New York Stories

World Travel
New Original Fiction
Books & Movies

Film Space
Movies in depth
Dreamscapes Two
More Fiction
Lifestyles Archive
Politics & Living








Sam's New York Stories - 1973

FALLING HARD - A New York Love Story
Sam North

It can happen anytime, anywhere and it happened to me in Jamaica. I fell in love, only the object of my affliction told me that she lived in New York. She also foolishly said, ‘come and stay with me, come very soon.’ When you are twenty-one you don’t know that people don’t necessarily mean that and if you are in love, you get there as fast you can.

She’d been doing handstands on the beach, as you do, and it was only when she stood the right way up I fell in love with this tall stunning and tanned skinny girl with bright auburn hair. It was one of those things. You go up, say hi, fall in love and both of you think this is perfectly normal. She was all legs and arms and laughed like a drain and was Dutch. I already had a thing for Dutch girls, so to meet one in Montego Bay was pure kismet.

She left on the Sunday, I sold my watch and camera on the Monday and followed her on the Wednesday. I didn’t once think that this might be a holiday fling and she didn’t mean it. I mean I was in love and dizzy with it. I didn’t know New York well and to someone else the address might have given clues but not to me. She was the girl of my dreams and I was going there to stake my claim.

What she had neglected to mention was that she lived with another man, her boyfriend, in fact; Christian, a famous hairdresser. She’d also neglected to mention she was on the cover of Vogue Magazine that month and Harpers and Queen.

I’d arrived at the door of New York’s latest supermodel and was expecting her to welcome me with open arms. Me, the skinny blond boy with obligatory unkempt shoulder length hair. (Arrive at a supermodels home in year 2021 and snipers would get you as you crossed the street) but this was the seventies, she let me in, hugged me lots and I was relieved to find very happy to see me. She showed me the sofa, the boyfriend, who scowled at me, and then she left, for a shoot in Mexico. “I’ll be back in a week. Write lots.”

She hugged me again, the taxi came and I immediately suffered pangs of loss. Christian took me for a coffee downstairs and gave me a key. He said nothing.

The apartment block was new and stood across from the Lincoln Centre, it was one of the best places to live in Manhattan, the rent must have been astronomical. Christian was covering all the walls with blue glass mirrors. At sunset the mirrors filled with light and it was quite spectacular. At night I’d just watch the traffic snaking through town and across the George Washington Bridge in the distance as I waited for ‘her’ to come back.

I wrote, lots. Love is the greatest inspiration there is. For a whole week I wrote around 25,000 words or more. I was writing this political satire about America when Ronald Reagan would be a right-wing President and take America back to the 1950’s. Christian introduced me to the Editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster at that time and I told him what I was writing and he said that was the stupidest idea he’d ever heard , no actor would ever become President. Needless to say, neither would they read my book. Eight years later it came true, but that didn’t help me any. No one likes a prophet.

She came back, the boyfriend went away. The magic was still there and we laughed a lot. It was the most wonderful thing to be in love with someone as crazy as she was. I remember lots of kissing and she made the best coffee in the world that made you feel absolutely great (which I later discovered was spiked with speed). She listened to stuff I’d written and was plain astonished at how weird it was and she showed me pictures of all the things she’d done in Mexico. The soundtrack in the apartment was endless Al Green or Bette Midler and the phone calls were always from Rome or Paris or London. Everyone wanted to photograph her, make her wear their clothes and the joke of it was she never wore any clothes in the apartment, ever. She didn’t really like clothes. Oh yes and one other detail, there was no kitchen. She ate out, a lot, or not at all. Did I mention she was thin?

Something else too, supermodels live different lives to other people. She never went out before 11pm. I’d be exhausted from writing all day, but she’d just be waking up. I’d be dragged to ‘early’ evening parties just before midnight and afterwards supper and dancing sometimes at 3am. At these parties I’d meet all kinds of celebrities. I discovered she was the personal friend of people I only knew to be 20 feet high on cinema screens. Jack and Angela, Mike and Bob, their eyes sliding off me as they fastened on the beautiful laughing girl beside me.

I remember being cornered by Jack who asked me “What do you do?”
"I write”.
“What have you got published?”
“I’m writing my first novel, I’m still in my third year at University.”

That would kill the conversation right away. A college kid, writing a novel for christsakes. Jack had already been nominated for two Oscars and he told me what he thought of writers. It wasn’t polite, it wasn’t nice and all the time I was thinking, but you speak the lines we write, you get the awards for the characters writer's create.

She told me that Jack had told her that writers were thirty this year. Twenty-one was considered a bit ‘naive’. Well I was naive. I was young, stupid and broke and in love with a woman who just towed me around the place and had me keep her warm in the back of Christian’s car when he drove us around in his 1938 Packard convertible. I noticed that he didn’t say much at these parties either. In fact there was a pecking order about who could say what and who was allowed to tell jokes.

