Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / HierCon / Cops /
In the mid 1970s I was running PK Fine Arts Ltd. out of the same apartment I’d run FLEX. The woman next door was a school teacher, invited me to a party there. Mostly other school teachers. Communists. The “party” was really a Communist meeting. I had no intention of starting any affairs with the neighbors but I started going out with one of the other teachers from the party. One night we’re running late getting to the movie, bolted down the dinner, jammed the PK Fine Artsmobile into a tiny space I found within a dozen blocks of the theater, walked to her house after. Hung over and bleary the next morning I stumble around trying to remember where I put the van.
Realization and panic hit close to each other. It wasn’t where I’d put it. My van, containing maybe $60,000 worth of art that I alone did not own, had been stolen. Only then did I notice that the tiny space I’d slammed the van into had signs at either side: temple entrance. Sure enough, up the steps of the brownstone on W 88th Street there was a little plaque in Hebrew. Ah ha. Maybe the police stole my van and are holding it for ransom. PK Fine Arts was pretty much hand to mouth in those days, so I couldn’t afford even a modest fine, and a towing fine would not be modest. Still, I hoped the cops had it. I walked home, called a precinct, got passed other phone numbers, and sure enough, the cops were holding my van down on the river.
I was already kicking myself because I’d run off to get laid after the movie without going back to the van to let my poor old blind faithful dog out for a watering. (Imagine a world in which domestic animals and pets could sue their owners for neglect.) I begged the cops: please let my dog out of the van. All they told me was that I’d have to show up with a certified check. I get to the bank and realize that the cops had given me the amount but identified no payee. The bank guided me to certifying the check to myself, then signing it over to them.
The towing yard was a sight in the autumn rain. That part of the east bank of the Hudson may have been a thriving port at one time, but now its was a wasteland, a slum inhabited only by rats and the arrogance of the kleptocrats. Gray, wet, bare, grungy. A line of irate drivers was ahead of me. I can’t get anyone’s attention to find out about my dog: did they let him out for a pee? It must annoy anyone to have to pay ransom to the police in order to resume one’s normal life. Can you imagine how it feels to an anarchist? to the founder of FLEX? to pk, the deschooler? who wanted FLEX to replace not only schools, but government and media as well? I was still hung over, but at age thirty-six or -seven, I’d learned some resignation. At least I had two really cute young women ahead of me to look at. Blond hair, sweet faces, nice bods: bosoms, sweetly inviting buttocks, early twenties, I’d guess. The guy cursing the cops in Hungarian is gone. Now the guy cursing the cops is doing so in some sort of Scots-broken English.
I can see the cops now, barricaded behind bullet proof glass, only a slit tinier than the holes at the old teller windows to curse through.
Calling Cops Pigs Is An Insult to Pigs
The cops were impervious. They were beefy brutes, inscrutable as swine in a pen. Their operation was unheated. Down on the river. The cesspool of civilization. Rain dripped from the dome several stories overhead. The cops wore badges and guns and bullet proof vests. Otherwise they seemed to be pretty much out of uniform. Flannel shirts with frayed cuffs. Tons of long johns from their bulky appearance. They did their paper work while the public screamed imprecations at them. Every other minute they’re raking another $75 across the counter and into kleptocracy’s coffer.
Finally, the girls ahead of me advance to the slit in the glass. “You cocksuckers. You motherfuckers.” This is not a translation, not an interpretation. I quote verbatim.
You cocksuckers. You motherfuckers.
The cops heard these angels of WASP distaff with the same attention they’d heard the Hungarian and the Scottish. I didn’t even notice the merest ogle at the sources of the current harangue. What can I possibly say that they’ll hear, that they’ll respond to, once it’s my turn?
As my mother used to say, if you’re going to get raped, lie back and enjoy it. I’d devoted my life to revolution, gotten no where, won no victories, what converts I’d made (or rather were drawn to me) had wandered off in despair, in defeat. What can I possibly scream at them that they’ll respect? Ah: I won’t scream.
I get up to the slit, just shove my paper work across as at a bank. I explain what the bank had explained to me. I sign it over: it’s cash. The cops were confused only momentarily. They saw that that had to be right: the check was certified. Now they’re filled out their form the way they do when they get the payment.
“Hold it a sec,” I say. They’ve yet had no trouble from me. Miraculously, the pig does. He looks up. This check has taken every penny I could gather. I’d come terrifyingly close to not being able to quite fill their bucket. But I was dressed for business. If they couldn’t tell at a glance that I was Ivy League, they certainly, instantly, understood that I was an executive. “How many zeros do I have to add to that check to buy in on this scam?”
I hadn’t seen the cop’s brow wrinkling at the “cocksucker” or the “motherfucker,” but now he looks up in confusion. “Wha’ju say?”
I clarified. “What do I need to bring to be your partner? On my best day in business I’ve never seen money cross the counter like you guys are doing. I want in.”
The cop stared at me. Then he called his fellow cops. “Hey, you all. Come over here.” A convention gathered. “Say that again,” he tells me.
I do an encore. I expand. “You guy’s should have that dome gold plated. You should have geishas serving you espressos. You should be wearing top hats and tails, the money you’re raking in. But your clothes are spilling out of your pants. You look like you’ve been wearing the same shirt for ten years. You don’t even fix the leak in the roof. …”
The cops’ beef, already shabby, deflated further. But they ceased to look like swine in a pen. Their armor had been breached. They looked like miserable suffering, embarrassed human beings. “Isn’t it awful what we do?” “The money we take in for this city.” “Yeah, they don’t even fix the roof.” And so forth and so on. I could feel the line behind me softening.
2002 08 02 That’s a quote. The cop said “they.” The cops too referred to the city as “they.”
PS: Even though I’d just come from a woman’s bed, it was killing me that the two cute girls ahead of me had left and were missing my performance.
PPS: I’m dizzy right now from all the revising and recoding I’ve already done for this Cops folder (and that was that time: now I’ve done it all again), but it occurs to me: I must return to expand on why I wouldn’t have bothered suing the cops for kidnapping my dog and not giving him relief even after being asked: because cops are government: and government is monopoly. Imagine different police forces competing for your dollar. Imagine countries have to compete for their citizens! Imagine cheap international home moving services: Let’s go kids, I think it would be better to live in New Zealand for these next couple of months.
I find my van. Angus is practically paralyzed with stiffness. He pees and pees and pees against the front tire. Didn’t even stagger to the next car over to relieve himself. No territorial scent markings. No hoarding to foster further distribution. He just emptied himself. I promised him I’d get him home to food and water.
Notice: the cops hadn’t seen that they’d kidnapped a pet. Hadn’t gotten the message when told, hadn’t complied, hadn’t answered. They just took in the money. But when I pseudo-admiringly accused them of being Mafiosi, they were relieved to plead guilty. Then they went back to raking in the money. For the real war lord.
That cop story has some humor in it. Another cop story I haven’t yet penned relates to it in that I spent an evening listening to a New York cop’s anguish at being a dispenser of tickets to the middle class when he’d wanted to fight crime in the lower class. The occasion was a weekend’s skiing at Hunter Mountain.
All my cop stories so far, in more or less chronological order, have been “bad” police stories. My next one is Funny!
Though I now see that I’ve lost the chronological integrity of the order: we hark back to my college days.