The private movie screening took place on the fifth floor of a building on Beverly Boulevard. When I took the elevator up, a man who worked in the office said, The hookers and blow are ready. No one laughed. Just kidding, he said. Wrong crowd. Later he turned to me and said, You have to understand, I’m an asshole, but you already knew that. You didn’t trust the Indian with the long hair.
When I walked into the office–which was less of an office and more of a large room–there were two men on the balcony, one of the three balconies. The room smelled of weed and the man, the self-described asshole, held up a joint and said, Peer pressure anyone? I shook my head no and then he offered me a drink.
I felt like one of Anne Emond’s Socially Awkward Party-Goers.
Amy has also started an online magazine and her most recent post is The Book Cheerleader.
The room had a fully stocked bar and pool table in the center. Above the pool table was a lamp that seemed to be made out of deer antlers and, propped up against the wall, was a floor-to-ceiling photograph of The Beatles and beside that photograph, on a table, a large neon RX sign, that was lit and emitting an orange glow.
In a smaller adjacent room was a theatre. The theatre had thick olive-green, almost gold carpeting and a yellow couch in the center. The back wall was gold decorated with red beads.
I stepped out onto the balcony. Just a couple of hours before, the day was dry, bright and hot. Now it looked gray and cool and almost damp. Fog was gathering, rolling down the hills. Everything seemed slightly off.
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HORN! review of Hallucinations confirms that I need to read this book soon.
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I sat down on one of the couches and picked up a book on the coffee table. It was a worn paperback about paranormal activities. There were black and white photographs of men and women levitating, a man sticking a knife under his eyelid, and an illustration of several black dots scattered on a blank, white page.
The man who owned the business was young and white, he had blonde curly hair that stuck out from the sides of his baseball cap. He sat down across from me and started asking me questions. I almost asked him, What is this place? What exactly do you do?
Not too long ago a man said I seemed to have a nice life because I steered clear of all things entertainment related. The man wrote for a TV drama series, drove an expensive car and was buying me dinner. I said nothing and he said, Because, you know. You get to see another kind of Los Angeles.
I went down to the lobby and ended up talking to the owner of the building. He kept telling me about all the shops and the restaurants and how this was a good place for businesses, as if I were interested in renting out an office when in fact, I was a woman with a beer in her hand, wandering the building. He asked what I did and I said I wrote and sometimes edited and he said, So, you’re like an agent?
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I’m rereading essays from Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider. Here’s a quote from “Age, Race, Class, and Sex” that has stuck with me: “My fullest concentration of energy is available to me only when I integrate all the parts of who I am, openly, allowing power from particular sources of my living to flow back and forth freely through all my different selves, without restrictions of externally imposed definition. Only then can I bring myself and my energies as a whole to the service of those struggles which I embrace as part of my living.”
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The owner of the building wore khaki pants and a yellow button down shirt that was untucked. He looked tired, he looked like he was ready to go home. He admitted he was waiting to leave. He had to lock up the parking garage but there was a man who hadn’t left yet. I said, What does he do? He said, He deals with trust fund babies. He is loaded. He said, I went to this guy’s house in Woodland Hills. There were orange trees and there was so much land. It was like I went to a park.
The woman who cleaned the building entered the front door with a bag of trash and then disappeared and came back with a mop. All three of us started speaking Spanish. Then I asked her what time it was and realized the movie was about to start.
I went back upstairs, engaged in small talk with the guests who had arrived, who I had seen pass me by in the lobby. I sat in the back of the theatre and watched the movie. After the informal Q&A session, a man who wore a gray suit and thin tie with floral print said, This is weird but I could smell the movie. How the land smelled and the gym and the houses. I could smell the manure, the sweat, the dirt. I’m from a small town. We both are, he said pointing to the woman with him.
She nodded and ran her fingers through her hair, fixing her long blonde hair into a bun. She smiled at us and didn’t seem to have anything more to add. I stayed around for ten minutes and then left. I pressed the button for the elevator and thought, I have to stop coming to these things alone. On the elevator ride down, I leaned my head against the glass.