I knew a guy in Brooklyn who had his rent paid for by his Hasidic landlord as long as he agreed to get paddled once or twice a month. His landlord was dyslexic and had 2 kids. One had cerebral palsy and his hands looked like chicken talons. His other kid wasn’t allowed to go outside. My friend said that right before he pulled him over his lap to give him his punishment, he would pray and beg for forgiveness so that he may be relieved of his surmounting urge to spank young men.
My landlord was Hasidic too. His name was sometimes Gino, but mainly Jay. When he shook my hand a small avalanche of white flakes would tumble down his shoulders from his ears and settle on his beard and the long sideburn tendrils. He came by to get the rent and always looked around the apartment as if he had crossed over to another world, maneuvering around with his hands stretched out like a blind prophet. He would pick up DVD’s from the record shelf and bring them close to his face. We always kept Natural Fucking Sluts on the top, because the color of the background perfectly matched the color of the walls.
When I showed him my laptop he was very taken a back and immediately asked me how much it cost. I said probably a thousand dollars. He sat down with me on the little white loveseat and I showed him some videos on YouTube of open-heart surgery and someone getting a tooth implant. He was very impressed and asked to see more surgery. Matty went to get his camera to take a picture of us, but Gino stood up and grabbed the part of his arm covered with cockroach tattoos and said “No, you can’t photograph. Please, I think no.” I thought he would leave then, but instead he sat back down to continue watching the cataract removal video. Matty picked up his sketchbook and started drawing, darting his eyes back and forth from the two of us and his paper. After forty-five minutes had passed I finally asked Gino to leave, and he got up, shook my hand and snowed, and said, “You have a lot of talents, my good friend. The paintings are nice. I like them because they are so real look.” When he said that he was looking at a painting I was working on of a blond twink boy getting an oral exam from an old doctor, the boy’s eyes rolled back into his head. When he left Matty showed me the drawing and I lit a joint.