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Rod Townsend (aka our commenter Momo), sometimes receives telephone calls from The Past, a mysterious entity that remembers where things used to be in New York before Starbucks and Whole Foods came to town.


"I'm so glad you're home, humpyhole."

"Are you being nice to me?"

"Oh... I guess. But I wanted to go to sleep so I thought I'd do that thing where I call you and tell you a story and you sort of help me get to sleep."

"Are you calling me boring?"

"Well, no. Not at all. You sort of remind me of the first time I went to Save the Robots."

"Huh the whah?"

"Save the Robots. But, no, really, I'm always so lucky reaching you at home."

"Well, actually I'm not, I'm in a cab."

"Wow. In the future I bet all the cabs have car phones. That's awesome."

"Yeah, but wait, I'm intrigued, what's Save the Robots? A toy store?"

"Sort of, but more like a playground. In fact the entire first floor is a sandbox. When you first walk in the sand there, you're totally thinking you're tripping out. And maybe you are, but even if you aren't? The unexpected change that you have to make in your walk and still remain graceful, even sexy? It's suddenly challenged."

"Sounds dangerous."

"Dude, if you can make it to Second and Avenue B, you don't care about danger in the pursuit of hedonism. If you want danger you go downstairs to the dancefloor. It's both sticky and slippery. Packed to the gills. And for the whole basement there's maybe one strobe light. Maybe. The music is totally distorted because the DJ is so coked up that he doesn't notice that he's got every bar on the amp in the reds. Sure it's dangerous, but everyone is there to have fun and forget the world outside, and you're all dancing partly because of the music, but more so? Because you're all in on this fucking thing together. And that, mon gerbil aventureux, is a beautiful thing!"

"But how does Save the Robots remind you of me?"

"Oh, right. It doesn't. But my first night there totally does. I showed up having been in town maybe two weeks, most. My new Roomiegirl and I had gone to Lucky Strike and she was flirting up some random German dude and I think maybe I had been too. We cabbed over to 'Alphabet City' and jumped out of the cab and ran to the door. After carousing for a while, Roomiegirl and the German had taken off and I decided to sit down for the first time in hours. I headed to this huge bench in the middle of the room and this befuckingeautiful girl with long black hair sits down and asks me, 'What's your name?' I tell her and she asks me, 'Do you have $10?' I tell her no and she's all, 'Do you have any blow?' After I am all plain-faced with a "no" again, she turns around and talks to someone else."

"A girl? Huh."

"So I talk to some random on my other side, but they're thoroughly boring so I turn back to the first girl and she's like, "What's your name?" and so I retell her and she asks me, 'Do you have $10?' and I retell her no and so then? She's asking, 'Do you have any blow?' and I'm just stunned, but I tell her no. Man. Anyway. That totally reminds me of you."

"How in the world does that remind you of me?"

"Because I was such an idiot. I should have totally teamed up with her to find $10 and become best friends and party buddies for the rest of our, well, morning at least. But I was completely clueless. Thoroughly lost."

"Dude. Not cool. But hey, I'm getting out of the cab now. I'm going to my colleague's daughter's bassoon recital in the lobby of her apartment building on Avenue B and I think I'm passing where this Save the Robots place must have been. I'll look in the windows."

"Windows? Oh no. No, no. There shouldn't be windows. Please tell me it hasn't become just some bar."

"Well, it looks like an okay bar. Kinda literary-looking youth group or something inside."

"Please, just tell me there's not a television sitting in the corner."

"Well, let me put it this way. The Mets are losing."

"I'm really going to have nightmares now."

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