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11.26.2022

A FEW OF US WERE MOANING

(a true story)

Christmas morning 2006...

Kim and I were lazily laying around in bed, sort of half-contemplating 

getting up.

No kids. No presents to open. No relatives in town.

What's the point of getting up?

I should point out that it's my fault we were home for the holidays. 

I hate Christmas and everything involved in it.

Kim could take it or leave it, but it's really me who absolutely despises every

frigging thing about the Yuletide season.

Everything's made of plastic, the music sucks, and we're all supposed to 

pretend to be nice to each other for three weeks out of the year?

Sounds like a whole lot of bullshit if you ask me.

But hey, I know I'm in the minority on this one, so I just tend to stay home

and not Grinch everybody's big buzz.

 

So there we were laying around Christmas morning.

The cats were wrestling around on the quilt and it was all pretty cute. 

Our cat, Mr. Hyde (an aptly named mix of Siamese and something else evil)

was rubbing his face on my hands and purring.

The whole scene was peaceful and sort of sweet.

Then Hyde bit me.

Hyde's bitten me before but they were just gentle love bites.

That's been our agreement ever since the BIG INCIDENT.

 

The incident occurred one night while I was asleep, shortly after we got

Hyde from the Humane Society.

I was in deep sleep when Hyde crawled under the covers from the foot of the

bed.

I should tell you right here and now that I sleep in my birthday suit (don't visualize this please, I only bring it up because it's integral to the story).

Hyde hung around near my ankles for awhile, then he decided to investigate his undercover surroundings a little further.

The long and the (sadly) short of it was that Hyde crawled up between my

legs and bit me in the sack.

And you know what? 

I don't ever want to wake up that way again.

I immediately bolted upright and started punching at the source of my pain

(i.e. the cat). I didn't know it was the cat though because I was asleep. 

I just knew the boys and I were under attack and I came out swinging.

If there's anything worse than a panicky cat trying to get out from 

underneath of bed covers, I don't know what it is.

Hyde scratched and clawed, desperately trying to get out from beneath the

sheets, and tore up everything tearable on his way out.

This only took a few horrible seconds. Then I was awake. And angry.

Realization? That little s.o.b. just took a bite out of my goods!

I spent the next several minutes chasing him around the house nude, 

wielding a fire poker (the first thing I picked up).

In my state of rage, I fully intended to pin the cat into a corner, impale him

with the poker, and then eat him while he was still partially alive.

Yes, it was a little unreasonable, but it would've been oh-so-satisfying.

But Hyde wisely ran and hid, thus sparing his own life and also preventing

an ugly house call from PETA.

 

So ever since that incident Hyde and I have this agreement. He's allowed to

gum my fingers and rub his teeth around on them - and that's all.

I figured he's always felt a bit bad about what happened and now he's trying

to be a good boy.

But on that particular Christmas morning, Hyde welched on his end of the

deal.

This sudden bite of his was a chomp to my pointer finger, then another

lightning-fast chew on my middle finger.

My first thought was that I hoped it wasn't serious; I mean I can do without

my pointer finger, but I NEED that middle finger on a daily basis.

There was some blood, so I dutifully went into the bathroom, washed it out

with soap and water, cleaned it with rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide,

then swabbed it up with NeoSporin.

I bandaged it, and feeling very pro-active, went about the rest of my God

damned Christmas Day.

It was about 3pm when my fingers really started to hurt.

I took the bandages off and saw that the two puncture marks were now

white blisters filled with fluid.

I took a pair of tweezers soaked them in rubbing alcohol, cleaned them off,

poked the blisters and effectively drained them.

 

I have a friend who, years ago, was scratched by his cat.

They were playing and the cat swiped him a good one. Several days later my

friend began to feel horrible. No energy, achy etc.

He found a growth in his armpit and went to the doctor.

He was diagnosed with (cue Ted Nugent) CAT SCRATCH FEVER!

It took my friend a better part of the year to recover from this ailment, 

during which time the growth in his pit grew to "the size of a Twinkie."

