Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Jimmy Hollywood

This month marks 20 years since I moved to Los Angeles and started interning at Ixtlan. Whenever I see some film or show set in L.A., or read a crime novel set there, triggers go off. 
The Bosch TV show and an old Barry Levinson flick - Jimmy Hollywood - have tickled the ever-present pining for what might have been into a palpable ache.
The L.A. of too much sun.  City transit windows graffiti marred.  Side streets split and band-aided by dark, fresher asphalt seams.  All the Spanish-style homes.  The human refuse stutter stepping up and down Hollywood Boulevard.
Very often I think I should've stayed.  I left in November 2000, tail tucked.  The oddest part of abandoning the city was the unexpected escort out of the city. 
For a time, actor and all-around nice guy Troy Martin and I worked at the same god-awful Brentano's bookstore.  He had the good sense to jump ship a little before I did. 
So it's a Saturday morning, my little Toyota is full to the brim with personal belongings, and I'm pooping up a side street towards a freeway on-ramp.  Got my driver side window rolled down, and when I come to a stoplight, I hear someone call my name.  It's Troy in a truck, accompanied by a severely cute lady in his passenger seat. 
The basics were passed between us.  What he'd been up to.  What I was up to.  We drove right next to each other a few blocks and then I finally hit my on-ramp. 
Even more disconcerting was weeks later, at my folks house 1000-miles away, watching my usual Sunday FOX line-up and seeing Troy as an extra in an episode of Malcolm In The Middle.
Watching Jimmy Hollywood made me feel weak.  It's an o.k. movie featuring a great understated performance from Christian Slater, and it fully reinvigorated my admiration for all those people that move to L.A. and stay there through thick and thin.  
Me, I waffled and dallied and dicked myself over and grabbed my ball and ran home.  I kind of wish Troy had used that unofficial escort out of the kingdom to bark at me to man the fuck up and stay.  
But that wasn't his job.  Besides, he could smell the weakness radiating off of me.  He knew L.A. had had enough.  Garbage out as easy as garbage in.     


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