Shorty & Morty
An Extraordinary Homeless Couple
By E.M. Fredric
Emma’s given name - according to the Ultimate Baby Name Book’s definition - whole and universal - didn’t suit the young, beautiful blonde who slept in a cardboard condo near the 101 Freeway. This Emma “was full” -- as an Aussie would say -- pregnant by 5 months when she happened into the homeless shelter to get some shoes… again. Her flip-flop soles had cratered indentations from carrying her expanding extra weight across gravel/cement and the speedways AKA as the illicit drugs flowing freely in Krazytown. Ahh Hollywood…where the rich and the dreamless drank themselves to the brink in equal measure. Emma was slender boned with that outdoor-living look - dirty skin and mid-length straight wispy blond hair that hung cavalierly as it framed her blue eyes - with to the quick chewed fingernails.
As the sun crashed through the curtain in the women’s closet and slashed across her face… Emma became surreal. Like a character out of a fairytale, she was missing the outfit to play a princess or an angel… instead she was in black top, tugging at her too-tight jeans while asking if she could please have some shoes - her feet hurt. It hadn’t occurred to her that the skinny jeans she wore were no longer of any use – even with the zipper safety pinned shut -- she was high and moved to a part of the women’s closet where her normal size 3 was kept. She had eclipsed that size a few months ago but Emma couldn’t see it. Her responses were delayed as other homeless women came in and surrounded her pulling piles out of other clothes from various shelves. No one knocked into her… it was more like bouncing aside. Chattering away in a language only the street understands or longstanding workers in shelters.
The other women were kind to Emma, for now, she posed no threat to them. No matter her color or age, she was pregnant and no street guy – even if he had a right mind - was going to take that on. The men had their addictions - like the night Emma got pregnant. Which one was it? Crystal meth and girlfriends didn’t mix but babies came and went, lived or died and if they lived -- were whisked away from the mothers for adoption. Emma swore this wouldn’t happen to her baby. No way – she had heard the stories and hers was going to be different – it would have that ending that all little girls dream of.
This day she seemed more lost than usual. Emma sat for hours in an old rocking chair in the main room of the women’s closet. Her feet were swollen and ached. The drunks, the mentals, young and old, all sizes, colors and races hustled to get more outfits to sell on the streets for drugs or drink. Emma kept her head down and pulled out a photograph she had gotten from her last pediatrician’s visit. It was a sonogram of her bulging belly’s contents. She smiled and said to a shelter worker, “Look, it’s my baby and I think it’s a girl… She’s gonna be perfect and I’ll get off the dope if they let me keep her. I’m 19.” The third lie in one sentence but she believed. She had to.
Emma was 15 at best. She tried to focus, desperately needing to keep her stories straight with each visit. Being consistent with anything but her drug was nearly impossible. She hoped people didn’t really listen to her that intently. Emma told everyone that her family had left and gone home to Iowa but she knew she was destined to be a star. According to Emma they all drove out here and her stepfather sexually molested her repeatedly. She claimed he had done it for years and her mother didn’t care. Emma wasn’t aware of the light that emanated from her -- she almost glowed as if in slow motion when she spoke to
Pat, the woman who ran the closet. Pat the recovering addict had an autistic older child that lived with her and she believed that the clothes were the one thing the women could gain some self-esteem with on the streets. The church organization didn’t agree—the rules stated everyone was to have one outfit a week, one pair of unders and socks, two showers and everyone was to be treated equally. In America? Equality?… When did that start? Or would it ever begin?
The truth laid somewhere between Emma’s visits and reports from the street people, wharf rats and then back to the shelter. Emma had run away from home to be an actress in Hollywood and quickly fell in with the other children of the night, doing drugs, partying and having sleeping around. Some didn’t do drugs, preferring to have sex, any kind of sex to feel loved while struggling to survive in a town that held an image of hope and dreams… that were momentarily shattered, illuminating, possible and maybe dead…but they were dreams nonetheless… to her and countless others. Remember Superman on the Boulevard? He made a good living and he wasn’t actually in the movies but he was known and a local kind-of celebrity until he died of… not making it.
Pat searched Emma’s face as her eyes welled up with tears, Emma was crying and talking about her boyfriend, the daddy of her baby she couldn’t find any more. “He said he would come back…he said he was just going to find another fix… he’ll come back… I’ll wait for him…” She shared her cardboard condo with two other street people beneath the freeway hidden. Each time it was destroyed by the Cal Trans team, their home had to be rebuilt.
Pat offered her a tissue and Emma started to laugh, being in the company of these older women made her giggle.
As she tried to explain again, how she was going to clean up and take care of her baby because no one ever took care of her, the bandage on her finger fell off and revealed an unusually large abscess - double the width of her pointing finger. Emma asked for a new Band-Aid and when asked what happened she just kept saying she had a minor cut that got infected and it would be fine… why she’d been cleaning it for days…”but it happened yesterday…or maybe it was the day before, I lost track. But I’m fine and so is my baby, they aren’t gonna take her are they?”
Tracy with coal black skin, ancient hustler, holding a neon pink top up, popped her gum and said, ‘Course they ah. You don’t get clean, babygurl? That baby is gonna be gone!’ Tracy had lost most of her kids and was still using, but she told everyone her old man, white Pete was a piece of shit for treating her so bad and stole as many extra clothes as she could while putting on airs of the superior street woman.
Confused, Emma rummaged through the same pile of clothes on the floor in front of her over and over. Smiling and holding up pieces, asking Pat, “Does this look pretty? Will it make the baby happy?”
One of the other volunteers took Emma downstairs to the main office where the homeless sign in for meals. Clark, the man at the desk looked up, unalarmed as the volunteer extended Emma’s hand carefully. His bearded, rotund face rarely showed emotion. This was a cattle call. As Emma’s hand was extended, even he recoiled slightly and started peppering her with questions of how this came to be. Emma would never say it happened from shooting up in her finger, she thought no one would even suspect that option. She just had gotten a little cut that was infected. The volunteer asked if she would be going to a hospital and Clark said, “We can’t force her to go but it’s a good idea.” Emma stayed in with Clark and another man as the volunteer was called back up to the closet.
As the day closed by 2 PM there was no sign of Emma and she hadn’t been taken to see a doctor or nurse. She had chosen to get a Band-Aid and go find work... or so she said. Work for Emma was reduced to giving hand or blowjobs in parking lots, often in full view of the Hollywood police.
For weeks there was no sign of Emma.
Then one day crazy Kate came in and reported she had indeed seen her walking the streets. In the same breath, Kate described how her dog ate someone’s baby in the bathroom.
Knowing the growing child within Emma was probably coming early, Pat kept a pair of maternity pants laid out for Emma from donations. Her heart ached because she knew that one of her favorite girls may slide through the cracks or stay in it. She’d seen them all - come, go, fight, cry, beg, be arrested, die or shuffling by the walking dead having conversations only their brains understood and a world only their eyes could create. Pat had finally gotten sober at age 55 being with her peeps for almost 2 years now. Her smile was as broad as the Grand Canyon, with her Mo-hawked yellow hair spiked up against weathered brown yet soft skin that held powder blue eyes dancing the rhythm of life when she blinked. She had fought to get her own kids back from a broken system in the land of Hollywood’s ordinaries… Her own story was nothing new. Then there were the ever-growing signs hanging on the walls: “I love Jesus”, “Jesus Loves Me” or just Jesus and his mother Mary next to Cindy Lauper, Madonna and Michael Jackson – for the unbelievers. There was even the last supper looming above a doorway, each week the penguins added more religion while feeding their clients. It would better them all because religion was the answer.
The homeless women didn’t speak of Emma much, they didn’t have time. They lost so much, their youth, their old man, their new man, their teeth…
Elliana skirted in after leaving rehab, she’s 8 months pregnant with twins. Pat asks her where she’ll have her babies this time. She tilts her head, “I was just checking it out. My babies and I are good.”
Nancy comes in drunk every day and is one of the few who collects a new outfit more frequently because her clothes from the day before hang on her like a full garbage can. Her distended liver belly bulging beneath shirts that don’t fit as she poses with finesse askew, her puffy and scratched face ingrained with sidewalk residue etched into her skin where she last fell or slept. Nancy is the informer among the groups that glide in or slip out. Her fingers resemble red and black sausages and with her shock of bleached white hair under a cap, Candy, squeals joyfully through a toothless grin, “Hey man…living on the streets is fuckin’ tough. Shoes don’t last a day. I need another beer. Emma took off to Arizona, man with some dude. She ain’t gonna make it.”
She toys with a photo necklace among the chains around her neck. Swaying, she confesses, “I got a twin sister who takes care of my daughter in Georgia. She’s eleven years old. I got pregnant at 40 and I can’t take care of her but I call her up. I sent her a frog in the mail, big green frog for a present. I need another beer.”
Word of a strange new disease was coming and none of the homeless women were scared... their moms had survived AIDS - or so they said... some had survived Los Angeles being on fire but every day was pandemic... just another day in paradise in Krazytown.
The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad?" Alice: "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are. " L.C.
In a County ER waiting room…
“When you face extremely difficult times - you will quickly find a distinction in humanity - a dividing line of who is real and who is not with a sudden awareness of what true friendship or love means. If you've never experienced watching it happen to others - your time will come - and it won't be the end of the world - it will be a beginning of richer moments amongst the hairiest ones you'll ever face. Not liking this day but it's early.” Celine (aka Shorty) spoke to no one in particular.
She sat among the others in a crowded county hospital ER waiting room littered with the homeless – prisoners - the destitute and the mentally ill – realizing that she had truly become just another number in her own country. Although Celine didn’t remember where she came from - this was her home town as far as she knew. Voices and dialects from around the world asked her questions as others talked or cried – or silently dealt with their fate. A Hispanic man with lung cancer was slumped like a fetus in a chair – so slight in stature from his radiation treatments that a door slamming could snap his bones. His adult daughter and son huddled protectively next to him.
Hollywood Boulevard - Day…
Celine’s leg had come off when it crunched against a car's bumper while crossing Hollywood Boulevard. It only took a slight bump and her crutch leg dropped to the street but her mannequin leg held her steady until that horn blasted. She sat in her wheelchair wondering where her 4’6” boyfriend – Morty - was – it had been hours since he was tossed off of the premises demanding his girl see a doctor – “NOW!!”
Morty was a small black man with a scrapper’s attitude and didn’t like anyone touching his girl - especially when people looked down at him as they jeered. “Hey how’d ya get the girl?” “No – really man – you get paid to be with her?” This homeless duo’s day had started off as nothing peculiar – wondering what adventure they would have to find their morning meal after hitting the shelter for a quick shower and some subway tokens. They had a pact that rather than take the food from Krazytown’s shelter - their work consisted of lifting whatever they could as their own way of giving back to their community.
Hollywood living as a homeless person was sublime compared to other areas. Wherever prime real estate was garnered the wealthiest to help get people off the streets to hide America’s enormous eyesore and an even better money-maker for those who acquired – anything and everything – just to have or say they did their part. There were a few who put their necks out for the homeless and were complained about to city council and the mayor. The same people who got angry that fed people on the streets cried loudest about animal abuse – their local parks filled with dogs and cats in need of adoption. Where was the human adoption? No more public restrooms – but a canine could hike its leg anywhere and not get penalized.
Hollwood Boulevard - Day…
Zippy - the self-proclaimed Mayor of the homeless in Hollywood teased the duo mercilessly on their daily passage near his corner. He was one of the elders of the alcoholics and drug addicts that permeated the streets and cubbyholes in the City of Angels. Celine ignored him but Morty always wanted to whack Zippy. She understood that Zippy held a fondness in his blind heart for her but would never disrespect Morty by smiling too much or giving either man the wrong idea. Zippy was always trying to get information and making sexual remarks which irritated Morty to quick fists - but Celine would remind him never to hit a blind man – it wasn’t fair.
As they crossed the street - Celine was telling Morty about a new meeting she had heard about where they could get free food and change and more importantly it would be entertaining - PA or the Puppet Addicts. Morty thought it over and was about to nix it - when Celine looked at him. Her heart shined through her smile nabbing Morty’s heart and into the marrow of his bones – he never felt such love. Celine convinced him to go as a ventriloquist’s dummy as their camouflage.
Katey - a homeless woman was in a rush as she entered the opposite side of the crosswalk. She was one of the happiest people on this planet. Nothing phased her. Once - Kate saw a man lose an arm from dragging his motorcycle on the boulevard and taking a spin on the asphalt she hustled over to him - pushed her way through the crowd, looked down and grinned - “Oh - you can buy new arms and they work almost as good as the real ones!” In shock the man yelled profanities but Kate just laughed with joy.
Kate rushed past Shorty & Morty not seeing them on the crowded crosswalk. Her large bag that held her doll for the puppet addict meeting swung wide as a car honked. Kate’s arms rushed up and her hands clamped to her ears to keep out the noise and she started spinning and giggling. She inadvertently hit a stranger who fell backwards in a domino effect – one person after another knocked into each other until Morty and Celine were hit. Celine knocked against a car waiting for the light to change and that’s what brought her here to the ER.
The ambulance forced her to come once the paramedics realized she had two fake legs. Morty got into a one-sided fistfight with the two medics 6 before they drove Celine away. Angry because he could fix her legs in a heartbeat – he built them!
Kate moved across the street unaware of any damage in her wake. She just grinned and said hello to every person who she came into contact with. Kate’s life was good as a homeless lady – she loved her every day and every night times. She was truly a person who never had had a bad day in her life due to her outlook. Everybody needs a Kate in their life – another human being to see our life through different eyes – even if they arrive as skewered funny bones.
To be continued…Yesirreee!
"My daddy told me if I ever lost my legs - to run for it - any way I could." EMF
Hollywood Boulevard - Day…
Peter was a young- homeless runaway who had two missions in life - first he took care of his rubberized blow-up temptress - Babes and then he wanted to emulate his hero – Jared - whose crazed obsessions invigorated Peter’s sense of worth. Babes - Peter’s girl - was no ordinary inflatable Judy or stuffed Teddy bear - she was Peter’s reason for living. Others on the street perceived Peter as slow - some called him a retard or stupid but most passersby dismissed him as just another twisted teen addict on the street – or a douche without a bag.
He protectively clung to his slippery girl as a toddler would to his pacifier. Babes was Peter's baby blanket and shield against perceived threats. She kept him warm on the iciest of eves in Hollywood’s coldest of hoods – the ones that appear Disney-like by day and Kafkaesque by night. He was a young man without a home or a family to turn to but Babes filled Peter with hope that every morning would be better than the day before – even if it wasn’t.
Peter had given up drugs after finding his first true love with a needle sticking out of her arm and her eyes frosted over. No ambulance sirens – no fanfare was made over Angie’s short life. She didn’t even make the local news stations but the homeless were aware that a sister had fallen. Her remains were quietly picked up as police stood around and joked with paramedics from the local fire department. Peter had watched her go and decided that no matter how brutal his past had been at home – he would find a love that lasted and nurtured him. Babes became the object of his affection and they had been together for well over a year. Peter wore a fake lip ring to fit in with the other homeless teens but mostly avoided contact.
Peter watched Celine (Shorty) being carted off in an ambulance with her screaming dwarf boyfriend - Morty - left behind. Peter’s attention span was like a doorknob – left unturned he wandered around in a bubble – he was oblivious to his surroundings. Once rotated – Peter’s retention was without fault. He excitedly whispered into Babes’ ear that Jared would be extra happy to know that Morty was without Shorty – making the dwarf an easier target to get to and now Peter would finally gain acceptance into Jared’s seedy world once he relayed such precious information. Jared could seize the opportunity to enact his revenge on him for a previous encounter which left Jared dazed and humiliated.
Neither condition did he tolerate well.
Hollywood Census Worker’s office…
Mr. Weldon – the social worker who worked with Hollywood’s homeless had yet to diagnose Peter’s dysfunction but he often wondered if the word on the street that Peter was autistic might be true. He was a Hollywood Census Updater who took his job as seriously as a dog would a fire hydrant.
This was Peter’s day to sit across from Mr. Weldon as countless others had previously. Peter and Babes were hailed from the street for the required interview as he strode past Mr. Weldon's office. The social worker pulled out paperwork from his archaic filing cabinet – popped open a soda as Peter sat talking to Babes – trying to explain they would go to Jared later. Mr. Weldon smiled and popped open a snack bag of chips. He was ready to obtain information.
In the county ER…
Meanwhile - back at the hospital - Celine was fighting with orderlies in the hospitals hallway who were removing her makeshift crutch and mannequin legs. The legs were a symbol more than they’re obvious purpose. They were devotedly created by the love of her life – Morty - whose dedication and love for Celine knew no limits. She wasn’t about to part with her legs.
"What are you looking at? Haven’t you ever seen a woman with no legs?" Celine angrily questioned.
A man - dressed in a white coat - stopped by the melee to see what the disruption was all about and with one glance he was mesmerized by Celine. "Yes I have, but it’s more about my perception of someone or something like you. Think of it like coming across a rare piece of art. When you first see it, you're perplexed because you have nothing to compare it to. You might think of it as odd but as you keep looking at it you realize that there is something special about it. Then you realize it's just something beautiful in and of itself. It's something genuine and pure and it's worth admiring.” The physician’s assistant interrupted.
No one had ever spoken such loving words to Celine -with the possible exception of Morty.
His smile was slow and genuine as he untied the straps that bound Celine. His large green eyes hypnotized her with hopes of freedom until she felt the prick of a needle inch into her arm. All trust flushed out of her as the ceiling and other ER occupants began to swirl like a bad day at a gypsy circus. Soon - her head filled with images of puppets and marionettes while elephants screeched by. Celine tried to call out for Morty - but found her mouth went dry and then - the lights went out.
To be continued…
"A day without a dumpster is like a day without metro tokens." EMF
PHIL IDRISSI AS RAZOR ANDY GOLDBERG AS ZIPPY
Hollywood Boulevard - day…
Razor was one of the elders of the homeless population in Hollywood – like Zippy – he tumbled out onto the streets in his mid-teens or as he would say, “Since leaving my mutha’s womb – the room without a view.” He was a large man – Shrekian in stature - who drank and ate whatever he could pull out of a dumpster. Unlike most of the other residents – Razor believed that broken dreams - not drugs rang the high death toll to those who lived on the streets.
“Road kill” was his term for the inexperienced drug users of all ages that lined the boulevards crisscrossing the burbs in Los Angeles – also known as: the “maggot grid.” He would tell anyone who listened, “When I first got to Hollywood? I had top squatter’s rights for years in the elitist of mansions… and if an owner showed up? He’d thank me for watchin’ his place. One guy even offered to make me a key. That was how life was truly lived offa the streets – not this entire community of 'where-do-they-come-froms' business.”
Long gone were the days that made him proud to be a citizen of Los Angeles. Life made more sense back then – people gave more or cared less. Like Ockham’s razor he believed that if two opposing theories were similar – what he understood was better and whatever he trusted was best. His rivalry with Zippy was notorious to those who lived within their culture.
The truly blind Zippy had come from a loveless home that forced him into holding a cup or a hat to get his next meal or bottle to feel safe where Razor relished faking blindness - which pissed Zippy off - to the point of taking his blind cane and marking curbs to stake his claim of ownership - as a male dog would hike a leg to reclaim his.
Zippy went so far as to bribe kids to make signs that read: “Zippy’s corner.” Where Zippy was quick – Razor was slow and Zipsters (his nickname) was known to pull out a few fat jokes on Razor when he made fun of Zippy’s inability to see. This day - Zippy tapped his cane as he diddy-bopped past Razor while whistling an unusually cheery tune.
Unbeknownst to Razor - Zippy had already seen Mr. Weldon - the Hollywood Census Social Worker and procured extra favors in exchange for providing information about the world’s most extraordinary homeless couple: Shorty and Morty. Inside - Razor wondered what it would really be like to live his life blindly on the street as he adjusted a pair of women’s sunglasses he recently found - on his nose.
Razor wasn’t sure why the social worker was doing a recount of the homeless but he knew it wasn’t just about the yearly census count. As he neared the homeless shelter he smiled. Razor was the only one who understood the social worker’s vice – something only another food addict could appreciate. The social worker’s drug of choice was pancakes – butter or no butter – preferably with syrup – rarely with powdered sugar. Mr. Weldon’s car was filled with boxes of pancake mix and bottles of Mrs. Buttersworth – Razor had seen it himself. With each stride he took Razor’s mouth watered at the idea of breaking into Mr. Weldon’s car and stealing his loot. He even knew what homeless comrade would help him cook the evidence up. Razor hoped to get more meal outta the deal for wasting his precious dumpster diving time.
He belched as he sat across from the social worker – then he pulled out a bottle of rubbing alcohol and took a slug.
Back at the County ER…
Meanwhile back at the hospital – Morty at 4’6” easily evaded security or detection and stormed through the emergency room door. Seeing Celine on the gurney - minus her legs - an enraged Morty pounced on the Physician’s Assistant who struggled to remove Morty from his shoulders - as he thrashed about temporarily blinded by the dwarf’s beating little hands that held a vice-like grip over his eyes and throat. Morty growled: “Thief! Where’d you put my girl’s legs? I made them so she could see the world like everybody else! Give them back…now!” Orderlies raced to the scene as a groggy Celine (Shorty) began to wake up amid screaming nurses and applauding patients from the room of the ER.
“Listen doc, you either give me back her legs or I’ll break yours.”
Morty ranted as the Physician’s Assistant tripped and fell to the ground with Morty seated on his back shoulders – like a jockey waiting for the race to begin. Then the police sirens careened into the ER lot - everyone went silent - except for Morty.
To be continued…
“Give me my girl's legs back or I'll snap yours in two!" EMF
Hollywood Boulevard - Day…
The costumed characters were having a slow day in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard as the ‘good’ Spiderman complained to the ‘evil’ Spiderman - “Man, screw this. Let’s go get high.” The men removed their webbed hooded masks and headed down the street amid blaring horns and exhaust fumes. Tour buses stood emptied and waiting while the taxis swirled the streets like a swarm of killer bees preying on the tourists – hoping to get at least one honey or sucker for a toll. Mid-week on the boulevard didn’t spring alive until the last shadow was thrown or unless summer had come.
The social worker – Mr. Weldon - or as Razor would cackle: “I bet you were mister well done when you were born.” - relentlessly herded in more than the usual numbers for his added homeless census count. Razor had just left Weldon’s drab office with his nose primed to sniff out a new dumpster so he could hoard the extra food tickets he had received because that’s how this dog hunted – until he spied Krazy Kate - drifting along – her head abuzz with sensory overload. A condition that was hers but shared by many who never spoke about it outside of her community.
Further down the boulevard…
A make-shift table covered with a black cloth held foot high towers of a musician’s CD as a song caught the wind’s tail and deliciously escaped through tall speakers – capturing new ears along the way. The tall musician – Steve Huber – with wavy brown hair – was mustached and possessed an infectious smile. Huber had traveled the world extensively with symphonies and performed with many bands but after hearing about the world’s most extraordinary homeless couple – Shorty & Morty – Steve’s mission was to capture them in a thematic composition. He had scored!
It was magical - hauntingly lyrical and yet contained no words. Passersby – even some of the homeless - took pause - it was as if they knew this particular song had been composed with them in mind. Huber gifted a CD to those who couldn’t afford it while he gifted everyone with a smile and a wink. The tune slowly - then more quickly - spread up and down the boulevard – to Huber’s delight.
Krazy Kate saw Razor and put her head down but he was having none of her ignoring him today. “Hey Kate! Wanna come eat with me? I got an extra ticket.” Razor teased as he held out the ticket a little too high. Kate whipped around with a huge grin on her face. “A ticket? You got a ticket for me? A ticket…that’s how I got my cancer…no…that’s when my husband ate the dog…” giggling - Kate started swiping at the free pass to lunch. Razor laughed behind his woman shades – raising the ticket higher, “Katey… Wanna share some sausage with me?”
Kate nodded eagerly - not understanding his double entendre as Razor planted his enormous mug in her face. “Then meet me here at 4PM not one minute later and we’ll go together!” Kate was nodding when she heard the musician’s song from a mini boombox the truly blind - Zippy was carrying as he tapped his way past. “Sausage? That ticket ain’t worth more than a minilink!”
Zippy roared at his own bad joke while Razor quipped, “Zippy? Shut the fuck up.” Kate started dancing to the song coming from the boombox and when Razor stormed off - even his gait shifted to the beats of the tune. Crowds were starting to form around Steve and his CD’s were quickly sold. People were literally beginning to dance along the sidewalks.
Peter passed Razor animatedly in chat with his inflatable girl – Babes - and tangoed with her through the crowd. They headed towards Jared’s place to inform him that another musician was taking over some turf. Peter knew Jared’s music would clear this guy out of town whenever Jared got his band back together. More importantly - Peter still hadn’t had a chance to find Jared and relay that Morty had gotten away to look for his girl, Shorty (Celine) who had been carted off by the paramedics when her legs got bumped off by a car in the crosswalk.
Steve Huber sat in Mr. Weldon’s office – awaiting his interview as any composer would – with wonder until he was mistaken for a homeless person – offended he stomped out. He couldn’t believe the social worker didn’t understand his work as a fine composer on the short – Shorty & Morty – was real. Or so he said…
The County ER…
Meanwhile – back at the hospital – Morty – still 4’6” - had managed to clamp onto the Physician’s Assistant’s neck in a scissor move with his tiny legs. An orderly warned an officer that trying to pry the dwarf off would only enable him to better choke the Physician’s Assistant who was still being called - “Thief!” Morty hollered, “Give me my girl’s legs back or I’ll snap yours in two!” His hands tightly held onto the Assistant’s ears – like a bronco rider. The Physician’s Assistant gasped, “Help. He’s gonna kill me.”
Two officers stood by not knowing what to do next when homeless - Pikey Pram Pusher – stepped into the fray. Pikey was a tall coal black homeless man whose clothes hid his snake-like strength. When he caught an unsuspecting person’s eye they were mesmerized by his watery grinning eyes and large smile until he’d start to chew and when he chewed – you ran. 1The officers moved back with hands on their holsters and noses – respectively. Patients and people waiting to be seen – began screaming again while the dying - applauded the scene.
Everyone had forgotten Celine - her eyes opened slowly and focused in on what was taking place beyond her gurney…
To be continued…
“That little dummy is not going to get famous before I do! Who does he think he is? This is my town!” EMF
Hollywood Boulevard – day…
Young Peter lunged up the grungy stairwell leading to Jared’s door while clutching his delectable blow-up girlfriend, Babes. Peter was still humming music he had heard blast from blind Zippy’s mini-boombox as they passed each other on Hollywood Boulevard. Peter repeatedly knocked with excitement until Jared swung his door open with great agitation. “What is it Peter? Meeting time is tomorrow!” he barked. “You know the puppet meeting isn’t today.” Jared’s imposing stare and quick grin didn’t scare Peter – it made him feel important. Peter jumped up and down excitedly as Babes inflated chest followed – rhythmically, “Jared, I saw the midget! Shorty & Morty!”
