Program Notes

My parents taught me lots of things, like never lie, cheat, steal, or take advantage of people. The lessons came in handy the other day on the streets of downtown Miami. In fact, they saved me twelve dollars.

It went down like this: A black man with a gray beard approached me on Biscayne Boulevard and told me he needed some help. He told me he was a sailor from South Africa, and he handed me a Greyhound baggage tag on which was written this: "Seaman Inn Hotel, $300 paid in advance, talk to Maria." I told him I wasn't familiar with the hotel, but that if we could find a public phone and look up the address, I could tell him how to get there. He acted flustered. As we searched for a phone, another man walked out of a bank. "Let me ask him," the African sailor said. Other Man was a talker: he was assistant manager of the Arby's in Hialeah, he knew the Seaman, it had been torn down when they built the Arena, the sailor had been conned out of $300, but he knew another place the sailor could stay. Let's all walk over there and get this guy lodging.

The sailor took out a wad of money. The other man told him to put it away, now, because there are so many people around here who will rip you off. You're already out $300, you're lucky you met two honest guys, don't worry about the white guy, there's no apartheid here.... The sailor said he'd pay me $100 to help him, and I could give $50 of that to Other Man. "No thanks," I said. "I don't want your money. I just want to help you out."

After much more conversation we got to a corner near Overtown. Other Man asked the sailor if he had ID. "No, man, no. It's still at the bus station on 163rd Street." More talk. Then Other Man came up with an idea. He would volunteer to drive the sailor to the bus station, where the sailor had $5000 and his ID, then bring him back downtown. "But I ain't gonna drive him nowhere while he's holding all that money," said Other Man. "They'll rip him off again." What to do? "How about if you hold his money till he gets back?" he suggested. I didn't think that was a good idea, and explained why. "Oh, c'mon, man, help the guy out," Other Man said, turning to the sailor and pulling out a handkerchief. "Wrap your money in this." The sailor turned his back and began to wrap his money. Other Man told him to turn around and act normal.

Suddenly the sailor grew nervous. "You put your greenbacks in here with mine," he told the other guy. That's when I said, "I'm outta here" and walked away from Overtown. Maybe I should've played it out, got the guys arrested, but I had other things to worry about, like maybe at this point they'll just jack me. Theirs is an old con in new clothing A next they would've asked me to put my cash in the handkerchief, then put that in my pocket and wait for them. If I had done so, I would've ended up with a handkerchief full of paper and been out twelve whole dollars. I called Metro-Dade cops to let them know of the scam, but the police weren't interested. So I'm telling you.

A benefit for Earth Alert takes place this Friday at Churchill's with Day by the River, Third Wish, and Moak.

A big weekend up at the Plus 5, with the return of John Goodwin and the Appetizers on Friday. They'll share the bill with Texas West. On Saturday the club stages Seventh Circuit, featuring members of the Itch, Amboog-a-lard, Jack Off Jill, Smoke Dog, Radiobaghdad, and Mrs. Scabtree.

If you want to have your tape listened to by Sony, mail it to Sony Music Distribution, 5901 Peachtree-Dunwoody Rd, Building C, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30328 and mark it to the attention of Marnie Smith.

Yet another venue for Natural Causes. This Friday they play the Sunny Isles Bridge Patio Bar and Grill in North Miami Beach. No cover charge. Call 947-2003.

Now I'm getting angry letters from jealous dogs. My good friend Roxy (a.k.a. Chum Dog), who turns four years old this November, is one mad puppy thanks to all the coverage lately of young Kinabaker, companion canine of Ana, Maria, and Nelly. "Baker: So I gotta change my name to Roxybaker to make it into your stupid newspaper column?" writes Roxy, who lives with humans Eddie and Irene. "I've known you a lot longer than that little son of a bitch, and I thought we were friends," the Chummer adds. "I took you fishing for paw's sake! It's over! -- (signed) Roxy." Not so fast, fourlegs. It was Eddie that took us fishing, and if you'll recall, it was me who got you drunk for the first time in your life. Back then you thought it was real funny when I joked about tossing you overboard while we were shark fishing near Stiltsville (hence your way-cool nickname). I'm the guy who lets you jump all over me when I drop by your house. Cut me a break already.

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