Monday, January 6, 2014

Correspondences

 (From Beverly Hills Stories)

- I don't want to go. I can't.
- Why? He wants to see you. He remembered when I told about meeting you. He calls you 'the philosopher'.
- I don't want to see that woman.
- You really know her?
- What's her name?
- She goes by many. Maria, Victoria.
- That's her.
- She has heavy bags under her eyes. About 60. Claims to be Italian.
- She goes around to the Jewish charities claiming to be Jewish too. Her apartment is filled with junk she finds on the street and then tries to sell. At some point in her life she learned how to rewire old lamps.
- I can't drive her away. She preys on vulnerable people.
- That's how I met her.
- You don't want to tell me?
- I'd just come back from Europe. My friend from childhood, last unbroken connection to this city, a doctor in the valley now, had reluctantly had agreed help me find a place. When I got off the plane at the airport I called him at his office as arranged. He wouldn't come to the phone. He never came to the phone. I wandered around for days, and this woman, Victoria, or Maria, asked me where I was from, outside the Vons over on Olympic. She took me back to her junk shop apartment, I stayed the night there, and first thing I know she's demanding payment, points to my watch, asks me to give it to her. She's poor herself, she complains, she makes a living taking care of greedy rich people who won't pay, she needs money, she needs money!
- Did you give her your watch?
- Stood up, dropped it into her lap and left. So, you say, she shows up every morning at your movie star friend's place. And he's already drunk. He told me he'd had a good career. I didn't recognize him. This was a few months ago, walking down the street. I'd slowed down to let him catch up to me.
- He's unrecognizable.
- He seemed like someone worth talking to. Are there other people hanging around?
- He pays a retainer of a thousand dollars a month to a friend who drives him places.
- You can't drive him places?
- My car was broken for 3 months. I couldn't afford to repair it. That's how Maria or whatever her name is wormed her way in.
- Are you getting anything from him?
- I want him to narrate a documentary I'm producing.
- What do you think it means? I meet the movie star. I meet the con artist who's preying on him. I meet you who knows them both. All by chance.
- I don't believe in chance. Come see him. He wants to see you.
- I'll go.