Living in a Midnight City: That Time I Almost Saw M83
The M83 concert was last week at Webster Hall, and Jesus? I mean Jesus was it phenomenal. Worlds spun at post-Newtonian rates. The ceiling fell in, and opened the venue to the rays of the cosmos. Zeus actually knelt down from the logos and chilled with all the leather jacketed French dudes raving up front. I came with the pure intention of leaving the concert with a story for you, dear reader. A story so explosive, so mind bending/expanding/exploding that you would have to erect a mighty literary statue pour moi. Here Stands Noah Wunsch: Man of the People. I was gonna drop X and LSD, put on a moose costume and crowd surf better than Teen Wolf riding the goddamned roof of his shitty 80's van. I was gonna find the most bountiful beauty in the venue, drop some suave on her and make the two backed beast on stage with the audience cheering me on; and I'd perform well! I was going to shimmy, shake, and jive like no 22 year-old white Jewish man has ever shimmied, shaked, or jived, and I'd do all of that with a tea cup bulldog on my head, because why not? But then this happened:
"These tickets are fake." Heart to floor. "Yeah, these tickets are definitely fake, you're like the twentieth guy who came in with these exact tickets." I looked at him doe-eyed, expecting mercy. "You're gonna have to leave." And I did.
On the street I cursed the mother-fucker who sold me tickets. Called the pre-paid phone number he gave me and left a long ranting message about how I was going to find him and literally rip him apart. It didn't make me feel better. I went and saw A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas in 3D? alone. It didn't make me feel better. I went to the Bowery Hotel to get drunk with friends, all laughing, full of mirth. It didn't make me feel better. All I could think about was wrapping my hands around the scammers neck who had ripped me off. I went to bed and had an awesome sex dream.
IT DIDN'T MAKE ME FEEL BETTER.
I suppose I should have known better. Buying M83 concert tickets from a guy tatted, not in the hipster design savvy to the French electro band, but with prison art, was probably not the smartest idea. I suppose I really should've known the minute I saw the tear drop tattoo under his right eye. But who am I to judge? Maybe ghetto thugs like a little "Kim and Jessie." I tried being cautious, asking to see the scammers cellphone - it was a shitty flip - but it had, what was clearly a cellphone taken pic as it's wallpaper. He had taken the time to preset his background. This man was clearly who he said he was.
I should've asked for ID.
Because I bought two tickets, one for me and one for a friend, I was out $120. That's not a small amount of money. Who is he to take that from me? Maybe I was going to adopt a young, down on his luck Somalian kid, and that $120 was the beginning of his college fund. We'll never know.
The next day I gave a friend the pre-paid phone number, hoping he could track it (he's good with computers). He couldn't. I went and met a friend for coffee and explained my frustration. Exclaiming for all to hear, "I'm gonna see him again. I don't know where. I don't know when, but I will see that son-of-a-bitch again." It would be two hours later at my local FedEx/Kinkos.
I had to print out a gift certificate for a spa, a massage was much needed with all this tension, and as I walked away from the printer a Yankees cap caught my eye. It looked familiar, mind you I live in Manhattan, but the flat bill that hid a guilty face seemed bolder. Clearer. Fucker. I took a closer look and recognized the script written tattoo on his left hand. I sat down next to him and stared him in the face, until he turned and looked at me. Tear drop tattoo under his right eye. He knew who I was.
"You sold me some fake fucking tickets," I said. Trying to be intimidating, but phrasing it as if it was an inside joke between the two of us. Intimidation has never really been my thing?
"I don't know what you're talkin' about," he said.
"Yeah you do," I continued. "The M83 tickets you sold me were fake."
"Who's M83?" I pulled out my cellphone and started calling the police, right there next to him. He shook his head trying to play cool. The operator came on asking my emergency. "I'm at the FedEx/Kinkos on Park Ave and 21st st. There's a guy who mugged me here - yeah he mugged me. - Yes I can wait." The scammer stood up and made for the door. I followed. The operator came back on. "How did he mug me? Well he - I mean, he sold me fake tickets. - Well he gave me the tickets and I gave him the money. - Yeah but he took the money and?" They weren't going to help me. I had to go rogue.
He turned and saw me following him, "Yo stop following me man!" I didn't. He ran down into the subway station on 22nd and Park, I followed. The uptown train was just leaving, and a host of rush hour commuters were trailing out. After a few seconds it was just him and me. It was at this point that I realized following someone bigger than you, who has prison tattoos, might not be the smartest idea. He came at me, "Yo you better stop following me or something bad is gonna happen." He gave me a little shove and ran back up the steps onto the street. I followed. He ran across the street when he didn't have right of way, that criminal. I let him go.
I went back to the Kinkos and asked the manager if I could have the security footage. He told me to come back next Monday. I did. A different manager was on who told me they couldn't give me the footage without the police. I went to the police. They told me there was nothing they could do about scammers. "They exist, be smarter," the lady at the station said. "You know how many complaints I get like yours on a daily basis? Hundreds."
"If you're getting that many complaints from people getting ripped off, maybe it's an indication that you guys should do something?"
"That's not our job."
"Okay," I said. "Well whose job is it? Where do I go with this issue? Who do I report it to?" She paused, thinking about this. She didn't have an answer. Because there wasn't one. Ticket scalpers and scammers have free jurisdiction it would seem. Under those type of terms, makes you wonder why it's not a lifetime gig young kids strive for. Good money at no cost to you. Maybe I should rethink this whole writing thing?
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