This got Jared’s immediate attention but he didn’t want to seem too anxious. “Really? You saw them – the little guy who made his girl’s legs? You’re sure it was them?” Jared knew Peter wasn’t all there but he didn’t care – he wanted to be sure the information was correct. Peter nodded with an innocent pierced smile - much like a proud puppy awaiting his bone from his master. His piercing wasn’t any more real than his girlfriend – except to Peter - as he shoved the ring back into place.
Jared excused himself for a moment and closed the door. Inside he kneeled before an alter cut from an old telephone pole that stood three feet high amid clutter in his dingy apartment living room space. He lit two candles that rested on each side of his savior’s statue and knelt down while holding feathered leathered beadings. The carved statue was of a gleeful puppeteer maniacally holding a marionette. Peter peeked through the door’s mail-slot and spied Jared in prayer. He was in awe of Jared and everything Jared stood for – although he wasn’t sure he knew exactly what that was. Jared was one of the few in their shared homeless population that didn’t do drugs or drink or have a lot of “ghetto bling” as Jared liked to refer to material things.
Peter wanted to be Jared one day – if he survived the streets long enough to become his hero. The stringy-haired ex-musician had been a high end crackerjack in his day – his coke habit had far surpassed any tales in books or articles written about famous musicians’ habits. He remained deliriously anonymous and wanted nothing more - than to change that. Robert Downey, Jr. had nothing on Jared’s past. The meeting Jared created was for puppet addicts – aka - PA. He even made up his own literature: Understanding Puppet Addicts… And Other Doll Addictions - Cutting The Strings or his personal favorite – Losing Your 22 Puppet. When a member of his group reached that status – Jared had them hand over their addiction/doll/puppet - to him.
All proceeds from the meeting went to Jared – discussion was about Jared and Jared informed the other puppet addicts who attended - that his meeting was not to be tampered with because “Puppet addiction is the most dangerous addiction in the world - on the planet or perhaps even the entire universe!”
ILLUSTRATIONS BY DYLAN BOCANEGRA
He considered himself a maverick leader – not the bully most perceived - who viewed the homeless as lesser people. It was the only way Jared could anoint his own existence. Jared had snipped a few strings in his time and kept a room filled with puppets and dolls he had cured other addicts of to remind himself that he was truly in charge – plus - he liked the company. The mangled toys were his family.
Jared had not been in his right mind for several decades but he had plans to go back on tour when his drummer buddy got out of celebrity rehab. It didn’t matter that they had destroyed their first lives – this was Hollywood – land of dreams, schemes and best of all? Repackaging or as Jared liked to say, “We’re going to be all brand new. F^^K Bieber!”
Jared barreled down the steps out onto the boulevard and moved through the crowds - of regulars, tourists and the costumed characters - with Peter and his rubberized Babes not far behind. Jared stopped and asked 23 Peter where the music was coming from? Peter explained a composer – Steven Huber – had heard of Shorty & Morty and was both selling and gifting a theme song he had done for them. Jared was livid: “That little dummy is not going to get famous before I do! Who does he think he is? This is my town and he tried to destroy my meeting!”
He pulled at his once expensive hair piece then straightened it before storming off and bumping into Krazy Kate. Kate was the happiest crazy person Jared had ever met. He tried to pass her but when Kate had something to say she just couldn’t help herself. “The social worker wants to talk to you! The social worker said you’ll get cancer if you don’t go now… I got my tickets!” She giggled with pride.
Mr. Weldon’s office…
Jared – upset with the intrusion when he wanted to find Morty – the dwarf – begrudgingly sat in Mr. Weldon’s office. It was his turn to answer the Hollywood Census Bureau quetionairre – which he did with disdain.
Back at the County ER…
Meanwhile – back at the hospital – two officers continued to stand by and watch the scuffle as the 4’6” Morty leg-scissored the Physician Assistant’s neck until Pikey Pram Pusher stepped forward. The homeless black man with herculean effort shoved past the orderlies and the officers while pushing Celine’s gurney down the hall and out into the emergency room entry driveway. Celine squealed with delight – she loved fast rides and was still high from the demerol the Physician Assistant had injected her with. The officers had drawn their guns as Morty whipped his body around and bit one of them on the ankles – hard.
The homeless in the ER had moved dangerously closer as an officer threatened Morty with, “Take your legs off that doc’s neck or I’ll shoot!” The cheering homeless crowd edged closer making the officers nervous. Morty released the Physician’s Assistant – now gasping – and turned before he making a quick exit between the crowds’ legs: “That’s what you get for touching my girl and trying to steal my legs. I made them for her - not you!”
Morty pointed his middle finger in the air with a smile and quipped,"Shoot that!" - and then - he was gone.
To be continued...
"I gotta bounce. Have a reality day and night."
Mr. Weldon’s office…
“Hey, dude… I gotta bounce. Have a reality day and night.” Jared’s surly last words to the Hollywood census updater – Mr. Weldon. The stringy-haired ex-musician bounded out the door - left the social worker with his mouth agape. He scribbled the quotation in his notebook with a large star next to it so that he wouldn’t forget to ask other homeless folks what the phrase meant. Was it code for some dubious Jaredism that meant Weldon should put the Hollywood shelter on alert that plans were being made for another puppet addict meeting. He wanted to be sure he was informed - because he loved his job... too well. It was the way Jared said it – Weldon thought to himself.
It never occurred to him that perhaps his own perceptions - of Hollywood and the homeless - were as equally shady if not downright maniacal as Jared’s belief that he was about to go on a world tour with his old rock band after the drummer left celebrity rehab. As he mumbled to himself - Weldon went to slate the camera for his next visitor while he popped open another can of soda.
The afternoon was now getting eerily close to evening – that time where many innocents get lost into the night and not all were homeless. But as Krazy Kate would say, “It’s afternoon!!! I love afternoon and I have to be careful of the poo-poo… cause I got cancer…”
Film graduate – Josh Jalil – was one of thousands that came to or resided in Los Angeles - to make their dreams happen – and after being here two weeks – he was sure his star was on rocket fuel. Spielberg was his film God and by all rights should’ve been his dad – a Vulcan told him that. Josh had inked a plan to make E.T. meets Shindler’s List about Hollywood’s homeless upon hearing about sHorty & Morty – the world’s most extraordinary homeless couple. He had finally found his niche – something not yet done… and he was going to shoot it all by himself. All guts and all glory was his motto! Soon Josh and Steven would be seeing Dodger games together after a hard day’s work on set.
Josh knew there were other attempts at homeless films. He had done his homework and heard of a bygone television movie -Kid’s Don’t Tell - that had prominently featured local Dr. Lois Lee along with her organization’s Children of the Night known for getting teen prostitutes off of 27 the streets based out of the San Fernando Valley. His film would far exceed this impressive piece - because it was dated and he wasn’t. None could compare with Josh’s rendition because he was adding more Ghetto Bling into the mix and more importantly – this hook legged spider had yet to be discovered.
sHorty & Morty was his path to the Oscars. This was no deadbeat headliner about finding Jimmy Hoffa – again. Soon Conan or Jay would be calling. In no time he would be dating a string of skinny wannabe starlets. “Solid.” Josh thought and smiled. The world was ready – it was fast, cold and cruel – primed for his project of black comedy. Josh had already made friends with a cool young guy that carried his inflatable doll with him – Babes. They had met weeks ago. When Josh asked his name – Peter shyly smiled and said “What I’m sayin’.”
Josh asked him repeatedly until Peter confessed, “Dylan. My name is Dylan. I’m not homeless I just hang on the streets for fun...” He looked to Babes - whispering, "and... I teach art to the homeless guys." Josh questioned “Dylan” about the blow-up doll that bounced as they walked along and “Dylan” just smiled while toying with his fake lip piercing and hugging his Babes. “Dylan” even let Josh film him and Babes while he discussed his admiration for the head of the puppet addicts – Jared – and was the first to tell him about sHorty & Morty. He told him the story of how Morty - her 4’6” 28 dwarf boyfriend had built Shorty new legs so she could stand and see the world through a normal person’s eye level. “Don’t tell anyone I said this. Her real name is Celine.” Peter giggled until Babes hit him – which started a personal conversation only the two could hear.
Josh pointed his camera on any shot he felt would be gainful points for his film. Homeless dogs laying around – Marilyn in windows… as dressing – the costumed characters that posed for money with the tourists in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – Blind Zippy whistling next to his sign “Zippy’s corner” holding a hat filling with change – dirty needles in alleys – tour buses – the local natives – even Charlie Sheen’s Winning! Memorabilia. Jared’s menacing face came into view through the camera lens. Josh froze but Peter lit up like a firecracker.
Jared asked if he knew where the dwarf was and Peter said he heard Morty had gone to find Celine at the County hospital downtown because her legs fell off somehow. Jared responded with an evil grin, “Good. That little dummy is mine and so is his girl. I’ll be back.”
Then he was gone.
In a Hollywood parking lot…
Razor was looking into Mr. Weldon’s small car that was filled with boxes of pancake mix and bottles of Mrs. Buttersworth syrup while attempting to pry the door open when he spied Josh’s camera, “Hey! Get that f#$%ing camera outta here! You need a permit!” Razor quickly adjusted his woman shades and tried to appear blind while standing in place and spinning in a circle with Shrekian arms outstretched as he yelled: “You freak…I’m not going on TMZ! They don’t want the blind unless it’s Stevie Wonder!”
Razor stopped and realized Josh was still standing there with Peter in the background with Babes. “You freaks – get outta here!” He bellowed. “I bet your moms are naughty little robosexual sluts!”
The boys ran… right into the homeless shelter where the social worker sat waiting impatiently. Back at the County ER… Meanwhile back at the hospital Pikey Pram Pusher – the coal black homeless man with Herculean strength shoved Celine’s gurney down past the ambulances and out onto the street from the ER. Morty wasn’t far behind after giving the police officers his middle finger – telling them to “Shoot this!” for interfering with Morty trying to save his girl from the Physician’s Assistant and the orderlies. Morty at 4’6” was fit and fast after giving up all the booze and other drugs that Celine helped him get off of.
Now he needed to get Pikey Pram Pusher to help them to a safe spot and then he wanted Pikey away from his girl. Pikey looked down at Celine – salivating he was so struck by her beauty. She looked better than any Crispy Crème he had ever tasted. Sweat broke out on his forehead as he ran. Celine was still gleefully high from the Demerol shot that was beginning to wear off.
“STOP!” She demanded. Pikey slowed as Morty caught up alongside. “Morty? Where are my legs at?” Celine’s face turned into a pout as tears streamed down her red cheeks. “Who took my legs off?” Morty hopped up onto her gurney and instructed Pikey to take them to the nearest dumpster behind the hospital – it was here that he found a crutch to make one of her legs before. Pikey raced them there. When Morty climbed off of the gurney he looked up and found her mannequin leg had been taped beneath her gurney. “Celine, I only have to make you one leg.” He announced triumphantly. Shorty stopped crying.
Pikey Pram Pusher got mad and started roaring like a lion. Morty walked up calmly and thwacked Pikey Pram Pusher in the shin with a new used crutch – full quid. “Pike? Shut the fuck up! Don’t yell around my girl. If you’re not going to help us - you gotta go.” Pikey limped off without looking back. “It’s okay – toots – your legs will be done in no time.”
Morty said to Shorty as he kissed the crutch. “I love you Morty.” Celine smiled. “Right back atcha – Shorty!” he winked.
To be continued…
It took a lot to take him down – Rodney King was like an altar boy on acid compared to Pikey.
The tall coal black homeless man that limped away – after Morty smacked him with a crutch – was nicknamed Pikey Pram Pusher by his fellow street people. Pikey preferred his prized pram over cheap store carts and it was always well hidden from the paws of any on-the-books or court ordered temporary Cal Trans worker. Even the homeless had their priorities on what their “bling” was. He felt slighted after helping save Celine from the cops and orderlies in the ER. What made it worse was that he had been bested by the midget.
In his mind – which left him not long after leaving Austria and arriving in krazytown. Pikey Pram's hopes of becoming the next Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger were ruined by his alcoholism and other drug addictions but his thoughts of the legless beauty went deeper than lust. He wanted to take care of Celine and envied her choice in partners. Morty was a 4’6” dwarf – a black one at that – and Pikey had seen her months before she teamed up with him against the odds of rising suns on the streets of Hollywood, California. He knew a lot about Celine – who Morty nicknamed Shorty – maybe even more than she knew about herself.
Pikey had watched her dancing for the public on her colorfully covered stumps while alternately changing accents according to the tourists' allegiance. Celine twirled on her vibrantly colored and padded Persian blanket that she could easily roll up and carry on her back. He witnessed her crawling along Hollywood Boulevard one cold night - after being raped by another homeless man - who happened to disappear shortly after. Pikey knew where he went but when anyone around their community wondered what happened to “Sam the Can” – he just smiled and shook his head.
Sam was a repeat offender for stealing money from donation cans - hence the nickname. Pikey had seen him around the church schoolyard whistling to the little kids. Sam now rested in a barrel that Pikey found fit his body to a Tee and with his Herculean strength had jammed Sam into an industrial dumpster behind the local precinct. Pikey timed his delivery to coincide with trash removal day. The kids were safe from one less pedophile - but then - most lived with them in their homes.
Pikey considered himself the loveless lifeguard of the streets - yet his heart ached for a woman’s touch. If only Celine knew what he had done for her – she would leave Morty and be his girl. If only he could tell her the feelings he had. If only she knew that he had found a DVD with a woman’s name on it "E.M. Fredric" that had footage on it that reminded him of a younger - more vibrant version of what Celine must’ve been like if she had had legs. He had found this treasure long before he met the legless wonder.
Maybe Celine/Shorty was born with legs and she had had some car accident or some deep form of abusive trauma that erased her memory. All he cared about was diving into her heart. Maybe by sharing the footage of this doe-eyed actress with various bits - Celine might see herself with the black self-appointed lifeguard of the streets.
Maybe E.M. Fredric was her sister or mother or daughter or cousin or even Shorty – herself… Some of the homeless guys offered Pikey money for the demo but it would be gone forever and he needed a girl in his life – even if she was on a DVD. Gus - one of the many homeless actors - told Pikey that he should go to SAG/AFTRA building on Wilshire Boulevard and track her down through an agency list - but the Pram wasn't ready for that. It would break his heart if he found out E.M. Fredric no longer existed or wasn't still working somewhere and he wanted to keep his dream of her alive until Celine broke down and married him.
He watched Peter with Babes along the boulevard many times - usually with angst. That inflatable honey was too public for Pikey’s comfort zone. He kept his secret tucked carefully under the hood with old lace that draped his pram. He hummed to himself: "I want my… I want my… I want my… DVD" or "I want my... EMF." Pikey grinned knowing people thought he meant MTV.
His DVD girl played many roles that he watched on his portable laptop and he wanted more of her but didn't want to share her or sell her to the world. Why should other people be happy? He was in love with all the different roles she played - even as the little girl with Petey her dog. The Pram told himself that when he got sober he would find his babe for real and walk E.M. Fredric down a red carpet after buying her the most beautiful red rhinestone dress for all the award shows. Petey would trot alongside with a matching collar and leash. Then he would take them home to their kids in their mansion on the hill.
These images and thoughts were swirling in his head as Pikey Pram Pusher limped around the corner of the building and ran into a few orderlies that had jetted out from the County Hospital ER room looking for their stolen gurney with missing patient (Celine) on board. The two men stopped and the police officers weren’t far behind.
The head orderly demanded to know where Celine had been taken with her “little guy” boyfriend? Pikey saw red when the cops screeched to a halt behind the first orderly. He hated the police because he felt they were nothing more than money makers and paper pushers. When was the last time any officer of the local P.D. solved a real crime? All they did was bother people and drove his community to “move along” when the politicians’ cameras weren’t looking.
They couldn’t even find “Sam the Can” under their own noses but they could arrest a homeless person for being drunk in public. Pikey was still pissed they had arrested his buddy – forearm-less Jake - for spitting at them when they handed him a jaywalking ticket. They handcuffed him tightly above the elbows and made him sit in the heat of summer until Jake calmed down.
The middle-aged orderly yelled – bringing Pikey to attention, “Hey stupid! I asked you a question. Where’s our gurney and the lady with no legs?!” “The midget, too!” piped in the second orderly. That did it. Call him any word you want – including nigger – Pikey ignored ignorance because his mind couldn’t comprehend it - but no one called Pikey stupid and got away with it.
Pikey Pram Pusher roared until the vessels on his filthy neck started to bubble. The stench of his heated breath as he exhaled to assault their ears again had the men covering their mouths. It took a lot to take him down – Rodney King was an altar boy on acid compared to Pikey. The tasers didn’t disturb him but the dart gun finally felled Pikey - as it would an elephant – when back-up came.
As the ruckus continued – Morty worked quickly at building Celine a new crutch leg. They were both ecstatic that her mannequin leg had been left intact. She was still groggy yet giggly from the Demerol injected into her veins. “Morty. How’d I get here? You’re so handsome. What happened to my legs?...” Morty kept working while explaining patiently, "It all started when Kate knocked into..."
Meanwhile back in Hollywood…
Young homeless Peter with his girlfriend – blow-up Babes – tangoed along with the camera guy – Josh Jalil capturing every moment. Peter whispered into Babes’ rubber ear how he had tricked Josh into believing he was an art teacher – named Dylan - who taught the homeless. Krazy Kate had told Peter that an art class had started up at the local shelter on Fridays and she had seen the new teacher. “He’s C-U-T-E! Really, really cute and handsome but then he tried to eat my dog. Oh, that was my husband – he’s dead - but his name is Dylan – I saw it on the blackboard.” Kate declared.
Jared was hot – hot to finally get his hands on Morty and wring his little neck for taking over his Puppet Addict meeting. Who did he think he was imitating being a dummy? This was his town and he wasn’t having any half-pint try to become Sheriff. He entered the metro station at Hollywood and Vine to hop a train towards County Hospital where he expected to locate Shorty and Morty. He popped in his iPod earbuds which played Elvis Presley music over and over as the train came to a halt. The late afternoon crowd was filtering around him. Jared played air-guitar making that much more room for performance sakes - as he stepped inside the middle car.
An envelope was pushed under the social worker’s door. Mr. Weldon had sleep apnea and was out at his desk. The door was locked and a large snicker bar wrapper clung to his chin as he snored. The envelope held a DVD and was labeled – “from Pikey’s Pram” in messy handwriting.
A loud knock woke Mr. Weldon with a start. Papers and a bag of half-eaten chips went flying while his arms flailed at the intrusion of waking up. He yanked the snicker bar wrapper from his face and stood.
Then he saw the package…
To be continued...
“Holy chopsticks – look at that egg fly!”
DANA MICHAEL WOODS/MORTY & E.M. FREDRIC/SHORTY aka CELINE
In the beginning…
Celine couldn’t remember where, when or how she lost her legs but she remembered being bullied while growing up. Kids shouted, “Hey Celine - wanna be our second base?” or “Holy chopsticks – look at that egg fly!” She often scampered her way on her stumps but she slid out of her wheelchair faster than a canary drops in a coal miner’s cave. Sometimes the girls would trick her into thinking she was “good enough to be their friend” by asking, “Hey! Wanna roll over and get a slice of pie?” or by informing her, “When you grow up you’ll still be nothing but a stump and no one will ever love you.”
Most kids would’ve grown up damaged or not at all. Perhaps she was in a way. She was guilty of finding the fun in everything, everywhere and with everybody – or maybe her perceptions were skewered from having to adapt to a brutal world. Instead of becoming hardened – Celine viewed her life as a great big sandbox with no boundaries. If others kept theirs closed she persisted to invite them into hers.
To the world Celine was strange and to the strange – unbeknownst to them – they were the only family she knew. If you told Celine she was from Wichita? She would agree and say: “Dorothy loved Kansas! I even doggie-sat for Toto once.”… then she would begin to sing – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”… as people would stare or drop a few quarters onto her spread out Persian padded blanket in the evenings on Hollywood Boulevard.
Celine performed on her colorfully socked stumps – executing acrobat tricks – funambulist ones at a low rope rise - that brought her some revenue. When she was small - other kids hurled rocks or pennies at her but now she could pull in larger coins and the even rarer bills of George. The foreign tourists were the kindest as were the local hookers and some of her homeless village.
To Celine – love meant putting out for anyone who would touch her even if she didn’t like it. Any brief moment of human contact felt like what a hug would be to a baby nestled against a new mother’s breast – that sensation Celine had ached for. She was no dummy but she was gullible.
At first – she was a rat among many – living on the docks surrounding the harbour of Los Angeles. Being homeless in the port was far worse than what she would find in Hollywood but it was here that she first spied Morty - the handsome 4’6” dwarf. He was destined to be the man who would become her partner in life. Celine watched him daily as he walked by in a suit and tie trying to get into a film that was shooting locally. As he passed her – he would tip his hat and smile. Every day he walked over to a man with a walkie talkie and every day Morty got tossed off the pier into the water.
Apparently – the grunt with the radio had a beef with Morty.
Morty would drag himself out cussing and screaming, “I’m gonna sue your ass for wrecking my suit! I’m a union man and I want back on the list!” The grunt would laugh – shake his head and yell out through cupped hands so all could hear: “Hey lil gipper – go play with flipper. Little people don’t have unions on this set.”
Morty saw red and shot him his middle finger – with an antagonist wag, “Stuntman’s union! Set on this!” The grunt retorted, “And Lou Gossett, Jr. isn’t your dad, either. Personally, I think you look more like a mini Don Cheadle!” As he roared – Morty spat back, “You’ll see mouron… one of these days your job will be to drive me to set.” The grunt laughed so hard tears rolled down his face as Morty stomped off – middle finger extended.
When he was out of sight – Celine turned towards the grunt. Seeing her made him uncomfortable: “Hey Mr. port monitor… how much they pay you to beat people down? I bet your mother is really proud of you. Wanna dance?” With that – Celine tilted her wheelchair and started chairing around him until the other homeless came forward and booed while tossing garbage at him. Like any coward would – he radioed for help and snickered as they scampered off.
Later - Celine saw Morty curled up in a ball by a garbage can asleep with a liquor bottle in his hands. Morty was a drunk – the falling down kind of alcoholic that broke hearts. After having met so many – Celine didn’t want hers ripped apart by that legal liquid drug and decided to move on until Morty either came to – or died.
Morty’s drinking worsened as the film wrapped – so hungover was he that the grunt not only tossed him into the waves but fished him out and flat back onto the pier – his little body splayed like a limp doll. The grunt leaned over: “Hey lil gipper – I said go play with - not drown like flipper.” Morty was out cold.
Celine wheeled over to Morty and another homeless man put Morty onto her lap. She took him back to her place in the bushes – cleaned him up and watched him sleep – fitfully. When Morty awakened – bewildered that he was wearing fresh clothes – he looked around. Nothing. Everything ached as he rubbed his eyes to see more clearly – that’s when the note came into focus on a bag that held his other clothes. With shaky hands he opened and read it:
I took care of you last night
but I can’t do it every night
‘cause it would hurt too much.
I hope you get sober.
~ Celine ~
Months later - Celine had made her way to the streets of the known – unknown – hopefuls – hopeless and the other homeless in Hollywood. It would be here that she met and spoke with Morty for the first time.
On a late and hoppin’ mad night outside of Ricardo’s Rehab Bar – filled with juices and eclectic waters from around the world – the customers were expected to bring – hide and hold their own booze while not ruining Ricardo’s reputation in LA’s money-machine on the recovery scene. Homeless – Sam the Can - entered drunk and saw Celine rolled up at the bar in her wheelchair. An Asian tourist had offered to buy her some juice after observing her street show. Celine imitated his Japanese so well the tourist bought her another round as his friends took pictures of her with their cameras.
Morty was in the corner of the bar watching and sipping his Black Jack with soda. He knew what Sam the Can was capable of - raping anything that moved - and hated him as much as Pikey Pram Pusher did. Sam had no respect in the homeless community but he was 6’6” of husky that scared people – even the cops – and they were after him.
Morty was getting madder and readied himself as Sam made the play for Celine’s attention by pushing the Asian tourist aside. He twirled her wheelchair – turning her to face him. Morty had his slingshot armed and thwacked Sam the Can’s barren skull with a large steely – then another and then a stream of marbles were pummeling him. Sam was screaming in agony – he couldn’t see through his swelling eyes. No one stepped in to help – until…
Morty jumped down off of his stool and dragged it with him towards Sam. In a dance move he was atop the stool and began socking Sam as hard as he could with a sockful of marbles – then he jumped down and started wheeling Celine out with: “Don’t you ever touch my girl! Ever and that means every one of you or I’ll kill ya!” Celine never had a man protect her let alone make an announcement that she belonged. Morty winked at her and asked: “You don’t mind if I call you Shorty do ya? We’re the same size.” Celine grinned and nodded with realization that she was meeting her first boyfriend in her life – that she could remember – and he already had a pet name for her. Her face lit up like a fire-fall.
Back on the metro Jared continued playing air guitar to create his space when he noticed a little girl’s doll. He snatched it and struck poses - as the girl screamed in terror – then turned the Elvis tunes in his earbuds - off. Jared stopped – kneeled down and stared at the little girl until she shock stopped with tears dripping down. A speechless mother and train car load listened to him.
“Listen little girl. Do you know what doll addiction is? You’re what? Six – maybe seven?” She nodded. “Exactly… Does mommy or daddy drink too much?” She nodded with a sniffle. “Okay, that’s addiction and what they’re not telling you is that puppet addiction is the most dangerous thing in the world – maybe the entire universe so I’m going to give this doll a new home with other dolls who try to take over little kids’ minds – would that be okay with you?” Jared patted the little girl’s head into agreement.
Her mother was about to say something and Jared turned swiftly with a simple: “Don’t. Really. No need to thank me.” The metro train stopped and Jared had only one thing in mind – Morty. “I gotta bounce… Got me a dummy to locate.” He turned to the nervous passengers – popped his earbuds back in and held the doll up – “Have a reality day and night. Seriously – folks.” Then he was gone.
Back at the hospital…
The Demerol was wearing off as Celine laid sideways on the hospital gurney - watching Morty happily crafting her new legs. She adored this man who had her back and he knew that she had his. Separately they had been through so much yet together there was never a day they didn’t feel they couldn’t conquer even if just a slice of it – together. Celine looked at the child’s backpack he always carried for her leg repair – if needed and smiled. In this moment she felt a deeper love and respect for Morty than she had ever felt – which was a lot.
For now they were safe as Morty held up Celine’s new crutch leg with proud proclamation: “It’s much better than the others – toots! I bet it’s strong enough to lift me up.” He placed the new crutch leg – along with her spared mannequin leg – onto the gurney and hopped up alongside Celine. They hugged and Morty wanted to be sure that she would be awake enough to make the trip back to Hollyweird or to their make-shift home. Better than the cardboard condos most had – Morty had built them a shack of sorts that was portable enough to move at the first flashlight’s beam.
