Monday, April 20, 2015

The 420 Bus to Hollywood


In the late spring of 1995 I was living with Scottie Taylor in a pool house.

The owner ran a strip club off West Pico Boulevard. His dancers sunbathed nude in the mornings. They were Jesus freaks and read the Bible like a choir of fallen angels. Scottie and I were sinners in their eyes. We were running a nightclub in Beverly Hills.

The Milk Bar.

Decor very CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

Clientele; young, semi-famous, and druggy.

Every morning the naked sunbathers' prayer session interrupted my sleep and I would stuff my ears with cotton to reduce the words of the Bible to mutterings. Jesus was not saving my soul. My wake-up hour was noon, after which I ate breakfast at a diner, then played basketball at North Hollywood Park. A bicycle was my transportation. I had bought it from a junkie on Vineland. He wanted $50. I gave him $20, which was probably $10 too much.

My cousin Sherri lived on Hartsook. I spent my afternoons writing in her house, while she filmed XXX films with lesbians over in Van Nuys. Some of those girls were Jesus freaks too. None of them broke ranks, especially for a nightclub doorman without a car.

Only losers walk in LA, because walking got you nowhere.

Scottie was my ride to the Milk Bar most nights. We opened at 8.

He drove a mud-colored Pinto with questionable steering and shuttering brakes.

Riding in the passenger seat was a test of courage, however Scottie and I had another problem.

The trip from North Hollywood to Beverly Hills took twenty minute by car. The Simpson re-runs aired Sundays at 7:30. The show lasted 30 minutes. No one told jokes in LA. No one told stories either. Laughs were hard to find at the Milk Bar. Homer Simpson filled the gap.

"I can't believe you are going to be late for a cartoon show." Scottie only watched the History Channel. He liked to be serious.

"It's not a cartoon. It's the Simpsons. You could always watch it with me."

"I own the club. I have 20 people who work for me. They get there at 8. I get there before them. Otherwise they'll come in late. Like you."

"I'll take alternative transportation."

"Such as what?"

Hitchhiking was illegal and the train system was a work in progress.

"I don't mind taking the bus." The 420 ran over the Hollywoods Hills to Sunset Boulevard. I caught another bus on the corner. It went to Beverly Hills. The trip lasted 45 minutes.

Sometimes less.

Sometimes more.

I read a book and never made eye contact with the other passengers.

"Besides no one comes until 10."

"You ever think about giving a good impression." Scottie didn't shave, his clothing dated back five years, and he was driving a Pinto.

'Not out here." I wasn't trying to be in the movies. My novel was about the last man on earth.

Pornography too.

Dirty cops.

Lesbians.

Murder.

High-tech sex.

I was on chapter 23.

200 pages plus.

THE END was off in the distance.

"I'm on time the nights the Simpsons aren't on."

"What about the nights with Star Trek?" Scottie knew my schedule.

"That's VOYAGER." Seven of Nine was sexier than any of the Bible strippers. "Monday night."

"I can't believe it." Scottie left me in the pool house.

I sat before the TV with a glass of water in my hand.

The clock on the wall ticking its way to 7:30.

It was time for the Simpsons.

NO matter what, because a good laugh was a treasure in a city without any laughs.

And homer was always "Ha ha ha."

No comments: