FYI: I am not fluent in English, I’m trying to be at least. Sorry for the potentials mistakes. Feel free to correct me in the comment section.
The putrid smell of the street, the trash bags scattered, the rats, the cigarette butts, the stray dogs, the cold wind, the incessant passing and honking of cars, peoples going places or arguing with each other, all of this and more, Billy was used to it.
Becoming a singer, like Dylan, that’s been is goal since he came here at the tender age of 20. But nothing works out exactly how you dreamt it isn’t it ? This and the fact that New York was ruthless, a city that does not take any weakness nor sympathy if you want to make it big.
The rule is, work your ass off, turn to madness, being crazy will give you opportunities. Take pills, smoke joints, if you courageous, inject some smack into your veins. Go crazy, insane, and create. After all, this place has seen some shit and it seems to push people to continue destroying themselves, like an entity that claim their fair share of life and sacrifices, to prosper.
Billy had become that poet in the gutter that Dylan sing about. Everyone recognize themselves in a Bob Dylan ballad. That’s the real magic, the real talent for an artist. This and a little bit of vision, predicting the future, being some kind of prophet. Add some poetry, the magic of words, like a Leonard Cohen and you have yourself a good starting point for an artistic career.
Was Billy not talented enough ? Who really know, talent is maybe thing but doesn’t make you famous nor rich. The work, the grinding, the hustling, sacrifices are the keys to the American Dream. Let’s not forget that you have to be original, mysterious, playing with your audience and, this as to be said, being merciless with your rival and enemies.
Billy was that guy who used to think that everyone was kind, or had to be. Loyal, respectful, those were the qualities that you had to put aside, not always but sometime, to impose yourself, to gain your place in this city.
Too kind, too nice, too honest was Billy to show rudeness. He let himself being stepped on, mistreated, misguided for the profits of others. Others that used him at their advantages to become successful. But not for long, they all lacked talent or the will to keep working.
Too good, Billy was a friend that gaved his shoulders for those broken souls to cry on. Never used their weakness for his own advantage.
The street, his street, his gutter, his territory. The only thing he got to own since coming in New York was this street. It wasn’t the most welcoming place in town, the most secure nor peaceful but it was his. He lived their since so long that the people unconsciously linked him to this patch of concrete and decaying building.
Billy’s Street, that was the name of his place now. And for him, it felt like having his star on the Hollywood Walk-Of-Fame. He often joke by rebranding his corner « Walk-Of-Shame » because of all the junkies, prostitutes and their clients, off beat cops, drunks and homeless people that wander it.
Billy came to find fame, he found something else, maybe more precious and rare, he finds his place with the peoples of the underground, a sect, a clan that his so well kept from curious eyes that the world have completely forgotten their existences.
They were his audience. Audience that no Bob Dylan will ever have the chance to perform in front of.
And Billy got stories for days, even years.
Billy is what’s others aren’t : he’s free. It’s America, after all.