I often get asked why I live in LA. Almost as often how I can live here. LA certainly isn’t for everyone and on many days, it isn’t even for me. It can be a cold town despite the warm weather and finding love is never easy and, unless you are a producer, director, or A list star the dating scene can be brutal (from what I hear) so I can understand why someone might want to engage the services of a professional. Which gets me to the point of this post. I saw someone picking up a prostitute.
There was this guy who was, I’d guess, in his mid 20s. Scrawny, greasy hair, jeans and a dirty white T-shirt. His pasty face was marked with what looked like a half dozen meth strawberries. I didn’t look long enough to see if any of them were oozing. I’ll call him Moe for no reason in particular.
Standing next to Moe was a plain looking girl also in her 20s. Instead of a dirty white T she was wearing a thin, well worn, black T-shirt commemorating some metal band’s tour. It might have been Mastodon but honestly I don’t remember. She was also wearing a greenish skirt which didn’t go very well with the tour shirt but on later reflection it probably made work a bit easier. Her complexion was quite a bit better than Moe’s – her skin was a bit greasy but overall unmarred. Let’s call her Dana.
Moe and Dana were leaning against low wall that runs around an office building and cafe at the corner of La Brea and Hollywood (which is near where I work). I was just finishing up a cell phone call sitting on the same low wall though about 10 feet away. We will call me Patrick, because that is my name, though it is doubtful I will again be relevant to this story.
As I was talking on the phone I was probably ogling Dana a bit, as I have said, her shirt was quite thin. so thin, in fact, that in the bright sunlight her nipples were almost visible. If you are a guy, you understand it is difficult not to try and sneak a peak. If you are a woman, I assume you know men are this way because you keep wearing stuff like that.
A slightly heavy Asian man, I’d guess him to be of Korean descent by his features, walked over to Moe and said something which I couldn’t quite hear. Let’s call him Steve. Moe said something back, also too quiet for me to hear. Steve reached out to shake Moe’s hand and I caught a flash of green in his cupped hand. Moe shook Steve’s hand and then slipped his hand straight into right pocket. Moe then pulled his hand out of his pocket and draped it over Dana’s shoulder.
“Hey, this is my best friend,” Moe was now speaking loud enough for me to hear, “why don’t you go hang out with him for a while. I have some errands to run, I’ll meet you back here in about an hour.”
Dana, still silent, put her arm through Steve’s and they walked off together down La Brea. Moe walked up Hollywood toward Highland, I imagine to get a Jamba Juice or whatever else it is that pimps do while waiting for their hoes.
The ending all felt almost Kabuki-like in its staged theater ritual.
At this point I folded up my cell phone (yes, I still have an older Razr flip phone – don’t judge me) and slid it into my pocket and went back into my own building.
This was last Friday, and for those of you not in Southern California let me tell you it was hot. Damn freaking hot. My first thought was “who would want to have sex with some sweaty prostitute in this weather?”
My second thought was really more of a train of thoughts wondering about all the players in this little piece. I spent much of the weekend thinking about them and at least one of the imagined characters now has a fairly important role in my NANOWRIMO novel.
Which gets me to the second point of this article. Writers are vampires. We watch life happening around us and drain whatever vitality we can in order to keep our creative selves alive. We occasionally get lucky and see some kind of vulnerability like this perfectly mundane, yet (at least to me) tragic happening, from which we can drink deep.