Miller Time

Bedside (7)

UNITED STATES—"Oh oh oh oh, it's hurting," cries the mother. "Ouch, oh god, is there something you can do?" "It wasn't till a friend from college took me aside and said you don't have to answer every question. Some are rhetorical, some are facetious. What do we do now? Isn't that right? It blew my mind. Nobody ever pointed it...

Our Man In Amsterdam (Part 2)

UNITED STATES—I reviewed my diary from 1989-90 and found an entry that divulged much more about the weather and a prize fight watched on television than what I tersely referred to “an interesting proposal.” The proposal was a plane ticket to Amsterdam and a job packaging opiates to be sent back to the U.S. At the time I noted,...

Almond Joy

UNITED STATES—“Just trying to help you guys,” Reed retorted to the manager who had squirreled him into a kitchen that from the looks of things would be lucky to get a C- health rating. “I’ve never seen so many people here. I tried to get research fresh and reliable, but the most I could find were some old dog-eared...

Bedside (14)

UNITED STATES—Davy and Karen are assembled now by the bed. They're a bit strung out after a night of coffee and confessions at the local diner. "Can you do something for my head," mom groans. "It doesn't feel right." "It's so awful," Davy whispers to Karen, "I want to puke. I'm telling you, strangers inspire kindness. Family contempt." "What are you whispering...

Best Of Both Worlds

UNITED STATES—After Lawrence Brown rented his downstairs turret room, it really looked promising for everything being rented out at the house. Then I could screenplay like a monkey’s uncle. The attic room got taken by a white woman, Rachel, a fragile young thing with long fine hair, hairline worry wrinkles around the eyes, and translucent skin. She was deathly...

The Orson Box

UNITED STATES—Astonishing news: 33 years after calling it quits on Earth, Orson Welles is back, strong as ever, with his last motion picture being redeemed from legendary limbo by Netflix, the oft-described, seldom seen “The Other Side of the Wind.” This brings to mind a morning spent in Atwater Village opening a box of Orson’s final screenplays. Liz Derby was...

Grady Of Figueroa

UNITED STATES—While I was waiting for that first renter, er, sucker, to walk through that door, see a room and say ‘I love it,’ I got to know the hood. I got to know some of the homeys who hung out on the porch of 1980 Estrella. They slouched and got high, their ink-covered arms raised beer and pot to...

Bedside (3)

UNITED STATES—"Good afternoon," says a very tall man dressed in blue, a bit too cheerily. "You're the occupational therapist," says the son, remembering him from the day before. "Are you still trying to give my mom a new job?" The man in blue gives a forced smile. He's heard the joke before. "I train the patient to turn on a faucet, to open...

Shockwaves

UNITED STATES—In the weeks after the play’s successful run (one satisfying performance celebrated to the hilt), I showed rooms out and distributed three-day notices. “The agony,” I noted in my journal. The ecstasy was handing old good tenants, like Pedro and Tava at Estrella Avenue who were moving on and out and hopefully up, their deposit refund check. The weeks...

Last Man Sitting Still

UNITED STATES—The baristas gave their all and infused the place with their own personalities, actresses, dancers, mystics, animal trainers and even a 15-year-old from the hood, who later came back after college for another stint. Yevgen was the first manager, 18 years old, and future trader in classic sports cars. One of the baristas, Amy, besides being a dancer...
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