and his talent as a noble and humanitarian gesture to perpetuate New York City as the entertainment and art mecca of the world!

“How can they treat me like this?” He incredulously demanded of the police officer taking the complaint report. “I’m Flip Frost!” he sincerely protested as he questionably placed and raised his arms to his sides with palms up.

“Yea, and I’m Columbo” the old worn out cop said without looking up from the ancient manual typewriter. They both sat surrounded by a choir of discordant sounds and individuals in the crowded 124 clerical room of the NYPD’s Midtown Precinct South.

Flip looked down at the cops tarnished metal nameplate, it read “Columbo.” Flip then questioned, “I don’t get it.”

The cop then put a stinky cigar in his mouth, and laughed. “You know, Peter Faulk---Columbo---My Name--- The Cigar.”

The popular 1970’s television detective reference still didn’t register with Flip. “Hows about McCloud, my horse is double parked outside?” The cop hopefully asked, giving television detective humor another shot.

Flip just sat there......looking puzzled.

“I guess you’ll never get it,” the cop grunted as he gave Flip his complaint number and unceremoniously pointed him to the exit.

“What about my guitar?” Flip turned and asked on the way out.

Flip Frost heard it for the first time in New York City at Midtown South from Patrolman Columbo, BUT NOT FOR THE LAST TIME ANYWHERE in New York City:  “Don’t call US, we’ll call YOU.”

*******

Flip moved into his friend Ernie’s apartment. It was a roach filled, fifth floor walk up on the Lower East Side. Flip had a $2000.00 check he luckily hid in his right boot that night before exiting the bus. He deposited it in the bank the next day. Ernie floated Flip until the check cleared.

That $2000.00 was the money Flip inherited from his Aunt Eunice. She always encouraged Flip’s artistic endeavors, even though she truly thought he had limited artistic abilities.

After all, love is love.

Aunt Eunice would be proud of him now, Flip thought. His father excommunicated him from the family for leaving home and not joining the family Funeral Parlor business. Not much pride there.

But his mother, Eunice’s sister Jane, loved her Marty. Through out the years she continually sent him money. She tried to keep contact by telephone and mail. Flip usually ignored her attempted communications, but kept the money.

The worry and concern was taking its insidious toll on Jane’s health. A mother knows hype from the truth. Jane instinctually knew Marty was slipping further and further into a strange, dangerous and degenerate lifestyle.

Flip didn’t seem to care about her concern or her health. He ignored it completely.

 

Any New Yorker would describe Flip’s behavior as that of a “one way fuck.”

*******

Marty met Ernie back home. Ernie visited from Albany, New York. His Grandmother lived next door to the Defano family. Marty and Ernie became fast friends and planned to start a rock band to take New York City by storm.

It is not a stretch to say Marty lived in his own world. Ernie was kind of a simpleton (a few strings short of a six string guitar) and bought into Marty’s world of hyperbole. The odds are their storm that would supposedly take New York City would probably turn out to be just another weak weather front coming out of the midwest and finally dissipating in New York City.

Ernie worked as a part time Limo driver and actually supported Flip. Ernie was a believer in Flip’s greatness. They agreed Flip did not have to do conventional work. Flip was supposedly out “making it happen” for their rock band, Igneous Rock.

Ernie was robbed, shot and killed in 1975 when he didn’t give up his money fast enough during a street robbery on Avenue D and East Third Street. Without funds and refusing to work, Flip was eventually evicted from the apartment.

*******

Toward the end of his time with Ernie, Flip fell heavily into the drug scene. He didn’t have the money to feed the habit, but he knew the connected people and was always at the right places.

Eventually, Flip got addicted to heroin. He sold everything he owned for his habit. Flip always would show up at peoples downtown lofts asking for money, grubbing some food or looking for a place to crash.

But Flip still believed his hype. He always told anyone who would listen that success was just around the corner for Flip Frost. New York will be his, it’s all just a matter of taking the next meeting, developing the next concept, hooking up with the next manager, the next..........

Flip hit the skids and went to rehab through the New York City Department of Social Services. He was now on welfare, going to the Methadone clinic at East 23rd Street and Third Avenue and living in a SRO Welfare Skell Hotel around the corner.

But Flip still was making the Downtown Punk scene’s best parties and best clubs. He clung to the best entourages. Flip was now a fixture of the scene long enough to know all the club owners.  Flip also knew all the bouncers, the musicians, and anyone else that could get him over.