Doesn't that just make you crave Hostess?

 

My friend's story drifted across my mind as I finished draining my digits.

And three hours later when my fingers turned beet-red and the punctures 

began to abscess, the opening power chords from Terrible Ted's tune began

to seriously slam my brain.

And that's A-B-C-C, A-B-C, A-B-C-C, C-B-A-A if you play guitar and want to

try it right now.

I once again cleansed my wounds as best I could then hit the hay.

 

The next morning I woke to find two bright-red, sausage-like finger things

where my hand usually is. The holes on my fingers were swelled up 

ridiculous, and white with goo.

They hurt and the whole deal was foul.

I figured I'd give the doc a call and see what he made of it.

But being that it was the day after God damned Christmas, things in 

doctor-land were slammed.

Both my doctor and Kim's doctor were understandably too busy to see me.

But both of them concurred after hearing my symptoms that I should go 

immediately to Urgent Care.

I'm not an alarmist at all. Never been a hypochondriac.

I'm very suspicious of doctors for the most part, and when I'm around them

my nose is always sniffing the air for a whiff of quackery.

I've gotten in arguments with doctors because I told them I disagreed with

their diagnosis.

And boy, they don't like that a bit...the God Complex and all. They smile 

with that smug, bemused, cocked-eyebrow that seem to say to the world: 

Don't you dare contradict me, you ignoramus...I spent eleven years in school

and that makes me right.

Worse than that, most patients believe every word that plops out of doctors'

mouths. They don't bother with a second or third opinion, they don't try to

research the thing themselves, they just Believe.

If I was a 'Healer' and the people around me 'Believed', I might get to 

thinking I was like God after a while too.

Not being pro-active is quite a gamble in my mind.

My motto: never believe anything anyone tells you - you'll live a lot longer.

 

So with all that preamble, guess what?

I ended up going to Urgent Care after all.

I just couldn't stop picturing that growth in my pal's pit.

When I opened the door to the place and viewed the cast of characters, I 

almost bailed.

First of all, there were 53 people in the room (yes, I counted. What else 

was there to do?) and most of them were coughing.

Why can't people cover their mouths when they cough, huh? What's the 

fucking problem? I know that sharing your mystery disease via the air with 

the rest of us probably doesn't bother YOU too much, but how's about 

sputtering that spew into a hanky and keeping it yourself, Mr. Outbreak?

I was met at the reception desk by a woman who didn't lift her eyes to look 

at me when she spoke.

 

"Name?"

"Jim, um, James Walker"

"You're number 24...have a seat..."

 

And oh, the warm, caring, healing waters began to gently flow over me.

Florence Nightingale handed me a stack of forms to fill out. 

There was no place to sit so I stood by a door. I leaned up against it and 

immediately the door flew open and hit me in the head. A nurse coming out 

on the other side said - sorry - and looked down at her clipboard...

 

"Wilson, Henry Wilson?

 

A hunched-over man I had taken to be a cadaver suddenly sprang to life in 

his chair. His red-rimmed eyes flew open and he began pulling his ancient,

boney self up and out of his seat.

 

"I'm here..." He said in a whisper voice.

 

Yes, I thought. But I'll venture a bet that you can safely cancel next 

Christmas, Methuselah.

 

I sat on the floor to fill out my forms.

I could've sat in the seat that the wheezing geezer had just vacated, but I 

figured I'd let someone have it who looked like they might need it more.

Plus, it looked like he might have gotten some of that old man crud on the 

chair, and I can't have that. But other old biddies don't seem to mind sitting 

in old crud. They don't even look for stuff like that.

As a matter of fact, other seniors are likely dropping and smearing their own

old crud like the gangbusters.

So I was fine there on the floor.

Till some My-Name-Is-Earl-looking guy started trying to chat it up with me.

 

"Hey buddy...whattya here for?" He asked.

"Cat bite." I said.

"I threw my back out yesterday. Worst pain I've ever been in. I spend all 

day Christmas in bed. My wife..."

And blah blah blah.