Gently he helped her get her legs on and when Celine stood up – she surprised Morty by picking him up off the gurney. He loved his girl’s strength and she loved his newly sober days.
In Mr. Weldon’s office he had heard the loud knock on his door - pulled the candy wrapper off of his newly awakened face and picked up the package on the floor. He stood and peered out the door and saw Krazy Kate hustling down the hallway while humming. He smiled knowing Kate would want some extras for this gift and was anxious to find out what it was.
The social worker ripped the dirty weather torn manila envelope open and pulled out a DVD entitled: E.M. Fredric – Early Works. He slid it into his player and sat back to watch the show on an old TV set provided by social services.
Pikey Pram Pusher was just coming to in the back of the paddy wagon. He didn’t understand why he was being punished for saving Shorty and Morty – especially Celine. Pram had been here before and knew he would get his three squares a day for a night and they would kick him to the streets in the cold.
Life in the correction-al state of mind where humanity lines blur – consciences get distracted or lost and the love of another human being is goes missing…like sinkholes.
Pikey hummed: “I want my… I want my… I want my EMF…”
To be continued...
“Mommy look! That man cut his dolly’s head off!”
Celine was so happy to have her prosthetic legs back on that she began to dance haphazardly while cradling Morty in her arms - in the County Hospital’s rear parking lot. The crutch leg was sturdy yet she was still a bit high from the Demerol and giggled with an English accent, “This is the best leg ever.” Her boyfriend – Morty the 4’6” dwarf – was proud of his craftsmanship and remembered the first time he kissed her make-shift legs. He helped her rise up to her true stature for the first time – all 5’8” as she wobbled along - slowly at first.
Celine’s reaction was astoundingly childlike in her Jersey best, “Wow… this is what the world looks like from up here? Morty you gotta see this – it’s absolutely gorgeous!” She reached over to hug him and with outstretched arms declared, “It’s a miracle. Let’s do stuff!”
He was riveted by Celine’s ability to shift accents mid-sentence and loved that she had become his partner – finally a woman who lit him up on a daily basis. Celine kissed the top of Morty’s head as if she could read his thoughts. Her gaze disarmed him. She was a pure heart in a volatile world – a sensitive that reflected the energies around her. Morty was her armor now.
Morty’s eyes were alerted to Celine when they were part of the homeless colony that infiltrated the piers of LA’s port. His memory was hazy because alcohol dictated many years of his life – but the first time his eyes met hers – he knew he had to find a way into her heart. She was like him – misunderstood and short. He nicknamed her Shorty after winning her over when they formally met in the higher end of LA’s homeless crowd – on Hollywood Boulevard. Morty officially made her his girl by beating Sam the Can senseless for accosting her.
Sam the Can went missing some months later but only Pikey Pram Pusher would know about that and he wasn’t talking or about to dig in one particular dumpster again.
Morty was dumped into an orphanage in New York City when his mother realized he wasn’t growing at a normal rate. In truth – his older brothers started using him as a torpedo or missile of sorts early on – like dwarf tossing except sometimes they took it to the rooftops. She was terrified Morty would end up as even more damaged goods than she felt he was or even worse yet – dead. Then where would she and her boys be? She already visited her ex in prison and her older boys would not be returning to juvy – no sir-ee - so the toddler had to go. Luckily - this was years before elf bowling became a yuletide - cultural sensation.
He wasn’t a difficult child to adopt out but since Morty’s growth rarely spurted – his repeated returns to the Orphanage grew closer together in time as his life’s years upped – sans the inches. Life as an orphan marked Morty as a scrapper for life. He became good at learning how to get out of harm’s way by practicing gymnastics and kick-boxing that he picked up from other kids when placed in foster homes. It would be in these temporary nests that he learned to fight with an edge – it was the only way he could survive. Some people when faced with a short deck of cards in life give up or learn to merely exist – others – like Shorty and Morty – took their oddities and embraced their divine decree. To them? Everyone was normal and amazingly colorful – it was the Hollywood Ordinaries who confused them.
Morty was slippery on his feet – a two-fisted acceleration machine when angered – yet - he innately knew how to conduct himself until drinking took over his world. That happened so slowly he didn’t realize he was an alcoholic until he started skiing down the boulevards of cocaine. Life in the short lane wasn’t easy and he was spinning out of control.
When he first came to Hollywood ten years ago – Morty made enough friends to share an apartment with other wannabe actors and musicians. By appearance alone - he was signed to do children’s parties and play an elf at the malls with various Santas. The only thing he discovered that he and Santa had in common - was a high tolerance for booze. Most kids knocked him over to get to the man in red. It took Morty five years to build up a career that made him a viable income and just a few months of solid bar fights to melt it down. Most fights started with a really bad short joke. “Hey short stack – wanna half pint to go?” or “Hey big guy – where’s the little guy?” “Does it snow down there? I wanna write my name on it.” “Elf was my favorite movie and you weren’t in it.”
His first few days on the streets were harder than any day he had growing up. The language of the streets has its own rhythm and set of laws or rules of conduct that was created by the more experienced long term homeless homies. Morty learned quickly that lying and cheating was part of surviving and stealing was a gift he had to hone his skills on.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY DYLAN BOCANEGRA
Back at the social worker’s office…
Mr. Weldon watched Pikey Pram Pusher’s DVD of E.M. Fredric over and over wondering what path her life had taken her on. He smiled knowing that Pikey would discover his treasure went missing and wondered why Krazy Kate had stolen it - maybe she had a secret crush on the monstrosity that roared at folks when angry. In Krazytown anything could happen – Arnold S. had proven that.
Forearmless Jake was on his way to get his friend out of jail. Not even the cops wanted to deal with the stench of Pikey Pram Pusher. Pikey sat in a release cell waiting for his bud to help buy his way out. At first he was going for the three squares and a roof over his head for a few days but the jail was stuffed to over capacity so he sat and waited for his friend. He had roared in the paddy wagon among other inmate prospects and they begged to be euthanized. Pikey’s bail was at the homeless rate – not free – doable.
Back in Hollywood…
Some people stand in social quicksand – Berta King’s mommy was a pervert and relished swimming in it. Berta was one of four young girls lost to the state because of the numerous uncles that came late at night and abused Berta and her sisters. Only two sisters remained alive – even more unconscionable was that Mercy King (Berta’s mommy) lived in a Simi Valley trailer park while her self-described junkie daughters turned tricks for a living. Mercy made sure her daughters had Jesus driven into them when they slid out of her womb - so Berta and her fraternal twin – Lacy – had become hookers for Jesus on Hollywood Boulevard.
Jesus Junkies are the happiest junkies alive. They were two super freakin’ Asian girls who played naughty twister to raise their stakes as Hollywood Hookers with a clientele list that rated the names from stars – doctors - to the local politicos – with an occasional spiritual leader tossed in. They had stopped doing the unknowns to become untouchable. When either Berta or Lacy got out of a well-lit parked limousine in a lot – no cop stopped them – they were off limits ladies of the night and they were out early on a mission.
It was recruitment week. For every teenaged drug addict selling their body – the sisters got a percentage from helping align them with Johns that wouldn’t hurt them. Berta and Lacy considered this their God given mission. Not to remove the wounded but to help heal them with less abuse and it kept the streets a little cleaner for appearances sake. It was still late afternoon so they had time to discover the best young meat available for their return.
Back at the hospital…
Morty looked at Celine and knew in his heart that she was his flintstone – without her there was no fire. He took her by the hand and they headed toward the metro to return to Hollywood. “Come on, toots! We have an appointment with a social worker.” “What for?” She asked suspiciously. Celine hated confined contact with strangers – crowds were different. “It’ll be alright. It’s just some census thing and I think we might get an apartment out of it.” Morty - lied. He hated lying to her but Zippy - their blind self-appointed street mayor - said that if they didn’t show for the census interview and got caught on the streets they could be moved along. In other words – relocated to ensure the count was correct for the city to allocate funding to Hollywood’s refurbishing committee.
Zippy was far smarter than he let on. His blindness assisted him in getting and retaining information better than any other street rat. Zippy’s theory was “It’s all about making Hollywood - the brand - look and sell as good as it reads – see? Entertainment usurped the need for jobs and hope – this is about commerce by Hollywood standards and practices. It’s about the big guy bullying the little guy with a kinda sad raw bestial vulgarity to it- while assisting any foreigner who hops onto the American bandwagon. Then we look good in the eyes of the lands beyond Oz! This is gonna be It’s A Small World run by the men behind the curtains of all the businesses and buildings on Hollywood and Sunset and Vine combined and then some.” He also told Morty with a cackling laugh, “A new Hollywood is coming - but for now - the homeless - locals and tourists believe what they’re told - as all good children should be spoon-fed first.”
Morty found Zippy’s proclamations to be frightening but then just a few weeks ago a man stepped out of his car in 5 o’clock traffic and began emptying his revolver until he was shot dead. Most of the sitting ducks in their cars thought they were part of a movie being filmed. He just wanted his girl safe and to be able to build a life again. One day he wanted to locate his father and he truly believed his dad was an actor of some acclaim because acting came so easily to Morty. Louis Gossett, Jr. made sense because they were from the same part of NYC and Morty believed they had similar sensibilities. Plus, he heard that his hero had adopted one son and Morty was convinced that was because he didn’t know where his real son was. Only time would reveal – in Morty’s mind - the truth and he intended to take the journey to discover it.
At the hospital…
Shorty and Morty boarded the metro - Hollywood bound - while Jared was asking an orderly, “Did you see a little guy who makes legs for his girlfriend around?” As the orderly relayed the day’s events Jared twisted the head off the doll he took from the little girl on the metro and slammed it onto the ground. “Shit!” he said - throwing a tantrum while crushing the doll’s head segueing into playing air guitar with the doll’s body – he sang: “I’ll get that dummy and have his head and with his purty little girl I will bed.” The orderly just stared at him. Jared stopped as quickly as he had started, grinned and shook the orderly’s hand, “Nice to meet you dude. Have a reality day and night. I gotta blow this taco stand.” Then he was gone.
When Jared entered the metro car and sat his mind wandered as a little girl’s scream brought him back, “Mommy look! That man cut his dolly’s head off!” Jared jumped up and politely approached the mother and daughter, “Oh, no little girl you have it all wrong.” To the mother, “May I?” He kneeled down, “See, this dolly has a new home to get fixed. How old are you 5 or six?” She nodded – holding up four tiny fingers. “Your doll is pretty and new I see… mine needs a best friend to go with her so she’s not scared. Can yours come along?” He patted the girl’s head into a meek agreement. The mother was speechless and with Jared’s deranged appearance no one bothered to interfere. Jared now had two dolls for his collection. Perfect… now to find the midget.
Hollywood always had an unknowable muteness about it – even with the spotlights on - a purposeful ignorance of propriety - Shorty and Morty had been placed here – according to Celine – to be an example of brilliant loving exceptions in a desolate society.
To be continued…
"E.T." meets "Schindlers List" was the perfect pitch for Josh's movie idea!
Jared hopped off the train at Hollywood and Vine swinging the two dolls – he racked up from the little girls on the metro rides – with one hand and hit the boulevard within minutes. The twilight crowd was coming alive – this fed Jared’s thirst for discovering more puppet addicts – plus he had to find Peter to see if he had seen the midget with that legless fox he wanted to hunt. Yes-siree he wanted to kidnap the little guy – torture him for taking over Jared’s puppet addict meeting – then he would steal his girl.
Jared whistled and posed as he walked with thoughts of how delicious it would be to watch Celine scurry along on her colorful socked stumps – while he trailed behind with her prosthetic gams slung over his shoulders. Celine would be terrified but would quickly see Jared as the king of Krazytown’s homeless brigade. It wouldn’t be long before she cried and offered herself to him – as his group did with their puppets. He might even consider making her his queen – just for a day. Jared laughed and used the two dolls to cover his surprise woody when he heard applause. He bowed – then realized it was for someone else.
Curious - he moved closer to a small crowd that surrounded a man in clown make-up - manipulating marionettes. Excited - he rushed forward and read the sidewalk board: FREE Puppet Show by: Puppetman the Great! Jared stood amid the small crowd of locals and gonnabes as he watched the clown. Was this the puppet God statue he praised in his apartment come to life - the archfiend or just another rising wannabe?
Jared inched closer – then dropped to his knees in prayer – dolls held high as he began to speak in his own tongue. Onlookers gasped – then the clown griped, “Hey dude – you knocked my tip jar over. If you want your own show - move on down the block. I have a permit to perform.” Jared stopped – adjusted his long fake hair piece – and retorted, “I knew it! Folks – may I have your attention please? This is just another Hollywood demon stringing you along - not the true puppet God coming to heal us of our most dangerous addictions. "Please…” As he bent over and collected the spilled money and extended it, “…take your money back. This man is a fake – you can thank me later – really.”
The Puppetman hollered, “Give me back my dough you long-haired freak! Take your headless doll and her twin to another corner!” Jared’s eyes rolled as he inhaled deeply to commit himself for full on assault when…
Krazy – but happy - Kate happened upon the scene and saw Jared. She yanked sock puppet out of her torn used purse and mimicked Jared’s deep voice, “Jared’s going to kill you! He’ll give you cancer…” Almost instantaneously – Kate continued in her best little girl voice, “No he’s not… no he’s not.” Her panic-stricken face turned towards Jared as their eyes locked.
Jared dropped the dough – his attention fully on Kate. “Are we out having a little fun time with someone else’s pup-pette? This isn’t meeting time. Where’s Peter?” Kate slowly inched backwards in her cowboy boots. “I gotta be careful of the dog poo and my cancer is coming…” Jared sniped, “Cut it Kate – where is he?” She spilled – trembling, “He went to a Dodger game with some camera kid. Jared’s not mad at me is he?” The Asian twin sisters swished through the crowd.
“Ditch your mascara fast!” Squealed Lacy - to her sister - Berta King. “I think I spotted some new revenue.” Berta laughed and while passing turned to Jared, “You’re never gonna make it in this town. The Muppet show died a long time ago – drummer boy.” Lacy and she locked arms as they stuck out their wet teasing tongues.
Jared winced – he hated when she called him drummer boy – he was a lead guitarist and knew he would’ve been bigger than Prince if his heroin habit hadn’t shaved off a few decades. In his mind – he was all brand new - he smiled through street teeth with insults, “Hey girls – hookin’ for your man – J.C. tonight? He got stolen at Christmas with all the other Jesus babies.” The girls over-exaggerated their strut – mocking him – which pissed Jared off. “He DOESN’T EXIST!” He did in Jared’s yule treasure trove room of dolls, puppets and other addictive toys.
The sisters simply held up their crosses without looking back and said in unison, “Jesus loves his hookers – doll-man.” Jared lashed out – “Not in my fortune cookie!”
Outside the social worker’s office…
All 4’6” of Morty pushed Celine in her wheelchair. She was exhausted from the day’s traumatic events at the County ER and the interview with the census social worker left her cranky. The duo were nearing Hollywood Boulevard – as she lamented in her royal English accent – “I don’t understand the significance of the homeless census - the social man obviously hates his job. I think he’s a nosey arse.” Morty replied, “The Demerol is still in your system. Let’s get you back home to rest before it’s really dark.” With that – Morty spun her around and then propelled her chair forward – Celine shrieked a dizzy laugh.
A few locals grumbled and scooted out of the way. One toothless bag lady dished with annoyance, “You think you’re so special Celine? Just cause you got no legs don’t make you better than us.” Morty was about to come to his girl’s defense but as they turned the corner Krazy Kate banged into them. “Uh oh… Shorty and… uh… Morty. Jared’s… I just love you Shorty… you’re a dancer who got cancer! Morty’s face reddened – “Where’s Jared?” “Across the street?” Kate tattled as she rattled – “I had cancer but my husband ate the dog.”
Morty angrily hopped up onto the back of the wheelchair handles and yelled through cupped hands, “Hey tough guy – moron – over here! Leave the little people alone and try me out for size!” The traffic noise had picked up – Jared rotated to determine where the threat was coming from. Morty whipped out his slingshot – and beaned Jared with a large round steely – right between the eyes.
The last view he had was of Morty poised to shoot as he fell to the ground rolling. Clutching his wig – Jared screamed in agony, “I’m going to kill you! You… f^^king midget!!” Morty was already a block away with Celine giggling before Jared rose back up. He stood with his two dolls – one headless – looking and rubbing his forehead – saying to passersby, “What are you looking at? Move along. Reality time! Who saw a midget with the woman with no legs?”
At Dodger Stadium…
After Mr. Weldon – the Hollywood census updater – tossed the young recent film graduate – Josh Jalil from his office – forbidding any more shooting of porn movies – home movies and most of all – the homeless with Shorty and Morty – Josh convinced young homeless teen – ‘Peter’– who he knew as ‘Dylan’ according to ‘Peter’– to attend a night ballgame for celebrity hunting. As part of his rocket fuel injected plan to claim his fame now – he needed practice celebs to hone his pitch on making a film all by himself that had never been done. A dark comedy reflecting America’s Dream gone loco – or missing – but ‘Dylan’ should know this from teaching an art class for the homeless – Josh insisted. ‘Peter’ gave his usual answer – “What I’m sayin’.”
This was the first sports event ever for Peter and his blow-up girlfriend – Babes. Josh navigated them through a secret passageway – free of security detectors – wealthy cams he called them. They soon nabbed seats in the VIP field box section. A fellow San Francisco film student had tipped off Josh that there were always a few empty seats in the richer sections of the stadium. Their lucky night was about to get luckier.
A teenage girl holding a soda in the stands called Peter a pervert while some kids running up the aisle pointed to them but turned with Dodger blue gloves in the air as the wave hit their section. The trio settled in and that’s when the magic happened.
Steven Spielberg’s smiling face and wave of his hand were flashed on the big screen. The stadium went wild with cheers and catcalls. The next few minutes of Josh’s life happened like a car crash – in slow motion yet faster than the Saturn V missile – it made his mind question the validity of circumstances.
Josh hugged Peter so hard – he almost popped Babes, “Man – this is f^^king unbelievable! My hero is here and I can show him parts of the movie from filming today and introduce you as Peter! I won’t tell him you’re really Dylan – let’s go.” Peter’s face broke into a smile – he kissed Babes and adjusted his fake lip piercing as he stood up and pointed. Josh’s eyes followed his finger’s direction and a profile view of Spielberg’s face come into focus – his dream of hanging out on the set and going to ballgames with Steven Spielberg was less than four rows away!
“Okay, k..k.. Okay – you stay here with Babes and I’ll set this up.” Josh stuttered. Peter nodded and sat down caressing Babe – oblivious to most of what surrounded him – as they joined the next wave. The crowd roared as Josh skip-jumped over seats and down the steps – within seconds he was by Spielberg’s side – staring at him like a drunken puppy waiting for his master to toss his ball.
Josh’s whole pitch about E.T. meets Schindler’s List with an extraordinary homeless couple living among Hollywood’s homeless – flew out of his head. His blood pulsated so loudly between his ears - he thought his brains would spurt out – but reminded himself he had been in Hollywood for two whole weeks and destiny was on time!
Then – Steven Spielberg turned his head and looked right at him. Josh’s face froze into a smile that read – I just found God. He asked the person sitting next to Spielberg if he would take a picture of them with Josh’s camera. The man rose unsteadily – put his beer down – stepped into the aisle and took the camera and snapped a shot.
The crowd noise scared Babes – so Peter hopped over the seats to get in on the pictures – that would brighten her up. This occurred so quickly that Josh didn’t notice they were there. He glanced at the image – his perfect smile and body language remained as he asked loudly – “Can you do it again – please Mr. Spielberg? I went to school one summer with your son – Sawyer.”
Spielberg grimaced tactfully – hoping his image was not on the big screen and ready to scramble to a luxury suite before more fans came along. It wasn’t his idea to sit out in the open – or take photos for free – his buddy holding the camera chuckled. In a surly tone Spielberg said, “Snap off a few so he gets what he wants… Now!” An elated Josh nodded, “Solid.”
Spielberg kept the same stonefaced pose. Josh beamed ear-to-ear as Peter and Babes stepped in. Spielberg tuned out everything but the click of the camera. Peter noticed his duress and took a seat next to the icon.
Looking at him with compassion – Peter wondered if his real dad resembled Spielberg or if he looked so unhappy because he might have a kid on the street too. Maybe Babes could help him out.
Spielberg’s pal was about to hand the camera back again - but Josh saw Peter in the photo. He needed just one perfect shot of him alone with his film God. Josh pleaded, “Sir – just one more? I want to frame this memory so we can look back on this together one day and remember how we met!”
Spielberg’s agitation prevented him from noticing anything but the kid he wanted to get rid of – choking him out entered his mind. Another wave erupted – making it virtually impossible for Josh to hear exactly what Steven Spielberg said just as three burly bodyguards ran down the steps – whisked the trio away and shoved them up and out of the stadium walls into a waiting van. They were shoved inside – driven to the base of the hill and thrown to the parking lot fence line and told, “Don’t ever come back here again or we’ll have you arrested!” The van’s tires screeched back up the hill.
Josh rolled over clutching his camera and moaned – “Not my camera – I hope it’s not broken.” Peter was heartbroken – a part of Babes had burst as he kept trying to blow her back up. “Come on… you can do it. You have to be alright.” Josh realized his camera had a lot of scratches but still worked and then he noticed Peter. He walked over to him and offered, “Hey – I’m sorry they did that to her. I know a sex shop where we can get another doll.”
Peter stood up angrily – “She’s my girl! You can’t replace my girl!” Josh thought a moment and gently offered, “I’m sorry, Dylan… I mean Peter… let’s go to a bicycle shop and they can help patch her up and she’ll be good as new.” Peter wiped a snotty nose. “You think they can fix her?” “Yeah man – I know they can.” They left elated but partially deflated. Josh had shots of his hero and Peter kept his mouth on the hole in Babe’s shoulder – trying to keep his girl pumped up – until they got back to Hollywood.
In the Hollywood Hills…
Morty pulled Celine up onto Runyon Canyon’s High Bench – a seat that made you feel like a kid again – and hopped up alongside of her. The long day in the County ER circus had taken its toll on them both. Every night they came to sit and discuss their day and to make plans for tomorrow’s survival tactics for life on the streets. It was getting dark – a rare night in L.A. where a few stars poked through the haze as the city lights lit up the horizon. Darkness brought many things to Krazytown and few were good.
Celine rested her head against Morty’s shoulder – lightly swinging her crossed mannequin and crutch legs with a deep sigh. Morty felt her warm breath against his neck and he wondered how he got so lucky to have such a beautiful girl. With a Southern drawl she whispered, “I don’t ever want to be a Hollywood Ordinary.” “Me either… I’m gonna take good care of you – Celine… Celine?” He rested his head against hers and heard – in her best Jersey accent – “I love you Morty.” “Right back at ya’ Shorty.” The duo had survived another day – peace.
Then – the destructive sound of a bulldozer revving its ugly engine descended upon them.
To be continued…
“Forearmless Jake walked into the Hollywood precinct. “Where’s Pikey? You got your dough.”
In Hollywood early evening...
Lithe and tall – Leah Lexington exclusive – ‘Cream-pie’ for the Straight Guy – lived in West Hollywood while she awaited her gender change – yet Hollywood stars always beckoned. This tall blonde knew how to tally a fetish sheet. Originally from Texas – Leah knew a crazy bull when she saw one – her father rode her when she was little Leonard Lexington. Leah didn’t like the Asian King sisters who played naughty twister and preyed on the younger homeless teens. Lexington considered them Carney girls – low-class Monicas with matching stained dresses – or as whores of rooster trickery. Leah had worked hard on herself to become known as an erudite and elegant lady with both potions and notions. She was almost a complete woman and no one could stop that process. She had her fans and her clients – sometimes the two mixed.
Lexington knew her way around both sexes – especially the kinky elite. Discretion was her middle name. Although many tried to buy her secrets – she wasn’t just another dumb Dresden blond getting her a$$ slapped – she knew who gave and got the needle in Krazytown and she wasn’t about to have her beautiful face blown off by accident. There never would have been any talk about a well-known celebrity getting caught with a tranny – if he had seen Leah that night – no siree. No flashbulbs or reporters and certainly not TMZ. Leah considered TMZ the bottom dwellers and they rarely came into Hollywood unless there was an opening with stars or a police scanner spilled a big story – or worse – the PR people were dialing for images while clients skid to hit the mark while waiting to buy their ticket. She was a fox in the making with no need of a hound but never ruled out a well-coined steed or three.
Leah’s long laced legs stepped out of her idling – 3rd generation Toyota Prius. Her red stiletto heels glistened as she stood to pay the valet. Lexington was slated to appear at the local business owners meeting. She had a mentor program she wanted to propose to help give back and figured she was due a non-for-profit business that would make them all look good in the community. F^^k Big Brothers and Sisters – she had a few generations of people – like herself – who needed her guidance and she wanted invisible bank for her expertise on becoming a transgender. Leah’s lead physician – Dr. Olivia Copeland was on the board and carried serious pony on decisions that affected Hollywood and the tourist industry.
Lexington strutted like a tranny without a train – freely and with purpose as she entered the hotel – her future was about to get tighter – she loved ropes.
At the police station…
Some lady with blackened eyes was screaming with alcoholic breath at the desk sergeant, “My husband didn’t really hit me. I’m sorry I called the police. Please let him out! I can’t afford to let him stay here – we’ve got mouths to feed!” Three disheveled young kids were behind her. Several other Joe publics turned around when Forearmless Jake walked into the Hollywood precinct – headed straight to the counter and dropped an envelope containing the bail for his pal – Pikey Pram Pusher – who was in for defending Celine and her 4’6” midget boyfriend – Morty – at the County ER. The homeless were always targets and Pikey hadn’t appreciated that ‘his’ legless woman was being shot up with Demerol – let alone her prosthetic gams taken – while the Physician’s Assistant examined her like an artifact. Pikey was simple – ugly to most – a self-appointed homeless vigilante. When he dumped “Sam the Can’s” body in that dumpster – many were spared a lot of abuse but no one knew his good deed – not even Forearmless Jake.
All extra chatter stopped – whispering slowly commenced. They watched as Jake leaned over the counter with his mouth to pick up a pen and quickly X’d the dotted line for Pikey’s release. He glanced up at Officer Benzonini – the same officer who gave him a jaywalking ticket and spat out, “Where’s Pikey? You got your dough.” Benzonini yawned and rubbed his fat belly as he opened the envelope. “He’ll be out in a few. Need a helping hand?” Tears streamed down his face he laughed so hard – until the stench hit. All hands went to their mouths and noses.
