Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Legend in His Own Mind-3

July, 1980

Dear Lázaro,

Remember that I told you about my proficiency with the stick shift? Well the other day on the freeway the car jumped back at least twenty feet. I totally freaked. What did I do wrong now? But when I look up in front of me I see that the whole freeway looked like a slinky. Better yet, remember how Mirta used to shake her rugs to dry them when she hung them on the clothesline? Just like that!

It was an earthquake! I just felt my first earthquake! And I didn't even know it. I mean I expected to see buildings quaking and Charlton Heston running through the streets. This was wild. Now I'm scared to drive on the freeway in case it happens again. What if I fall off? But then again driving on the street isn't safe either. What if the freeway falls on you? Tell me, what should I do?

Can you imagine the headline? Young actor’s career dramatically cut short when he was flattened by an off ramp.

The other night I was on Sunset Boulevard at this Pioneer Chicken stand. And there were two windows. One with a whole slew of people and one with just one woman. She looked like Pam Grier in "Foxy Brown" but hey, this is West Hollywood. So I stand behind her. She turns around, pouts her orange lips, juts out a silver-spandexed hip and says, "Do you want a date?"

I said, "No I just want some chicken."

So she says, "You're on the wrong street for that, chil’. You need to be on Santa Monica."

I didn't know what she was talking about. I was in front of this chicken place already. But I walked away to start down the hill to Santa Monica Boulevard. I turned around and looked in her direction one more time. I noticed that she was bent over quite seductively over the windowsill and above her was a sign that said Pick Up.

Do you think she was a hooker? They're all over Sunset Boulevard you know. It's wall to wall girls in these frilly outfits waving at you as you drive by. It looks like the inside flap of Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" album. Nothing like those Gestapo Broadway hookers who grab you as you come out of the subway station.

You remember that day we went to Final Vinyl to get that crazy Buddy Holly album that you just had to have or you would die? Remember how we ended up walking by the Christopher Street piers? Well, buddy, that's Santa Monica in triplicate. Wall to wall boys in skintight jeans and tank tops. They all looked like they just finished pitching hay to their horses in the barn down in Oklahoma somewhere. None of those tough Brooklyn guidos or PR street kids that hung around the West Village.

No wonder this is the film capital of the world. The whole city has that gloss of a movie. You know, make the bad seem glamorous and the ugly pretty.

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