He just wanted to share his malady with anyone with a set of ears. Mine 

were just there at the right time.

I let him run his mouth and tuned him out, dreaming of a place with no 

mullets or El Caminos.

Five minutes or so later his presence was requested in the examination 

room.

Thank you, merciful Christ. I know I'm something of a disappointment to 

You, but I promise I'll try to stop doing all that stuff I do that I know You 

don't like so much. Amen.

 

About 10 of the 53, wait - 52 people in the waiting room were in wheelchairs.

There were also several people holding their heads.

A few of us were moaning.

Anguish, pain, sickness, depression, horror. This is a room in Hell.

A young man burst through the door sputtering and coughing. He was so 

ghostly pale his face looked nearly green. He stood there or a moment, then

announced to the receptionist, 

 

"I don't...I don't know what I've got!"

 

This man actually managed to get an entire room of sick people to back up 

three steps.

 

Now I don't know all the ins and outs of what happened to James Brown 

when he died a little while ago, but I heard he went in for a prostate 

operation, and then died of pneumonia a couple of days later.

WTF? How does that happen?

Years ago, my dad had a tropical disease he picked up in Tahiti. While he 

was being treated in the hospital he contracted a staph infection. He was in

intensive care for eleven weeks and they gave him the last rights three times.

But the old bugger hung in there and still he lives to this day.

You hear about this stuff all the time. Somebody goes into the hospital for

something, and while in their weakened state they contract something just

a-floating airborne through the facility, or they pick up some super bug from

all the handling from different people who may or may not have washed 

properly after dealing with the last patient.

It's frightening, isn't it?

So while I was waiting there to see the doc, I was a bit anxious.

I heard that they might want to put me on liquid antibiotics. Hook me up to 

an IV where a myriad of microbes and bacteria could get on the needle and 

go all up in me.

I don't want a Twinkie, but I also don't want a scalding monster virus that 

will liquefy my spleen.

I was all squirmy in my seat thinking of it.

Three and a half hours after arriving at this place, number 24's name was 

finally called.

 

"Walker? James Walker?"

 

Now I was transferred to the smaller waiting room.

Ten minutes later, Dougie Howser walked in.

Jeez, he was just a kid.

I thought he was the valet. I was going to have him mow my lawn.

He told me I was lucky I came in. His mother had been bitten by a cat, got 

an infection and subsequently spent seven months in the hospital.

Cats eat mice and birds, scratch around their litter boxes in their own filth, 

lick other cats hineys, and God knows what all, and they just don't get the 

chance to brush and floss as much as they should. Stuff builds up on their

teeth and if it's real nasty stuff and they bite you, it goes right into your 

bloodstream.

Oy.

They gave me shots, put me on antibiotics, and sent me home where I now 

sit writing this.

Mr. Hyde is sitting right outside my studio, watching me while I tap away at

the keys.

He looks serene and relaxed. So peaceful.

But I know the truth.

He can't fool me.

A few minutes ago he shut his eyes and nodded off to sleep.

I very quietly picked up my guitar and walked close to him.

And then my pick came down hard on the strings on that big A chord, and 

I screamed at the top of my lungs:

 

"Cat Scratch Fevuh!!!! Cat Scratch Fevuh!!!!"

 

And now I'm on my knees and I can't stop laughing thinking about how he looked leaping a three foot spiral into the air, and running for his life up the stairs.

Two can play at this game, my furry friend.

You're just lucky I didn't use my teeth.

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11.19.2022

ALL IN THE FAMILY 

(a true story)

The night that the show All in the Family debuted on television I was five years old. 

It must have been a holiday of some kind because we had a bunch of people over to the house including my aunt Evelyn, and her close personal friend Eva. Eva was a young woman from Germany. I always thought she was pretty nice. I liked her 

musical accent and hearing her stories. 

We were having dinner and my Godfather Don asked what time it was. He said he

wanted to make sure he didn’t miss the debut of this new show, All in the Family.