Pikey Pram Pusher was in the room. His glare took in Benzonini and he began chewing with a salivating smile as he moved towards him. Jake stopped Pikey with his elbow, “He ain’t worth it man. Let’s get outta here.” Benzonini’s uniform was absorbing his sweat faster than his heart raced – they said it took three elephant darts to take Pikey in. The two paused at the door and looked back with Jake raising an elbow to the officer, “May you have many children – officer. I bless you that - for every homeless person you’ve robbed – that goes for the rest of you.” The other officers put their hands on their holsters – Jake backed out with both elbows pointed at them machine gun style. Rat-tat-tatting his exit.
They headed for the boulevard to score some dope before Pikey would return to his Pram to watch his EMF early works DVD. He hummed…”I want my… I want my… I want my EMF…” Jake shook his head with a wry smile.
Mr. Weldon the social worker had packed his bags and tucked away the DVD of E.M. Fredric’s Early Works next to a nightly stash of snicker bars. His day ran longer than usual but he didn’t mind – the twilight crowd was buzzing with most of the homeless hidden amongst the regulars or tourists. He smiled knowing that when he had his daily breakfast hotcakes – with his special lady – Mrs. Butterworth – Pikey Pram Pusher would go berserk discovering his DVD gone missing. Maybe he would “roar” along the boulevard and get picked up for stench pollution or he would annihilate one homeless condo after another turning his community against himor better yet – he would be relocated like the wild animal the social worker perceived him to be.
The scenes in his mind brought him great comfort. Pikey usually came in ignoring census questions and breathed heavily – skunking the building and making his job – homeless impossible. Weldon considered his work to be steamier than any hooker on a Friday or Saturday night in Krazytown. He fancied himself superior to any John with the most expensive of strings to rent. He was living the dream – along with his secret life as a pancake connoisseur – he whistled and headed for his old ’96 Ford Taurus.
In the partially lit parking lot he spied a small trail of broken glass on the ground’s gravel – leading to his car! The social worker’s eyes bulged open at the sight of smashed rear window pane on the ground and trunk of his Taurus. He walked faster and saw the most evil of crimes – his entire load of pancake boxes and Mrs. Butterworth bottles was gone. In slo-mo acceleration – he trumpeted to see what was left – nothing but boxes of papers and a few leftover candy wrappers all over the front seat floor.
He looked across the lot and spied Razor – the Shrekian homeless guy he had interviewed earlier – schlepping his loot. He was pushing his shopping cart around a building as the social worker yelled – “RAZOR!!!! Give me back my pancakes!” Razor turned and saw the equally big man and with a grin – lifted his bottle of rubbing alcohol – took a quick sip and patted the pocket he housed it in. If it had been a cold night – steam would’ve risen from Mr. Weldon’s bated breath as he lunged after his insolent client. Razor’s face and shoulders did a Jackie Gleason and away he went with “his” new goods.
The extraordinary homeless couple had just nestled in for a power nap before going to their makeshift home Morty hand-crafted for them when the ground shifted beneath High Bench in Runyon Canyon. Progress – with a hefty tag – had arrived. A bulldozer’s deafening whir of its engine had Morty zipped up to his toes – as Celine screamed and jerked into consciousness – her mannequin and crutch legs almost fell off. This was their favorite spot and they loved the canyons – as all the homeless did along with the wannabe celebrity hunters who acted like they loved nature.
Then there were the locals with their respective dog and cat causes – they owned too many and were always trying to save more while the builders came and grazed the hillsides to make room for more people and cars to smoke the city up with lots of dough for the city players and owners – while killing wildlife refuge without obligation. Celine had wanted to make a Feed A Child, Save A Coyote sign but Morty explained people would misinterpret it and they would be ousted from Krazytown for sure – or offed. Yes – offed.
Money of the biz not soul of the show advanced leaders by their nose-rings – it was a whackadoodle place way before “Chinatown” was allowed to be made.
Morty peered over the back of High Bench as the bulldozer hacked its way towards them. Celine was confused – “Why would someone be out here working at night? They never do construction work at night in this town – it would save people money if they did that. He’s up to no good.” Morty screamed over the motor – “Hey! Whattya think you’re doin’? We’re resting here.” Then to Celine, “Toots – I don’t think he can hear us.” Morty jumped up and down waving his hands and arms wildly. The angry driver stopped a few feet from the back of High Bench – shifting the gear into parked – he leaned out of his window. “Hey! You kids aren’t allowed up here at night – it’s against curfew laws! Get outta here!”
Celine and Morty looked at one another as Celine replied – pissed. “You belligerent arse – we’re not kids! You get outta here!” The driver put his high beams on and corrected himself – “Whoa… excuse me… two carnival freaks. Get outta the park or I’ll call the ranger on you!” That did it – Morty grabbed his slingshot and bag of steely marbles from his back pocket – launching a steady stream of steely whacks – “You don’t talk to my girl that way! Trying to destroy a landmark? Not tonight – moron!” The driver screamed in pain as he ran along the path toward Mulholland – middle finger extended while the other hand fielded pings to his face as his body twitched from the hits he endured.
Celine clapped and laughed – proud of her man’s success – albeit temporary – she worried in her British accent, “How are we going to stop him again? More will come – you know they will. Don’t forget when homeless Marion’s body was found days old in the park – there was no news.” Morty picked up, “Yeah, no sirens – no reporters. Every night in this place – someone or something goes missing.” Celine pulled him to her, “Just make sure it’s not you.” Morty reassured her – “Toots – I’m not goin’ nowhere. I got a girl with the best gams and a heart that’s even shinier.”
He helped her off the bench onto the legs he built her. Morty said, “Let’s get rid of this rig.” Morty climbed into the driver’s seat and helped hoist Celine up next to him. Celine was ecstatic – “This will be fun!”
In West Hollywood…
Peter and Josh walked along Santa Monica Boulevard heading back to Hollywood. Babes had been patched up – making the two young men happy. Josh looked at Peter tangoing with Babes and asked – “Why do you act like a homeless runaway when you really teach art class to the homeless – Dylan?” Peter/Dylan responded – “What I’m sayin’.” Josh had his photos with his bigwig – Steven Spielberg and Peter’s inflatable girlfriend wasn’t leaking. Peter wanted to locate Jared and update his hero as Josh incessantly chattered on about how he would make Shorty & Morty with the homeless community – famous – all by himself.
Josh had to meet them to begin his dream and then his idea of “E.T. meets Shindler’s List” would be a shoe-in at the Oscars where he would reunite with Steven Spielberg on stage in front of the world – not just Dodger Stadium. By then – it would be just “Steven” not “Mr. Spielberg” – and they would share a limo. He had no idea that it also was Celine’s greatest wish – to attend the Oscars with the most beautiful gown covering her fake legs – with Morty by her side. Babes had a similar dream. Neither had been treated with love and respect – until they met their guys.
Back at Runyon Canyon…
Leaving swamp tracks along the way – this extraordinary homeless duo left the dozer in the middle of the street connecting Mulholland to Runyon Canyon –– then danced back down the moonlit canyon to their slapdash home. Morty knew he had to rethink their improvised habitat – safety was always a concern but now – danger loomed.
For the moment both High Bench and they were sitting pretty… or were they… Just a few houses from the rig lived the prosperous bad actor Hugh E. Nesser – knocking back his routine vodka with pills – as his entitled eyes spotted the bulldozer and possibly Shorty & Morty…
To be continued...
“Maybe I fell out of her pouch and a poacher shot my legs off!”
ILLUSTRATIONS BY DYLAN BOCANEGRA
On Mulholland Drive…
A ruddy-faced wealthy man – known in Krazytown as a 60’s TV star with money but no game - sat in his mansion on the hill knocking back his daily vodka shots while taking calls - maniacally laughing – “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer!” His girdle – needed to hide his food addiction – lay nearby over an expensive recliner. Hugh E. Nesser stumbled outside to take a leak on his perfectly manicured lawn – tripping over his aging toenails – when he saw the bulldozer. He cried out – “Shit!... F^^k! Don’t these people know who I am?!”
The hired help was gone until tomorrow and his current – much younger wife – was in Brentwood having a Botox sleepover with her girlfriends. Another thing they quit doing together – in three years of marriage – face fillers. Hugh E. had dumped his second wife for allowing their adult children’s kids to call him grandpa. He wasn’t old and would never die – his immune system was superior to all of mankind. The local pharmacist would scratch his head at that one considering how many prescriptions he filled – with Mrs. Nesser on the label – to cure various STD’s Mr. Nesser never transmitted to any particular one person. Viagra Falls was his middle name– his size – a personal shame. Hugh E. had many large eggs he asked others to swallow.
Nesser placed a call to his buds – the cops – to report the lone bulldozer – he knew what was what – he just didn’t get why. He wanted to know this very god damned minute – who let an amateur do a pro’s job. Heads would fry and they better not lie. The insiders knew that tonight was pre-paid demolition time – to ensure his name labeled on all new benches replacing the signal – High Bench. Every damn new step implanted down any canyon – within a five mile radius of his home would bear his initials – H.E.N. – yes – it was his albatross and the smut magazines were relentless in using that damned moniker to mock him.
Hugh E. had laid out a hefty fee so the old money wouldn’t be honored – no one who did any real good in this town would get credit – not this time. No-siree – he would end his sixth decade – of being made fun of by true talent – by sticking it to ‘em. Hugh knew this would shove generations of hikers and tourists up their a$$es by hiking up and sitting on his name plaques! He paced – slamming more liquor back - how did that bulldozer get out on the street? Who put it there and why? Why? Why? WHY?!
Hugh E. Nesser had fans – not run-of-the-mill fans that real actors had. His were obsessive – out-of-control and lost their bolts but lived-to-die-for-him – no-matter-what-kinda-fans. Maybe they inadvertently hired a fan? To hell with it – he would check the bulldozer himself. He owned several houses off Mulholland and although he hated looking at himself in the mirror – he sure as hell wasn’t letting his money get stolen by some johnnie-be-do-gooder! His nouveau riche status gave him the cops but the bluebloods had the class and control of the city and her residents.
That pissed him off – how could a Tranny like Leah Lexington be invited to a high ranking business function in Krazytown and he wasn’t asked to be ringmaster? She wasn’t even a female yet and he loved controlling women – he knew he outranked Lexington in the kink department. He might just pay them a little surprise visit – after he located the missing dozer driver.
Nesser was lit and forgot his rug as he clamped a baseball cap on – slid into his running shoes and went to inspect the vehicle – cellphone and flashlight in hand. He even took his vicious dogs with him – off leash. The large boxers barked – sniffed and peed their way to the bulldozer then sprinted off. Nesser came up and peered inside seeing the keys in the ignition. He said to himself out loud – “What imbecile left the keys? I’ll have his job – his home – his wife – maybe even his li…” Cut off by the ronk of a police car alarm he turned and leaned against the rig – smugly twirling his index finger – his cap askew.
Two young officers got out of their patrol car – male and female. The black male cop asked – “Everything okay Mr. Nesser? Why are you driving a bulldozer this late at night?” Nesser couldn’t believe this idiot and paused – “Listen – lemme guess – Officer who doesn’t know his sh*t – I reported an abandoned bulldozer in the middle of MY street.”
He stroked the rig suggestively and drippingly inquired – “Wanna be my collar?” The Hispanic female officer knew Nesser – intimately – but he laid so many women he didn’t recall that he had shamed her into playing naughty cheerleader with him and he wasn’t the coach. She used to be a fan – no more. Her glossed lips pouted – “Mr. Nesser – you been drinking tonight – ‘Spiffy?’”
“What the f^^k is wrong with you people?!” An enraged – curt and confused Nesser fell to the asphalt. He was quickly handcuffed as he yelled for his dogs that raced to him. They sat and whined – awaiting a command. Nesser’s cap had come off his balding head as he rolled onto the middle divider line – howling – “I know your captain your sergeants – every supervisor you have – so let me go! You pigf^^kers – don’t you know who I am? I’ve destroyed more lives than you’ll ever give birth to! Dogs!”
The officers nodded in silent agreement to one another as the Hispanic female cop pulled out a can of pepper spray and sprayed Nesser – the black cop lifted his mace – the mail carrier trained boxers – bolted home.
Nesser spun around on his back with his fat stomach protruding. “AHHHH! A$$ho*es! Let me go! Where do you pigs think you are? A 3rd world country?!” The male officer took off his cuffs and the two officers smiled watching Nesser rubbing the pepper into his eyes wrenching in agony. The Hispanic female cop answered – “You got it – Ameri-CAN-a – baby!” No one would know what was said other than these three. Nesser had a private line – much like Batman – except the caves he owned reeked of bat crap.
Lights went out at the neighbors – people looked on through darkened windows and were happy that Mr. Don’t-You-Know-Who-I-Am got it from the cops for a change. Silently – the neighborhood praised in unison – retribution at last. Hugh E. was disliked by them all and he didn’t give a rat’s a$$. He didn’t believe in karma or god – he wasn’t even a decent atheist – he was a miserable millionaire intent on bagging billions and billions – there was no greater high. The more he made the less he gave or cared about anyone or anything. He knew the Golden Rule was really green – he married his first wife to get his card – European no more.
The two officers got into their patrol car and radioed in on a select channel – that Nesser needed cops who knew him after he tried attacking them with his dogs – clicked off the communication device and high-fived each other as they drove off into the land of the twin babies.
Shorty & Morty’s Shack somewhere in the Hollywood Hills… or nearby…
Celine’s euphoric laughter from rolling in circles around their used mattress – erupted into a squeal – “I haven’t had this much fun since we crashed the puppet addicts meeting!” Morty couldn’t get her to rest even after he had rinsed off and put her legs up to dry. Maneuvering the crawler was a necessary but difficult mess. She was like a sugar pumped child - “Let’s go back and ride the bulldozer again! Please… please…” The 4’6” dwarf held up a burrito he lifted off a vendor. “Not tonight – come on eat. I got your favorite – carne asada. “Pulleeze – Morty?” He placated her – “Maybe tomorrow night but it’s been a long day. The ER’s Demerol made you whacky – silly girl.”
He reminded her about Hugh E. Nesser living up top of Mulholland and how fortunate they were to escape his legendary tirades. “I don’t think he saw us cause if he did? We’d be on that TV auction show he bags big bucks with.” In her finest barker’s voice – “Come on folks – lemme see your hands! Who is going to win the most expensive prize – the midget or the woman with fake legs?” Celine tittered so hard she spit out some tea. Morty chuckled and corrected – “Dwarf. I think you’re gorgeous and they would take you.” “But you’re handsome and stronger than me.” She smiled.
After a few moments – she rolled up onto colorfully socked stumps – her serious large brown eyes inquired – Southern – “Do you think I’ll ever know where I come from?” Morty hopped up next to her on the bed with a bottle of tea – “It doesn’t really matter – no adoptions stuck with me as a kid.” Jersey best – “But I want to know.” She took a bite of food. “Everyone else seems to know where they came from or how they got here – even you know that your parents dropped you into an orphanage. I can’t remember squat.”
Her accents changed with her intonations and rhythms – Aussie – “Maybe my mum was a prossie or dyu think an elegant flyer?” – Morty – not one to hurt her feelings chose the latter and Celine informed him that flyer meant female kangaroo. “Maybe I fell out of her pouch and a poacher shot my legs off!” They both howled.
The two were glad to be off of the streets for another night and changed into their bed clothes – an option few homeless had and one Celine insisted upon. They might be homeless but together – never hopeless. They reclined onto scruffy pillows as she confided – “I had a dream at the ER that I was little and swimming on my back then running crazy through an open field – it was so real. I think it happened.”
Morty turned to her – “Can you see where or who you were with?” Her eyes brimmed with tears she choked back – then sped ahead – “I didn’t have any legs then either and there’s a man but I can’t see his face and I don’t know what language he’s trying to speak to me in – but it feels – universally bad... Like knowing someone is suffering and just standing by when you can help change it and don't.”
Quick to the curve – “I think if you focus on when we met then your past won’t matter!” A puzzled Celine questioned him – “But if finding your real dad means so much then how come my feelings don’t matter?” Booby-trapped – “That’s not what I meant. I said it wrong. Shit. Okay… what I meant is… I love you and whatever you need I’m right here to help. I love you – Shorty.” Celine yawned and kissed his cheek. “Right back at ya – Morty.”
Morty’s thoughts churned as Celine drifted off – he was so lucky to have found a girl that he admired. Celine had to endure a lot more taunting than he did – and that was ginormous. When she would ask him if he thought she was crazy – he told her the truth. “Not even for a nanosecond.” Not even the day he saw her conversing with a dog as if it were a human.
Morty realized they both had been short shrifted in the love department– but this was now.
He sighed as he touched his beauty with the shiny heart and innocent soul’s hair and fell asleep holding her hand.
To be continued…
“Exactly – that’s why I’m ME and YOU are…"
Mulholland Drive night - in front of a mansion gate…
Hugh E. Nesser was ticked – he knew what it felt like to be flavor-of-the-month and he made sure he had taste-tested many rainbows after paying the price for that ride. He ruled this part of the hill – at least in his mind he did and the neighborhood knew it. When his friends – the real police – showed up he lit into them enraged by how he was treated. The older officer tried to calm him down with what he was told of the night’s pepper spraying and handcuffing.
Nesser would have none of it – “Do these young people you train know who the f^^k I am? The arrogant little pigf^^kers need to be brought down in front of their peers! I didn’t buy off half the force to let a few squeaky clean dipsh*ts think they can call some shots – understand?! Do you understand me?!!” Officer Carzone replied – “Yeah – let’s just say the call went to the wrong area and if we get caught taking money these dipsh*ts could have our careers – okay?”
Hugh E. slugged back some vodka and grinned – “Have your careers? I own those from buying you people your uniforms or pretending I care about the inner city kids you support with lots of donations and MY face! I own a few non-for-profits that help kids – whatever gets MY face out there is what matters not the crips! Check that at the newsstand and we’ll see who has clout! You guys are like Zsa Zsa’s bitches!”
The officer winced but continued – “I found the bulldozer driver and he took off because – his words not mine – ‘A crazy midget was shooting me with pellets or rocks and some gypsy lady with no legs helped him take over the rig.’ He said they looked like carnival freaks. So – High Bench and the others go down later tonight.”
Nesser howled – “Carnival freaks? Half of this town is from the circus and the other half are space-cadets. I am the pantomiming ringmaster not some slipshod fly-by-night success!” He slammed back more vodka and swayed. “I’ve had a successful career. I am a brilliant actor! I’m about to go immortal with these hills. Screw plates – mugs and posters. The earth will be my signature for generations to come with every local or foreign a$$ who sits on my name or walks on my steps. Or as Rod Stewart would croon…” Nesser began to sing Tonight’s the Night as the officers grimaced while covering their ears. Hugh E. danced with a vengeance – sweating like the swine that he was – it was an inside job as the streetlights bounced off his chrome dome.
The officers begged off saying they had a burglary in progress. Old Mattci Walschmidt – his Mulholland Bel Air neighbor – slowly passed by Nesser. She started to wave as he rubbed his belly – belched and drunkenly posed with an extended middle finger. Under his breath he spewed – “Rich c^^t on a hunt. I’m taking your hills back – MY way. Someone needs a special visit. Miss exclusive club me out no more…”
Then – Nesser went into his mansion all by himself and called his boxers.
Hollywood Boulevard night…
Peter and his inflatable girlfriend – Babes – spotted Jared – standing on an overturned box – orating to the public he believed was listening. “These two dolls signify the most dangerous addiction in the world. Yes – boys and girls – moms and dads – wannabes and gonnabes – I am the King of Puppet Addiction not that fake demonic puppetboy that was just here… I don’t have a hat for your contributions so please – put them into my doll.” He held one doll and the headless one was propped against the front of the box under his booted feet. A few complied with coins – then a bearded man in a wheelchair rolled over and tucked a bill into her neck.
Jared noted – “Thanks my man – considering your impairment – the rest of you could do better – right?!! I mean come on… the gimp gave green…”
Jared was cut off when the two boys and doll scurried up – Josh ran his camera as Peter and Babes applauded enthusiastically. Jared looked down – hypnotizing Josh with – “Dude unless we’re doing a rock video and I have an ironclad contract – there’s no shooting.” Josh freeze framed. “Do you have any idea of who I used to be or what I am about to become?” Josh shook his head – slowly. “Okay… that’s fair… you’re young and stupid. I get that.”
He stepped down into Peter’s face – “Now tell me – any midget news?” – whisking up his second doll. He bowed grandly – with a smile – as he flipped his fake wig back and adjusted it. “Let’s troll. Time to find the dummy and his girl – hold my doll.” He shoved the headless doll into Peter as the trio hustled along. Babe whispered to Peter – he smiled secretively and pulled the top bill out of the doll’s neck – a $100 bill. He had the best girlfriend ever – now he could take her to more movies and on hot dates. When Jared questioned his newfound happiness – Peter straightened and said – “What I’m sayin’.”
An exasperated Jared quipped – “Exactly – that’s why I’m ME and YOU are… well… let’s leave it alone – for now.” Jared wondered why he allowed this mentally retarded kid to tag along with his sex toy doll and realized there would come a day when he had to give that doll up and guess who would keep the prize? His eyes shined like super- bouncy rubber bullets ricocheting.
The man in the wheelchair glided along the boulevard navigating human traffic. His backpack on the rear of his chair and his attire made him appear like another homeless cripple but he had a secret – his genetic markers aligned to famous royalty of Hollywood’s Golden Era. When people proclaimed – “You’ll never see another Hollywood like this – ever – again!” As the silent moved to talkies and the money controlled the markets around the world – he knew that things never really changed – they just shifted. He knew too much and had a very bad car accident along tow-truck drive – Mulholland – where many cars hang undiscovered or ignored.
The Hollywood he knew as a child was gone but Disneyland was coming to Krazytown and he would be a forceful pirate in a newer Caribbean hood – he had planned that since his accident. Most thought him dead. He would give them all a surprise. Lost but not forgotten – Hugh E. Nesser was a skank – no more – no less and he would help eliminate or just inch his little britches down. The wheels of his chair squeaked as he laughed thinking – Michael Moore has become the new Richard Simmons. All fat boys got thin at one time or another– like skinny chicks got fat and when they commandeered the pay squad – they blew up and down faster than a hot air balloon. Any diet spokesperson or talk show host would agree.
The wheelchair wizard called himself – Silent Nick – it rhymed with trick and he knew all about the tricks in his town. They just lost sight of him as the populace exploded. Tinsel Town had lost her globe a long time ago and the snow was about to be returned with the glitter but the gold would be a fight.
Silent Nick dropped a C-note in a panhandler’s palm. The anorexic woman blessed him and let go of her child’s dirty hand as she raced to score. The child screamed and cried – only eight – but understood mortality’s fix on life.
Shorty & Morty’s Shack somewhere in Hollywood or the hills…
Celine slept fitfully talking in her sleep with alternate accents. Morty knew not to rouse her quickly when she was so deeply gone. He sat up and stroked the inside of her elbow to help calm her. It troubled the dwarf to see his girl so frenetic and knew it was partially the Demerol and the high jinx toll of being inspected like a bug at the County ER – busted out only to see that puppet addict meeting lunatic – Jared – then making a swift getaway.
Morty knew Celine had demons that never came to the surface from a past she struggled to remember. He smiled at how delighted she was to help him maneuver the bulldozer to the middle of an adjoining street to Mulholland. He was sweating and she was laughing – always wanting to try something new – it’s what he loved most about her. He hoped she erased her past – it didn’t serve a purpose for now.
Morty realized that High Bench – their romantic nightly respite was in peril of being gone for good – not for progress – with greed shaded by untruths told of the financial state of the largest city in California. Her capitol was the larger offender – making Krazytown seem but a microcosm of smaller shadier deals of happenstance. This was the last pit stop to attain any of the American dream – everyone came here to get that – but few who lived here achieved it – with soul in-tact.
He watched as she slowly breathed more evenly and leaned over to kiss her lightly on the lips when Celine bolted upright and their faces smacked hard. “Ow!” “Ouch!” in unison they held their mouths. Morty complained – “Ahh – ya made me bite my lip…” She spoke over him with – “That hurt! Is my lipstick gone?” The dwarf laughed and told her she looked beautiful and sat waiting to see what she would come up with next.
Not one to disappoint Celine inquired – “I was thinkin’ maybe we could go to the anorexic’s meeting tomorrow and nab some food again or how about let’s go get tickets for Let’s Make A Deal?! Then we could do stuff or fix up our place!” Morty shook his head – “That head of yours never stops. It’s a good thing I don’t mind being arrested.” She sliced him off again – “Morty I was dreaming and we have to do something about that man on top of the hill – he’s trying to ruin the park.”
Morty had been watching her in amazement – “Celine?” “Yes.” “Did you dream about anything else we need to go over before we go to sleep for the night?” he chuckled. “As a matter of fact I did. When the doctor surprise stuck me with the needle he leaned in really close and I remember what he said to me.” Morty straightened up – “What did that a$$hole say? I wanted to kill that guy!” She soothed him with – “He said he could help me. I don’t think he wanted to hurt me…” “Yeah – right.” The dwarf was up doing a 3-step pace – space in their shanty was tight. “That guy drugged you and who knew what coulda happened. You worry me. I wish you wouldn’t be so trusting. It’s why those other guys took advan…” He stopped when he realized he had gone too far.
Celine was sitting up with her eyes wide open – the hurt hung like the heaviest London fog. Through baby seal eyes – she said – “I think he knows why I lost my legs.”
The deafening whir of a helicopter hovered by – another lunatic on the loose. The dwarf jumped up and looked through their small window – the spotlight didn’t detect them as he watched it bounce around the hillside. No movement of an intruder but he took her dried crutch leg and jammed it against the doorknob as a safety measure. “Hey… what ya usin’ my leg for? What if we decide to go out?” Celine demanded. With a finger to his lips – “Shhh… it’s time to rest – Toots – can we just get some sleep?!” he said with exasperation. Her arms went out and he dove into them. While they rocked – Celine whispered as the chopper hung nearby – “That’s one loud bird. I hope whoever they’re lookin’ for… gets away.” Morty looked up – “Me too.”
Forearmless Jake and Pikey the Pram Pusher passed Zippy the homeless mayor who gave them a nod. Zippy could smell Pikey but couldn’t see. Fresh out of jail for saving Shorty (Celine) and Morty – Pikey wanted to get high and watch his EMF DVD… he missed her as much as he pined for Celine. Jake spotted the dealer first – “There she is! Candy-girl-Lane!!” – Jake hollered as he high-elbowed Pikey.
To be continued…
“I’m not your brotha. I’m black and you’re white, okay? That’s some serious Mandingo juice you been drinking.”
With a futile battle cry – “I want my flapjacks back!!!” Mr. Weldon gave up chasing Razor as he hit the boulevard. Somehow – Razor had immersed himself into the crowd or went underground. Heaving to catch some air as raging thoughts riddled through his mind – snapshots of Razor getting his just desserts for stealing his pancake boxes and especially – his lovely Mrs. Butterworth bottles. Razor’s face exploding as Mr. Weldon tightened vice screws around his temples – Razor crying on the ground and begging as his rubbing alcohol bottle was poured out in front of him – Razor in shock while Weldon pulls out an envelope opener ever so slowly from his gut to reveal blood and a partially digested pancake kabob. Whoosh! Screeching brakes.
