It has been a while. I am sorry. Please accept this picture of me in fox ears as my apology.
So, I owe a major Los Angeles update to one and all. Time has been slated for this coming weekend to write that bad boy. Until then! Observe! I have homework assignments. Some of them are pretty fun. Enjoy.
Write three autobiographical stories. They must be EXACTLY 50 words each. GO!
1. Babysitting my brother and sister was dull at age twelve. I read, mainly. Laurel came in once, her eyes huge. “What?” “The ocean’s burning up.” Looked out the window and the sand dunes were all on fire. Got Laurel and Walker out but left the Labrador Retriever behind.
2. Tried to teach this Muslim guy how to give head. Made jokes to put him at ease. “It’s not like eating pork.” Apparently he disagreed, ’cause the motherfucker bit me. I screamed, “Go back to the suburbs!” That’ll teach me to be a kind and understanding younger woman.
3. Got great aunt Mildred’s shotgun at seven. Started using it age eight. Could not, for the life of me, hit any quail or dove. Broke the necks of birds other hunters nailed but didn’t kill. Finally, got a deer at nine. Dad handed me a skinning knife. Lost my taste.
Write an autobiographical story (1 page) starting with the sentence, “It started on that corner over there…” GO!
It started on that corner over there, north of downtown LA, Tujunga and some side street in Studio City. I was visiting this past April for the USC open house. My mother called. My grandfather had died. I hung up and told Mike, as we drove away from the Iliad bookstore. Mike waited a beat before asking, “Well…wanna go see a ghoulish cultural landmark?” So he took me to Tujunga and some side street in Studio City and said, “That’s where Robert Blake shot his wife.” And, because I am a creature of ghosts and history and context, it did cheer me up. Mike is a good friend, though he left his hand on my leg longer than he should. Tujunga and some side street, the beginning of our friendship.
But, it really started at the corner of Logan and Milwaukee, late in 2009, when Mike visited to celebrate his lifted ban from Chicago Comics. Once he started writing for Marvel it seemed petty of the store to punish him for a shoplifting incident nearly a decade old. I wore a red coat against the rain and told him I was very happy with my boyfriend. So, we went to see Ponyo, and read a first addition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Newberry Library, and he insisted on holding the umbrella while lamenting that we would not be having sex in my book-lined room. “I am jealous,” he said, “of the lucky bastard who sleeps with you surrounded by paper.”
But, it might have started at the corner of Camino De La Reina and Fashion Valley in San Diego, summer of ’08, when Mike handed me a copy of the first comic book he’d authored, and said it wasn’t such a long drive to Los Angeles, and wouldn’t it be fun if I abandoned my best friend and spent the night with him instead? And, because it was too hot, and because he’d ignored my best friend all night, and because he smirked the smirk of an ex-Catholic who likes to be slapped, I pushed him against the car, kissed him, and walked away. “Darling girl,” he said, laughing. “You only got that because I’ve had a dry summer,” I replied, adding some jiggle to my step and not looking back.
No, maybe it was Southport and Wrightwood, in August of 2006. An ex-boyfriend, an ex-fuck buddy, and Mike had all come to my play on the same night. It was a bit much. I took to crying, Mike took me out to drink. We said good-bye, without kissing, and headed off. He doubled back, snuck up on me in the dark, and, thinking he was a mugger, I punched him in the face. I was crying. “I’m sorry! But why did you do that?” He was bleeding. “I thought it would be romantic. Don’t apologize. You’re lovely when you think you’re about to be raped.”
The corner of Halsted and Diversey, 2005. He flew in to surprise me for my 21st birthday. We had hasty, hungover sex in his friend’s room. We hadn’t seen each other in two years, and he was thinner from lack of opportunity and satisfaction on the West Coast, so maybe we shouldn’t have been naked for our re-introduction. But we told jokes, and he kissed like a guilty altar boy, and that combination works for me. He walked me to the train afterward, apologetic that we’d so little time and borrowed space and ill constitutions. I said, “No sweat. I get to brag that I had sex flown in for my birthday.” “And, you’re welcome,” he said.
Lincoln and Montrose, in Chicago, in June of 2003. Mike was moving to Los Angeles the next day. We split a cab from my best friend’s place and he spoke quietly, telling me which boys to avoid, now that he would be gone, warning me what cads they all were. “I won’t take this chance again. To protect you.” We reached his stop but he kept talking, and the fare ratcheted to $13.00. I wished him luck, and kissed him on the cheek, which I’d not done before. And, because he is a cad, he surprised me with my first adult kiss, and goddamn him for the artful care he took. And, because I am a creature of ghosts and history and context, I still hold this as the finest kiss. Welcome and unexpected in equal parts. The cad. But, because he is not a son of a bitch, he got out and walked away, heading East on Montrose. I proceeded North on Lincoln, wondering if we would ever run into each other again. On some corner.