He said he’d heard it was supposed to be hilarious and really off color. He excused

himself from the table and went into the TV room. I followed cause I wanted to see 

a funny show too. He turned on the TV and put his feet up on the ottoman, really 

settling in to enjoy himself. He had a drink in his hand (though he’s since quit 

because the doctors told him his liver was going to explode) and a smoke between his fingers (he decided to quit when the doctors took out one of his lungs). 

The show began with Edith and Archie singing and all that. 

Then German Eva appeared in the TV room. She walked to the TV, changed the 

channel, pulled the ottoman out from under Don’s feet, sat down on the couch, and 

stuck the ottoman under her own feet. 

 

“Hey...what are you doing?” asked Don.

“I don’t want to watch this stupid show” said Eva.

“Well, I do...turn it back on, you Nazi cunt.”

 

I’d never heard either of those words before, but by the look on Eva’s face I knew 

they were heavies. 

Eva got up abruptly, glaring at Don like he was the devil incarnate (which he 

is...that’s why I like him) and made Evelyn take her home. 

Everybody on our end thought the incident was pretty funny. Even my Mom, 

although she pretended to be mad at Don. 

Don was always doing things like that. He still does. 

He’s 75 now and as full of piss and vinegar as ever. He got email recently and he 

sends me filthy jokes every day, God bless him.

 

One time Don went into a Sav-On drugstore to buy a pack of cigarettes. He was 

stuck in line behind an old lady who insisted on showing the cashier pictures of her

grandchildren. 

Don got tired of waiting so he opened the pack of cigarettes and lit one up. 

 

The cashier said, “Sir, you can’t smoke in the store.” 

And Don said, “Well, if she’d get the fuck outta my way I could smoke it in the

parking lot.”

 

He was banned from Sav-On for life.

 

Another time he showed up at his local breakfast spot and ordered the breakfast 

special. The waitress told him they’d stopped serving breakfast at 11:30. Don 

looked up at the clock on the wall. It read 11:20. He pointed out that it was only 

11:20. The waitress said she knew that but the cook started cleaning the grills off at 11:20. So Don told her he thought that was stupid, and once again asked for 

breakfast. The waitress got mad and told him he couldn’t have breakfast, and why

didn’t he order lunch and keep quiet? Don said he didn’t want lunch he wanted 

breakfast, and why the fuck did they advertise breakfast until 11:30 if they were 

going to only serve breakfast until 11:20? The waitress told him to get out so Don 

picked up a coffee cup and threw it at the clock, shattering both, then he stormed

out. 

He was banned from the Old Town Cafe for life too.

 

Speaking of the Nazi cunt, Eva...I remember the day that Nixon resigned.

I was in Mexico with my aunt, my mom, her friend Peggy, Peggy’s daughter, 

Florence, my sister Barb and this Eva. I was the only boy. 

We were listening to all the goings on on the radio. Everyone was rapt, being that it

was such a big to-do, fixed on this little radio on the kitchen counter.

We were all in this house my mom had rented. It was up on a cliff that overlooked

the beach and the brilliant, blue water below. I remember the sun being insanely 

bright. 

 

I was bored there in the kitchen so I was fidgeting back and forth on a bar stool. 

All the women were gathered, listening. And they were wearing swimsuits. Eva had

on a bikini. She was in her mid-thirties then and pretty damn happening. I looked at

her breasts, beautiful and full, pushed up and pouting in her bikini top. I became 

transfixed on them. I began to have the first sexual feelings that I can recall. I got a

stiffy, and just sat there staring.

 

Then she said (in her thick accent), “Chimmy...vot are you staring at?”

 

I turned so red I was purple. 

I got up and ran out of the room with my boner poking straight ahead like a pup 

tent. All the women started laughing when they realized what was going on. I 

headed for the bathroom (the only place I could be alone for a minute and straighten out my thoughts among other things). I threw the door open and there was Florence (then about fourteen) quickly pulling up her shorts yelling,

“Hey I’m in here!!”

Her pubic hair was poking over the top of her shorts as she pulled it up. I said sorry and ran for the back door. 

