Shorty & Morty
An Extraordinary Homeless Couple
"I gotta bounce. Have a reality day and night."
Hollywood Census Worker’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 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” 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.
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…
I love these characters, the Krazytown neighorhoods they reside in with the other misfits, tourists and has been or wannabe - "bluebloods." This journey goes beyond the films or the in-character interviews. I hope they will bring you as much pleasure as I had creating them. And will keep going... yesirree she will...