People I'm Not Talking to Next Year
by Jimmy Breslin
New York Herald Tribune
All these people today, they run around and put their arms around each other's shoulders and they say how much they like each other and they hope the new year is better than the old year. And all during 1965 they were trying to kill each other and now today, because of a calender on a wall, they think everything should be nice.
This is not my game. I can remember too well. And I remember everything that every person did to me during the year, and herewith, on this day of warmth and understanding, I present the people who did something very bad to me during the last twelve months and because of what they did to me I do not intend to speak to one of them throughout the coming year.
GOLDSTEIN THE PROCESS-SERVER: About a month ago I was walking on Seventh Avenue and this little bum in an overcoat down to his ankles comes up to me. "Pardon me, but didn't I see you last night with Johnny Carson?" I wanted to kiss him. Beautiful. "Yes, you did," I said. "Great," he said, "don't tell me your name. I have your name written down right here." Out of the pocket of his overcoat comes a folded piece of legal paper that said the Chemical Bank had put a lien of $1500 on me because I cosigned for another one of Fat Thomas's cars.
"Wear it in health," said Goldstein the Process-Server.
Well, Goldstein the Process-Server could go into the ocean and be drowning this year and I would sit on the beach and say, "I can't hear you, Goldstein."
PEPE: His real name is Norton W. Peppis. Pepe runs a saloon with his partner, John McGuire, and him I intend not even to nod to this year. All year they spend their afternoons at the racetrack. When the horses left, Pepe, who had started out the year with a Cadillac and now has to try to find change for a subway ride, sat down with his partner and tried to figure out how they could get some money. They found a way. On Christmas Eve, the manager of the saloon comes to my house with a bill for $895 they said I had run up in the joint. You should get paid by the hour just to be in the place. And they look to get out on Christmas Eve by sending me a tab. They didn't have it in them to come around personally. Well, I'm not talking to Pepe and when I see him riding on the subway train I am going to look out the window.
BIG SHOT MAITRE D' AT THE 21 CLUB: All my life I've sat in Mutchie's saloon and read stories about how so-and-so was with this big beauty at 21 last night. Back in October I was out with some guys, and one of them said he'd like to see what this 21 was like and I said I'd like to see the place too. We went to the 21 and I go up to the door and give it a push and we all go inside. You never saw anything like it in your life. All guys with tuxedos on started to run toward us.
"Can I help you" one of them said. A tall guy. He was in charge. He had both his hands on my chest.
"We are all filled here tonight," he said.
Then he pushed at me hard so that a party of about eleven could come in through the door. He smiled at them and the eleven strolled to the bar.
"You see this carpet on the floor?" I yelled. "I'll come back here with a guy and set it on fire."
One of the other guys in the tuxedos went for a telephone. He was probably going to call the cops.
"You don't want to come in here," the maitre d' said.
Big shot. Damn right I don't want to go into his place. You could take the 21. Take the whole joint and the suckers who go into it. It is a sink compared to Mutchie's saloon, which is directly across from Pier 29, East River, and last night Georgie Brown was seen with Sherry at the bar of Mutchie's, and Nunzi hosted a big party for Jumbo from the fish market.
What follows now is a list of people who I am not going to talk to. The reasons would take too long to explain. So I just list the people.
Atra Baer, Mike the Brain, Roger Kahn, Mr. Hitz from Bleeck's, B.J. Cutler, Mr. Finelle from the Municipal Building, Miss Stewart from the telephone company, Everett Walker, Harold Anderson, Harry Day, Harrison Salisbury, Jerry the Booster, Seymour the pirate, Mrs. Pirate, Mrs. Ahearn from Consolidated Edison Company, Hugo the Tailor, Mike Lee, Transit Authority cop who wouldn't let me go up the subway stairs on Thanksgiving Day, Nick Lapole, Max Kase, Boyd Lewis, Jack Powers, Mr. Fiore of Beneficial Finance Corp., Toney Betts, Tom Zumbo, Arthur J. Sylvester, Phil Pepe, Joe Alvarez, Mike Reynolds, Tom Frane, Ed Aurico, Lester Williamson, Louis Kleinsteuber, Al Newman the bail bondsman, Vivienne the housekeeper, and Joey Beglane.