I sat outside on a hot, white wall looking at the ocean, totally confused by what had

just happened so fast. 

It had been a big day.

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11.12.2022

ZUCCHINI

(a true story)

I drove down to Northern California awhile back to visit my dad. My mom,

Lucy, died a couple years ago so now my sister and I try to see the old man

as much as we can. 

He seems to be doing okay, making the major adjustment slowly, but 

keeping up his routines that give him some kind of stability and comfort. 

 

We were worried about him at first. 

When Kim and I showed up after hearing the news about my mom, we 

walked into the house and there was dad at the breakfast table, sitting alone 

in the silent house. He was having his “lunch”; using a chocolate biscotti 

from Costco to spoon tuna out of the can and into his mouth. 

Just shock probably, we thought, envisioning some mighty interesting 

future meals. 

 

So my sister Barbara and I have been taking turns going and seeing him, 

making sure he’s not eating frozen peas mixed with Kibbles and Bits, or 

turning into Ronald Reagan.

 

To get a more complete vision of my dad, close your eyes and imagine the

Skipper from Gilligan’s Island. Got it? Okay, now for his speaking voice,

imagine Floyd the barber from the Andy Griffith show, combined with the

awkward...strained...and chopped...speech pattern...of William...Shatner.

It’s always been surreal being around him. He’s a very strange person. He 

believes that the rest of us should be able to read his mind, and that makes 

for colorful conversations. Such as:

 

DAD - 

Where’d she put it?

 

JIM - 

Who?

 

DAD - 

The key.

 

JIM - 

What key..? Who?

 

DAD - 

Water, water, water.

 

JIM - 

What are you talking about?

 

DAD - 

Yer MOTHER, kid!!

 

JIM -

Oh. What key?

 

DAD - 

To the GRANDFATHER CLOCK, kid! Jesus...

 

JIM -

Mom...she kept the key? I’m confused.

 

DAD - 

No, jeez...your mother used to wind...the clock while I was out...watering.

We...had...two keys. Now I just lost one of them and I...can’t...find the other

one. Aren’t you listening to me? Jeez, Lucille...where’d you put it?

 

I think my mother is resting peacefully.

 

So I showed up at Dad’s house this most recent time after driving for ten

hours. I walked in, we chatted for a few minutes, had a couple of cocktails,

and seeing how it was about 8pm I asked him what the plans were for dinner.

He said, “Well, I thought you could cook something.”

I told him that I just drove ten hours to get there and if he thought I was cooking, he could go get fucked. 

You’re taking me out, I told him.

We started calling a few places to see what was open and it turned out, 

everyplace in his little town that didn’t cause extreme intestinal distress was closed Mondays.

So I got in the damn car, went to the damn market, and shaking my head and muttering to myself the whole time, cooked our damn dinner.

 

Before going to bed that night my dad said, “Okay 10.15 tomorrow...we’ll go

to the produce market...”

 

I’m usually an early riser, but dad lives basically in the forest. Very quiet.

When I visit down there I’ve been known to sleep till someone wakes me up.

 

“Can you wake me up by 9 if I’m not already up?” I asked.

 

He said sure, and the next morning I was awoken by a fist beating on the

door.

“Quarter to ten, Jimmy...get up.”

 

Quarter to...God Da...arggh.

 

So I raced around and was ready by 10.25. Dad was all in a dither.

We jumped in the car, got down to the produce market (tents set up on the 

parking lot of a church), and dad nearly leapt from the car, clearly agitated.

It was 10.30 am and 105 degrees. 

And I don’t do heat.

We approached a small group of old folks gathered around a woman who

was seated.

 

“R65...322” she said.

 

“That’s me!” a blue-haired, doddering granny delighted. She proudly handed

over her ticket stub to the woman running the raffle, and received a head of

iceberg lettuce. Granny beamed.

 

“Shit!! We missed it!!” Dad said.

 

“Oh, I didn’t know there was a raffle” I said.

 

“Kid, I told you - 10.15!!!” Dad said.