Silent Nick rolled along side of Mr. Weldon – “Hey my brotha what’s up?” Weldon looked down agitated by the intrusion. “I’m not your brotha. I’m black and you’re white, okay?” Dismissively he walked faster. Nick kept up. “That’s cold man… that’s f^^ked up. That’s some serious Mandingo juice you been drinking.” Weldon kept walking used to the mental illnesses that pervaded Krazytown. Silent Nick tested – “You looking for a big guy that is pushing an oversized cart with pancakes boxes and syrup?” Weldon froze in place – it was too good to be true. “YES.” As the wheelchair turned – “I think I saw him not too far down the block a few minutes ago. Brotha was in a rush.” “I am not your brother! Which way?! Which way? Come on!” Weldon demanded. “Lemme think some on that.” Silent snaps his fingers. “Oh – I remember now. Even the homeless have a code. So – you’re sh*t outta luck – brotha!”
Silent Nick’s chair swooshed off as he catcalled over-his-shoulder. “It must suck being a social worker with an eating disorder! I think he had your candy bars too! But, I’m just an ivory gimp… right Mr. Wondah?” Weldon’s face swelled with rage. “I’m not blind – you lying chair with legs!” Silent laughed. “Yeah – I’m flying and Razor can see. But – can he see you?” Nick spun his wheelchair on one wheel and ripped off.
Weldon was pissed. Pissed – that Razor faked his blindness to get sympathy. Pissed – that no supervisor at his job took his work as seriously as he did. Pissed – that his goods were gone and pissed – because his stomach rumbled so loud it echoed a car backfiring and people were staring at him. Damn it! He wasn’t some freak on the street. They were the ones. Yessiree – and he was about to tell them – when – Krazy Kate gaily marched up in her cowboy boots . “Hi!!! It’s good to see you… why are you here? Oh… I know…I knoww… cuz Jared… I mean Shorty and Morty… well… my cancer is back and I’m really hungry…but Michael Jackson just moonwalked and gave me some candy!”
“SHUT UP! KATE!” Weldon bellowed. “Don’t you ever know when to shut the hell up?!” Krazy Kate looked down and started humming to herself as she slid her boot in a semi-circle. She pulled out sock puppet and began a soothing conversation with her hand. The social worker looked to the moon – mumbling to himself – “NO ONE understands how hard my job is. If anyone realized how much effort I put into these people – I’d be given a key to the city by the celebrity mayor and a High-Rise apartment of my own… but NOOO… the homeless get Section 8 housing faster than anyone and I’m stuck chasing after Razor the rim rod. I miss you Mrs. Butterworth.”
A salivating Mr. Weldon took a deep breath and sighed – “I’m sorry Kate. I’m just upset. It’s not you. Razor broke into my car and I don’t know where he lives – do you?” Kate’s face lit up like a firecracker. “I do! I do! I do!… do… do… oh… like poo-poo… you gotta be careful of the poo-poo! Mkay?” She inhaled and readied to splatter out a slew of words in no particular direction.
Weldon wanted to wrap his large hands around her neck and snap it but a patrol car passed with lights flashing and a honk. The passenger cop waved to him and he returned the wave accompanied by an enormous welcoming grin. Through gritted teeth he asked – “Do you or do you not know where Razor lives?” Kate’s hand stopped talking – “Well – I could show you. Wanna go for a walk with us? But you have to be quiet – sshhh – bushes don’t make noise just the traffic – just the traffic.” The social worker followed her – he wanted his stash back and he wanted it NOW.
He just hoped Krazy Kate wouldn’t try leading them into the local Target. Two weeks ago she clanked heavily through the exit – tripping the alarm – stealing and concealing whatever she could lay her hands on beneath her clothing. She got a day of three squares and the social worker wasn’t going to lose his job over a nut case – he knew that Kate’s mind meandered and her body followed like a slinky. Mr. Weldon didn’t need a wild goose chase – he had a goose to cook.
Hollywood’s Most Private Club …
The local business owners – non-for-profiteers – wealthy entrepreneurs and select elected officials came together in an enormous conference suite of a new private club. The penthouse was reserved but the floor below was high up enough to separate the haves and the have nots within an old refurbished Hollywood Hotel. The club was so exclusive it bore no name for general public consumption. Some would hit the bowling floor later and get hammered fearless of any DUI penalties due to the officers in attendance. Computers made revenue register or disappear with the tap of a key or conveniently turned top dollars into a parking ticket with the right “name” attached.
The City of Angels was well stocked in her pot of glory but the ever increasing hyper-vigilant worker bees were easily hived into believing that it was up to them to save their city - their homes and their country by being obedient little soldiers. The news with anchors in elegant dresses reported what was what and who was or wasn’t who but save the children and your dogs. Education was more about mutations of old ideas borrowed to serve the deserving few and little was taught in schools – except the usual - cheat to get ahead. That race – had many a hound.
Leah Lexington slithered into the room – as murmurs became an audible buzz. Placing one glittery red stiletto after another – head held high - her cat-like eyes searched for Dr. Olivia Copeland’s fiery red hair. Leah was striking in her almost female body and she knew it. Tonight – she dressed for success – she mirrored one of her finest BLACKMOUTH paintings - combining vintage with the majestic – Lexington no longer needed to impress. Leah swapped her Dresden ‘do to brunette – perfection – she needed to attract some new trophied meat. She commanded attention and relished the thought that most of the males in this room were in her phone – each secured by a password that kept her alive.
Lexington’s ruby reds teased as she walked up to Copeland and they exchanged air – cheek kisses. Bel Air had nothing on Krazytown’s meetings or greeting affairs – this monthly mixer was akin to – Hitler embraces Indira Ghandi. The fun was just beginning for Leah – she wanted her non-for-profit for the boys and girls who would be men and women and she wanted it now. In Lexington’s trannied eyes – her stakes were higher than anyone else’s in the room – she grabbed another glass of red wine off of a passing tray and belted it back. She sidled up and whispered to Dr. Copeland – “Who do I have to know – not blow – to get my non-profit going?” Copeland laughed – “Why so fast – Leah? It’s city official election time – you know that’s going to be a stretch. Lots of pay-offs to be scaled.”
Lexington hissed – “I made their marks and the time is now. All the news is about same sex marriages – even Jesus had two daddies – they can’t fight that or Elton John. I’m just asking for a center to help transgenders who don’t fit into the Gay/Lesbian Movement or the rest of the world – frankly I’m tired of hearing about gay courage. I’m about to lose my d*ck – that’s daring and courageous! Point out any man willing to do that for his woman? I am! This is hot topical sh*t I’m offering some new clown to spout out as theirs when she or he are being throned for a day with the delusion of making a difference.”
Copeland – alarmed at Leah’s intensity – tried quieting her down as the well-heeled but nature-loving – Mattci Waldschmidt waltzed up – with a police captain in tow.
Silent Nick listened with a wide bearded grin until Forearmless Jake and Pikey Pram Pusher passed by. They just copped dope from tattooed and pierced – Candy-girl Lane. Nick coughed and covered his nose like the doormen at the refurbished Hotel as Pikey strolled past.
Jake kept at Pikey about how the cops were – “All about revenue – man. I lost my arms in combat and these ratdogs act like they’re saving babies. They couldn’t find a dead body if it was spread out in front of ‘em like a paperboy. They’d probably think it was one of us homeless passed out and take a leak on us.” Pikey nodded but his super-sonic crank brain had one vision alone in mind – playing his EMF DVD. Jail and helping Celine at the ER and Candy-girl Lane upped his cravings of seeing the only girl he let close to his heart. Jake razzed on – “Hollywood’s a brand and the tongues of foreign are united to take a stand. America is lost.” Pikey hummed… I want my… I want my… I want my EMF...
Shorty & Morty’s Shack somewhere in Hollywood or the hills…
A loud thud woke the extraordinary homeless couple up. Alarmed – Morty pressed his hand against Celine’s mouth as he used his other to whip out his slingshot. BAM! CROINKkkk… The dwarf was up on his feet in seconds trying to locate the sound’s origin. Then what they both realized was so unbelievable – Morty shook Shorty – to see if they were both awake.
To be continued…
Morty hugged her tightly – then heard – “Hey – imaginary people – watch this!”
Shorty & Morty’s Shack somewhere in Hollywood or the hills…
Celine and her 4’6” man – Morty heard the savage cries of a madman on a bulldozer as he rammed against Runyon Canyon’s High Bench – echo throughout the darkness. The loud thud they heard were rocks of cement falling from atop the hill – a few had landed hard against their tiny home. Laughing while singing a twisted tune – badly – Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goo' Byeee – Hugh E. Nesser had decided to take the rig into his own claws.
Celine was terrified – “What are we going to do?” Morty grabbed a flashlight and a small knife he taped to his leg – just in case. “I’m going to meet a famous a$$hole – lock the door behind me.” “But wait! You can’t leave me alone!” She shouted. Morty pulled the door open a bit and implored – “Celine… just this one time please do as I ask? I promise I’ll be back.” Then he smiled as he shut the door. She heard his small footsteps running off. Immediately she grabbed her crutch and mannequin legs. “Leave me behind – will you? I think not. The fun’s about to begin.” Celine squealed as she clumped out the door and slowly headed after Morty – uphill.
Runyon Canyon at night ….
Hugh E. Nesser angled the dozer – knocking off the two smaller benches – hopped out – thumping his feet to an unheard native drum – prancing in a circle to celebrate – tossing back some his inebriated chrome dome. “Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Check that babeee! Bye bye benchie… bye bye…bye bye benchie don’t cry…” Hugh E. looked over the edge of the canyon with a delirious smile as he postured then hopped back up on the bulldozer – aiming for High Bench. The bulldozer slammed against the cement holders that bound the magical green bench – known worldwide – but the ground held firm. Nesser backed up and lowered the blade’scutting edge to dig deeper under the heavy foundation. He hit all four sides when the bench began to move and the earth near the canyon’s edge began to crumble.
His large boxers were running freely – peeing and playing along the trail nearby.
Morty with flashlight in one hand and slingshot in other was getting closer as he heard Nesser’s singing and laughter. The dwarf muttered – “I’ve had it with you big men thinking you can just take – take– then take some more just because you sold out for the bucks in your pocket.” His ears burned as he stormed forward. Ruining beauty or forcing change for the sake of nothing more – than one could – was no different than legal murder in Morty’s mind. From his vantage point he knew he couldn’t stop the bench from annihilation but Morty was going to be sure this rich a$$ would never forget him.
The dirt beneath High-Bench finally loosened as Hugh E. began screeching with guttural ecstasy when his boxers charged by barking. Morty hid in a small bush and pinged off the three dogs one-by-one – sending them home unbeknownst to Nesser.
Hugh E. slugged back the rest of the large bottle and tossed it out of the rig. He bellowed loudly and badly – “Bye bye High-Benchie bye bye… bye bye High-Benchie don’t cry…” The bulldozer had the bench at the edge of the top of the canyon when a high-pitched shout coincided with a steely thwap to Nesser’s shoulder. “Ouch – what the f^^k?” He looked around with confusion as he shoved the gear into idle. The darkness hit him with newfound fear as he whistled for his dogs. The only answer was a steely slam to his forearm.
“Ouch! F^^k! Who’s out there? What little pigf^^ker is hiding? Come out come out or..." Whipping out a small pistol with a sneer – "I’ll shoot your a$$!” Another steely hit Nesser in the stomach. “I will kill you! Don’t you know who you’re messing with? You chicken – bawk bawk bawk – come onn… Show yourself or DIE!” Hugh E. shrieked – ready to exit the compartment.
Morty rolled around to the other side of the dozer and scrambled up quickly atop the diesel motor compartment – laying flat. Nesser was leaning out and shot off a bullet. “Come out – bawk bawk…!” Morty rolled to the passenger side and leaned in to shoot off a steely that would make a deep dent and it did into Nesser’s backside. Yes-siree.
“AHHHH!” He whipped around as the dwarf met the rich demon face-to-face. Hugh E. screamed in agony as Celine finally graced the top of the canyon – obscured by some bushes. That’s when Morty went for Nesser’s throat and the two flew out of the compartment’s driver side onto the ground – with the dozer running.
Nesser yelled – “Get off of me you f^^king midget! (Morty bit Nesser) Ouch – you little wiener dog!” Nesser kicked Morty off while he was attempting a leg lock around Hugh E.’s sweaty and disproportionately fat body. The gun went off and they both stopped by the scream of a woman’s voice.
Nesser tumbled off to the dozer cab to hide behind the heavy machinery.
Morty bolted in the direction of the cry. “Celine! Celine!”
Nesser sat in disbelief as he saw what stopped Morty in his tracks – a woman with fake legs limped towards them laughing. “I’m not hurt– a bullet put a minor dent in my crutch leg is all. Did you get the rat bastard? This is going to be fun!” Morty hugged her then heard – “Hey – imaginary people – watch this!”
Hugh E. gunned the dozer’s pedal as Morty flew over and scrimmaged up the front of the compartment – banging his fists on the window. “Don’t do it! Leave the bench alone!!!” Celine came limping up as she heard Nesser yell – “Oh f^^k you little man – no one ruins Nesser’s plan!”
With that – the last of High-Bench crumpled to the canyon floor – Hugh E. jumped out of the cab as the dozer followed over the side and so did… Morty.
Nesser danced with a high he hadn’t felt since he popped his first cherry – unaware Morty went with the bulldozer as Celine found a new strength in her own raging shock.
Celine clobbered him with her crutch leg. Hugh E. squealed like a pig – “AHHHH!!! You broke my nose!” Celine hit him repeatedly until her other leg gave out and she fell. Nesser cupped his hands over his nose and swayed – crying. “I only wanted the benches. You aren’t so supposed to even be here!” Hugh E. ran towards his mansion wimpering – “I’ve got my fans to think about!”
High-bench and the two side ones were gone for good. Celine put her legs on and limped over to the edge – hollering from the marrow of her bones – “Morty!... Morty! Please – please answer me!” Silence as her words echoed throughout the canyon.
Celine threw her head back – her clenched fists at the night sky – she achingly voiced – “You don’t get to leave me this way… I need you… please come back…”
Hollywood Hills off trail…
Forearmless Jake chattered through methed clenched teeth at Pikey Pram Pusher as they came upon Pike’s home in the hills. “Pike don’t ya remember when we had a home under the freeway? The cars and horns blasting put me right to sleep – but not Chevy Volt! He knocked up that DJ kid – Bubu Girl and then she got hit by a car. Remember that? Man that guy was loud.”
Pikey kept humming – “I want my… I want my… I want my EMF…” Jake getting higher by the second – raised his elbows into the air and said – “Man-o-man – MADD upped the DUI’s and the greedy-boy politicians figured Caltrans was da perfect chain gang for those who had to pay for drinkin’. Remember we used to get our pads destroyed weekly by those orange vests? Joe citizen doing court time – pickin’ up leaves my a$$ – while the city takes the dough and the homeless had to go or be moved along.”
Pikey yanked back the plastic flap door to his make-shift – secret hideaway. He was dying to spend time with his beloved E.M. Fredric's Early Works – the two entered. “Wow Pike – you really oughta think about getting a maid or laid – whatta dump!” Pikey was at his pram –she was gone! Someone had stolen his DVD!! Yesirree. Pikey started ripping through the carriage and his pad as Jake begged – “Pike – slow down we’ll find it. It’s probably misplaced.” Then Jake saw the secret pocket in Pikey’s pram was empty. Oh – yes it was.
Pikey glared at him and stormed outside. The coal black giant roared in agony – his beloved was gone. Whoever stole his DVD of E.M. Fredric’s Early Works would pay the mustard seed on this one. He stomped off with Forearmless in tow…
To be continued... Yesiree...
"Do NOT take my picture little boy.”
Runyon Canyon at night…
Celine sat with her fake legs beside her – near the cliff’s edge where the bulldozer tossed High-Bench and her beloved 4’6” dwarf partner – Morty – down into the canyon with the rig plunging after. She looked at the empty spot that used to be High-Bench and was angered that their special bench – one enjoyed by millions – would never be the same against the backdrop of Krazytown’s nightlights. Evening sounds of the city were barely audible at the canyon top but the light breeze twirled the sounds of the local wildlife into a pavane as she continued to cry out through cupped hands: “Morty!!!! Come back! I NEED you!” Celine pounded her fists hard on the ground and sobbed when no answer came.
Celine began to crawl – as she had before she met Morty – leaving her legs behind as her legacy to the love that had saved them both. While dragging herself along – snapshots of Morty came into her mind. Morty tipping his hat when they were both Wharf-rats in the LA Ports. Morty getting tossed into the water and fished out when he was drunk by a film union guy. Morty making her legs and helping her up to see the world through new eyes for the first time. Morty getting the Physician’s Assistant in a two-legged scissor headlock at the County ER to protect his girl. Morty’s first kiss and the way he looked at her… Celine wanted to feel the rocks beneath cut into her – hoping it would relieve her mental and physical anguish or wake her from a bad dream.
Hugh E. was forced to look into the very mirror that he loathed – to set his nose after polishing off some more vodka. He grabbed two rags filled with ice – inhaled deeply and pushed them with equal pressure on both sides of his nose and snapped the bones back into place. Nesser cried out as tears rolled down his face – he continued to clean himself up – placing a color coordinated band-aid over new bump. Time for a party crashin’ and a little announcement after seeing Mattci’s pompous wave to him. Nesser tried banging Waldschmidt twenty years ago – she took his gardener instead – he told others they had rolled together many times but only his fans would believe that false tattle-tale.
He would show them all – he was no has-been. He was taking back his title in a new way and no one could stop him. Nesser wondered who would send a midget after him but he couldn’t be bothered with that little disappearance – he had a mission and it would be accomplished. His boxers licked his bloodied clothes as he stepped out to girdle his belly in. “Good boys – daddy’s gonna bring home some fun tonight!”
Hollywood’s Most Private Club ….
Mattci Waldschmidt’s tomboyish figure was firm with all 5’4” of her 72 slight years – her lined face had soaked the sun without cover for years. She carried it well. Mattci emerged from her socialite mother’s cave into money 4 x’s over which gave her a distorted view of life as a child. Her f^^k a star days were far behind yet her memories of a wild life kept her going. Just to piss off a crowd with a little less money she decided to preserve as much of the trails throughout the Santa Monica canyons by owning as many walkable trails as possible – not an easy goal in Krazytown’s quest for tourist revenue. When a backlot at a major studio was no longer needed – a match with insurance fixed the problem. Mattci loved what little nature was left in Los Angeles and hated fires – so she paid for protection as well as ownership but even her money was running out against the high stakers and the foreigners coming in green and greed – legal or not.
The Hollywood sign had been in peril when a millionaire had snatched it up for peanuts when no one was looking past their mirror. The ones in the know thought it would be bought back easily – until the millionaire mentioned it had road access – changing all the bull-sh*t negotiations. Bought at one million – sold back to Krazytown for over 15 million. It was all about the dirt. Everyone knew it was about the dirt and wanted more pay to carve out their stake.
Hollywood Boulevard no longer had the star on the sidewalk clout. Pressure to give up one's dirt could be a government – gang or mob play – or maybe just plain old age giving in to a younger generation’s lust of fast money over legacy or history.
Mattci – giggled – martini in hand – “Olivia – I’ve seen some funny sh*t in my time – like you kissing a Malibu dyke fresh out of rehab at many of my Christmas parties – but you aren’t going to believe why I’m late.” The women glanced at the Captain as Mattci continued her throwaway lines – “Okay – I was escorted here by this officer…” The Captain interrupted with irritation – “Captain – ma’am.” “Oops… of course you are – dear. Anyway – my driver couldn’t get past a bulldozer tonight in the middle of Mulholland Drive! Sh*t for shynola I couldn’t believe my eyes. Someone just left it there – without a driver. Isn’t that oddly delicious?” Mattci squeaked as she sipped her martini awaiting a reply – so she could continue.
Waldschmidt knew the rules of LA conversations – sip – act like you’re listening – have your next line ready – continue the story. A few heads in the crowd nearby were listening and so was Silent Nick outside. Yes – he was. Olivia was perplexed but Leah was not amused by the “dyke” reference. Mattci noticed Leah’s reaction – “No need to get your thongs in a knot we’ve all kissed a woman or two along the way… What are you?” She marveled at Leah. Lexington couldn’t believe her ears. This old rich bitch knew she might not be all female after all the work she had done. Inside she died a little death. “Border Blonde or South American? You resemble my maid – she’s a beauty too.”
Leah’s mouth dropped as Waldschmidt continued – “We all know that idiot Hugh E. Nesser – right?” Mattci tipped her martini glass back. The women nodded in distasteful agreement – the Captain swayed in discomfort. “I saw him outside of his gate howling at the moon and dancing these jerky moves – I’ve never seen him without his wig. Not an agreeable sight with his belly hanging out – then he spots me when I ask the officer for a lift and flipped me the finger before he rushed back inside. I think that’s funny.”
Dr. Copeland’s interest level rose – “Nesser was outside of his gate? Hugh E. the paranoid hack actor was outside on the street without his toupee?” Olivia laughed so hard she popped a button on her killer designer suit. Leah and Mattci tittered. The Captain stood silent.
Mattci turned to the Captain and said – “Officer – I bet you are aware that you’re not the only one with a direct line to Nesser.” The Captain inhaled – “Meaning what?” She loved knowledge or when people felt she was too old to be taken seriously – “It means I know why the two officers intercepted and gave Nesser a runaround when in fact the call was meant for you – my dear man.” Waldschmidt lifted another martini off a waiter’s passing tray and continued – “In essence you’re in with Nesser and no true money in this town will agree to that. So you have a choice - either drop Nesser and give him his comeuppance or you can start retirement in the morning.”
Captain Alejandro Abasta smiled under his thick mustache – the sweat came from wanting to strangle Mattci. He knew a lot of her talk was all adobe and no brick – he knew how to wet her back - real quick. Abasta let her pretend to be in control when it was he that owned the kitty.
Inside a limo…
Hugh E. had showered and bandaged his nose. “I’ll say I did my own stunts on set.” Then he paused - "I took out an MS-13 gangster all by myself because my body is in amazing shape! No one will argue with that." Patting his freshly tightened girdle beneath his suit coat - he ordered the driver to stop in front of the hotel and stepped out.
Hollywood Boulevard outside the hotel…
Nesser tossed him a dollar and told him to wait. The driver's eyes reflected hate in the rear-view mirror. Hugh E. blew cigar smoke at Silent Nick and asked if he knew anything about a midget in town as Jared and the boys passed with Babes.
Jared twirled around and recognized Nesser. “Oh – you’re the man of the day if not the universe. Did you meet the midget too? I can help you find him.” Hugh E. looked at Jared and Josh then Peter and leered at Babes. Peter held her tightly and turned her head.
Jared slid on “Excuse me Mr. Nesser didn’t you do that 50’s show… what was it called…” Pissed - he replied – “60’s show you demented idiot! You probably were too high to remember watching it. Have a childhood did we? Or were you busy playing with Midges instead of G.I. Joes?” Hugh E. snapped. He sniped at Josh. “Do NOT take my picture little boy.” Jared squared off – “Listen Mr. Nesser – I’m just trying to be a good Samaritan and I am a long time resident of HOLLY-WOOD – these boys aren’t with me they’re my fans. Something you might know something about.” Jared preened. “So – midget or no midget – did you see him?” Hugh E. roared – “Midget no more.” – turned and entered the hotel.
Babes whispered to Peter – “Jared? Something happen to Morty?” “Not until I kidnap that little dummy. Let’s move.” He leapt forward. “What I’m sayin’.” Peter agreed and followed in Tango with Babes. Josh skipped to keep up - his camera slung over his shoulder.
Silent Nick sat in his curbed wheelchair outside the side door and took donations from those who entered the hotel. Laughing with earbuds in – he was dismissed as just another homeless whackadoodle to toss a chump change at for a cause. The room was bugged. Oh – YES it was. Nick had the ins and outs of the conversations in his ears as the coins hit the can.
He loved Hollywood – no one was who they seemed and more often not – who they said they were.
To be continued:
"I wouldn’t be surprised if you lost your life’s savings at a carnival and wound up with a stuffed banana.”
Hollywood Boulevard night…
Silent Nick listened to party patrons’ conversations – with glee. This wasn’t the first time his earbuds tuned into the veins of the inner goings-on of a soiree in Krazytown and it wouldn’t be the last. No-sirree. He had almost undermined the metro – he just might have had something to do with that little sinkhole incident on Hollywood Boulevard when it first started – knowing it would be bring an onslaught of outsiders and drugs under the guise of helping the locals by tourist trade. The only thing tourism helped was to make more money for the few who already had it – like worker ants transferring eggs.
A Taiwanese man dropped a dollar in Silent’s cup - his buds snapped his pic with Nick. The ugliness of humans – their insatiable desire to be captured in a light other than what they are - was not lost on this homeless-by-choice descendant of a Golden Era’s gone-by Hollywood royalty couple.
Joan Crawford’s daughter getting hooked by a clothes hanger - slim beatings compared to what Nick had endured growing up. He treasured his anonymity since that accident that curbed his lifestyle - decades ago. The sneak sidewinder attack on Mulholland Drive - as Silent raced his MG toward home – almost made him another casualty of an intentional hit – that lined the canyon walls. Oh – YES it was – a family declared mark nonetheless. That’s when he became Silent Nick – dead to the world. His MG was as mangled as his legs – a gay homeless couple came upon him and nursed him back to health.
Hollywood’s Most Private Club ….
Barry - the handsomer of the two - died from the 80’s AIDS epidemic years ago but Frank was now one of Nick’s inside men on many political events after Nick repaid their kindness by keeping his secrets - always adding to them. Priceless… snickered Nick as he heard Frank whisk into the room announcing his arrival – “Oh Dr. Copeland! You darling woman – how wonderful to see you!” They air-kissed as Leah Lexington hissed under-her-breath – “This a$$hole is not stealing the wine from my decanter. Not this time.” Frank leaned back as he began to lead Olivia away – “Oh dear – Leah – you’re looking so Les Mis. How quaint. Are you one of the girls yet or still one of the boys?”
Lexington placed one red stiletto forward – “Frank – you gutter dragged faggot – sweetness. I wager we walk across the floor and see who attracts the most real men and I don’t mean the ones you’ve blown to keep the Gay and Lesbian Center going. Even Harvey didn’t cry milk.”
“At least I have a center Leah – you’ll always be just another pathetic courier of drag queens who can’t reproduce. I wouldn’t be surprised if you lost your life’s savings at a carnival and wound up with a stuffed banana.” Frank smiled viciously as he steered Dr. Copeland away. Lexington spit back – “I don’t need a banana anymore than you’ve ever popped a cherry. We’ll see who gets the bank tonight.” Frank put his hand to his lips – raised his shoulders in mock shock – “Why Leah –your losing your feathers and guess who has the tar – baby!” Nick coughed with laughter – down below. “Stick it to ‘im Frank. Atta boy.”
