Last heard from, I was explaining how my visit to the office of Dr. Love (otherwise known as Dr. Lobe) lead to an email from my annulled wife's brother, saying he would like to talk with me on Skype. I had been suggesting this in months of unanswered messages.
We talked for about an hour. He realized I was in trouble and wanted to help me. Would I soon be going back to Hungary? What was the point in writing all the stories about his sister, revenge? What did I want? How much did I want to take down the stories?
He sent me 200 Pounds by Payal. No obligation. In order to transform the electronic money into cash, and to exercise an old skill, I used the amount to buy old watches on Ebay. The first arrived, so did the second, but not the third. The remarkable post-woman of our neighborhood knows every resident by face and name, including me. She told me she had that day delivered a small package. And the UCLA computer science student in the apartment started asking questions.
"When are you expecting more packages?
"Did you buy more watches?"
"Don't you think you should give us watches for staying with us?"
"What is your full name?"
"What kind of watch do you expect?"
This student is also of a remarkable character. He buys Apple laptops on Ebay then sells them locally on craigslist, usually within a day or two, making a few hundred dollars each time. He tells buyers that he is selling because he bought a new computer, and has had this one for quite a while. He takes out the original hard drives and replaces them with generic parts. A repair shop that is a regular customer of his offers him a dollar for each Apple screw, so he removes 2 from every four corners of every component. He is only twenty years old, and says he owns a million dollar property in his home country, Taiwan. Since I told him I was expecting a gold women's Rolex from England, he has taken to looking at Rolex watches on Ebay. One day this week he was in a particularly bad mood, and I wondered why. I checked the tracking on the watch from England, and found out that delivery of the watch had been just attempted, and a notice card left. I put the two together, guessed the student had taken the notice and was frustrated by the uncertainty of whether or not he could get away with impersonating me at the post office. Just a theory.
The second story. I was leaving the cafe in Beverly Hills when my attention was drawn to an altercation in progress. A fashionably dressed young man was being forcibly restrained by a friend while another friend forcibly restrained an obviously poor guy with a bicycle. I couldn't tell what they were shouting at each other. And then I could. The rich guy was saying: You want my Rolex? This is a Daytona. It's $20,000. Here.
And he takes off the watch and throws it at the fellow with the bicycle. It bounces off his chest and rolls into the street. A woman friend runs into the street to retrieve it. The other guy gets on his bike and goes. And I can't help but walk over and tell the man putting back on his watch that if he really doesn't want it I can give it a good home. He starts to unclasp the watch, but the woman friend reaches out an interfering hand. He says, get him this girl, and I can have it. I ask her if she would be so kind. Sorry.