This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
National Novel Writing Month Nearly Got Us
By now it's obvious to everyone that LAist has no business writing a novel. We actually have a job that requires us to write.
But we said we'd do it, and far as we can tell there's no other city based blog participating in National Novel Writing Month. Clearly they're smarter for it.
When you write there's always voices in your head telling you what an idiot you are. Usually a few shots of booze can get them to STFU but 1666 words takes about an hour and a half which means its gonna take more than a few shots.
Sadly we're straight edge and don't touch the stuff. On the Sabbath. So the voices were all, "do it tomorrow. get some sleep. do anything but."
And eventually they disappear once you start typing, so we recommend to type whenever the voices begin to drone. And don't stop.
chapter whatever after the jump
photo by solsonic via flickr
black jaguar pulled in.
window slid down, electronically.
unmistakable glare of charles bronson wearing sunglasses.
"you know what to do." he said and handed me his credit card.
i took the card and the window zipped back up.
i took the hose from the pump unlatched the closest gas tank (jaguars have two on each side) and held on to it while it pumped.
usually you'd start pumping, lock the little deal and get to looking under the hood and washing the windows.
but a jaguar's gas tank entryways are up on top of the back quarter panel. if that pump clicks off when the tank is full, that hose could easily lurch out and drag across the trunk. a guy like charles bronson would be liable to roll down that window and strangle you for that shit.
so i held it in there and watched the pretty girls walking into the market across the street.
when it wasnt busy, someone would "rush" the car with you so while you were holding the pump they could do the windows and check the oil.
on months when we would have little $50 air filter contests, the fellas would be more apt to rush a car with you so he could get into that air filter.
"sir your airfilter is dirty." theyd say.
"bullshit, fuck you, put that back," theyd say back.
i tried to tell them that this was an all full service gas station in beverly hills. these people loved their cars more than their wives. you cant tell them that they're wrong about their car, or that theyve mistreated it.
what you should do i told them is blame someone else for the man's filthy filter.
"the next time you're at pep boys, you might want to pick up a new air filter. the smog's been pretty bad, and your filter did a good job. maybe too good."
"oh shit man. all i do is drive through the valley all day. i dont have time for pep boys, do you guys carry air filters?"
i had a psychology class that i was taking on mondays and wednesdays at santa monica college, and on tuesdays and thursdays i had geology. both classes were great. and both were in the morning, meaning i could drive down santa monica to get to work by noon.
in geology the professor showed slides of him and his wife in hawaii.
"shes standing on basalt." click.
"look at that sedimentary." click.
when you got in at noon, it allowed the morning crew to start taking their lunch breaks. by 2:30pm they were done so if i was sleepy i'd take an early lunch consisting of a large fries from mcdonalds, a coke, and a nap in the cadillac.
the lady from cbs had given me elvis costello's "get happy". in those days we had records. i was always terrible with records. once i was trying to sell some records to Mr. Record on wilshire and the guy looked at them and said, "what did you do, dance on them?"
i had a roommate who had a drawer filled with maxell IIS tapes that had an entire album on one tape. it was an amazing drawer. almost all classic rock, but when you're young it's good to learn the fundamentals.
for weeks i'd listen to nothing but the doors. then pink floyd. then the eagles. then the stones. he was a stoner. not a cool stoner. a dorky fucked up fucker of a stoner. he tried to get deep with you and all you wanted to do was slap him.
he turned me off to pot, but one day i said, you know youre a fucking loser but that tape drawer should be in every high school kid's bedroom. thats like the history of rock right there.
napping to get happy in the cadillac in my gas station uniform was to me the perfect lunch.
i was due to transfer out of santa monica college. i could pretty much go to any UC school no problem because i had fulfilled all of their requirements which meant two years of all these general classes and getting a C average.
the hardest classes were french 2 and advanced algebra. everything else, including guitar, piano, and cinema were not only super fun but easy B's.
i had narrowed down the schools to two: ucla and uc santa barbara. for some reason i thought ucsb would be a good place to study since it was an hour and a half away from the bustle of LA, but ucla appealed to me because, well, its famous.
very different schools. so i decided to start asking the people who'd come into the gas station. every car has something inside or out that tells you a little something about the person, and often times you'd see parking stickers for ucla usc and sometimes ucsb.
hey how do you like ucla?
