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September 15, 2019

A Grave Matter (Part I)

So I went out to visit a friend in Califor-ni-ay. A guy I hadn’t seen in a while, but we grew up together best friends in middle and high school and had sorta kinda kept in touch afterwards. He asked me to come for a visit and since I had zero to the left going on at home I thought why not? My friend Jay asked me to come out there and maybe get in the movies.  I couldn’t see myself in the movies (I’m not THAT good looking LOL). I couldn’t make it as a stuntman either. I tried a stunt on my bike when I was like 12 or 13 and was damn lucky not to have killed myself. I would have liked to have been the kind of guy who falls off the horse and gets right back on...kinda like Paul Newman or one of those types, but I just wasn’t that type. I might have rode my bike one or two more times like some old Grandma riding around the block for exercise, then confined it to a corner of the garage and pretended I was too old and cool for bike riding. I mean I was getting my driver’s license in three of four years so who needed a bike now? But, that was then and this was now. 

I figured my friend lived out there in L.A. and probably had a place on the beach or at least a swimming pool to lay around by and check out the babes. So I pawned the guitar that I never learned to play and an amp and got a bus ticket out to L.A. and man that took a long time to get out there. I thought I was being thrifty and smart by not spending a little more and flying. Instead, I was cheap and dumb. That bus must have stopped in every god awful little town from Chicago to Los Angeles and it took FOREVER. At first, I thought it was kinda cool seeing the country one small town at a time, kinda like Kerouac on a Greyhound, but the novelty wore off real fast. It seemed like ON THE ROAD to hell. It snowed and rained and broiled on the way out there from the Loop and the thought of spending some more money on an airplane ticket sounded mighty good then.

But, I got there or somewhere...I was in kind of a haze when I arrived...and it wasn’t exactly what I pictured, but it was a bus station that was full of broken down looking old men, bag ladies, and a motley looking group of people of which I was one. What the hell did I expect? I called my friend to pick me up but Jay was working so he I had to sit around on a hard wooden bench for a few hours and people watch and dog watch and bum watch. When I thought he couldn’t take no more, Jay shows up with his Venice Beach tan. Jay said we’d go back to the apartment he had and have somethin’ to eat cause he just got off work and was starved. So we spent a lot of time parked on the ‘expressway’, rode down a lot of crooked dirty streets and passed a bunch of dirty people with no names and eventually got to his place. ‘Hell, I don’t think there is a swimming pool is there?” I wondered out loud. Jay said to shutup and that if I wanted that, I should have made richer friends and laughter filled the car. Maybe we could hit the beach that weekend and I could work on getting a sriracha red California sunburn.

Jay lived up on the third floor of a four floor building that had seen better days but was still okay, sorta. There wouldn’t be any gunshots going off in the middle of the night at least. Luckily, the cramped, dirty, dingy, and occasionally working elevator was in a good mood. His place was a one bedroom decorated in early Goodwill and curbside. There was a cot in one corner. “That’s your bed man.” said Jay. “OK, thanks, looks good to me after being scrunched up on that bus for four days” I said while I secretly wondered if I could ever get to sleep on such a god awful thing. “So what do you do for fun?” I asked hoping to be blown away by an answer like picking up girls at the beach and bringing them back to the apartment. “Not much man, just get up, go to work, come back here and lay around. I don’t make enough money to do much. I gotta work a second job sometimes, but the weather is better and people are more...I don’t know” his voice trailing off. Wow, that sounded exciting. But Jay made some decent tasting spaghetti and there was some beer, and after all I was worn down, wore out, worn away, and just wanted to get some sleep. I could wait on the excitement until another night or two. It was hot because the A/C was broke but I was too exhausted to complain and I was knocked out in no time. It couldn’t felt better if it was a Waldorf Astoria suite.