As the 7am hypnagogic state recedes, the realisation that I am still alive is both surprise as well as a sinking dread. I was on the train. Coney Island's winter sun. A numb face and a decent slumber. I'd taken this train as a sleepwalker goes for a midnight piss, without conscious thought. Escapism of the purest, with nothing on my clearing mind. Leaving Peter the Ponce at The OW, a gay hangout where he was proffering himself for survival dollars, I had a gut aching for home-cooked food and some decent beer. Peter had really pushed the envelope, trying to get me involved in his schemes. The easily duped had much to fear from him. Dublin northsider with a sly patter and a slow wit, enough to get by on the streets of Manhattan. He would later be unveiled as a ponce, a thief and a dishonest punter, which was enough for Smiths of 44th to write him off as a fellow traveler. At least I had honesty on my side. Not much, but enough to gain a fair modicum of respect and more importantly, partners.
I stayed on and jumped trains. Station Bar at Queens would offer solace for a few hours. I'd already freaked the barkeep by spotting the 50 year exiled Donegal brogue, even though it was buried under a dense patina of New York pattoir. Big John was OK about that, I was no snitch, his misdemeanours were long gone and his immigration permanent. He knew from my serious, unblinking gaze that I was no threat, an ally, a future friend. My reflection remained wraith like. I snatched a look at my miserable figure in the reflection of the Metro window as it rushed to the heart of The Apple. I had a few weeks, maybe days to get straight, have a meal and try to escape the sucking into the spirals of Dante's hell I was seeing.