Monday, September 30, 2013

Skid Row Diary 16

2nd Month

13  August   2003        Wednesday        Day 32

“Wisdom is not worth acquiring unless each moment it is applied in acts of compassion, nor compassion helpful unless directed by the wisdom which knows what to do.” -Christmas Humphreys

   I didn’t feel better. I felt worse, but I wasn’t aware of it at first.
   I slept in late having no urgent need really to get up. All I wanted to do was to go to Trimar, so I could make two donations for the week and get the maximum amount of cash. I got up in what I thought was time to shower and eat some Top Ramen Spicy Chicken with a chopped smoked sausage embedded within it’s soupy domain.
   Giselle was back to pants... of course. What did I tell you.
   John Manzano knocked on my door at 9:15, just as my soup was ready.
   “They won’t let me go to Camarillo this weekend,” he told me. “I just put in for a pass, you know, like I always do...”
   “Ummm Hummm.”
   “And Labren says they aren’t handing out passes anymore. Only for family emergencies.”
   “Well that seems rather restrictive. Next they’ll want to take us down to meals, and put cameras in our rooms,” I told him.
   “Yeah,” he continued. “I went to the VA about it and one of the counselors will talk to Labren to see what’s up.”
   “Why are they doing this? Did they say?”
   “She said homeless people who have somewhere to go every weekend don’t need to be homeless. But hell, I can’t live with my mom. We’re just getting our relationship back together again. Damn.”
   “So what are ya going to to do?”
   “Talk to her today at one o’clock. You going to the valley?”
   That I was. I had to leave right then in order to sign in on time. 
   I swallowed down my noodles, gave Manzano the boot, and took off, arriving at the front desk right at 9:30 according to the office clock.
   I turned in my room key and asked to sign in. The clock’s hand now moved a smidgen to the left of the 6.
   “Sorry sir. It’s too late. Sign in tomorrow.”
   “Fine.” I took off out the door. I felt she had refused just to irritate me. I wanted to sue her personally and the Weingart. She had succeeded in irritating me. 
   I felt lousy, I realized. The oppressive heat didn’t help matters. As I approached the bus stop I saw one just leaving. This happens almost every time I approach a bus stop. They wait until I’m almost there, rushing up to the stop, then take off before I can get on. 
   I figure on the few occasions wherein I reach a bus stop and a bus isn’t there waiting for me so it can rush off, well, The MTA is just asleep at the switch and not doing there job properly.
    After an interminable wait the next bus finally arrived and took me up the the Red Line Station at Pershing Square. I read from the Koontz novel until the subway came. I boarded and got to Vermont and Beverly before I decided to get off and catch the next train back, deciding I didn’t feel well enough to continue on, and shouldn’t be donating if I was sick anyway.
   I waited about fifteen minutes before the next train came to take me back. I wanted to check my mail before heading back to the Weingart, so I walked to Arco Plaza. The mail lady was still putting the mail into the PO boxes, so I had to wait until almost 11, forty five minutes to find out I had none. 
   I didn’t eat lunch being too tired. I took a nap for a couple of hours, and dreamt I was living in a log cabin in the Smokey Mountains with Lolita Davidovich, the beautiful and talented star of such films as “Blaze,” and “Play It to the Bone.” She took care of me because I was sick, which was very nice of her.
   The fan in my room does not help to mitigate the heat. It just pushes it around from one place to another. I woke up all miserable, but decided I needed to get some work done, and wrote while listening to NPR in the afternoon, and later Led Zeppelin 4, the album. 
   I wasn’t up for much for the rest of the evening. I made a promise to myself to never get sick again, and pounded down aspirin and vitamin E capsules. 
   I’m such a wimp. My tolerance toward any form of discomfort has steadily diminished through the years. If I were ever caught behind enemy lines and brought to torture I’d say, “Hey, hey, hey! Stop that! No torture please. What is it exactly that you want to know? Here, let me draw a picture for you. Better yet, what kind of drugs do you guys use to pummel the truth out of people. I hear sodium pentothal is pretty amazing...” On and on.
   The high point of the day was to watch the concluding half of the Ken Burns Lewis and Clark documentary. An amazing story, I’m surprised no one has made a movie out of it. It’s got everything needed to make a great film. Action, adventure, fascinating characters, hardship,  beneficial interaction with foreign cultures, hostile interaction with foreign cultures, history, bigotry, prejudice, perseverance, success, humanity, porn. It tells a much larger story then that which is presented.
   I shall look into producing this. 
   I had not known that Merriweather Lewis had died by his own hand. Suffering from some sort of nervous breakdown he shot himself twice, in the head and chest, at the same time, using two guns. 
   You have to admire someone who knows how to do a job well.
   I read from “Tick Tock,” before drifting off to sleep. I dreamt I was riding in a canoe with Kate Winslet and Rachel Weisz, the beautiful and talented stars of “Titanic,” and “The Mummy,” respectively. We rowed down the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, looking for the ocean. I was dressed in racoon pants and a bearskin coat.
   “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, Mr. Richard?” Kate asked me.
   “For what?”
   “For wearing all of that fur,” chimed in Rachel.
   “Well, no not really. It’s kinda chilly, and this is just a drea...”
   “We’d rather go naked than wear fur,” they both said simultaneously.
   “Oh really. Well I...”
   “If you don’t take off those furs right now we’re both going to strip naked,” Rachel said. They both looked rather determined. 
   “Are you sure?” I asked.
   “Very sure,” Kate affirmed.
   “Well do what you have to do.”
   So they both took off all of their clothes, and then grabbed me and threw me overboard where I was summarily set upon by a pack of rabid beavers. 
   “Pass me the sun block dear,” was the last thing I heard from Rachel as I went under.

