August 8, 2003

“I think that was Colin Farrell,” Kate said.

“Abalone are almost extinct,” I said, watching the sidewalk. I was a sucker for shiny sidewalks.

I took a deep inhalation of the (sea-salted) air and licked my lips. Kate and I were going for a walk on the Santa Monica/Venice beach bike path. It was 75 degrees at 9:30AM . Kate had been brooding, only uttering a few sentences up until this point.

“This sidewalk is worth a fortune?” she said.

“Maybe,” I said.

“Hey, you know how my friend is a production manager?”

“Uh, huh,” I said, even though I didn’t. I tried to pick up my pace. It was very humid out.

“Well, they have a flexible PA job open right now. I could still go on auditions. The only stipulation is that I’d have to be on set in 20 minutes,” Kate said all in one breath.

“There’s no way you could be there in 20 minutes if you were over the hill,” I said. I didn’t like saying, The Valley.

Kate tied her tank top above her stomach and rubbed her belly-button, chanting, “Buddha belly, Buddha belly… Buddhaaa.”

It was funny because Kate had the opposite of a Buddha belly.

“Where’s your piercing?”

Kate winked, “Came out last…”

“Look,” I said pointing at the man on the unicycle.

“That guy is going to get hemorrhoids,” Kate shuddered.

“I can’t believe he’s doing that for exercise,” I said.

“She really said fifteen minutes, but that means thirty,” Kate said knowingly. “Two hundred and fifty bucks a day—one hundred in cash.”

“The PA …Kate -- that job is the ‘assisting prostitute’ job.”

Kate gave me a WTF? look. I sighed, irritated that I had to explain such a stupid reality.

“But, I’ve known her for a year from yoga,” Kate reasoned.

“I know the make-up person. The star of the show, Dixon Hardy, is a drunk and comes in wrecked— he needs the PA to take the edge off.”

Kate laughed. If only I were kidding. Kate stopped laughing when she realized I was serious. I cut into the sand with my day old New Balance sneakers. I felt like the abusive parent telling her young child there was no Santa Claus.

“How about if I take the job and blow him off instead?” Kate opened her palm and flicked it.

I shoved Kate towards the water.

70 degrees at 11PM in Hollywood, Utility

The party was for a new retro clothing line. It was packed with youngsters under twenty-five. I spied Erika Christiansen and another young actor from a mildly popular sitcom. Where did I know him from — That 70s Show?

Kate pulled me out on the patio. “Why didn’t you tell me it was ‘old school’ retro?”

Kate was wearing a chic ‘60s bodysuit reminiscent of Blow Up. However, it didn’t stand out in this crowd of adolescent girls in tight baby tees and mini skirts.

“You said you knew the clothing line,” I said, not up for drama.

“No—and this party sucks.

The room was filled with the type of people who don't really exist. They’ve grown up in Los Angeles or are transplants (worse) and act like the popular kids in high school that no one could stand. Not the cool popular people, the obnoxious ones that often came from a lot of money. But given the effort I had made to get to it (and the fact that I had recently befriended the publicist who was positioned at the door) I needed to stay for at least half an hour.

“We can make our own fun,” I said unconvinced.

“That Swedish guy by the bar is cute,” Kate said.

“Let’s go talk to him.”

“I don’t know,” Kate said. “He doesn’t seem very approachable.”

“It’s not like we’ll ever see him again,” I said.

I walked over to him and his attractive brunette friend with Kate trailing behind.

“Hey, we just wanted to introduce ourselves,” I said.

What a dorky thing to say.

The brunette smiled. “That was bold.” He stuck out his hand, “Jaden, and that’s Marcus.”

Marcus/Swedish was swirling the ice in his glass. “Let’s go get drinks,” he said to Kate. I turned to face Jaden.

“I don’t know anyone here,” I admitted.

“Then why are you here?” Jaden said. Dick.

“I’m a writer. What do you do?”

Jaden was quiet for a minute.

“I’m an event promoter. I’m running this party.” Not something you should be bragging about.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

Jaden said, “I’m a Native, and yourself?”

“Me, too.”

“Oh, you don’t seem like you are from here.”

Fortunately, I always took this as a compliment. Jaden was already getting crow’s feet. He was at least thirty-two.

Jaden segued, “Well, I have to get back to the door since it’s my party.”

Damn. I should have said I was from Page Six.

I headed in the direction of the outside bar. A shot of Patron would be nice. There were three bars. I would have never gone to the party without the promise of an open bar with top-shelf liquor. I spied Kate sitting down and joined her. Kate, wasted, handed me one of the Cosmopolitans she was holding, “That guy was horrible. This is how our conversation went:”

Kate: “Are you an actor?”

Swedish: “No!”

Kate: “Where are you from?”

Swedish: “Here.”

Kate: “Los Angeles?”

Swedish: “Duh.”

Kate: “Well, I thought you were from here because you seemed really laid-back and softer.”

Swedish: “Nice try.”

“You’ll never guess who’s over there,” I said, looking in the direction of the free photo booth. It was Dixon Hardy, star of Sex and Action.

Kate put her hands on her hips. “I was just getting to that part. So, I turned around and walked away from Swedish. That’s when I discovered the photo booth. I was taking booth pictures with Dixon at one point, and, and…I can’t believe this. He…he pulled out this bag of coke and dipped his finger in it and was about to put it in my mouth! So I said, ‘no, thank you.’ So then he rubbed it all over his gums and teeth, this huge amount. THEN….he started unzipping his pants, and I said, ‘whoa.’ I got out of there, and he couldn’t even talk. He was like the WHa..wha wha voice on Charlie Brown.” Kate started laughing. “Whaa…whaAH…Whaha. See I have evidence.”

Kate produced about fifty mini-pictures. Most of them were of her and a few were with other partygoers. Then I got to Dixon. He was hamming it up for the camera—A picture of him with his hands on Kate’s breasts— Dixon smiling with his finger in his mouth—Dixon with his hand pushing on Kate’s head. I put the pictures in my bag.

Dixon was slowly making his way over to us. “Let’s go,” I said letting Kate grab hold of me.

While we were waiting for our car, I followed Kate’s eyes to an unassuming guy in a newsboy cap.

“There’s Taye Diggs,” Kate said loudly. “I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for asking me to blow him”

I took a deep inhalation of the (homeless-urinated) air and pinched my nose. I studied the sidewalk.

“Kate, he’s married...”

“Really?” Kate made a face. “I’m sure I’m cuter than she is.”

“I’m sure you are, Kate. Of course you are.”