It is with great sadness that we inform you that former Fort Worth Weekly staff writer and all-around raconteur Peter Gorman died on Sunday. We won’t know how until his obituary comes out, but everyone from the Weekly who knew and loved Peter is incredibly saddened by the news.
Peter started writing for us in the early aughts, and throughout all of his great investigative work — he scared natural gas companies to death — and food reviews, he continued working as a Peruvian jungle guide (you may have read a profile about him in The Guardian in 2017) and doting on his children. Over the past couple of months, he was battling a variety of ailments and illnesses he would never name for me while working on a story for us about his wild times driving a cab in New York City long before 9/11. The idea for the piece came from a pitch he had sent me, this pitch below, which I found it so intoxicating, I cajoled him into turning it into a longform essay. We can only imagine what that version would have read like. For now, this is all we fans have left of our dear friend Peter Gorman. Enjoy.
Hold on to all of life’s colors for as long as you can.
BY PETER GORMAN
Here are a few things I have been thinking about today. I loved driving a taxi in New York City. It allowed me to be part of the armpit culture there. I learned where dog and cock fights happened when dog and cock owners got into the cab and told me where to go. I learned about where the real gambling was going on when people I’d pick up at the airport asked me to take them to a game. Initially, I had no idea, but I made a point of finding out where the games were and what the stakes were and what the code words were, and when clients asked me for a game, I asked them, “What stakes?,” and their answer led me to take them exactly where they wanted, got me a fee, and got the doorman a fee to allow them into the games. I learned where the whorehouses were and used a few when I was scotched on cocaine and booze. I learned where the best gay places were for the fellas who got into my cab with chaps and no underwear. I learned where Catholic masses were held at midnight and where free meals and clothing were had for the poor and forlorn. I knew the after-hours clubs, the pre-hours clubs, and the police and hospital workers’ bars that were allowed to operate 24/7 because the unions protected the workers who had odd shifts. I got to work undercover for the cops a couple of times that were frightening. I got to work with the mob, which was just as frightening. Most of that was born in taxi driving. Some in New York kitchens that I ran. There is so much — the colors were unimaginably fascinating. For a kid in New York, it was wonderful. Stopping at the topless joint the M and M Club on Little W. 12th St. to have a beer and having the mob throw me through the front window because I disrespected their favorite transvestite. Having a stand at the Feast of San Gennaro, the biggest mafia party in New York. I loved having five of my plays produced off-off Broadway and writing stories and falling in love and smoking dope and selling dope. This is a ridiculously self-indulgent. I probably should have been feeding people who did not have enough to eat or making rain for those who did not have potable water. So why do I bother you with this? To say that I am still alive despite this pandemic, despite being ill, and that I want you all to know that I am not quitting yet. That is selfish, and you can hate me for it, but it’s the only solid ground I have left to stand on before I sink supinely into the muck of this world, so hate me or forgive me or use me to keep yourselves from falling into the terrible sinkhole we face. I wish you all strength, strength, strength. Revel in who you have been and what you have done. Do not forget that in these hazy times, OK? Even if it isn’t perfect, it is still a past to grab on to to keep from sinking.