Somewhere during this whole episode the crooks decided to take my watch. Of course they couldn’t figure out how to get it off my wrist so I helpfully obliged. I assumed it was better than allowing them to pull out a hatchet and chop my hand off. It was a digital watch my parents gave me when I turned 18, before you could find them for $3 on Canal Street. I was hoping for a car at the time but if it made this bunch happy it was priceless as far as I was concerned.
Then, as suddenly as the whole drama began, it was over. They must have assessed that they’d gotten all they could and hightailed it. After realizing they were gone, I got up off of the floor in a daze of relief. As I took the worst of it, everyone inquired as to my physical and mental state. How was my physical and mental state? A few minutes before, I was one wrong move away from being a dead man. I was happy…happy to be alive! A little bloody, bruised and beaten, but happy to not have a hole in my head with smoke billowing out of it.
Soon after I made my way to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. It was not a pretty sight. Besides the caked on streaks of blood across my face, there was a scrape below my left eye via someone’s boot. Weeks later, I still had to put makeup over it for gigs and photo shoots. You can just make it out in the shot that appeared in FACE magazine later that summer. My hair would need work too….and we know how important that was. To this day, if I get my hair cut too short, there’s a bald spot on the back of my head thanks to the butt end of a shot gun.
After exiting the crapper I realize that Tim had been handcuffed to a radiator and everyone was searching around for bolt cutters to free him. Smutty had been held at gun point on a couch nearby while the crooks interrogated a disagreeable young lady who worked there. Every time they’d ask her where the drugs or money were, she’d tell them to “F*ck off” in a voice only a New Yorker could possess, although it’s possible she may have been from Jersey. Her refusals were followed by whacking Tim into the hot radiator. It was like a Rube Goldberg contraption, one unrelated action, followed by another, and another, resulting in a finality unrelated to the initial action. Unlike the board game of Mouse Trap, with this contraption, the mouse never got the cheese.
As we assembled in the waiting area, the people that ran the place wanted us all to get our stories straight before calling the cops for fear of them finding what the crooks couldn’t. We weren’t hanging around for the cops or the possible return of the villains. They did offer us some free rehearsal time though. We passed.
I finally got to ask Dibbs how he came upon the crooks and ended up back in the rehearsal space with me and Barry. “I was having a piss when I saw one of them. I said ‘Oy, mate’ and started to make my way past them?” “’Oy mate’?!?! What were you thinking? They had stockings over their heads for Crissakes”!! In what may simultaneously be the most absurd yet logical comment ever uttered by Dibbs’ in all of our conversations in over thirty-five years, his explanation was as follows: “I thought they were a Devo band.” Realize though that when Dibbs said it, it came out, “I FOUGHT ‘AY WUR a Devo band.” You see, when Dibbs’ first came to New York straight from London, it was Halloween night 1978. Seeing people walking around the west village dressed as life sized tampons was quite a culture shock. They didn’t have Halloween in England so he thought all Americans were nuts. As time went on he began to understand the culture and discern what the norm was. Sights like that were viewed as just another night on the town in the post-punk New York of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Frankly, the bathrooms at CBGB could be scarier than some guys in ski masks.
By this time I decided it was best to go home, shower and relax in my comfy bed. We had that matinee gig with the Clash in two days and I needed to be at my best. It was an understatement to say it had been a rough evening and I felt some time to just mellow out was the best choice. A few band members, being less bloodied than I, decided a night at the Mudd Club was a better choice. While there, they ran into my little red headed model friend. We had seen each other a few more times since our first “date”, but she was not jumping into the relationship with gusto. You might say she was playing hard to get. After Dibbs filled her in on that evening’s escapades, she found a pay phone and called me to see how I was. I convinced her to come over and nurse me back to health. Well, once again, just like the year before when I got mugged on the way to the bank and ended up with the cashier, this latest brush with death paid off in unexpected ways.
Like the song said, he hit me, but now I was glad…and I was cool with that.
© Curt Weiss 2015