Atomic Bloom

Back in 2014 I bicycled from Fort Greene to Bushwick Avenue. Jane Dickson was displaying a sparse mirrored mural of mythical rock bands at the Silent Barn Gallery. The neighborhood was hard-core without any signs of encroachment from the art phenomena farther to the north. I locked my bike to a gate and hoped for the best.

Jane’s work hung on a brick wall.

My favorite faux-band was THE DUH.

Jane greeted friends and admirers. Her work on Times Square, Las Vegas, carnivals and commercial strip malls are well-loved by a large segment of New York and the world. Jane introduced me to people as a great writer. She is planning on using text from my unpublished punk novel MAYBE TOMORROW to add flavor to an upcoming show about Times Square.

I had drank heavily the previous night and on Monday hard work was scheduled for the metal shop in Greenpoint. As I said my good-bye, Kenny Scharf showed up at the gallery. I introduced myself and he reacted as if I had been revived from the dead.

I said nothing.

Some people think I’ve died, while others are surprised by my appearance.

I’m not the man I used to be.

Kenny was railing against the radiation plume spreading from the damaged Fukushima reactor in Japan.

“The radiation is entering the food chain of the West Coast. My daughter was told to eat sea kelp for iodine, but the seaweed comes from the Pacific. They’re doomed out there.”

“I went through Japan after the quake. No one was traveling there.” Narita had been empty.

“The Japanese are safer than us, because the wind is blowing the radiation across the ocean.”

He was right and I thought about the gigantic plastic trash ball floating in the Northern Pacific. It was the perfect breeding ground for a Godzilla-type monster.

Kenny invited Jane and me to a disco near his studio.

“It starts at 12 and goes till 4.”

“Sounds like fun.” Ten years ago I might have gone, but those hours are deep in my bedtime.

I departed from the gallery and unlocked my bike. There was no sign of tampering. My ride back to Fort Greene took thirty minutes. The sky glowed with a pale blue. The color had nothing to do with radiation.

At least not yet.

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