Toy Boys weren’t really allowed to say anything. I did of course and it was politely ignored.

At one party, Jack Clayton, the film Director, offered me a tiny part in his new film with a one line speaking part. ‘She’ was going to be in the film too. Bob was going to star. Some little thing called ‘The Great Gatsby’. A month later we all trooped up to Rhode Island to shoot the endless party scenes and my part vanished. But for my keep I did get to spray the party food between shoots with something to stop it smelling. She made the cut. In the final movie we see her racing through the dining room holding about ten dogs by the lead. She had fun, but so much of what was filmed never made the screen. She was desperate to be an actress and be taken seriously, but with her Dutch accent and her inability to act her way out of a paper bag, she was going to be disappointed. It killed her that being beautiful wasn’t enough. She wanted to be more famous than Greta Garbo.

These people I met with her would get bored so easily too. One night, at 3 am, I am in Max’s Kansas City Bar at a table with Rick, the Puerto Rican pastel artist, my very own supermodel, Michael J Pollard, the actor from Bonnie and Clyde and Davy Jones, from the Monkees. Weirdly we are listening to a new band playing fronted by a former waitress - Debbie Harry. It was all a bit rough I seem to recall and Davy Jones was complaining that he didn’t have any money. Well I sure as hell didn’t.

I don’t recall paying for anything for months, she took care of bills as long as I ran errands for her. I was good at errands.

Night-time rituals were a surprise. I was in love, but it didn’t necessarily mean that she was into wild passion. Once she’d partied, she would come in, discard all her clothes, cover herself in thick avocado oil and say. ‘Come and kiss me’ and fall asleep right there and then. Carrying a slippery avocado girl to bed is a risky business at best and a tactical nuclear explosion wouldn’t wake her. My torch burned bright, but I was discovering that what she loved most was adoration.

In April we met up with Andy Warhol. He wanted her for the cover of Interview Magazine. They sent around some questions, they didn’t actually seem to interview anyone face to face. She gave me the questions and I dutifully filled them in for her. I should have taken it a bit more seriously. She was forever saddled with those answers to such questions as “What would you do to stop world racism?” I’m afraid I wrote, “I think everyone should be born green, so no one would be different and we’d all realise that we are just individuals.” Or something like that. Anyway, they published it and she would be on the cover of Interview that July - no photograph, but one of Rick’s pastels. It looked pretty cool.

We met Andy just once again in the Village. He drank lemon tea. He said, ‘nice to meet you Simon, you have such nice hands.’ I didn’t like to mention that my name wasn’t Simon, but I was glad he liked my hands.

The next day, I was in the bathroom and she’d left her normally secret diary open at the last entry. She was seeing Jack, writing wonderful things about Jack, how kind and considerate he was in bed and I was crushed.

I was in love with someone who was not just cheating on me, who loved her with a great passion, but her boyfriend, who probably loved her too, and her best friend, who was Jack’s girlfriend. The killer line I read just twice before I felt nauseous.

‘Mike says I am being cruel to ‘sweet’ Sam.’

Sweet Sam. That’s a lightbulb expression. When a girl thinks your sweet, you’re finished. I was utterly disappointed, never mind that none of this meant anything or was realistic or practical, it was just a boy’s ego bubble bursting.

I had a ticket home. I had missed half the first academic year. I’d be going back to trouble, but better than continuing another day as a lovelorn toyboy. Christian drove me to the airport, he shrugged. His remark, ‘there’ll be someone else on the sofa soon enough’ didn’t exactly heal the open wound.

When I got back home to Africa, she sent me a telegram - promising to write me everyday. As if. But maybe she did love me a little. She sent me a letter almost every month for the next two years, from wherever she was in the world.

And for me, New York is forever the place where a stupid heart soared to fantastic heights for a while. But next time you meet a toy boy, treat him with a bit more respect, they may be carrying a very large torch for the person that they follow from pillar to post.

Sam © SAM NORTH 5.1.2021 (First published 1999)

By Sam Hawksmoor and Sam North
(Vol 2) Print and Kindle (US) UK Kindle
Hammer & Tong
ISBN-13: 978-1502835437

Do you stay and hide, or flee?
A city gripped by fear as a lethal virus approaches from the East. No one knows how many are dying. People are petrified of being thrown into quarantine. Best friends Kira and Liz once parted are scared they will never see each other again. Teen lovers, Chris and Rachel, prepare to escape to the islands. Kira and her dog Red think they are safe on one of the Gulf Islands
Review from the First Edition:
'Beautiful, plausible, and sickeningly addictive, Another Place to Die: Endtime will terrify you, thrill you, and make you petrified of anyone who comes near you...'
Roxy West - Amazon.co.uk
Q&A interview with the authors here

Another Place to Die: Endtime

More New York Stories by Sam


Hackwriters - an international writer's magazine - all rights reserved © 1999-2020