14  August      Thursday     Day 33

   Approximately 37 emergency vehicles sped past my room’s window, at irregular intervals during the early morning hours, sirens, bells, and bugles a blasting, insuring absolutely no chance of sleep for those of us who live here. Horns were added to the cacophony, as the vehicles approached and traversed the intersection of 6th St. and San Pedro. Not long sonorous notes, but bleating spurting blasts of sound designated to wake sleeping people, and disturb those who are sick.
   Their sirens are actually, physically hurting my ears, and probably damaging my hearing.
   I may have to sue the fire department. They could travel up and down San Julian just as easily. Of course San Julian dead ends at 5th, and a lot of homeless people would be in their way, but what the hell, share the burden.
   Still sick, I slept through my 8:00 appointment with Larry the job developer. He would later complain to Labren that I had not kept the appointment, the little weasel bastard. Well two people have to agree to the appointment for it to be valid, and I still owe him a stand up.
   My cold had progressed, growing stronger before it will inevitably (I hope) succumb to my invincible immune system.  
   I was achy, had sniffles, and my back was sore. I needed a small Japanese woman to walk on it for me. I had to blow my nose quite often. My voice sounded strange to me, muffled, because my ears were not equalizing pressure properly.
   Nevertheless, when I got tired of hearing the sirens run past (and the bells, and the whistles, and the horns), I showered, and fixed myself a nice tuna and mayo sandwich for breakfast, thinking I still might get to Trimar.
   I signed in for yesterday and today at the front desk, then left the building and walked to the bus stop on 5th St.
   I took a bus to the library, getting there just before it opened. After it did open I searched the History Department high and low for suitable reference material on the Lewis and Clarke expedition of 1802. Other than the explorers actual journals I found nothing readily useful. What I needed really was something like a transcript of the Ken Burns documentary. If I wanted to continue with this project I would need to read those journals, and ferret out other background info, but not yet. I still need to envision the work, see if it’s viable, before anything else. I have other projects to worry about as well.
   After an hour and a half I left empty handed. 
   Around six minutes after 11:00, the closing proximity of the planet Mars caused a power line grid just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, to disconnect from the regional power grid, causing further problems first noticed in Lansing, Michigan, at two GM (General Motors) plants. Four seconds later power failed back in suburban Cleveland, cascading along the Ohio/Michigan grid, causing a third GM plant in Parma, Ohio to crash. At this point, fail safe procedures previously set in place failed to take the Ohio system off the national grid, causing major power outages throughout the northeast United States, affecting more than 45 million customers, and 10 million people in Ontario, Canada. This was the second most widespread power blackout in history, after the 1999 Southern Brazil blackout.
   Thanks a lot Mars!
   I met John Manzano on the bus going back to the Weingart. I had thought he might have left for good, headed to Camarillo and points north. No. He had met with Labren and a deal had been struck. He can still go to see his mom on the weekend, just not every weekend. 1 in 3 he told me.