"oh it's cool. you know."
hey how do you like ucsb?
"OMG greatest. school. ever."
how is it the greatest school ever?
"well theres parties every night, beautiful girls walking around everywhere, you walk everywhere, or you ride your bike. its surrounded by beach. bands play all the time right in the street. theres booze and drugs and sunshine everywhere. sometimes God Himself comes down from Heaven, pumps himself a beer from the keg and leans up against a palm tree and looks at the stars over the oil rigs."
how does it compare to ucla?
"ucla has a beach?"
one night i was turning the pumps over to self serve and a limo rolls in and a woman who looked a lot like one of hugh hefner's ex girlfriends comes flopping out of the back seat. her playmates wanted to come out but she pulled her dress close as she stepped out. one thing about that job, you noticed how rolls royces were always having to get fixed and how no one could ever get out of a huge limo gracefully.
"is your bathroom still open?" she asked. and i said "it just reopened." and who came out of the limo, perfectly, other than don knotts, who was zipping up his pants and looking every bit the old man that he was.
"men's head open too?" he asked and i said its all yours mr hurley.
because they like it when you do that.
and also because if it wasnt for the fact that there was a world that would allow him to be mr hurley he sure as shit wouldnt be banging playmates in a limo.
after work id drive south up the 405 and east down century. the nice thing about the hood was there was always great soul food restaurants and not so great chicken places.
the night of don knotts i drove to mr jims barbeque on florence. the sign said "it takes no teeth to eat mr jims beef."
i ordered a half a slab of pork ribs and macaroni and cheese and i sat at a little table and watched people eat.
across the room from me were two larger people. husband and wife, no doubt. not talking. eating. both gnawing on big beef ribs. the lady had her glasses on. serious. the man had made a mess of his napkin which he wore as a bib. the clock above them was from the dr. pepper company and it said it was 8:10pm even though it was 7:10pm.
the couple right next to me were waiting for their food and holding hands
you know i'll always love you, he said.
she had been crying.
and said nothing
baby. baby. theres no one like you anywhere. no where. the only reason i was going to enlist was cuz you were with bobby. i didnt know i could get with you. i'll be back in a few months.
but then you'll be shipped out somewhere.
a little girl scribbled in her coloring book paying no attention to the black and white portable tv flashing married with children at her.
she hummed to herself as she colored like a drunk. absolutely no concern for the lines. or logic.
bro in the kitchen opened the door, walked through where we were all sitting, and exited through the front door. the oil barrel bbq was out front there and he came back through the front door with two huge tins full of cooked meat.
the married couple stopped for a second and watched the parade of sights and smells and looked at each other and laughed.
and a few minutes later momma dinged the bell and said pork ribs. and slid me the grocery bag that contained three strofoam boxes wrapped in aluminum foil. one contained the ribs, one contained the macaroni and cheese, and the other held a cup full of extra sauce, several packets of butter, and a baggie with two slices of white bread.
i drove towards the forum, pulled in front of the house, told the german shepard to plotz, opened the gate, opened the front door, noticed that no one was home, poured a shot of rum, beat off, and ate my food.
the phone rang and it was mmmmmm
she asked, do you miss me?
ok then, yes.
i miss you too tony.
what are you wearing?
i love it when youre topless like that.
hahaha im not topless.
what color are your underwear.
dont be gross.
the replacements had a record called let it be. on it was a song called unsatified that played as mmmmmm tried to tell me how important i was to her. the only light in my room was the glow from the radio.
you mean a lot to me too, mmmmm
you hate me, i know you do. she said.
i should but i dont. i love you. i said.
i love you too.
can i come over and eat natural peanut butter with a huge puddle of oil laying on top?
and there were signs and bumper stickers on the cars in malibu that said "slow down, save lives" or "take her easy on pch". but those werent people with long legged girls waiting for them on the other side of town to not have sex with. well, everything but.