Within four hours of landing in Los Angeles, I realized that I live within five minutes of Fat Beats. I think I called Lyle. Inside, it seemed all of the employees and record patrons had never seen a girl before. After polite, dreamy smiles, I was approached by a man with six teeth.
"Can I buy you a drink?"
"Are you old enough to drink?"
"Yes." Why did I say yes?
"Then can I buy you a drink?"
"I just got here."
"Do you have a cellular phone?"
"Well, yeah, but I'm changing numbers soon."
"Really? Can I have it anyway?"
"Do you want my email address? You can have that." I dictated my real email address to him. Weeks later, thankfully, I never got an email.
The first night I went to Il Corral, new friend Regina and I left to find a gas station that would be selling 40's after midnight. The only building flooding light into the dark intersection of Melrose and Heliotrope, aside from Il Corral itself, was a Mobile that had ceased to sell alcohol.
"Honestly, I didn't even want it," Regina admitted. "I just didn't want to see the guy who's on now play. I'm not too happy with him."
Just then, a figure jay-walked into the street lane next to the sidewalk we were walking on.
"Fucking faggots," grunted the man. "Where are your panties, faggots?"
Regina only paused for a second before continuing to talk. I contorted my cheeks and chin but couldn't bottle my laughter. "He just cursed at us like we were gay guys," I whispered in a giggle.
A t-shirt store posing as an art exhibit opened with a party. It was the first time I drank from a keg. I spent most of the time talking to a thirty-year-old Canadian tourist and being photographed. Around 10:30, the six-toothed man from Fat Beats showed up. He floated from one group of people to another, trying to vend records from a dirty backpack. I told the Canadian about my history with him, and when he came near us, my story was validated.
"Hey, miss! Do you remember me? How are you doing?"
After my bag was stolen at Starshoes, I stood outside looking for it, losing the battle against heavy tears. Lani and her friend Valerie were visiting me from New York and, recognizing my recent tragedy, casually avoided me to talk to drunk guys who had just left the club. I thought the person who approached me was a cab driver.
"What's the matta, baby?"
I told the man about having nothing.
"Here, here. Use my phone." He handed me a land-line portable phone.
"Uhhh where did you get this?"
"Use it, use it."
I pressed the Line 1 button on it, and it flashed the message, Too Far To Connect, Return To Port. "This is a house phone."
"So what happened?" he asked again, after I handed him the portable phone.
"Nothing, nothing, I just fucked up."
"Hey, you fucked up," the homeless man started saying loudly. "You fucked up, you just fucked up."
Valerie and Lani reappeared. "Hey, you can't talk to her like that!"
"It's O.K., it's O.K. Let's end this conversation," I said to them. "Thank you for all of your help," I began annunciating at the homeless man. "My friends and I need to have a private conversation now, but thank you again."
The next night, we tried to get into Cinespace. Without [fake] I.D. I would not be admitted, despite being on the list and talking Long Island and Billy Joel with one of the bouncers. I walked back to Starshoes, which is on the next block, and asked the bouncer there if my bag had been found. He told me to go in and ask the bartender, so I went inside, pounded two drinks, and came back out, pretending to still be sad about my missing belongings. The six-toothed man from Fat Beats was there approaching people that were on line for Cinespace and asking them for their email addresses. He was holding a busted iPod Nano and pretended to enter information into it. When people told him to fuck off, his response was, "O.K., then I'll be sure to never see you again."
As I came up to Lani, Valerie, and their two friends, Alex and John, one of the non-cab-driving Hollywood Blvd dwellers held out a plastic card and asked, "Is this yours?"
It was a fake Michigan I.D. with an anonymous white girl's face on it.
"Well, shit," I said, "this could work." I gave the homeless man two dollars.
Just then, a girl who looked like the girl on the fake I.D. ran over to us. "Oh my god, have you guys seen an I.D.!?"
I quickly handed the plastic card back to the homeless man, who handed it to her. I could have pocketed it but I'm glad I didn't. She was wearing a pink party dress; this was her big night at Cinespace.
"Can I have one of my dollars back?" The homeless man returned a dollar to me.
Mary and I went job hunting on Melrose Ave. We passed the six-toothed man, who was sitting on the ground with a turntable and a pile of records.
The closest movie theater to my house is a silent movie theater, but it hasn't been open since I moved in. Two weeks ago its marquee read, "See You Next Wednesday," which filled my heart with ripe California strawberries. However, as the second following Wednesday drew near, the theater showed no alternate signs of life. Mary and I were walking past it, so I went up to the ticket window to see what I could see. A small paper sign read that the theater would re-open in August.
"They show movies there every Monday," called a man from ten feet away.
"But it's been closed. It might be opening again soon, though."
In the hot sun, he didn't smell too good. "Nope, nope. Every Monday."
"But there's a sign--" Mary began walking away from me. "It says it'll open again in August."
"That's because the owner got shot."
"I don't think that's true." The man put his head against the ticket window so I ran to catch up with Mary.
At the store Baracuda, Lani, Valerie, and I started talking with 19-year-old Francisco from Mexico. He was attractive and walked us back to my house. I don't remember how, but we started talking about the six-toothed record man.
"Oh! You mean DJ Homeless?"
Francisco explained that DJ Homeless used to be DJ Biscuit, a fairly popular DJ and promoter in some sort of club scene. A combination of family problems and drug addiction demoted him to the DJ Homeless that peddles shitty records and annoys me when I walk my dog today.
"Man, I want to do a documentary on that guy," added Francisco.
New friend Will and I walked to the Washington Mutual near my house.
"What time is it?" asked a man on the ground.
"It is... 1 a.m."
"Thank you," said the man on the ground. There was a beat. "What time is it?"
"Still 1," new friend Will chirped. We went to the ATM and I told new friend Will about the time in Grand Central Station when I saw a man pissing on an ATM as though it was a urinal. We began walking back to my house.
"What time is it?"
"1:02." I turned to new friend Will. "Hey, y'know what my neighborhood doesn't have a shortage of?"