   He also told me that he wasn’t feeling all that hot himself. He retired directly to his room when we got back. He came up to my room for some aspirin at around 6, then disappeared again.
   I spent the afternoon reading and writing, enjoying the power that was surging through the copper wires in the walls around me. NPR alerted me to the blackout in the east. It was receiving massive television coverage. Unfortunately for the reporters there is not a whole lot to report on during these kind of events, other than they didn’t believe it was caused by terrorists. 
   Many of the veterans here sitting in the common room watching T.V. got tired of their favorite shows, like “The Steve Harvey Show,” and “Texas Justice” (there’s a misnomer if I ever heard one) being preempted by the news, saying things like, “By golly, I know about it already, and am awfully sorry that it happened, but there’s nothing I can do about it, so let’s move on now and get back to ‘The Simpsons.’”
   later in the evening, after normal programming had resumed, I watched and taped, the movie, “Valentine,” starring Marley Shelton, Denise Richards, and Katherine Heigl, all lovely and talented young actresses. I was able to get a fairly decent copy, although I would later record over it because the movie sucked.
   And Katherine and Denise were killed.
   I did watch the channel 13 News at 11, with Lauren Sanchez and Rick Garcia, who I’m pretty sure hate each other.
   Anyway, my candidate for governor, Mary “Carey” Cook is getting plenty of publicity today debating with Gary Coleman, a fellow candidate and former child actor. She supports plastic surgery and the use of video cameras within the governor’s office, which I’m all for, although I don’t care for augmented breasts for females. Males, I don’t mind so much.
   I went to sleep after the news and was woken in a dream by Mary Carey and Katherine Heigl. We were in an apartment in Manhattan. I could see the lights of the city outside the sliding glass door that led to the balcony. The only furniture in the cool living room was the black Kubus sofa I was lying on, and a 84 inch Abbot rectangular zinc-top dining table and Baxton brown side chairs.    The two girls were standing right in front of me while I had been sleeping. 
   “Are you okay, Rick,” Katherine asked, looking concerned.
   “Yeah, sure. I’m okay.” I wiped the sleep off my face and looked back at the girls. 
   “You passed out when we started to take our clothes off,” Mary explained. “Do you want us to stop?”
   “Aaahhh, no. No, no, go right ahead. I’m alright. Go on, do what you were doing...”
   “You’re sure,” Katherine asked.
   “You won’t have a heart attack, or anything, will you?” Mary followed.
   “No, no. I’m fine,” I assured them.
   “Okay.” The girls smiled at each other and started to undress. Off came the blouses, then the mini-skirts. My God! What a great dream, I told myself.
   Just as they began undoing the clasps of their bras, which had been under considerable strain, the power failed. The room, the city outside, went completely dark.
   I couldn’t see anything for the rest of the dream.
   “Rick, where are you,” Katherine cried.
   “I can’t see you Rick,” Mary said, both of their sweet voices drifting off into the black distance.
   “We need comforting, Rick,” was the last I heard from them.