Hollywood Hills off trail…
Coal black – Pikey Pram Pusher was on a rampage destroying brush and trees along the way with Forearmless Jake ducking behind him dodging the debris that he flung. “Pike… we’ll find your EMF DVD… slow down man – you’re gonna give me a heart attack like when that walker Kacey Madera told old Kent Say after sex that he was faking it and the dude dropped dead. Can you imagine the last thing you hear before dyin’ is that screeching voice of hers sayin’ ‘Stop it! Stop it! You’re faking it! You’re faking it!!!’ Then rolled him for what little he had and left him dead. Man – some b*tches are cold.”
Pikey stopped and faced Jake. Forearmless looked up and knew the meth had overtaken his tongue with lightning speed. “Okay… k… you big oak tree let’s get to the bottom of this.” He pointed his elbows machine gun style and started rat-tat-tatting. Pikey’s shoulders heaved – his eyes resembled flashlights - he was lit up about losing his only girlfriend… who found his E.M. Fredric's Early Works and who would dare take it? He was gonna find them and kill them if she wasn’t safe.
Pikey leaned his head back and roared – the stench killed some tree rats nearby as Forearmless Jake tucked his face into his armpit.
Mr. Weldon – the Hollywood Census Social Worker – was trying to keep up with Krazy Kate’s frenetic energy in his hope to track Razor who had made off with his boxes of pancake mix and the delicious Mrs. Butterworth. “Kate – slow down…” The overweight social worker stopped briefly to catch his breath and thought to himself that he never should have been so easy on that Shrekian homeless a$$ after taunting him over his candy bar addiction. He groused over the amount of information Razor had on him and couldn’t believe he actually had the nerve to break into his car and steal his flapjack dough. “Kate!!”
Krazy Kate turned with a sock puppeted hand and slammed into Michel – sock puppet’s owner. The effeminate Michel who was dressed as half-man – half -woman – make-up artfully applied gasped – “You thieving witch! That’s MY puppet – I’ve been looking everywhere for him! Give him back to me… NOW!” Katey started spinning with fear – too many lights and sounds as she pressed her arms to her ears. Michel’s black netted see-through skirt twirled in indignation as he stomped his heeled feet making his dangling earrings swung like ghetto-bling diamond pendulums gone searching-for-magnets.
“Give him back to me!” Michel lunged for Kate as Weldon tried to brace himself between them but the weight of Michel’s high-heeled foot firmly planted on the social worker’s canvased shoe top – puncturing his skin – Weldon screamed in agony as his arms flew up – his a$$ fell down onto the sidewalk hard. A sharp pain shot throughout his leg. Rolling around clutching his cramped calf - he yelled at Michel who had Krazy Kate by the hair – pulling her to the sidewalk. “Michel – leave her alone. She didn’t mean any harm!”
“She stole sock puppet! (Michel to Kate) Where’s that stupid naked acupuncture doll you had?” Kate smiled brightly and blathered – “He got cancer and my husband ate him!” Michel shook his head as if trying to clear cobwebs out – “Hand him over - you thieving looney-fied witch!”
Giggles among a growing crowd aimed their cameras at the trio. Michel bared his teeth as he and Kate rolled around on the sidewalk – Weldon rubbed his leg and foot – sock puppet was pulled off Kate’s arm and landed on the ground near a bicycle cop’s tires. Michel dove for it – tearing his skirt in the process. The officer looked down as Michel manipulated sock puppet – coyly trying to flirt with the cop – who was having none of it.
The shorts bearing officer and his female partner leaped off of their rides and the male cop said – “Halt! Everyone relax – back-up is coming.” The trio froze. Krazy Kate grinned – “Good evening officers! Can I ride your bike?” Weldon chimed in – “These are my clients – officers I’ll take it from here.” With offense Michel interjected – “I’m not your client – honey – (to the male officer) – this witch stole from me so I’ll just be moving along.” The officers played to the crowd. “We’ll talk about this at the station.” Playing to cellphone cameras held up by the growing crowd – the officers smiled – “Everybody go back to enjoying their night. There’s nothing here to concern yourselves with.”
Bicycle cops had a different attitude than the normal black and whites – or as Forearmless would declare – “Stay away from those control freaks at all costs unless you’re a sadist lover. I seen two cops intentionally handcuff the McGrillen brothers and pour their whiskey bottles out in front of them – with no tourist action around to witness the cruelty – just cuz they could. They even taunted ‘em as every last drop hit the pavement. The McGrillens are war vets who suffer from never being right after doing their part of violence. I’d take a bull dyke female cop over bicycle riders – maybe the seats make their a$$es sore.”
The male cop let the trio know he had gotten a public disturbance call which Weldon tried to explain as Michel batted his false eyelashes while Kate started laughing – so the cop did what cops like to do for city revenue – he arrested all three even with the social worker crying out “But I’m the local census updater and these are clients! There’s no need for this!” The cop smirked – “You hang with your clients you take the same ride as them.” The female officer waved to the crowd as she helped with the cuffs. Weldon shouted – “This is crazy!” Micel winked – “Welcome to Krazytown. Wanna share a cell – big boy?”
Kate – Mr. Weldon and Michel were loaded into the rear of a patrol car and passed an alley – bringing into view Razor with his cart piled with boxes of pancake mix and bottles of Mrs. Butterworth. The social worker demanded the cops stop and reprimand Razor – they said “Sure.” and kept on driving. The cops blew their horn and spun some lights to catch his attention – for one brief moment Razor thought he was a goner as he saw Weldon’s face first then the other two. He saw the cops weren’t stopping and he relaxed into a huge grin and waved as the car passed. Yelling past with his gravelly voice – “Pancakes on ME tomorrow!” Razor pulled his rubbing alcohol bottle from his breast pocket and took a long swig. “Just you and me Mrs. Butterworth.” He replaced it delicately with a tap of his fudgy fingers.
Weldon’s scream rose as they sped to Hollywood headquarters. He couldn’t believe Razor got away with his private stash and he was being arrested for loving pancakes.
Runyon Canyon at night…
Celine continued dragging her legless body across the ground when she felt a snake slither past – disappointed it wasn’t rattlesnake – she wanted to die after losing her 4’6” partner in life – Morty. The man who had built her legs and taught her about being loved was gone over the side of Runyon Canyon with a bulldozer holding High-Bench as he fought with hack actor – Hugh E. Nesser. It was only minutes ago yet seemed surreal. Celine didn’t understand how time could stand still now when it never did as she and Morty madcapped around Krazytown finding new ways to survive.
A thousand thoughts drifted through her mind as her doe-like eyes caked with tears – being alone again was not something she could do again and she had an evil man to take care of and she would not die before he paid for killing Morty.
To be continued...
“We’re going to jail – I love jail cause… it’s fun!”
Hollywood at night…
In the rear of the patrol car the hefty social worker sat sandwiched between Michel and Krazy Kate. The three had plastic handcuffs on as they argued and pleaded to be let go…except Kate – she loved everyone and everything. “Pretty police car – woo-woo! We’re going to jail – I love jail cause… it’s fun! The last time I was there I had cancer and my husband..” Michel chimed in with his perfectly penciled in arched eyebrows and ruby red lips – “Katey - dear… Shut up!” Mr. Weldon bellowed – “Officers – please listen to me. These are my homeless clients and the scuffle you witnessed - I was trying to break up. They have mental problems. I could lose my license if you take me in.”
Katey giggled as the two cops glanced at each other a looked in the rear-view. Michel - “Mental problems?! Honey – how dare you try to put me into that category! I’m one of a kind and I know what box to mark on questionnaires – there is no in-between! Officers please don’t turn the corner too quickly – I might get smashed to death by the weight of this man’s body.” Weldon retorted – “You got a belly under that lacey skirt – don’t you poke fun of my weight.”
Kate – “Smashed to death? I remember I was almost smashed to death once… no that was my dog and…” Michel effeminately spoke for the officers’ ears specifically to Kate – “I should slap you silly for stealing Sock Puppet and now he can’t breathe from the tightness of these unnecessary CUFFS – he could DIE and it’ll be your fault! ALL YOUR FAULT!” The social worker tried interrupting to no avail as Kate chattered on – “I love Sock Puppet and Jared’s gonna kill you for having him out at night. You’ll see… you’ll see…”
The police car swerved to the nearest curb and the officers left the trio behind – leaving a stunned threesome behind as the car’s flashing lights colored the cars slowing down.
Katey started to cry – her feelings were hurt. For this one moment her past flooded into her mind. Flashes of abusive memories darted around her brain like acupuncture needles – she grabbed her ears and started violently shaking her head. “Get outta my head! Get outta my head – no more room for you! No more room!” The social worker couldn’t get through to her but Michel put Sock Puppet to work extending his yellow-yarned hand with mini glasses. “Hi Katey!” Kate looked suspiciously at the hand as Michel had Sock Puppet suck the demons out of her ears.
Krazy Kate looked at Michel’s hand and cooed – “I love Sock Puppet!” Sock Puppet – “I love you too – Katey and you promise to never steal me again – okay?” Kate frowned momentarily then smiled and snorted – “Of course I won’t steal you. You belong to Michel! Be careful Jared doesn’t kill you. He killed my doll.” Michel was shocked – as Sock Puppet continued – “It’s okay we can go get you a new one when we get out of this awful neighborhood. Can you believe they just dumped us here?”
Katey was beyond gleeful as Weldon stood in disbelief at his clients. “What is it with you people and these puppets?” Sock Puppet got in the social worker’s face – “Honey – us people – really? Don’t tell me you never played with dolls. I’m the security blanket everybody needs.” Kate piped in – “He has Pikey’s DVD girlfriend! Yes he does!” Sock Puppet snarled – “If that is indeed the truth – Pikey will kill you ever so slowly if there’s one scratch on that demo.” The social worker’s eyes widened – “You know Katey – she exaggerates – like talking about having cancer and her husband eating their dog.” Sock Puppet replied – “Are you so sure that’s her imagination? You’re upset with Razor for stealing your pancakes and you took Pikey’s girl? The Pram lives for her. Ugh… universes of differences. You are walking dead – mister.”
Weldon replied – “I didn’t take a DVD from him which hardly qualifies as a girlfriend! It was sent to me. Would YOU know who did that Kate?!” Katey jumped – “Know? No… no I think Jared’s gonna kill me… no he’s not.” Sock Puppet – “Try that on Pikey – you better give her back to him. Katey don’t worry we know you didn’t steal anything – like you didn’t steal even me? You never – ever try to steal me from Michel again – understand?” Katey gulped – “Yes.” Weldon shot back – “I didn’t steal her… I mean I never stole anything! You crazy people are mixing me up.”
“Missing your Mrs. Butterworth – Mr. Sanity?” Sock Puppet asked.
The social worker began to sweat. Yes – he did.
Jared zoomed along the street winding in and out the late crowds with Josh following as Peter tangoed with his inflatable Babes – the two in a world of their own. Jared stopped as Josh crashed into him. Annoyed – the puppet ringleader rolled his eyes – “Damn it’s a kid.” As he scanned the “normals” across the street. “Peter! Peter!” Peter two-stepped up hugging Babes tightly – she squeaked – and gave his hero his full attention. “Okay – we need to split up and get a midget sighting – I want that little dummy to pay for wrecking my meeting.” Peter smiled and nodded – “What I’m sayin’.”
Josh the camera kid started to speak but thought otherwise when Jared looked at him. “You can shoot me when I say so – it has to be perfect – actually…” A group of young girls with pierced lips – ears and noses dressed in revealing Goth came giggling by. “Like now!” Jared tapped Josh and moved Peter and Babes aside. “Good evening ladies – have you heard of ‘Bangin’ Up?’”
The four teens looked at Peter and Babes and started laughing – “A blow-up doll? What the f^^k? Ever kiss a real girl? That’s so not solid!” “Ladies, ladies… these are my fans and ‘Bangin’ Up’ is my new band.” Jared pulled out a flyer from his rear pocket. “See this guy here? He’s my drummer and he’s getting out of Celebrity Rehab and we’re starting all brand new. You don’t look like Bieber-itches to me – you look like you know and feel quality.” His eyes focused in and out as he stood with crossed arms of self-importance. His constant state of detoxing from an unknown high was ever present.
One girl brazenly quipped – “Celebrity Rehab? Are you kidding? My little brother wouldn’t watch that!” Jared grabbed his flyer back and said through gritted teeth – “Really? Well – watch this opportunity go away – little girls. I thought you were more grown up – not ordinary ghetto bait. Move along – really – you have NO idea of what you’re missing and who you’re talking to. Opportunity knocked – bye-bye!” The girls scampered off as Jared’s hand grabbed Josh’s camera and hit the rewind button while the strap was still around his neck. Josh choked and coughed as Jared released him and said – “We’ll get a better take later now spread out boys – find me that midget. I’ve got things to do.”
Jared whistled as he strode off – striking poses as he made his way.
Hollywood’s Most Private Club…
The room was near capacity and talk was at an all-time high considering cocaine was put in the closet when Belushi died – heroin and other designer drugs had replaced the open snow. Frank managed to get Dr. Olivia Copeland away from that tranny – Leah Lexington – to ensure his introduction to Candace Holmberg – an older art patron with even deeper pockets. Candace was the opposite of the nature trail blazer – Mattci – her clothing was meticulously tailored – accentuated with large pieces of antiquated – yet expensive jewelry. She left a perfume trail – standing still. She was on her 4th face-lift but had just gotten into fillers so her appearance was younger than her 83 years.
Frank had the perfect pitch – he needed money for his Gay and Lesbian Center and intended to get her to drop a huge donation by hiring all of her gay artist friends for a gallery fundraiser for their new City Councilman they would put into play so everyone stayed in business-as-usual mode. Hollywood business was no different than D.C. – the wars were more hidden but as false and ruthless nonetheless. Even if he was on the Board of Trustees and it was illegal – he would be sure to get a bit of that cut – everyone had a non-for-profit to move their money around from the government. He intended to out every iconic male or female celebrity with a likeness that would promote “Gay Courage” – gay pride was old news to Leah but Frank loved the sound of an old banjo as much as he loved young men.
Silent Nick had kept Frank in-the-loop for years after he and his then lover had saved him from a violent crash off of Mulholland Drive. Frank never forgot his homeless years but he also had gotten used to the money attraction and what he could control as the lead dog sniffer for Silent. Nick allowed Frank to have some financial freedom while he played homeless in his wheelchair on the streets of Krazytown – taking great comfort in his choice to remain dead to the public and more importantly – to his well-known family.
Outside photographers had flashed their sticks at upcoming socialite/reality show/celebs by sex-tape initiation and sport dough ties – Alana Carbo and her younger sister – Louvre – in perfectly matching calpink2 minis. Silent smiled as he viewed the parade with his ears plugged into the party they were entering.
They were two of six sisters taking Krazytown by storm with their new project – “My Sister’s A B*tch and So Am I!” – a huge hit on the never-ending reality show circuit. They couldn’t sing – dance or act – but their daddy had connections and was happy to pimp his daughters off. They were willing to do whatever it took to get some respect by notoriety – even if it began flat on their backs in a sister duet with their “boyfriends” that lasted as long as the camera caught their images before hitting the Internet. Paris Hilton had nothing on this newer family – she was old newz in Krazytown. The two underage young blonds with affected English accents posed as they grabbed new drinks off a passing tray. Old and young money mixed in this very private club – and much was to be decided in this meeting of how Hollywood would continue to be the world’s #1 attraction and lie.
Hugh E. Nesser had just swayed into the party with a public no-no sight to behold – the Asian King Sisters who loved playing naughty twister were holding him up. Nesser didn’t realize these stained dresses were hookers of ill repute or considered low-class Carney girls. Leah Lexington’s ruby red lower lip dropped open at the sight.
The room quieted as the overly loud trio slap dashed into a waiter – knocking his tray to the floor as they lifting someone else’s drinks from it. The Asian twins laughed and Nesser roared as he began to perform for the two after lighting a large cigar. “Thank you girls! This is my first private club meeting and I am honored to be escorted by two lovelies such as yourselves.” The girls applauded – even their cheap ghetto bling bracelets could be heard rattling. They said in unison – “Thank you Mr. Nesser.” – laughing about the amount of money he had paid them to walk into the door.
Everyone in the room but Nesser knew they weren’t allowed to be among this crowd. This crowd didn’t like his type either and considered his rise-to-fame as the worst chicanery – more-so than the politicians they were putting into office. Nesser’s rug had slid to one side as he shook his hips blowing smoke rings. “I’m so happy to be here! Thank you for being my beautiful escorts as he squinted from being so high – “Are you girls Siamese twins or Asians? What the hell did I just say? I’m joking of course.” He roared at himself looking around to see whose attention he had managed to get. At the moment – the room slowly came to a standstill of whispers as the richa$$ continued – “You all are my people! My fans adore me but YOU are my people! Give yourself a round of applause!” Nesser stumbled while clapping his chubby hands.
A new starlet – Valerie Johansen – stepped back as Nesser eyed her 22 year-old body hungrily. “Hey there cutie! Haven’t we met before? Maybe spent a little time together?” Johansen new to the world of fame but not of bad manners – replied with a smile “My grandmother was such a fan of yours.” Nesser’s face bulged into a watermelon meat mess. “Really – I think she even had a copy of that old show you were on – wasn’t it a Western or something?”
Nesser grabbed some food and stuffed it into his mouth and said grandly – “Your grandmother? Really little girl? I bet you starved yourself into that frame. Being famous is a bitch isn’t it? I could do four of you at one time. Have any sisters?” As Nesser swallowed he licked each stumpy finger after another to clean any residual crumbs off with his inebriated tongue.
Johansen was quick to reply – “No I don’t but I do have a girlfriend you took advantage of when she was drunk. She told me how very small you are. Just a mean little man aren’t you?” Valerie’s bodyguard stepped closer to her. “That Band-Aid must’ve hurt. Piss the wrong woman off?”
Nesser snapped back – “Listen you little anorexic nobody to nowhere of now! I’ll make sure you never work again! I have my contacts just like the rest of this room and money talks a lot more than your entry-level career that’s about to standstill. I’ll have you know I busted my nose fighting for a lady’s reputation. Just ask my friends here.” The Asian King sisters’ eyes widened momentarily as they grinned and drank.
Slowly the room came back to a buzz – ignoring the lepers that had arrived. Krazytown was famous for knowing how to make anything disturbing seem invisible to the naked eye if she wanted – her tinsel could make you disappear for good if she wanted. She had done that to so many with stars in their eyes or loins and the boys behind the whole charade kept the show of the biz going – like the man behind the curtain.
Silent Nick was enjoying listening to this charade outside the hotel in his wheelchair.
In the darkness Celine couldn’t see that Morty had hit his head against Runyon Canyon’s rugged wall and rested on a slim ledge in some brush that grew between rocks. She stopped dragging her legless body and sat looking at the view of Krazytown. The only love she had ever known was with this man who built her legs from a crutch and a mannequin leg so that she could see the world from higher than three feet tall on her bum’s view.
Her thoughts raced to how quickly everything had happened. The belligerent drunk and known hack actor – Hugh E. Nesser – both rug-less and girdle-less – had come unglued when the duo had run off his paid task-man who was ordered to remove Runyon’s landmark High-Bench. Morty had solidly beaned the man off the mountain and came after Nesser to stop him from destroying beauty that had been felt from travelers around the globe. In a fit of rage Nesser had let the bulldozer go with High-Bench in its jaws and Morty clinging to the cab window – to the canyon’s floor below.
Celine had been the recipient of cruelty most of her life but never had anyone taken her love away from dancing on her colorfully decorated sock stumps – she sat broken and depleted.
To be continued...
He screeched out - carefully – “Is it necessary to stink my pad up too?”
Hollywood hills and backstreets…
Pikey Pram Pusher was on a savage rampage – shredding cardboard condos – tipping shacks and lifting cars trying to locate his girlfriend – E.M. Fredric’s Early Works DVD Demo that he had kept hidden and cherished in his prized Pram. Enraged by the theft – he stenched on. Methed out – Forearmless Jake was clammering over and under tossed debris in Pikey’s wake while yappin’ – “Pikey! Pike! We’re gonna find her but if you destroy all the homeless pads you’re gonna get attacked by our people… and the cops! Please ya gotta lissen to me… I oughta know they blew my arms off in a stand-off over a minor drug deal – it was bah-zerk!”
Pikey continued onward from the freeways into the hillsides – his stench flowing with steam from his nostrils’ pores. Jake tucked his nose into his armpit– twisting his body to see ahead. Razor stopped packing his boxes of pancake mix and Mrs. Butterworth that he had lifted from the Hollywood Census social worker’s car – lifting his shirt to cover his mouth and nose. “Christ – Pikey’s mad at somebody.” He yelled out carefully – “Is it necessary to stink my pad up too?”
The Pram backtracked as Forearmless slammed into his rear – he stared at the Shrekian homeless regular with eyes ablaze. Razor put his hands up – “Whatever it is? I didn’t do it!” Forearmless Jake piped in peering out from Pikey’s posterior – “Someone stole Pikey’s girl! Dat wouldn’t be you would it – Mister Raze-HER?” Razor was flabbergasted and terrified – “No! No way would I steal his girl. That’s suicide – man! Either some really stupid dipsh*t took her or a kid did it and found her by accident. Aww come on man ya gotta believe me…”
Pikey stared as Jake watched Razor slowly and protectively backing up to his domain’s door – “What ya hidin’ behind you? Come on… let’s see.” Pikey started to step towards him and Razor quickly lifted his door-hood to reveal the flapjack boxes. He whined like a little boy – “Ahh please don’t take ‘em! I know I shouldn’t have taken them but I couldn’t resist… and the candybars on the floor of his car…” he drooled. Jake shrieked – “You stole that from the social worker?” Razor nodded with false humility. “F^^kin’ ay – you’re okay!” Razor’s face lit up like a cherry bomb. Then the two moved on towards Runyon Canyon. Yesiree.
Onward and upward.
Hollywood Boulevard at night…
Silent Nick smirked while listening to Hollywood’s most private club. He had many years to reflect on about his ever not-so-changing country. It just grew larger. The British had come with their Aussie counterparts long after the Japanese – or the Mexicans – hoping to grab more of Krazytown’s entertainment cash – yet the Chinese were the new flavor. This had lead to the opening of the floodgates to many countries from around-the-world in Nick’s time. America Lost was being reinvented - like the wheel – again.
Foreigners by the thousands were being sworn in with little or no knowledge of the country gifting them their citizenship – their subsidized housing and/or businesses. A precedent had long been set– a foreigner could come and get almost everything for free. The Americans born and bred – worked hard for the money and harder to keep up appearances. Silent knew the drill – keep everyone off-balance and in fear. Religion was the game and war was its name.
Citizens were told they could keep gardens on their rooftops to grow their own food – the urban way. Many parroted the idea until they realized their shingles weren’t really theirs or had fallen off. Silent Nick was outside on the street watching and he knew America lost her way but her sons and daughters were outside of the iris of the kaleidoscopic storms-to-arms. There was no left or right – plenty of wrongs and monies to aid or abet and some of the few who knew why it had to look good were labeled the mentals or the homeless or misbegotten – never the public. Silent Nick smiled – it was too easy to be true.
No one would dare lie to them when it came to building the metro and tearing up streets at the oddest times of year and most inopportune times for the masses as the gasses were at record breaking highs. The news kept telling them and their “trusted leaders” how it was all for the best to bring more jobs and tourism. Like when North Hollywood was just a sleepy affordable burb – the metro quickly plunked the city’s funds into a higher rent district – hiring artists to adorn the exteriors of businesses and dough plus paint for a select amount of homeowners to make their pads appear more valuable than they were. The shell of the egg– sans the yolk.
It was the perfect solution for a community shocked by an enormous earthquake – move in when they’re not looking. Arts were the pitch and a new drug haven where postal carriers delivered more than just the mail had been created – was the hitch. They had all forgotten about that expensive and narrowly escaped lawsuit years ago – the sixty foot sinkhole – on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the new metro station cutting off three blocks as the MTA determined soil stability – construction ceased until the concrete mixture with sand and water filled and dried.
The homeless wondered if any of their missing people were in there – Pikey knew what happened to “Sam the Can” but Silent Nick knew more. LA had to have a transit system even if it didn’t make sense – the sense was controlled and voted on. No person or event could’ve halted that – not even new sinkholes. Those savvy business folks with good souls couldn’t create enough places to save a puppy let alone their own kid – but saving babies was for other countries not – Krazytown.
ALL ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE HOMELESS CHARACTERS BY DYLAN BOCANEGRA
Save the ‘inner city’ kids was a safe fallback – even when the dividing lines were erased decades ago and the new gangs far surpassed any gangsta mentality. They were taught to kill in elementary school as their indoctrination and owned parts of the Krazytown as well as entire sections of many other burbs. Familiar discussions – about how they would send the next shockwave of fear into the minions– were commonplace and treasured by most of the elitist crowd – a few had their hearts and money in the right pockets – yet they were outnumbered by power – alone. Greed was but an afterthought – like a condom with a hole. Silent shook his head before the ache set in.
Hollywood Bus Stop…
Mr. Weldon the social worker slowly stepped off the bus first with Krazy Kate yammering in the background – “We’re back… we’re back! I’m so happy to be in Krazytown!” Michel delicately and well-heeled placed his toe down first and swished off the bus as he held up Sock Puppet to the bus driver – “Bye-bye handsome driver. Your bus stinks but you’re amazing!” Then he turned to Kate – “Katey dear it’s your fault that we got dropped off by those horrible police officers in the worst part of town.. thank God for mister big black man here or we would surely have been raped or killed.”
Stopping Mr. Weldon in his tracks – “Listen Michel – I have had it with that prissy a$$ mentality of yours and will not be disrespected. Next time you’re in my office you’re not getting’ no tokens for six months!” To himself he muttered – “Damn people have no idea how hard I work with these people… half-man half-woman and I almost go to jail… what’s wrong with this country?! Leave a brother alone…”
The trio continued bickering as they headed up the boulevard towards the hotel. Katey smiled and giggled in her own mind – no one knew about how her mother had died of alcoholism in front of her then young daughter. Bled to death and little Kate was never the same. Shuffled from house to house and then placed in mental institutions until she found a ride to Hollywood and stayed as a grown woman forever embedded with her youth. Katey thought she struck gold because her mental illness didn’t force her to hide anymore. She blended right in.
Michel turned to the social worker – “We may find your flapjacks but Razor lifting those is nothing compared to what Pikey Pram Pusher is going to do to you when he finds out you have his girlfriend.” The social worker cried out – “I didn’t take her! She was left on my desk in an envelope! Why am I answering to you?!!!”