Some naive musicians, like the chicks from “The Sanitary Napkin” believed Flip was a mover and shaker in the music industry. But they all soon discovered the truth. Flip was all talk and no action. He moved in smaller and smaller circles and could no longer shake the stank off his hype.

On the surface, Flip believed his life was a blast, but it was also like being on hold. Flip rarely remembers Patrolman Columbo saying “Don’t call US, we’ll call YOU.” That, in addition to thousands of other times and nuances it was repeated felt like an echo chamber of rejection. But Flip remained uncompromisingly optimistic, dismissing what he didn’t want to hear.

Time went on, but Flip never noticed he was on a treadmill to oblivion. Time stops for no man, not even Flip Frost.

Flip suddenly realized that people stopped returning his calls. He reasoned it was temporary, Maybe it’s because he didn’t have a phone, a beeper and couldn’t afford a telephone message service. But anyone could see it was more than that.

With geometric progression, Flip frightfully looked, talked and smelled like a street heroin junkie who was an alcoholic as well. People were being turned off by not only his constant bullshit hype, but his overall tiresome rock star demeanor. His network of subsistence began to shrink. He became more of a pathetic joke as the days, months and years moved on.

After totally hitting bottom from his fall from his somewhat self imposed position of “grace,” Flip Frost continued and remained determined and optimistic. Just as he did in 1972 when exiting the Greyhound at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

His mindset never changed.

*******

Those ten years of worry, aggravation and failed hope killed Marty’s mother. Marty’s father did not blame their only child for Jane’s demise.  He believed his son Marty died in 1972. This miscreant Flip Frost killed the love of his life.

“Flip Frost Must DIE” was now Ellis Defano, Junior’s overriding motivation for living.    That Italian vendetta gene apparently runs deep.

******

Ellis Defano Jr.’s family is from Chicago. His father, also a funeral director, supplemented his business as a gangland disposal depository for murder victims that were to remain “missing” without a trace. He really had no choice, they selected him. His non compliance meant certain death.

The senior Defano’s extra compartment added to a legit coffin was ingenious (though responsible for many a injured pall bearer’s back.)  His “black sheep” cousin Rocco, ran with people who were in need of such a service. That’s how Ellis Sr. was “selected.”

As the years passed, Ellis Jr. moved on to the tranquil open areas developing in the midwest. He always kept in touch with the “connected” side of the family. That side eventually became involved in the more sophisticated facet of organized crime.

Rocco’s son Stephen was a CEO of a large company in Chicago. The FBI keep a suspicious eye on activities there. But to all outward appearances, Stephen was a successful legit businessman.

The family had distanced itself from the undesirable aspects of the business. But access was always available, when and if necessary.

Stephen attended Jane’s funeral. Asking where Marty was, Ellis Jr. motioned to a private office. Once inside Ellis emotionally related the Flip Frost story and what it did to Jane.

Stephen was shocked. He always thought Marty was living in New York and working in advertising. Stephen expressed his sorrow and asked his cousin “Is there anything I can do?”

Ellis quietly blurted out in Italian “Lo voglio MORTO” - “I want him DEAD!”

Stephen softly said, as if channeling Robert DeNiro as Vito Colerone: “I thought so......listen to me.”

Stephen went on to relate how innovative things have developed because traditional services must adapt with the times. This is true in the continuum of his family business.

Ellis Jr. now suffers from an all to common problem: Children beyond the control and help of their parents or anyone else. Children who are slowly killing themselves and resulting in deaths of parents like Jane. Drug addiction is the main source of complaint.

“Euthanasia?” Ellis Jr. asked.

“We call them Post Natal Abortionists,” Stephen whispered. He went on to explain the procedure as quick and painless.

Assassins with a sense of empathy and ethical purpose.

“Like he never existed” Stephen whispered as he put his hand on his cousin’s shoulder.

That is what happened to Flip Frost on a cold December morning in 1982. He was not missed and is now forgotten, like he never existed. It’s as if Jane and Ellis, Jr. decided to pull the plug on Marty in the autumn of 1949.

That was illegal then, as this is illegal now.

Frankie Neptune (formerly known as Frankie Rembly) observed the transition of his city from its past wild days in the later part of the last century to the present sterile bubble that is now New York City.  His insights from over twenty years as a NYC Police Officer share a rather uniquely twisted view.

Visit his website to read more at www.notpcfiction.com

 

 

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