15   August      Friday       Day 34

   I woke just at 9:30 and felt modestly better. Still suffering from the usual symptoms of a summer cold, yet I no longer felt drained of energy. I didn’t feel lethargic either, and the last thing I wanted to do was stay in my lonely room for another day.
   Too late to worry about signing in I took a leisurely hot shower, dressed, and headed for the movies, taking my last $20 with me.
   I stopped at the 99 cent store at MacArthur Park, and bought two 20 once sodas for $1.18, but they had no pre-popped popcorn. No popcorn! I shall have to sue (I want to sue everybody lately). Now I will be forced to buy popcorn at the theater for $5.00. $5.00!
   Do you know how much it cost the theater to make that popcorn, including overhead? $0.19.
   Get over it Joyce.
   Next I left for City Walk, which overlooks Universal Studios, currently up for sale to the highest bidder. It looks like NBC (National Broadcasting Company) might get it, which would be great, I think. Better than those French Vivendi people, or the Canadian alcohol peddlers, or some big multinational defense contractor. That would be terrible.
   I wanted to see Kevin Costner’s new film, “Open Range,” starring the lovely and talented Annette Bening. The precarious scheduling of the films showtimes did not allow me to easily view it. I would have to wait over an hour and that could not be allowed. I opted to see “Pirates of the Caribbean,” again, probably the best studio produced film I’ve seen this year.
   So far.
   I enjoyed it very much relishing the performances of Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, 17 year old Keira Knightley, and Elf Boy Orlando Bloom, and all of the rest of the actors and actresses. Well realized by the director, Gore Verbinski, of “Mousehunt,” fame, the film features some great visuals lasting only a few seconds, like the Black Pearl firing on the fort, or the keel of one of the ships seen from underwater.
   I have one question though. If Capt. Barbossa was shot by Jack Sparrow before the curse was lifted, why did he die a moment later when Will Turner (no relation to Janine) released the medallion? I mean if he was undead when he was shot, it wouldn’t affect him when he was returned to life a moment later, would it? The laws of paranormal physics must be adhered to!
   Similarly, in “Freddy vs Jason,” the next film I accidentally walked into, starring the beautiful and talented Monica Keena, Freddy was supposedly pulled out of Dreamland (a place I am intimately familiar with) and into the real world where that 11 year old monstrosity, Jason, would be allowed to have his way with him. Now I didn’t realize that was possible. It never happened in any of the other “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” films, as far as I can tell. 
   However I did enjoy this bloodbath despite some asinine character turns. At one point Monica and her boyfriend are discussing the horrific turn of events which have materialized within their world, a discussion one would think would be of paramount importance to their personal survival, when Monica’s girlfriend walks by and says, and I believe this is verbatim, “Let’s stop all this bullshit talk and go shake our asses” meaning she wanted to go dancing (fortunately Jason killed her later in the film). 
   Now dancing is important. It gives women a chance to release pent up sexual tensions without having to put out. However, and this is only my humble opinion, I would give precedence to a strategic discussion concerning personally surviving attacks from two, not one, but two, supernaturally revived, undead, apparently unstoppable, homicidal slashers, over a stray chance to shake my booty. 
   But that’s just me.
   I must admit to not having seen a single “Friday the 13th,” incarnation. I have seen most of the Freddy Kruger films. Although a fan of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” franchise, I’m not a real big devotee of the Slash and Dash genre. It’s a bit too blatant for my taste. Peek-a-boo sexual images of adolescent girls mixed with scenes of explicit violence, is a little too whacky for my mentally defective, unstable mind.
   Why did I go see it then?
   Because it was there, that’s why. I’ll see it if it’s not too inconvenient. All I’m saying is that I’m not a big fan of slasher flicks.
   It was fun to see Jason and Freddy beat the hell out of each other though. I can’t wait for Michael Myers vs Godzilla. 
