Friday, July 8, 2011

Down The Street In Beverly Hills


- What are you so happy about?
- I've got my music. Want to hear?
- I don't like it. It doesn't make me happy.
- You've got to find your own.
- Are you a movie star?
- Yes.
- I don't know you.
- Are you a writer?
- An unknown one.
- I'm going to meet my boyfriend back at to the restaurant. Been drinking wine, getting high. Had to come back to the car to put money in the meter for another hour. It's a $50 ticket. God knows I can afford it. But.
- You don't want to give the money to the city of Beverly Hills.
- Your zipper's open.
- Thanks. Now I am completely humiliated.
- Why are you carrying gloves?
- My bike is locked at Starbucks.
- That's just by the restaurant. Let's go. My boyfriend has a bike too. He's the son of a famous director. A director himself. I'll introduce you. That motorcycle cop. He's hot. I could do him.
- Why bother? What interests you? The uniform?
- It's different.
- A uniform is something the same. It makes you look like the others wearing it. What will your boyfriend say when I repeat this conversation to him?
- It's talk. Not action.


The son of the famous horror film director is waiting at the restaurant. I am duly introduced, and the movie star goes inside leaving us to talk. He's doing business, I am not. That is quickly settled. In a minute I am back on my way.

At the busy intersection I see a man holding two large bottles of Coke in his arms. The light has changed to red, and he is standing right in the middle of the street between the rush of two directions of traffic. He is visibly shaking. Not old. And then he falls to the ground, the bottles go rolling, come to rest at the curb right at my feet. I pick up the bottles and wait for the light to change. The man has gotten to his feet in the midst of the continuous stream of cars. Finally the light changes, and he takes rapid one-inch steps back to my side of the street, turning his head back and forth, abruptly coming to a stop and then going on with the rapid steps.

I hand him his bottles, they fall from his hands. I chase the plastic bag that has slipped from his fingers. A car pulls over. The driver gets out, opens the trunk and takes out a canvas sack with handles. I take it from him, and hold it while the man fighting the shaking lowers the bottles in. He says something, but I can't understand it. The light now has changed, and he begins again the laborious journey across the street. I keep pace with him, worried we're going to get caught in the middle like before. And the man falls. I help him up, take the bag, and he starts walking again, then stops. He holds out his hand to me, and I take it in mine, and we set off once more. The light has changed, but the cars are waiting. We make it to the sidewalk. The man stands there, looks around him, looks towards the bench on the corner. A bus stop. He says, slurred but understandable, Thank you. I go down the street a ways, stop and turn around, wait. In a couple minutes the bus comes and he gets on.

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