I spent most of
the night at the computer, writing one thousand three hundred
and twelve words as a stream of conscious journal entry before erasing the
entire file. Shutting down my Toshiba 425CDS laptop I ran both the
disk defragment program and scan disk. After resetting the computer
I ran a wild card search and noticed that a backup copy of the file had
been automatically created by my word processing program. After once again
deleting the journal entry, I ran a hard disk compression utility before
again defragmenting the drive so as to obliterate
any evidence or trace of feeling.
At eleven o'clock I
smoked my last cigarette. It was a Camel Light and left a pasty aftertaste
on the back of my tongue. I usually smoke Winston Lights regular in
the box. I still didn't want to talk to anyone - not even myself.
I dreaded the idea of going outside to purchase another pack of cigarettes.
I turned the television on as I passed by on the way to the closet off my
bathroom. When I flicked on the light, one of the light bulbs blew
with the sharp popping sound of a small caliber handgun. I keep my
dress jackets and suits on the camera left side, my shirts and crew jackets
on the right. I was concerned that the second and last closet light
might go out. Opposite the closet door I found two empty cartons of
light bulbs. Noticing that I also needed mouthwash, I quickly search
through all my jacket pockets hoping to find an orphaned cigarette.
I found one Macanudo Ascot mini cigar, a pocket
knife and four pens. I pulled on my crew jacket from "The Addams
Family." The wind was howling at the sliding door across the bedroom and so took off the jacket to put on a sweater. Bending down to
pickup the jacket I examined the penknife my stepbrother Peter gave me for
Christmas. It was sterling silver and had already started to tarnish.
I found some post ups
in the inner pocket of the jacket and scooped
up the pens before sitting on the bed to write a reminder to send a thank
you note and jot down shopping list. I wondered where the green pen from 'Uncle Bernie's Glass' came from. I threw it into the
small black wicker trash bin I keep by my bed. I only write with 'Sanford Uni-ball
Onyx' micro point pens. On my way out the door, I stuck the post-up
on the Toshiba's computer screen, hearing it fall to the keyboard as I went
down the fifteen steps down to the front door, skipping every other one
and making it to the front door in seven steps and a hop.
The alarm wouldn't set.
At first I thought I was somehow triggering the motion
detector but the display showed that the wind had somehow loosened the sliding
door upstairs in the bedroom. I debated running back upstairs to seat
it properly but decided to program the alarm to bypass the upstairs sensor.
That done the alarm armed commenced counting down for me to exit as the warning light strobed red
into the living room. I slipped out
the door before reaching into my left pants' pocket for the house keys.
Effectively locked out
of my own house I had little choice but to try and
find my friend Frank who had a spare set of keys. I checked my wallet.
One singles and a five dollar bill. Searching my pockets I found two
quarters a dime and a nickel. A total of six dollars and sixty-five
cents. Not quite enough for a cab to Frank's house even if he happened
to be home. Since he just finished a film, he was going out
with his fiancé whom he hadn't seen much of because of a crazy shooting schedule he just wrapped. I was fairly sure I'd already
spent my emergency twenty dollar bill that I keep behind my driver's license.
Instead the money I found a cardboard car key that I had made on the
spur of the moment when reregistering my car at the Auto Club last year.
I also found an additional penny. It was worn and green and minted in Philadelphia sometime during the year 1958.
Once in the car, I couldn't
get the engine to turn over. The cardboard key
lacked the antitheft chip that's built into the original key. There's a
ladder that leads up to service the air-conditioning unit on the roof of
the house, from there I dropped down onto my balcony and slipped in the
bedroom sliding door, scooping up my car and house keys from the bed before
bounding back down the stairs to the front door. I recognized the
alarm warning light just as the motion detector setoff the alarm nearly
giving me a heart attack. I scrambled to disarm the system before my neighbors
formed a posse. Ears ringing I called the alarm company and was still
on hold when the security guard arrived, armed and with a German shepherd.
After identifying myself and apologizing to all my neighbors, I headed back
down to my car managing to look both sheepish and angry. By the time
I reached Dale's Market I was
pretty tweaked and so stopped by the Chimney Sweep Lounge for a drink and
illegally consume my recently purchased cigarettes.
Scooter was bar tending
as Nina waitressed. It was cold for Los Angeles. Even in February
the San Fernando Valley rarely gets the bitter edge normally associated
with the more coastal areas of Southern California. A couple sitting
intimately in the corner, trying to ignore one of the Sweep's regulars,
an aspiring aspirer named Randy who was characteristically
trying to pickup on the young woman while being sure that
he left no thought or notion unexpressed.
There are approximately 198 tiles covering
the floor of my den. They are hand made Mexican tiles nearly an inch
thick and about five to a side. When I first put them in they had
a dusty red cast to them. After wiping each clean with water and
then sealing them with polyurethane they have since acquired a rich patina
rain bowing from a dull yellowish orange to a dark brick red color.
No two are alike. To set each individual in its proper place
it took nearly eight bags of mortar. Each tile costs less than a
dollar while the final cost for the mortar imprisoning them was three times
that. It is almost as though the true value of individuality
is somehow proportionate to the effort taken to create a semblance of the
It doesn't matter who expends the effort.
It can be inherent or impressed from external factors.