   I got out of the theater at around 4:15, going back to the Weingart in time for dinner. I sat next to Charles Carter and Gary Porch, the bruises on his face having markedly subsided. He had gotten into another “arranged” boxing match with the Hispanics who hang out near MacArthur Park. Why, I don’t know. To prove he can still box I suppose, and to make sure he can still get the shit kicked out of him.
   Today he was bitching about how broke he was because he couldn’t work at Labor Ready because he didn’t feel up to it because he had gotten the shit kicked out of him. He was out of cigarettes he said, the poor boy, and was reduced to selling some of his  property again.
   I told him I might be interested in buying his radio/tape player for $10 tomorrow, if I was able to donate plasma. My CD/tape player’s “Record” function does not work. 
   Later I tried to tape the dull movie, “Gattaca,” on CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System), but couldn’t get good enough reception to save my life, which really pissed me off. Although dull, the film’s subject matter is significant, and it had Ernest Borgnine in it, and it has historical significance to me personally due to the fact that when I first saw it theatrically it was my birthday and I was with a beautiful girl friend from work, the lovely and talented Arlene C. 
   I don’t know where she’s at now. I do have a picture of her in my wallet from when we went to Knott’s Scary Farm one Halloween. 
   I quit that job just before they were going to fire me. Such is life. 
   I finished reading Koontz’s “Tick Tock,” his attempt to mix screwball comedy with a supernatural thriller. Harvey the Pooka as maniacal voodoo demon. I enjoyed it, although I found the whole premise rather unlikely (an evil Vietnamize demon creature bursts out of a rag doll with the sole purpose of killing the protagonist before dawn growing larger and more dangerous every minute). 
   I liked the characters, and Koontz left the story painfully ready for a sequel. What about it Dean? Shall we see Del, Tommy, and Scottie once again?
   I went to sleep a little after midnight and dreamt I was at Knotts Scary Farm with Arlene C. walking through one of their famous haunted tunnels just before Halloween. Arlene was so sacred by the sudden and unexpected events, sounds, and pictures of ghostly apparitions that she held on to my back so tightly it hurt. Turning a sharp corner, the scary sound effects changed to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song, and Keira Knightley ran up to me and Arlene pursued by two bloodthirsty pirates bent on dishonoring the fair lass. 
   “Oh please help me kind sir,” she implored. “These beasts wish to befoul me me thinks!”
   “Why certainly, my dear,” I told her. “Fear not.”
   I picked up a sharp and shiny sword that happened to be lying on the ground nearby, and made quick work of the two rapscallions. 
   “Oh, thank you sir,” Keira gushed. “How can I ever repay you?”
   “I’ll think of something,” I told her. “But first let me get both of you lovely ladies out of this evil den.”
   We proceeded further through the tunnels looking for the closest exit. 
   At one sharp turn we ran smack into Monica Keena.
   “Oh my God!” she cried. “I’m being chased by Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger! Please save me!”
   “No problem,” I told her. Freddy and Jason, tired of beating each other to a pulp, were coming after what they thought was easy prey. I walked up to the two undead bastards and karated them back to hell were they belonged.
   “Oh God,” Monica shouted. “How can I ever thank you?”
   “I’ll think of something,” I assured her. “But first, let’s get out of here.”
   We eventually found our way out of there. Arlene, standing at my side said, “I didn’t think we’d ever get out. My heart’s beating so fast! Here feel...” She placed my hand over her chest so I could feel how frightened she had become.
   “Yes, I see,” I told her. “How about you Keira? How are you holding up?”
   “My heart’s racing too. See...” She grabbed my hand from Arlene and placed it upon her own  bosom.      
    “Why yes, I feel it. You are quite excited aren’t you?”
   “Me too,” cried Monica, taking hold of my other hand and placing it over her beating heart. 
   “Well everything’s fine now ladies. Nothing more to fear. I am here to protect you.”
   The three lovely women crowded up to me to deliver well deserved hugs and kisses when Godzilla came out of nowhere and stepped on the four of us, reducing us to the consistency of mashed peas.
   God damn it!

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