“Yeah try that story on him. Will he believe you?” Michel posed thoughtfully with his lacey black skirt gently blowing from the traffic whizzing by – “I think not. You’re a dead man.”
The social worker shook his head as buckets of sweat flew off.
Runyon Canyon at night…
Celine wiped her eyes as she sat legless on her colorful socked stumps and yelled when a miraculous moment occurred. Her 4’6” dwarf boyfriend – Morty – awoke in time to hear her call out one more time. Clearing some dirt and brush from his mouth he shouted her name.
Stunned – she heard a muffled or scratched word: “Celine.” Her name carried up with the wind as if part of a nocturne. She stopped and listened – unsure if she was imagining or in shock. It came again like a serenade – “Celine… Celine? Please! Help me… I need you…”
Shocked – momentarily – her limbs came to life like venom on ice – she scampered back to the cliff’s edge and peered down. “Morty?!” She called out. “Yes… Celine help me back up! I’m stuck on this ledge – I pulled myself up through the brush.”
“You’re alive!” Celine elated began to do cartwheels on her colorfully socked stumps – dancing to a lilt only she could hear. “My man’s alive!”
The wind’s pavane carried her joy as Morty’s frustrated and dirty face yelled up – “CELINE! Hand me your crutch leg so I can get back up.” Celine laughed and rolled over to the edge and squealed – “Morty! I’ll put my legs back on when you get up here – I want to dance!” With crutch leg extended Morty pulled himself up to the rim and lay exhausted next to Celine who wouldn’t stop kissing him and tickling him. “Stop… Stop… I’m wiped… “he laughed. “I just am checking to see if you’re really alive or if I have to hit the boulevard to have the man in the machine read my cards!” She joyously exhaled.
Celine snuggled up next to Morty as they hugged and looked at the sky. Morty explained how dirt had lodged in his throat as he held for onto the brush on the canyon wall until his footing found the ledge. Her calling out to him had saved him when he felt he couldn’t make it. Morty shook his head – “That a$$ Nesser is gonna get his when I clean up. He ruined our bench.” Celine nodded in agreement adding – “But he can’t touch our love.”
Celine placed a gianormous kiss on Morty’s cheek. “Ouch toots… that smarts.” “Better hurt than dead luv and don’t doubt for a moment that drongo wouldn’t have suffered a slow death for killing you.” She chimed with sincerity. He hugged her tightly. “Go on now – what’s wrong?” She continued in her British accent. The dwarf didn’t know how to express the fear he felt from almost meeting death and how inadequate he felt against the bulldozer and a drunken Nesser – Morty ought to know having been a sot himself not that long ago. He mustered up – “Nothin’. Let’s go home.”
So – they did.
To be continued…
“Cute kid ya got here. Reminds me of a puppet I de-stringed.”
Zippy – the unofficial self-proclaimed and very blind “mayor” of Hollywood stood on his corner – rattling his large tin cup. He knew everyone in his community for over 40 years – he heard every story and listened as they played out over and over. New kid off the bus – dying to be known in Krazytown – the only place that ate and digested her young so quickly. He lost count of the amount of porn movies that were kept in business because the producers preyed on the angst to be the new celeb hunger of the young. Things were changing again – times were lean and it made most people mean. Violence was up but the numbers reported were down. He took a swig off of his gin bottle with an audible sigh of relief. Nightlife was when he fit in most – he became Stevie Wonder – Ray Charles and Superman – a sightless man with vision.
His ragged knit cap and torn and weathered clothes hung on his frame like a fat clothes hanger. He rattled his cup and barked out to anyone who would listen among the night hustles – “Hey brother – sister – can ya spare a dime and I don’t mean bag… ha ha ha…” his laugh was gravelly from years of smoking and drinking his homemade coffee through strained socks. Zippy’s ears were more in tune from being sightless – his vision was blurred then completely lost as a young teen when his father hit him in the head with a baseball – indoors – detaching both retinas. His father was a drunken merchant seaman and his mother a subservient who did as she was bid.
Zippy had been sent to foster care as a youth and landed on the streets when he was let out at 18 – it was here he learned about mortality and humanity. The daily war of survival on the streets – he loved his town and the action it provided – wasn’t for everyone and many went missing or lived lost while others left – died or lied.
Zippy knew this would be his final resting place – he just didn’t want to go like Roger Dunno who pulled a Hendrix and then froze to death – one particularly cold night. It took the public half the next day to realize Roger wasn’t sleeping on the sidewalk as they stepped over his partially blanketed body. Cops and medics were called when a fellow homeless man – Leon “the JJ” – started screaming bloody murder in an alcohol induced haze. Leon in his shredded clothing screamed – “Jayzus is dead! Jayzus is dead! But he’s coming back this Easter!! He will rise again as Roger Dunno. Touch him – for five bucks you can touch him you will be saved!” The cops swatted him away – as the medics bagged Roger. Another unmarked body would enter the City morgue.
Zippy wanted to die in his sleep for sure – but next to a warm body – any-body – preferably Krazy Kate’s. Zipster adored Katey’s frenetic energy and upbeat attitude – nothing swayed her. Hearing her voice excited him when she accidentally brushed against him while chattering to herself – beelining down the boulevard – it made him feel like he could see and more importantly – feel. In all the years he had boozed only one woman made him pop a chub. Katey smelled good to Zippy – he didn’t care if she was whack – he could pick out her cowboy boots even in the evening crowds’ noise. Yes – he could… and if she would only agree – he would crown her Mrs. Lady Mayor in his unofficial world.
Razor packed his cart after Pikey Pram Pusher and Forearmless Jake paid him a visit. Time to move his digs and the treasure trove of flapjack boxes with Mrs. Butterworth that he stole from Mr. Weldon’s – the Hollywood Census Social Worker – car. He knew that Pikey would hurt whoever stole his DVD girlfriend E.M. Fredric's Early Works and he wanted to be nowhere around that mess. With the Hollywood Census social worker after him – Razor thought about making a huge breakfast in the morning and cooking up all the evidence as he forged ahead deeper into the bowels of Hollywood’s cheapest neighborhoods – where even bodies were hard to locate.
A woman ran screaming by him – “Help me! Someone please help me!” – with her husband followed by an upraised butcher’s knife. “I’ll kill you! You b*tch – you burned my steak! You know how many hours of work that cost me?”
Razor shuddered and yelled out – “Hey man! Watch the cart!” He slurped his rubbing alcohol – replaced the cap and tucked it into his breast pocket – belched and shook his head in dismay as he mumbled – “I never got married – never gettin’ married… waste of good food kills me.”
Hollywood Boulevard night…
Josh was aiming his camera at everything around him on this happening evening. The Spielberg interaction earlier at Dodger Stadium still had him on an idol high. Peter and Babes were continuing dancing down the street as Peter searched for the dwarf and his girlfriend – Shorty & Morty.
Jared postured up and down the street blocks every time he saw a group of pretty girls texting as they passed by – especially Goth Girls – he got insta-wood. A police car screeched by with sirens and flashing lights an ambulance followed suit. “Amateur night – probably another wreckless baby jogger driver – texting. Young ladies!” Jared spoke directly to the Goth Girls – “Remember to look up so you don’t perish. Really – this technotard crap is getting out of hand and removes us from our inner linings – would you care to see a flyer of my band that’s making a HUGE comeback as soon as my drummer is out of Celebrity Rehab?” Jared preened as he stepped in line with the girls forever on his five-year plan – holding the paper up.
They looked at one another after viewing the band’s photo. The leader offered up – “No one in your band is pierced? Tattoos are out – even an old man like you should get that.” Jared – livid but polite offered – “Really? Piercing is for formaldehyde sniffers!” As the girls babbled on in confusion he added – “Beware the trying to fit in girlies – the children of the night here will eat you alive. Not old enough to get it? Tell ‘em the puppetmaster sent you.”
As the group burst forward one girl spat out – “Who you calling children? We’re old enough to do what we want.” Jared smiled maniacally - “You’re playing a dangerous game – you’re no Amy Winehouses or Janis Joplins!” – he thundered – “Taylor Swift*tties move along – you’ve conquered nothing in life!”
“I am the missing link you will never know.” Jared shook his head – then saw the SPOTlights hit in front of the Chinese Theatre – his turn to be out front had come again. He ran and pushed his way through a roped off crowd and hopped center of the light with his head tossed back gleefully as he posed awaiting his autograph seekers.
A crowd knocked Jared aside over – “Oh – Mr. Seagal! Can I please have your autograph?!” The puffy and aging yet handsome martial arts actor still had his fans. Jared brushed himself off – adjusted his wig and approached the star – “Hey Steven – my man… loved that all black jazz band you had.” Seagal interrupted – “Blues band.” As he continued signing. Jared whipped out a flyer – “That’s what I meant. Either way a brilliant move. I would love to have you see my new band.”
Seagal tried to move on when Jared placed a hand on shoulder. Steven spun Jared twisting and pinning his arm behind his back. “Ahhhh! Mr. Seagal please I just wanted to tell you about my own rock band that is going to change the world. Please.” Seagal released him and bowed politely. “Sorry – man but never touch the mojo – I have to go.”
With that he was in his limo and gone as the spotlights popped off. Jared yelled out – “You’re no Bruce Lee! He made real movies NOT direct to video reels! You’re a fake – don’t we all hate fakers folks?!” Jared looked around alerting what was left of a group.
The remaining crowd gasped at his outburst and Jared rubbed his sore arm –“Really people? Smoke and mirrors – I mean the guy isn’t even a legitimate martial artist – just a Bruce Lee and B.B. King wannabe. If he hadn’t caught me by surprise…” Jared was jumping into various poses kicking and striking into the air until he heaved and the crowd dispersed – bored. One toddler in a stroller clapped and laughed – “Daddy! Dat man is phunny – poo-pow!” Jared pounced – “Really little man?” To the father as he sat on his heels eye level to the toddler – “Cute kid ya got here. Smart aleck – reminds me of a puppet I once owned and de-stringed.”
The little boy looked into Jared’s eyes – they turned into saucers while his hands twisted like opening a jar – and started screaming as the father jerked the stroller away. “Leave my little boy alone you homeless waste!”
Jared slowly stood up – “I’ll have you know I’m not homeless and you’ve NO idea who you’re talking to – this is MY street so take a hike daddy pusher – move along before I enlighten your kid about real life!” A flying purse swung upside Jared’s head – “Ouch!” An irate mother – “How dare you talk to my child that way – you narcissistic bully!”
Jared grabbed his head to keep his wig from falling off and backed up. “Excuse me but I have no idea what you’re talking about it was your husband who launched an Apollo 13 on me! So take your dysfunctional family to Disneyland – and ride the really small world. Take heed!”
Jared skipped off – mumbling “Man-oh-man that woman turned me on. Whatever. Distractions.”
RAZOR, FORARMLESS JAKE, KATE'S DOLL BY DYLAN BOCANEGA
Further down the boulevard…
Peter continued searching for Morty – if he found the dwarf maybe his hero – Jared would let him go see the shrine he had for puppets and dolls or the statue that he prayed to and introduce him to his puppet God. Babe’s patch had been almost surgically placed by Josh’s friend after the thugs at the stadium tossed the boys out and almost killed Peter’s girl. He handled her like she was made of glacier ice – not the air that inflated her entire essence. This young man of the streets knew love was important – even if his beloved was made of rubber.
Camera guy Josh continued to aim his lens hoping when he and Steven Spielberg met again – he would have even more to show him than the photos they had taken together at the Dodger game. His two weeks here had paid off and by week 10 his plan should be in full effect – he would meet and fall in love with one of Spielberg’s daughters and then the keys to Hollywood would be his. He just needed Peter to introduce him Shorty & Morty – this extraordinary homeless couple would be his ticket to directorial – if not creator stardom.
He wasn’t worried – Steven looked at him like they were old pals. It was a meant to be and he knew they came from the same brethren moons. He only needed one eye and he had met his mentor and Yoda in real life. Everything appeared so vibrant and alive – even the hookers looked happy passing the Technicolor yawns of those who blended in as scenery. The homeless who drank and drugged to relive old glory memories or to numb their current and past pain.
Runyon Canyon’s lower hills…
Forearmless Jake was desperately trying to keep up with Pikey Pram Pusher as the coal black giant continued ripping open the doors of the chaotic homes the destitute had built. His mission was simple – someone had stolen his DVD girlfriend and he wanted her back – NOW! He grunted – “I want my. I want my. I want my EMF…” His stench alone kept what residents were home with their mouths covered. Jake rat-a-tatted the questions and they moved on at Pikey’s nod of approval.
Forearmless Jake’s methed out brain kept his tongue going – “Pike… Pikey! We’ll find her – but ya need to slow down man or someone will get the cops after us and we just got you outta jail.” They bounded on through the brush – “Pikey remember when Mara Neely had a crush on you? An’… an’ Charlotte GHorse? Ya had plenty a girls like you – course they’re dead now but! – They liked you before they bit it! EMF isn’t the only girl out there for ya!” Jake crashed into Pikey’s rear as he halted and turned around. Jake immediately put his nose into his armpit with – “I know – I know – I know – it’s your first real love. Let’s go but please slow down my elbows are killing me from fending off the sticks.” Pikey nodded and plodded purposefully on.
Shorty & Morty’s Shack in the hills…
Celine was fussing over Morty having cleaned up his wounds – In her Jersey best “Ya almost look as handsome as before ya went over the canyon wall! You shoulda seen the look on Nesser’s face when you bit him and yours my handsome man when he shot my crutch leg by accident – priceless!” She giggled as Morty started coming around from the trauma. “I thought for sure I was a goner and all I kept thinking about was you and how I couldn’t leave you alone – never will either – toots.” They basked in the feeling only those who reach true intimacy experience. The silence between them was strong enough to carry more than a herd of elephants and richer than the Mukesh Ambani’s billion dollar home – the Antilia – in India. Their gold rested within.
Morty broke the moment with “I’m gonna kick Nesser’s a$$ and in front of as many people as I can – destroying High-Bench and trying to kill me! That guy needs to be taught a lesson – he messed with the wrong dwarf.” Cooed Celine – “That’ll be so much fun to watch but maybe you should rest – it’s been the longest day of my life…”
She was cut off by a loud resounding shaking of the ground beneath their home. “Ahhh not now – I’m not in the mood for an earthquake.” She pouted. Morty jumped to attention – “That’s not an earthquake… whatever it is I want my slingshot and get the bear spray.” The 4’6” dwarf turned out their lights and peered out through what few windows they had only to have the smell dawn on him as the last huge thump stopped outside their door.
Inside Hollywood’s Most Private Club…
An obliterated Hugh E. Nesser yelled across the room – “Candace Horney-berg – you old bagga honey – I miss our little midnight trysts. At every age you were better than Mattci – right Ms. Nature lover?” Mattci Waldschmidt stomped her petit 5’4” trim body over to Nesser and with her 72 years of trim fun in-the-sun – she slapped Nesser across the face. “AHHH! Not my nose again! She hit me for no reason!” “And I’ll do it again Hugh E. if you can’t behave yourself. You’ve always had a filthy mouth and it won’t be tolerated in here.” Mattci exclaimed proudly –as she moved back quickly.
Mattci surprised herself with her courage and she would do it again in a heartbeat.
Nesser’s newly broken nose bled again – spraying the Asian King Sister’s dresses – turning them into true Monica’s as they squealed and turned to run out of the private floor door. But first Lacey King turned and declared – “You’re no DSB – just another rich entitled lush! Give us our money for coming with you!” Nesser started laughing while holding his nose and bowing for his new audience – “I gave you money so get back onto the street you skanky girls.” Berta King lashed out – “You tell us Asian lies!” while sticking her heel in his groin. “You got no monopoly on us you fool and we know that sperm bank closed a long time ago!”
Frank applauded as Candace, Tranny Leah Lexington and the room slowly started to fall into sync with a thunderous round of applause. Nesser was on the floor with his rug flipped forward – too drunk to feel it. A passing fanboy waiter – new to town felt for his TV hero of yesteryear and bent down to help him up when Nesser did the unthinkable: His vomit projectile was so powerful his girdle came unhooked. Screams filled the air as the crowd stepped back watching in horror as Nesser blew and blew and blew what appeared to be a week of stomach contents with very little food mixed in with his booze and pills. The waiter slipped and fell – tray-in-hand – onto the floor next to Nesser. The fanboy tried to help Nesser up as they both swam in Nesser’s booze-bomb.
Frank said to Leah – “Oh my God – this is going to destroy the evening. We have to get an ambulance or nothing will be accomplished tonight.” Leah agreed and pulled out her cell. Captain Argata Arteaga smiled at the fiasco he watched unfold – Nesser had him on his payroll for far too long and he hoped Nesser would die but first – a valiant public effort had to be done.
Shorty & Morty’s Shack in the hills…
“Pikey – don’t you ever take a bath?! I mean seriously that’s some bada$$ stench you got goin’ on there.” As Morty started to open his door – Pikey whipped the door open and the dwarf landed outside. Forearmless Jake was right behind him chattering away – “Morty someone stole Pikey’s girl and we come by to see if you have a clue cause I gotta stop him from destroying tings.”
Celine came out with a handkerchief to her nose and smiled up at Pikey’s saddened eyes. With her Southern voice she soothed – “Pikey would you like something to eat or drink with us? We’ve had a terrible evening with Morty almost getting killed by Hugh E. Nesser and we’ll help you figure things out.” Pikey just shook his head but Forearmless was all over it.
“Nesser tried to kill one of us?!!! That ratba$$tard is always gettin’ away with murder – he even dumps his garbage in his neighbors’ bins – that’s how cheap the guy is and I heard he flattens people’s tires in parking lots if he thinks they’re too close to his holier than thou archaic piece of junk BMW! Whattya gonna do Morty? Huh… huh… huh..?” Before Morty could answer… Pikey started to do something no one ever saw or heard him do. Celine had her hand out to the side of Pikey’s head and Pram started to whimper as a single tear came down his face. She soothed – “We’re the same and you’re family – we’ll find your girl.” Jake was too methed out to be stupefied – “Wow – I never seen him let anyone touch him. Okay – here’s the deal. We help you with Nesser and you help us find EMF’s Early Works!”
Morty and he shook – “Deal.” Jake grinned his gaptooth smile – “I heard from one of the homeless running from his pad uphill that Nesser headed down to Krazytown’s new private club.” They decided to pay a visit but first Celine served Pikey and the boys a hot cup of cider.
Yes – she did.
“Who’s coming out?” “Is it a star?” “Are they alive or dead?” “This is SO exciting!
Hollywood’s Most Private Club…
Silent Nick smirked while listening to Hollywood’s most private club. He had many years to think of his ever changing country – his family’s Golden Era gone-by legacy living with the same money and drug problems hushed under a bigger carpet – the red one. One sibling who was responsible for the initiation of Silent’s MG careening off Mulholland Drive – died of an overdose – or did he?
Nick simmered the thoughts of growing up with his four brothers and sister of mixed maternal bloodlines – living under the same roof with maids – new and younger mothers and their famous father of yester-year. His father’s bloodline had harkened back to the Brits of theatre before coming to the land of Colonies – the Barrymores and the Richardsons were considered peers of an acting feather at one time.
As the silent movies turned to talkies – Silent’s father and two aunts hit it big – they burst into and bred more money in England – now it would come full circle. His uncle had died young of alcoholism while his aunts followed suit during their careers in America – even Nick understood the physical damage women’s bodies developed faster than men’s – yet none could stop tipping it back.
Silent’s father had the movie star looks yet his character off-screen was just another abusive drunk. “Rich and mean” – Silent’s mother used to scream during the years they shared before she went mad trying to bring her husband back to the man she thought she married.
She drank with him – excused herself at high society parties – emptied her stomach in the ladies’ bathroom – returning with a giggle – to engage in a sip of her “first” glass of liquor – as she posed heel and toe kicked up for the photographers. Soon to be locked in a sanitarium like his father’s other wives. The women actually believed they were the problem because the talent of their husband was so grandiose – his power even larger and his looks didn’t corrode – until he did.
After his mother died – Silent Nick decided he would write a tell-all book about his family and their chaotic lives and loves – had and lost – but more dangerously about how they immersed themselves with politicians to help create the fantasy of Krazytown to maintain the “playing fields” as it were – uneven – or the same. Depending on your bankbooks' contents – information was selective.
The microcosm of entertainment made for excellent breeding grounds to elect a Mayor or to kill a President – Silent watched it all as a young boy who was cured of polio – bedridden much of his younger years as he grew stronger and handsomer into his father’s image. He was an intelligent observer. His father felt one of the most dangerous kinds because young Nick wasn’t an ordinary conspiracy theorist – Nick knew things – and that had to stop.
The family thought it ceased when the publishing of his book was halted – all copies were burned except one. The small publishing company that had taken it on also burned down – with owners and employees inside.
The secret of power and who had what – needed to be buried so Silent “died” a tragic death in that car accident. Frank and his then lover – Barry had help with Pikey’s uncle. One of their own had died a needless death due to the AIDS epidemic. Frank always felt Barry would be alive if he had been heterosexual.
One free burial in exchange for freeing a life – Nick became the silent ear and forever thankful benefactor to a bereaved Frank when his beloved partner succumbed to the same disease – as he also became the unheard heartbeat of Krazytown when things went “right” or “left” of what was expected – chances were –Silent Nick was behind it.
Silent sat with his earbuds and recalled that awful night of being chased off the sidewinder canyon – the fear he felt careening – in slow motion – feeling the metal crunch and intertwine with his body. He thought he was dead when he heard Frank and his partner – Barry – call out –the two gay homeless lovers who saved him.
As he listened to the party what swirled in his brain is how nothing changes – it just steps aside before repeating history again. Mobs – gangs – different cowboy in town making the same deals so the Sheriff’s jail would keep growing with the people who needed boundaries – according to the selected few who represented their freedom. Of Thee – they sang.
Inside the club…
The ex-60’s star Hugh E. Nesser was sprawled in his own vomit carousel with the fanboy waiter – as both tried rising up. Nesser – ever the narcissist declared – “My name will be all over the lovely canyons you keep so tightly at your little boy breasts – Mattci! I am going immortal and will be here long after everyone in this room dies! I’ll be the last to go! My name will coincide with Steve Hawkings and Napoleon DynOH-MITE by the time I’m done!”
As the waiter’s lithe body stood wiggly – he pulled on tubby Nesser. Each attempt Nesser got closer to being upright – but like a rubberband – he snapped back into his own chunks.
His Tango without the toilet hung all over his clothes and face as he babbled on incoherently – “I’m gonna be the next president of the United States – if SAG could put a chimp loving idiot with no memory in – I’m announcing my candidacy! Course we liked the guy cause…(burp)… he made us tons of more money. Woo-hoo! I got rid of High-Bench and the new benches and stairs all over the canyons will have MY name on them! YOU are my people and we’ll get richer together!”
Nesser leaned over and picked up a partially filled glass of booze on the floor – he gulped it back to the disgusted murmurs of the room.
Tranny Leah Lexington, Frank, Dr. Olivia Copeland, Mattci Waldschmidt and the rest of the elite club patrons stood back and held their noses as they gasped.
Mattci was irate – “Hugh – you better not have touched those landmarks! I’ve spent my life preserving the trails!”
Nesser belched loudly –“My nose was already broken when you hit me – for no good reason I might add – but your punch turns me on. I bet no one in this room would know you ginger moustached me when I first got to town. Up at High-Bench – no less!” Nesser roared at his own misconducted lie. He wobbled to his knees and quipped to the waiter – “Help me up fanboy – you know you want to be me! Everyone does.” His high pitched giggle resembled the original Joker.
Captain Aragata Arteaga finally spoke up – “Mr. Nesser you inarticulate piece of sh*t! The paramedics are on their way and so is TMZ. I hope…” Frank coyly laughed as Hugh E. interrupted. “Arteaga I own your taco stand and everyone knows it! Your wife – sisters and daughters are mine… ”
Hugh E. had lifted his finger to make a point and his eyes rolled back into his head. Yesiree. Then he promptly passed out to thunderous applause as the paramedics made their entry with cameras flashing.
Hugh E. Nesser was wrapped in a blanket and swiftly gurneyed out.
Hollywood Boulevard late…
Meagan Canary – almost iconic amongst the stripsters – put a little coo into Jared’s ear about TMZ showing up for Hugh E. Nesser’s departure from Hollywood’s elite hotel. Canary’s fluffy blond hair and rhinestone glasses against her leopard skin-tight dress – that hiked as she strutted – knew the value of press having been arrested with a few celebs in the back seats of limos. Her pay scale for happy endings – skyrocketed and everyone knew her name. “Cheers!” she loved to holler.
Jared raced across the street and shoved his way through the crowd as he saw the ambulance lights – his blood thirsted for his moment of fame.
Peter and Babes with Josh trying to shoot footage as the TMZ guys crammed in front of him. Police officers were holding people back as the crowd asked loudly – “Who’s coming out?” “Is it a star?” “Are they alive or dead?” “This is SO exciting! We’re going to be on the Hollywood Newz!” Shrieks of recognition went to confusion as Nesser was wheeled out. His rug had flopped forward and to the side of his head and he had a mask over his face.
Jared caved through the boys and Babes and yelled out – “That’s my friend – Hugh E. Nesser! Oh dude – you shoulda called me back! Who hurt you? I’ll take care of it.” A camera guy with rig came over to Jared and started filming “his” story – The Jared and Hugh E. story that went back in Jared’s head for at least a decade or so… as he spoke into the mic – “Hugh E. is a good man – drinks a bit too much perhaps but then don’t we all have our addictions in Krazytown? I mean this man even owns a set of marionettes – I’m a puppet guy myself and to know that a man of this stature prays to the same puppet God that I do is simply – awesome.”
Jared’s eyes blurred in and out as he spoke. Interviewer – “Did he always wear a rug and girdle?” Jared smoothed his own fake long hair and smiled – “In Hollywood – my friend – does it really matter? I mean we’re talking find me a– make that any woman with real breasts – not that I mind larger additions…” Jared was interrupted by a ear-splitting scream from inside the ambulance.
Nesser was having a complete meltdown – “Ahhhhh – get that midget off of me!!! I killed him! I killed him! Now he’s back to kill me!” Morty was on top of Nesser choking him and pulling the oxygen mask off of his face. “You took High-Bench but you didn’t get me!” Celine chimed in with her British accent and raised crutch leg – “A leg for a life you overstuffed tart! Mean man – no one takes my mate away from me!”
Nesser went ballistic – clawing at the air while spitting and crying – he began to beg for his life – “It was an accident! I didn’t mean it!” Morty got into his face – “Liar and only thing worse than a liar is an LA hugger. Smile – hug – fork to the left – knife to the right. You demolished part of our world and we’re taking you for a ride.”
Nesser SCREAMED: “GET THE MIDGET OFFA ME!!!!” as he shredded his toupee in his delirious state.
The paramedics slammed a sedative into Nesser and tried to calm him down.