 

In the past I would’ve pointed out that by him saying “Produce market at 10.15”, well, that doesn’t automatically explain to me that there’s a RAFFLE that my dad wants to go to at the produce market at 10.15...but I let it go.

 

“Last week I won potatoes...” Dad said.

 

I had no response to that.

The next little exchange that we had, standing out there broiling on asphalt 

under a raging sun, really stands out in my mind as one of our great father /

son moments. 

Here it is:

 

DAD - 

Alright, kid...here’s 20 dollars.

 

JIM - 

For what?

 

DAD - 

Get whatever you want.

 

JIM - 

Uhh...I don’t want anything. But thank you.

 

DAD - 

Get some fruit.

 

JIM - 

But, I don’t want any fruit.

 

DAD - 

For breakfast.

 

JIM - 

Oh...well, you see...that’s what YOU eat for breakfast.

 

DAD - 

It’s good for you.

 

JIM - 

(a blank stare)

 

DAD - 

Well, at least get the zucchini.

 

JIM - 

Zucchini? For what?

 

DAD - 

For the CASSEROLE...Jesus, kid!

 

I’d like to start a band called Jesus Kid.

 

Three months ago, I found some of my Grandma Bessie’s old recipes in a

box we took from her house when she died several years ago. Over the next

couple of weeks I cooked a few of them, and had told dad about it. One of

the meals was a zucchini casserole. When I told him I’d cooked it, he

grunted, and that was the end of it. Till now I supposed. I deduced that this

was what he was on about, this casserole I’d eaten and digested 12 weeks ago.

JIM - 

Are you talking about Bessie’s casserole?

 

DAD - 

Yeah! You can cook me that casserole.

 

JIM - 

Well, heh, a couple of things. First, I haven’t exactly committed that recipe

to memory quite yet. Sorry about that. Second, had I KNOWN you wanted

me to cook you Bessie’s casserole, I would’ve made it a point to bring the 

recipe with me. Sadly though, it’s 500 miles away from here in a box on top

of my refrigerator.

 

Dad furrowed his brow and squinted into the sun.

 

DAD - 

Well then what are we doing here?

 

And that was my thought exactly.

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11.6.2022

THE EXTERMINATOR GAVE US THE SKINNY

(a true story)

It was sometime in late 1993.

Kim and I had just kinda started, um...getting physical. 

Sorry, I  don’t know how to sugarcoat these things, please forgive me. 

Now you know.

We were living in LA. 

Kim was working for this old-timey movie producer guy - Dino DeLaurentis. 

This guy started off in Italy as a younger man producing Fellini movies and other 

cool stuff. Then after he moved to the States he produced the first remake of KING 

KONG with that hubba-hubba Jessica Lange back in the day. 

He also did David Lynch’s bizarro masterpiece BLUE VELVET, SILENCE OF 

THE LAMBS and tons of other great flicks. 

Suffice it to say, she had a great job and got to meet a lot of interesting folks during her stint in LA. 

 

There was a woman in Kim’s office who was taking a trip to Israel with her 

husband and her kid. 

She asked Kim if she’d take care of the house while she was gone. 

Kim agreed.

This was a very thrilling time in our budding relationship. 

I had an apartment in Pasadena but I had a room mate - no good for the, uh...getting physical. 

Again sorry.

Yes, we sinned, okay? It was against the Lord and stuff so they tell me and I guess 

we’re going to burn in Hades. 

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Kim had an apartment but she was trying to extract herself from her room mate who used to be her boyfriend. It was very touchy and potentially an emotional powder keg. No good.

So it was difficult to find a good place to sin.

But - once in awhile when one of Kim’s coworkers would ask Kim to house sit it’d

all work out.

 

One time, Kim house sat at this woman’s house who used to be Madonna’s assistant during the TRUTH OR DARE period.

We stayed at her place for weeks. The place was adorned with somewhat Goth swag this chick had pilfered from Madonna. Lots of flowing curtains, black candles, 

statues, and like that.

I recall we had the Graham Parker cd, THE MONA LISA’S SISTER on a constant

loop whenever we were there. 

