Miller Time

A Hollywood Story

UNITED STATES—The exact time becomes vitally important when there is a criminal element involved. So it was around 1:30 a.m., last Thursday night. I was up at my computer, and my dog could not grasp the idea of me at a computer instead of being asleep. He whined and growled. He clawed my arms, the cutest dog in Hollywood...

Moving On

UNITED STATES—It was a Monday of the New Year, the same foggy day that the sheriffs and also Jim Wylie’s muscle came (in case of trouble) to evict the diminutive postal carrier at Manhattan Place who had fallen under the spell of crack. Having the muscle there was overkill. The man, his eyes now dulled, still not without a...

Finally Remembering Kevin

HOLLYWOOD—Kevin had found the Jesus thing by happy accident. This robe got a rise out of people and he gladly embraced his resemblance to the popular notion of Jesus. The qualities were in him, as his friend and neighbor Brian Hamilton observed, “He put on the robe and somehow grew into it.” It changed him subtly, but changed him...

Bedside (2)

UNITED STATES—"What about my leg," says the haggard skull-like face floating just over the edge of the blanket. "You can't do anything about my leg?" "Yes. I can cut it off." The withered but rosy mom smiles from the hospital bed. "I don't really want that. Excuse me for sneezing. Do you have a kleenex." "I'll have to ask the nurse." "Should I...

Quick Comeback

UNITED STATES—The memoirist must always make a choice, to be didactic and distill lessons or to tell the story. Here I will pause to give writers a brief lesson. As I go back to my journal pages from this period there is mention of the Ayatollah’s demise and Tiananmen Square (placing it squarely in June 1989 when I first...

Spare Change

UNITED STATES—Every drug dealer knows there’s only one way to carry cash. A wallet is too much hassle to flatten out and insert the bills, and then take them out again. The money clip is a nice piece of jewelry that instills panic whenever it is not immediately locatable in a pocket. The money roll is the best there...

Sensitive Machines

UNITED STATES—Gloria must have overheard when I spoke longingly about the enduring allure of a manual typewriter. I have been editing a volume which contains a old story written on my beloved Olivetti, and the process reflected these musings, both nostalgic and speculative, about literary technology. "Technology takes over our lives," demurred Manny the tech guy, who confirmed that Gloria,...

The Cottage Chronicles: Fences

UNITED STATES—Katy is the neighbor with the junky porch and lots of cats. Lotte was the 96-year-old German neighbor with incontinence and an aversion toward bathing that manifest near the end of a long rich life. The foul scent of Lotte’s dried urine and unbathed body was sharp, I might even say tangy. The smell reached out all the way...

Reseda

UNITED STATES—The property owner, Jim Wylie, was a gambler in a big way, but not in the literal sense. Jerry Segal, his colleague and fellow “slumlord” (they referred to themselves facetiously) thought Wylie the smartest real estate brain he’d ever known. Wylie could conceive mind-bogglingly complex deals, dazzling in their simple genius, and see angles where nobody else could....

The Mogul’s Mom

UNITED STATES—Pete Mohr was a suit at one of the legacy studios which are kind of elite hotels for nebulous folks, subdivisions that shuffle in and out of offices that have suffered more coats of paint than a New York brownstone. And then there were the likes of Pete Mohr, a hot indie producer, a slick dresser with seven...
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