Jared shoved to the ambulance rear as the doors shut. “Wait a minute! Hold on! I know that midget he speaks of! Open the doors! Let ME SEE THE MIDGET!!!”
The cameras were having a field day.
The paramedics had their hands full with another rich and famous – alcoholic’s – full-blown psychotic episode.
There was no midget in the ambulance.
On the sidewalk outside the hotel…
Silent Nick chuckled at the drama unfolding. Soon the social worker with Krazy Kate and Michel would be here along with Zippy and the usual crowd of regulars but it stunned him to see some of the elite coming to the street and watch. Wowee… and they didn’t know who he was.
As some smokin’ a reefer would say – “This is some good sh*t.”
To be continued….
LEAH LEXINGTON, MATTCI WALDSCHMIDT, ORTEAGA & FRANK BY DYLAN BOCANEGRA AS "PETER"
“This is the messiest celeb I’ve had since… The last one we had.”
Shorty & Morty’s shack in the hills somewhere…
Forearmless Jake hyped his methed out explanation of Pikey’s destroying the homeless abodes to Shorty & Morty as the foursome strolled down into Hollywood – “Someone stole his girl and it’s breaking his heart. Would ya happen ta know who would do dis kinda ting with his DVD girlfriend?! I mean what kinda crumb-face would do a ting like dat?”
Morty – the dwarf - looked at Celine – “Ugh… no can’t say that I would.” Celine looked at Pikey and felt the hurt that oozed from his eyes.
Pikey Pram Pusher – imaginary-badged guardian of the homeless population in Krazytown – had never felt love in his life until he discovered an old DVD demo of E.M. Fredric’s Early Works. In studying her doing various roles – slowly Pikey began to understand that he had emotions too – not just a roar that paralyzed people with his stench.
Like King Kong – he had been smitten by the homeless’ leading lady – Celine… but she had a guy – even if he was only 4’6” tall.
The Pram teared up for the first time in his life when he watched EMF’s scene of being molested – he laughed at her little girl character – Rene – who always talked about her older brother thinking he was soooo cool. Pikey watched her for hours and knew he had never come across anyone like her - other than Celine - but Shorty had Morty – there was no room for this coal black male of magnanimous strength. He never talked – giving it up after his uncle was murdered in Krazytown.
Pikey felt like King Kong with a lady fair that was not acceptable to society to love so he opted for the DVD version instead – bringing him great pleasure and less loneliness.
As the four came down the side street and entered Hollywood Boulevard the flashing lights of an ambulance stood out. The crowd around it seemed unusual. Most nights when an ambulance came it was either a quick O.D. by some wannabe celeb or a sick tourist – the homeless rarely took ambulances. They weren’t welcomed or treated like most people.
Pikey was getting anxious as Celine touched his arm – “Don’t worry – we’ll find her but you must promise me no more destroying homes.” Pram Pusher nodded. Forearmless tattered – “Aww man – there’s Jared! Leave it to him to try to get attention. Must be someone of note in that glorified taxi or he wouldn’t botha!” Morty was ready to bolt and Celine held him by the arm – “Noooo… luv – slow down. No more fighting tonight. I just got you back!” “All right – he’s safe for this night.” Morty grumbled. The four watched.
Celine with a southern drawl calmed – “Pikey you must stop destroying our people’s homes. It’s not right.” They watched partially while hidden around a building.
Celine looked down at Morty – “This looks like fun. I wonder who they’ve got in there?”
On Hollywood Boulevard…
Michel was livid that he had torn his skirt. “Katey? I hope you know where I can find a decent seamstress because this is MY favorite skirt!” The social worker – Mr. Weldon was headed back to his car in the parking lot near work – all he had in mind was getting that EMF DVD and somehow placing it onto Katey or Michel’s body. Weldon smiled – “I think I have something in my car that will hold your skirt together – let’s go.” Michel stopped and stared at Weldon – then Kate – then Mr. Weldon – “Well – this is a first. I’ve never heard you offer to help anyone unless there was some sort of string attached.”
In a parking lot…
“Nope – no strings…” he started as Katey interjected – “Strings? Strings? Oh my – I have puppet strings or at least I had them.” Michel snidely retorted – “You gave them away – you ALWAYS give things away and then you steal what doesn’t belong to you – you’re a naughty girl.” Katey stuck her tongue out at her transgender friend. “I do not. He got lost and got cancer and then the dog ate him before my husband ate the dog! And…” Mr. Weldon – “SHUT UP! The two of you! Jesus H. Keey-rIst!” The social worker was at his car now where Razor had bashed his window in to steal his flapjacks and Mrs. Buttersworth. He dug around as Michel and Kate continued to banter back and forth.
Finally – “AAAA-HAA! I found it.” He raised up the E.M. Fredric DVD with Rocky victory.
Michel delicately looked at his fingers and coyly remarked – “Mr. Black Man stole the DVD and is going to DIE for it! Pikey is going to rip your limbs off – one-by-one.” Then he started to giggle which had Katey start up.
Weldon yelled – “You don’t call me Mr. Black Man anymore Michel or I’ll stop your operation in its tracks. What are you a chub away from freedom?” Michel gasped loudly with his hand to his lips - “You wouldn’t dare – that is so wrong on so many levels that not even a fatboy like you would do something like that.” The social worker snapped back -“Who you calling fat – Mr. or Mrs. Dough-eater? You better believe dat and shut up! I’ve had it with you people. Man – work my a$$ off and do I get a thanks? No. Nothing but mental illness in return.”
Katey interrupted – “I think you’re special Mr. Weldon even if you’re black and fat – I like you lots and so does my dog and my husband and my cancer….” “KATEY!!! Stop!” He wiped his sweaty face – then slid the DVD into her purse as he said – “Look at those red lights!” Katey’s head whipped around - “Lights? Lights… oh and ambulance! I like ambulances – woo-woo! Can I go look?” He just nodded his head.
Michel looked long and hard and whispered loudly – “Jared is over there. I have to go or he’ll take Sock Puppet away.” Katey – “I won’t tell him you have Sock Puppet out – I’ll say…” Michel hissed - “Katey? Shut up!” He pressed his fingers to his mouth. Katey swirled her cowboy boot in the gravel and looked down. Mr. Weldon said – “I want to see what’s going on before I go home.” The three headed for the corner down the street towards the whirring lights.
Outside the ambulance…
Jared tried shoving his way through the photographers as the paparazzi pushed back – like a see-saw. “Hey dude! Dude! Come on… I’m not just some Nesser fan – I’m probably the only friend the poor man has and he’s having a rough time. I just want to be sure my bud is in there – unlike when they took Michael Jackson away or Elvis. Those were faked escapes.” Jared tried to get closer to the ambulance rear doors to no avail. “Come ON guys – I mean really? An officer will be sent out here soon and then where will you be? Let me get past and I’ll get you a better shot because he’ll ask for me.”
Captain Argata Arteaga may have been known as Mattci Wallschmidt’s “boy toy” but he was really Nesser’s man. Arteaga had been trying to break that mold but he knew he had a job to complete. Hugh E. had paid to have High-Bench demolished with new benches replaced along with his name on them. Argata knew he had to follow through on this unless Nesser died and that wasn’t happening.
Nesser told him enough times throughout the years that his system was stronger than anyone else’s - he would never die. Arteaga thought it best to play it safe. Mattci didn’t have to know he was in on the plan to place Nesser’s name on every step and bench for tourists and locals to sit on. But = he had to get into that ambulance and straighten out a few things.
The Captain walked over and the door slowly opened as he crawled inside – careful not to step on any residual vomit. Jared jumped up and down in the background yelling – “Hugh! My man! I’m right here buddy!" Nesser’s face was covered as he waved to Arteaga which Jared thought was him.
Jared proudly posed for the crowd - "See – see? I told you he recognized me.”
In an ambulance…
Hugh E. Nesser struggled as the sedative the paramedic injected him with had no effect – no different than when the police tasered Rodney King. His resistance was high and he still had more projectile to get rid of as he covered the nearest paramedic with his burp to the ninth power – choking his words out – “You pigf**kers let me out of here! How dare you kissnap me. I am not going to the hospital – there’s nothing wrong with me other than a lil flu bug.”
Matt Borcee – the larger paramedic – tried to calm Nesser. “Mr. Nesser – you have alcohol poisoning and we need to check your stomach for ulcers.” Nesser laughed – “My stomach? I’ve bared my guts to half the town! Wanna see some me make some modern art with it?” To which he splat more on Matt’s white jacket. Matt’s partner – Louise Freefoall slammed another sedative into Nesser’s arm.
Nesser giggled – hey little lady – it’ll take a lot more than that to knock me out. Wanna mess around? Come give us a kiss…” as he shook his rug back into place. Louise pulled his oxygen mask down over his mouth. Matt looked at her – “This is the messiest celeb I’ve had since… The last one we had.” They both laughed as Nesser started clawing at his mask. “Special people… my a$$.”
“Argata you pigf**ker! Your friend blew my rig and I killed a midget tonight. I need you to clean up this mess and get the rest of the job done and I mean pronto – tonto! No more lone rangers!” “Yes sir.” Arteaga nodded and hopped out as the flashbulbs continued.
Jared made his way inside and declared – “Hey Sleeping Beauty! This is a HUGE OPPORTUNITY - a potentially star-makin-life-changing project! I got plans for us my friend!”
With that – Jared was tossed out onto the concrete. A little boy laughed and pointed – “Look mommy! A midget!” Jared shook his head and turned in time to see – Morty – Celine with Pikey. Forearmless Jake lifted his elbows and rat-a-tat-tatted as they backed up. The boy started screaming – “A monster! A monster!”
Jared bolted for his prize…
To be continued…
ILLUSTRATIONS BY DYLAN BOCANEGRA, BABY, ORTEGA, NESSER & PIKEY
“I have to roll – I’ve got a midget to troll.”
Hollywood’s Most Private Club at night…
Inside Hollywood’s most private club the patrons had dispersed quickly and without fanfare - after Hugh E. Nesser’s revolting baring of his guts. It took the cleaning crew buckets to fill and remove his spilled contents.
The gorgeous tranny - Leah Lexington – left angered that she hadn’t been able to procure a set inside investor for her own personal transgender center. She knew her cause would hit pay dirt – even if nobody else believed him – almost to be – her. She had specifically dressed for this particular private affair and now it would be another procession to ready herself for.
Outside the club…
Frank passed Silent Nick on his way out with a mere nod and dropped a note in his tin cup. The note contained information lost in Silent’s earbuds when Nesser brought on the ruckus. Vital to keeping his friend informed of what was going on in Krazytown’s political and social scene that few were privy to.
Silent Nick smiled as the beautiful young starlet - Marlene Marro - passed him – as if he were part of the concrete. She didn’t know her uncle was alive and still very monied – he just played the homeless part to cover up his violent demise years ago off of Mulholland Drive. Oh – her father would pay for that one day – when Nick was good and ready. His plan of a homeless uprising wasn’t too far in the distance.
Jared had bolted after the paramedics had thrown him out of the back of the ambulance carrying Nesser when he saw Morty. That “little dummy” that he wanted to pay back for ruining his last puppet addict meeting needed a lesson or two.
Peter and his luscious inflatable girl were doing the tango as Josh was looking at some footage he caught of Nesser coming out of the hotel – strapped to a gurney. “Solid – this ought to make me some dough when I meet my new friend and backer - Steven (Spielberg) - soon as I finish my movie on Shorty & Morty. His camera was too late to catch the two as they took off with Pikey Pram Pusher and Forearmless Jake with Jared in tow.
As Jared pass he whistled – “Peter! Shorty & Morty! Split up!”
Peter and Babes raced after Jared – tripping along the way with Josh following closely behind.
As ambulances screamed by - Michel walked with Kate and the Hollywood census worker – Mr. Weldon griping – “Two ambulances? Really? I mean this town is getting worse every day – Mr. Black Man - and you think you do us such a big favor with your tokens and free food. That’s a band-aid.”
One ambulance toted an irate Nesser as the other carried the body of a tourist freshly killed by a transient. The Disneyfication of Krazytown was as cosmetic as Grimms fairy tales redone. A man had taken a photograph of a sign asking for donations – when he refused to give the homeless guy a buck as requested – the tourist was immediately pounced on by several men. He had been stabbed in the stomach and died quickly.
The overweight social worker continued – “Michel – you will always be stuck as a she-male. You’re no Leah Lexington – not even a John Waters’ Divine. You’re just a washed up fairy with no game.”
Michel had Sock Puppet on his hand – “Did you hear that?! OMG what a potty mouth he has!
Sock Puppet shook her head up and down in agreement. “At least I don’t fall asleep with candy bar wrappers stuck to my face at work!”
Katey started spinning out – “Washed up? Washed… oh I washed up today and then it cleaned out my cancer but not my poo-poo. That was a messy one but I fixed it! I fixed it! I fixed it with candy bar wrappers! Snickers and …”
“Kate! Shut UP!” bellowed the social worker.
Michel and Sock Puppet came to her defense – “Don’t you talk to her that way!” Mr. Weldon – “You and that stupid sock are far worse and stop calling me Mr. Black Man – or… I’ll sit on you until you pop!”
Jared turned the corner – banged into Kate - she fell to the ground. Jared was livid – “Jesus Kate! Why are you always meandering all over the sidewalk?” To Mr. Weldon – “Hello – Mr. Social Worker – taking a stroll with the clients? Really? At night? Pathetic.” Michel hid Sock Puppet behind his back. “I have to roll – I’ve got a midget to troll.”
As Jared pushed past the social worker, he called out – “You missed the puppet on Michel’s hand – you puppet dummy!” Jared froze and turned. “Whose calling who a dummy – lardy?” His crazed eyes took in Michel. “Are you playing with puppets in public? Are you?!! You know that’s against the rules and how dangerous that is! Are you?!!!” Michel put his/her head down and played with his lacey see through skirt while pointing his heeled foot up and down. Kate interjected – “No Jared! No puppets! Please don’t talk about puppets!”
Peter listened to Babes and announced – “It’s behind his back. Heyo!”
Jared shook his head – “Social service dude? Smoke some poison oak and get a rash.”
To Michel – “Dudette? I’m gonna make you slam nom pork rinds when I get back!”
To Peter – “You guys go that way and I’ll go this way and we meet between – check every alley along the way – especially the dumpsters!”
A few blocks away…
Celine hobbled as fast as she could as Pikey took long strides with methed out Forearmless Jake gangling on next to him. Morty stopped to help Celine - her crutch leg needed reattaching. Gallantly - he kissed her leg and said – “Toots? After this day and night? I’m not scared of Jared and I’m not scared of jail – let’s stop running.” Celine was distressed – “We gotta keep movin’ baby or something horrible will happen – I feel it.” Morty looked up at her – “You survived the hospital and I survived Nesser trying to kill me on Runyon Canyon's bulldozer fall – what could possibly be worse than that? Jared? He’s just a bully.”
People stopped and stared at the duo. Morty snapped – “What ya lookin’ at? Get outta here!” Celine chimed in – “Never seen a woman with a false leg before? I got two! Wanna see me dance for you?” The small crowd moved along – as they whispered – loudly. “Freaks” “What are those?” “Did you smell what I smelled?” “I was gonna take a picture but that big black man scared me.” “What about the guy with no hands? Side-show!”
Celine leaned over and touched her 4’6” paramour’s face - pleading – “Let’s find a place to hide – please Morty – please. Don’t try and fight with him. I can’t lose you again.”
Forearmless Jake piped in – rattling off – “Never push it. It ain’t worth it. Like… like the time I pushed a cart in front of a bus – that’s how I lost my hands.” The trio listened. “Okay… okay… I lost my hands from smokin’ too much crack and set ‘em on fire! No… that’s not it… Adelina Weakley chopped ‘em off when I babysat for her kid and she got mad I wouldn’t let him play Hookers ‘n Crackas!” Silence.
Jake looked confused. “Maybe I was born this way - actually.” Embarrassed - “Pikey – let’s find your girl. Let ‘em deal with der own fate.”
Pikey’s eyes enveloped Celine tenderly – turning his head side-to-side. He wished she spoke to him with the same tenderness but he knew his destined love lived on in his DVD girl – E.M. Fredric’s Early Works – gifting him solace whenever his mind confused his thoughts.
Celine felt Pikey’s stare – “Go on Pike – find your girl. It took me forever to find my man. She’s just only gone missing – you’ll get her back.” She smiled at him as they heard Peter shout – “Jared! Jared! Over here!!!! I see Shorty!”
Peter ran back towards Jared – crossing the street haphazardly - he dropped Babes. Cars honked as he lifted her back up and he raced on – kissing her quickly with an apology.
Josh stood in shock – he couldn’t believe his eyes and didn’t think to lift his camera. He had never seen a woman with a crutch for a leg before. San Francisco had nothing on Krazytown. His lips involuntarily mouthed – “Amazing – Oscars here I come.”
Morty stepped in – “Go on Pikey – get your girl. I can take care of mine.” The huge man hesitated as Forearmless prodded – “Go on – ya heard da man – let’s go find her.” Pikey took a parting glance at Celine and then they were gone – leaving the tired duo alone.
Celine was nervous – “We’ve got to hide – please.” An exhausted Morty scratched his head – “Let’s go – toots.” He took her hand and lead her down the street – knowing she couldn’t go much further. This day into night had been the longest period of his life - that he could remember – sober.
Celine hadn't felt so alone and frightened since she realized she had forgotten how she lost her legs and she couldn't even remember when that was. She looked at her man and knew their love was deep but feared she would lose him this night.
To be continued... YES it will!
“Everyone has a little quirk of their own design. What’s yours?”
A darkened alley off Hollywood Boulevard…
Morty coaxed Celine into the alley – her stumps bothered her from all the hill climbing. Three dumpsters lined the walls in a horseshoe shape. Horns blasted from impatient drivers along with the usual overhead helicopters spotlighting partying night clubbers that could be heard milling out of doorways - or arguing to get past a doorman. “Hey – I’m 21! You can’t keep me out! I’m 31! Don’t you know who I am?” “Really – tough guy with back-up. Three bats behind me says you let us in!”
“My boyfriend won the Hawaiian American Idol?! You don’t recognize him? Like Five-OOO!”
Morty and Celine leaned against a wall and listened to the night sounds of their world and Celine began to cry. “What’s wrong – sweetheart?” She swiped her tears wearily – “I’m just tired. I want to go home and in our 179 own bed.” The dwarf consoled her and promised they would make it home safely and turned her towards him with an enormous smile -“Let’s hide behind a dumpster.” She giggled as Morty lead the way – when…. Peter and Babes showed up.
OH yes they did!
He hollered to Jared while jumping up and down excitedly kissing Babes - “Heyo! Over here!”
Celine turned as Morty slid under her dress from behind her to hide. Only a glimmer of light illuminated the alley. She looked at Peter with a plea in her voice – “Why are you doing this? You’re just a boy with a rubber doll for a girlfriend. We didn’t do anything to you – please go.” Peter let Babes whisper in his ear. “My girl says that was a mean thing to say.” Celine apologized and begged – “Please don’t call Jared here.” “He just wants to talk to the midget. YOLO!” Peter explained. “YOLO?” she asked. “Jared says it’s you only live once for stupid people.” Celine replied – “You’re not stupid – you’re just lost and…” Babes squeaked as Peter held her. “Your girlfriend looks cold. Maybe you should cover her up better?” Celine suggested. Peter gazed at his inflatable girl and laughed – “No goose bumps.” “Well – he’s not here.” Celine warned.
She took a step forward in the darkened alleyway. Peter kept yelling as she and Morty inched forward slowly. Peter - “Don’t come any closer – you’re scaring my girl.” Closer they came - “You really should go home to your parents and get off the streets.” Celine continued as Peter screeched louder for Jared – his nerves were rattled. Morty leapt out from between Celine’s fake legs and punctured Babes with a small pocketknife. A loud whoosh could be heard.
Peter started crying while trying blow Babes back up. It happened so quickly he never saw Morty coming. This was the second time Babes was attacked in her entire lifetime with her boyfriend. Ever since he got her newly from the box – Peter had taken excellent care of her. Josh bolted over with his camera and started filming – but Morty was already back under Celine’s dress. “Turn that camera off.” Celine hissed as Peter cried out to Josh for help. His camera fell to his hip with the strap holding it. “Dylan… I mean Peter – we’ll fix her – I still have a patch leftover from earlier when she got popped at Dodger Stadium.” He smiled dreamily as he thought of his interaction with Spielberg.
Only two weeks in town and he was set to be a filmmaker to be reckoned with.
Yessirree – in his mind he was!
Celine and Morty watched the two as they slowly made their exit onto the sidewalk. The emergency patch was working as Peter blew his girlfriend back up and Josh glanced at Celine when… Jared skidded to a stop. “My – My – what have we got here? A damsel in distress or a midget hiding - under her dress?” Morty tapped out code on her crutch leg hidden beneath her petticoat – to hold strong. Peter stood up and informed – “She popped Babes.” Celine in her British accent – “I did not – you bumped your doll against my leg and punctured her and if you come any closer I’ll knock a hole in you -little boy.” She emphasized as she made loud whooshing sounds with outstretched hands flying in birdie motions.
Peter and Babes were at his hero’s side as Josh shot some footage. Jared’s lips twisted into a curl – thumb towards himself – “Really? What are you going to do to this big boy? Last time I saw you and that little dummy – I thought we had a thing goin’ on between us – but NO! You had to destroy my meeting and it’s a top secret happening that you weren’t supposed to crash or even remotely know about… do you know how long it took me to get these people to come out? DO YOU!” Celine cringed. “Well – a really – really long time – okay? Like trying to resurrect Ziggy Stardust and the Ants of Venus!”
The Asian King twin sisters - sashayed by – “That’s Spiders from Mars – dollman! Get your info straight.” They chuckled as a limo pulled up – curbside. “Missed the party and the ambulance – what a scene. Who knows maybe one day even you will be invited to the party.” The sisters knew how to piss Jared off. “Excuse me - you two phony heiresses without a motel – Hugh E. Nesser is a good man – he just had a little too much to drink. I seriously doubt you were on the REAL guest list. Hookers for Jesus are from the Valley – and we all know – Hollywood doesn’t DO the valley well.” The sisters giggled and one put her head out of the window as they drove away with their clients – “Dollman? You’ve always been a lollipop without a stick. Leave the poor homeless lady alone – you don’t have a chance even with a cripple like her.”
Jared raised his middle finger – and unbeknownst to him – Celine was raising hers for that remark - “P*ss off you clueless pellets with no trigger!” He inhaled – then twisted back to Celine who was now further down the sidewalk. A loud whistle made her stop as he slipped in-step beside her - “Do you have any idea how sick these people with puppets are? Or how their little minds are so fragile that one FALSE move like what you and the little guy did can set them back for life?!! You don’t come in and destroy a private meeting that was top secret!”
Celine was getting frightened – “We didn’t mean any harm and are really sorry to have offended you. It was lots of fun to watch – you’ve done a really good job!” “It takes a lot of imagination and compassion to rid these people of their puppet addiction and persistence as a leader to educate and inform them of how dangerous their habit is. Everyone has a little quirk of their own design. What’s yours?” Celine looked at him confused and scared as Morty tapped on her leg to get moving – so she began to walk. Jared followed – “Come on – you can tell me pretty lady and you will tell me where your partner is. What’s your albatross that hangs around that pretty neck of yours?” “I got this at a thrift shop – thanks so much for liking my necklaces.” She tried to deflect.
“You know I’m talking about something more personal than that but if you insist on ignoring me and playing stupid. God – I hate when people do that! I mean you truly have no idea who you’re dealing with – I am the rocket man – you and me… now…” - Jared shook his head to clear it - “Where is he? Someone has to pay and I nominate the angry little guy!”
Jared was in Celine’s face and could smell her unique scent – instant wood - “Hmm… not bad for a woman with no legs…” His hand slid down her waist as he pulled her slightly towards him. “A bit too much on the make-up but it’s Hollywood – at least your chest isn’t a floater.” Celine was terrified as his hand slid down her right stump onto her crutch leg Jared yelped – Morty had poked him from beneath her dress. “Ouch! Your leg turns me on – let’s try the smoother side.” As his hand descended and he started to grope her – Morty grabbed his hand and bit down as hard as he could. Jared screamed – “What the hell??!!”
Josh kept shooting and Peter and Babes looked on. As Jared’s hand was released he pulled his cupped fingers to his face. “What bit me?!” His eyes widened in enraged realization that the dwarf had 185 been there all along when… Morty came tumbling out and grabbed his bag of marbles hitting Jared from all sides. Jared fell to the sidewalk holding his head with his hand tucked under his other arm. “I’m going to KILL you – you f**king midget!” Celine took off as Morty turned to the boys taking aim. “Leave or you end up like him.” They ran. To Jared – “You leave me and my girl alone – loser!” Morty made faces at him and helped Celine away.
Jared grabbed his long-haired wig and howled to the night skies – “I want an apologeeeeee!!!!!!”
Later in Shorty & Morty’s hillside shack…
Unable to sleep – Morty – the 4’6” dwarf punched his pillow hard. “That guy – that white coat doctor whatever he was – doesn’t know why or how you lost your legs! He wanted to hurt you and I stopped him!” Celine bolted upright. “Hey… hey… it’s alright luv… it’s okay.” “I made your legs so you could see the world through the eyes you were born to see them with!” Morty grimaced painfully – “We’re the same size but I wanted you to be lifted up, see?” Morty needed to know he made a difference to her. “I know that. Don’t be angry it was just a dream.” Celine’s voice soothed him as he rolled onto his side and listened to the chopper fly away.
He knew Celine had special gifts. Some said insight – others intuitive and then there were those who said just plain crazy – but Morty knew his girl was special. Coming from an orphanage and being a repeat returnee taught him a lot about people and he didn’t trust much – if at all– in goodwill towards any man – woman or child. Not for lack of trying. He was always the fastest and smartest kid but when Morty quit growing - it seemed the hearts around him did too. He became the unlovable one – the oddity – yet proportional in size – it wasn’t his fault he didn’t grow. Morty understood Celine’s pain and her not wanting to face it. He also agonized over whether she were strong enough to deal with what really happened to her legs – should it be uncovered.
Thoughts she had said swept through his mind. Did she get run over by a tractor? Was she savagely tortured as a child –hung up to dry and her legs fell off from an electric saw or died from lack of circulation? Had she had a disease and they were amputated or was she simply born that way? Underneath all of her bravado – the 4’6” man felt only he knew the truly soft side of her and he would die protecting it at all costs. Morty looked over to Celine and her eyes were closed. This day and night were unlike any other they had encountered since coming from the ports to Krazytown.
He wasn’t sure but he could swear her eyelashes glitter glowed in the dark like tiny dancing spirits in celebration.
To be continued… Yesirree!
I love these characters, their Krazytown nieghorhoods they reside in with the other misfits, tourists and has been or wannabe - "bluebloods." This journeys beyond the films or the in-character interviews. I hope they will bring you as much pleasure as I had creating them!