The things that stick in one’s head are so odd.

 

So Kim decided to house sit for this Israel chick.

This was not going to be quite as exciting as the Madonna-decorated joint, but 

the location was great; just a couple blocks off of Melrose. 

Lots of restaurants, shops, and stuff to do. Perpetual hub-bub.

 

It was a Friday and we were on our way to spend the weekend at the house. 

Kim was going to be taking care of the place for five weeks.

Yay, sin.

 

As we pulled up the the place - a very cozy bungalow-style cottage - Kim told me

that the woman who owned the house had a live-in maid named Olivia. Olivia 

apparently had left the house that afternoon to go stay with her family while Kim 

was house sitting.

So what do I do? I ask Kim if she’s REALLY sure this Olivia is gone and the 

moment we walk in the door to the house I start screaming, 

 

“Hey Olivia! Hey Olivia, where are you? What’s going on, baby? Where are ya,

honey?”

 

I’m barreling though the house, throwing doors open, yelling for Olivia.

I throw this one door open, and sitting on the bed is...Olivia.

Here’s this young Mexican woman who has been minding her own business, 

patiently waiting for her family or whatever, and suddenly there’s this tattooed 

stranger hollering, knocking down her door, and scaring the living daylights out 

of her.

When I saw her I was completely mortified. The last thing I expected to see as I

screamed Olivia, was OLIVIA.

She stared at me from her bed, her eyes huge with fear. 

She said something in Spanish in a trembling voice.

I’m sure she thought I was going to kill her.

I apologized and shut the door quickly.

I turned and looked at Kim. I put my hands in the air.

 

“I didn’t know...I’m sorry. I feel terrible. I’m such a tool! What the hell is she still

doing here anyway? She was supposed to be gone this afternoon! Oh my Lord...”

 

We went into the master bedroom and shut the door. 

Then we laughed into the pillows for twenty minutes. 

I mean, try to imagine what was going on in this poor woman’s head. 

The more we thought about it, the funnier it became.

Shortly after that, we got ready for bed, leaving the poor distraught Olivia to 

her room.

As we were climbing under the covers I saw something dart across the floor and 

under the closet door.

 

“AHH! Holy God...d’ja see that?” I said.

Kim said no.

“It was a big black thing...it ran across the floor!!” I said.

“Oh God, what?!” Kim said hopping into the bed and pulling the covers around 

herself.

“I have no idea...” I said.

 

I walked over to the closet door and threw it open. 

I heard a skittering sound. 

I looked at the wood floor and there, running back into the shoes was a big 

cockroach.

 

“DAHHH!!!” I yelled leaping backward a few feet.

 

In all my years living in LA I’d never even SEEN a cockroach. Not one.

That was New York stuff...not LA. That’s what I thought anyway.

I tried for about fifteen minutes to find the roach so I could smash it, but it never 

reappeared.

I laid there in the dark for hours, listening in the silence for a new skitter. 

Waiting for the insect to run across my face and mouth in the dark. 

But it didn’t come back. 

It was a very long night.

 

The next morning Olivia was gone, and we never found out what the mix-up was,

and why she hadn’t left by Friday afternoon like she was supposed to. I’m thinking

she probably mentioned me to her family.

Kim and I had pancakes at Farmer’s Market and spent the day goofing off. 

Sometime during the afternoon we had a couple of beers and Kim suddenly decided she wanted to a tattoo. She got a cute one too, on her shoulder.

We rented the movie MISTRESS starring Robert DeNiro (Ernest Borgnine has a 

delightful cameo in the film as well), bought a bunch of provisions, and went back

to the house.

We cooked dinner and listened for the very first time to what has become one of my favorite albums - WHATEVER by Aimee Mann. 

But whenever I hear that record now it reminds me of what happened next...

 

We ate, drank, and as the night came down, settled in to watch the movie. 

Kim sat on the couch, while I reclined back on my elbows leaning on the 

hardwood floor.

We were about halfway though the movie when something ran quickly across the right side side of my peripheral vision. My head snapped to look but it was gone under the sofa.

