Behind the Halloween mask is our new friend Rick, a man of many talents.
Just one of them is cooking at a pop-up stand outside the Burger Bar…which, in spite of its name, doesn’t serve food.
Another is making music in the band Morning 40 Federation (named for the band’s unified commitment to alcoholic breakfasts). Based out of New Orleans, they count Ani diFranco as one of their fans; she actually asked permission to sing backup on their record.
Rick grew up in Georgia and dreamed of studying the great books program at St. John’s College in Maryland. Instead, he dropped out of the Univ. of Georgia after a year and started traveling the country as a musician.
One night in 1998 found him in the East Village, in a basement bar called the Holiday near St. Mark’s Place. Flushed with the joy of where bohemian life had brought him, he pulled out a LSD dose that he’d been saving for the occasion. “The hard, dark purple gel kind,” he elaborates, to explain what happened next.
The friend he’d made in the bar asked to split the dose with him, and Rick agreed (“I was trying to be magnanimous!”) but breaking it in half proved difficult. Rick asked the bartender if he had anything that could cut something hard. The bartender handed him a steak knife, and looked the other way while Rick smuggled it into the bathroom.
Just as he managed to saw the gel in half, one of the ends slipped through his fingers. He heard it hit the floor somewhere behind the toilet. The bathroom was even darker than the bar; he flicked on his lighter, feeling the absurdity of looking for a tiny, dark purple object in a pitch-black bathroom.
Unsurprisingly, he didn’t find the LSD behind the toilet. But he did find a baggie of cocaine.
“It was the gods saying ‘Welcome to New York. We ain’t giving you back that acid, but have this coke instead.'”
He ended up not even using the cocaine; he gave it all to the girl he was going to share the LSD with.