I made a sound like a little girl scalded by a hot bath. I jumped up.

 

“AHH! I think that damn roach is back!” I said, standing there in the middle of

the living room.

 

I grabbed the remote and hit pause.

Ernest Borgnine froze in position.

I got down on my hands and knees and peered into the blackness under the couch.

Nothing.

 

“D’joo see that?” I asked Kim, who was in some kind of an upright fetal position on

the couch.

She had a horrified look on her face.

I looked back under the couch. 

For some reason, I blew a mouthful of air into the dark. 

A sound not unlike a Rainbird sprinkler came back at me. 

I realized it was the fast, crisp beating of insect wings. 

I jumped back, and a fast-moving roach about the size of a Cadbury chocolate

Easter egg ran out of the dark and then into a corner by the front door. 

It sat there shifting its weight back and forth. 

It was so big I could see it breathing, wings moving up and down with fear.

 

I ran into the kitchen to grab a newspaper to swat it with. 

I flicked the light on and nothing could have prepared me for what I saw next;

The walls were covered with these roaches. 

There were dozens of them; on the kitchen cabinets, running across the linoleum,

moving sideways across the window.

They were everywhere.

 

“Holy fuck, we’re infested!” I bellowed.

 

Kim yelled.

I grabbed a newspaper from a pile in the pantry. 

Two roaches skittered underneath.

 

“GAHHH!” I said.

 

I rolled the newspaper up and decided to go after the original culprit who was still 

shuddering its horrible wings in the corner. One at a time I figured.

I ran at it with my weapon, and as I brought the paper down it jumped, then FLEW

into the air and across the room, landing on the mantle above the fireplace.

Oh God these things could fly?

Well that raised the stakes a little.

 

It turned and faced me, bearing down for whatever was going to happen next. 

It hunkered down like a bull in a ring. 

I ran at it with the paper again, and once again it FLEW into the air. 

Its cellophane wings made the sprinkler sound again as it landed unsteadily behind the couch.

 

“I’m getting outta here, me!” I said.

 

Kim was way ahead of me. 

We ran into the bedroom to get our stuff and bail out. 

We turned on the lights and saw about ten of these roaches scramble across the floor and walls. 

We both screamed.

In about four seconds our stuff was thrown into our bags and we were running for

the front door. 

I remember passing a baby’s crib as we headed for the door and seeing a couple of the bugs running around inside it.

We both screamed again.

As I grabbed the door knob and pulled there were three or four of them clinging

onto the outside of the front door.

We screamed again. 

Christ, this was like something out of a fucking Stephen King story.

We threw the luggage in the back seat of Kim’s car and hopped in. The whole way 

back to my apartment in Pasadena we just kept shuddering and going 

AHHHHHH!!!

 

The next day Kim called the exterminators. 

 

A few days after that she went back to the house to retrieve a few items we left 

behind in our exodus.

There were dead roaches everywhere. A few live ones lay on their backs, legs still 

moving feebly in the poison air.

 

The exterminator gave us the skinny:

Turns out that being as close as we were to Melrose, and Melrose was rife with 

restaurants, the restaurants were also lousy with bugs.

One restaurant would call in the air strike and the little beasts would move next 

door till the death cloud blew over. 

When that newly-infested restaurant called the exterminator, they’d simply move to

the house near the restaurant. 

When THAT house called the bug guys, they moved to the NEXT house. And so on

till they reached the house where we were staying. 

We just all happened to hit the right weekend all of us.

 

When Kim called Israel to tell her friend what had happened, the woman said. 

 

“Oh yeah...that happens once in awhile...”

 

Jesus! THAT happens once in AWHILE? Does it rain frogs too?

Just goes to show that human beings can adapt to anything no matter how 

horrifying.

 

One thing; we never did see the end of that MISTRESS movie.

Any good? 

I keep meaning to rent it again but I have this fear that I’ll keep feeling tiny 

phantom antennae brushing my cheek every time I start to get interested in the 

story.