Friday, April 25, 2014

An excerpt from, Chapter 12 'California Beckons' from my Work in Progress Novella, 'God Loathes You".

I boarded a plane at JFK airport in New York and touched down in LAX five and a half hours later. I disembarked, claimed my luggage and was outside the arrivals area having a smoke when a black Lexus pulls up to the curb. I pulled down my shades and admired the fine black marble automobile. Before I started to drool over the car a window rolled down and I spotted a familiar face. A most beautiful and endearing face belonged to the woman I had most recently bonded with. Strange, when I should have been flattered to be picked up from the airport I was thinking of my current lady back at the roost. Perhaps strange was the wrong adjective to describe my heart’s focus at that particular point in time.
“James, let’s get you settled in. Then, I can show you Los Angeles,” Charlotte said gesturing for me to put some pep in my step.

“Coming you royal sexiness,” I retorted and double timed it to the car and climbed in.

After we stopped off at the place I would be calling home for the unforeseeable future we went to Venice Beach. It was my first time at a beach on the West Coast. Hell, everything was my first time. This experience was akin to being born again and learning it all. The only difference between a new born and me was I was full grown. Anyway, I enjoyed her company and all the weird freak shows that traipsed up and down the boardwalk. And let me tell you there was and still are more than a lot of them.

 It seemed as if out here you could be whoever you wanted to be and no one much cared unlike back east where everyone seemed to stick their nose in everyone else’s business. No, people out in California lived by a different set of rules and lived life their way. I thought this place was perfect. As I never conformed to the standards of living back in New York let alone down south. I guess you could say I was a rebel with a cause; my own.

At last we ended up at this fast food joint on the boulevard in Hollywood. It was called In N Out. They made their own French fries from daily deliveries of fresh potatoes and the hamburgers weren’t half bad either. All in all my first day in California was most memorable. Charlotte had managed to help me forget all of my troubles. Or maybe that was the charm of the state with endless sunshine. Nevertheless, I was thankful to take a break from life. Reality did wear on you after a while and everyone deserved a break.

“Have you been out here before?” I asked as I finished the last of my fries.

“Well, to tell the truth I am from California. Just been working at the LMK office in New York for the past few years,” she stated not the least bit hesitant about talking about herself.

“So, you’re a Cali girl?” I said it more as a statement than a question. “That explains a lot, really,”

She grabbed a napkin and wiped ketchup from her lips and took a sip of her soda.

“Explains a lot? What do you mean?” She asked a little confused.

I threw up my hands in mock defense and smiled. “All I meant was you seemed different from the uptight and rigid New Yorker ladies,” I said flatly taking a cig from my pack and returned it to my pants pocket.
Back when you could still smoke indoors. Most places had smoking and nonsmoking sections but In N Out didn’t really have such divisions. Nevertheless, I was a pompous self-serving ass back then and did as I pleased. Some people found it charming while others loathed me for it. Ah well, you can’t win them all, right?
“Perhaps, you’re right. And maybe that’s the reason why you took to me like a fish out of water,” she teased.

We both shared a laugh. The difference between her and the rest of the ladies from the imperial state was simple. She was laid back and didn’t let much get to her. That was an admirable trait of which we shared. Not to mention she was a damn good lay and pleased me in every sense. So, in short you could say she was most delightful.

She and I continued talking for a bit longer and the large crowd of patrons began slimming down until only us and another couple remained. We had gone through several refills of soda and smoked half a pack of cigs. Time slipped by as our idle back and forth banter continued. It was amazing how much two people could converse. Still when people of liked minds sat down to discuss what was on their minds it usually led to something magical and could go on for hours. There was a saying that stated opposites attract but that often was half-truths. Because relationships that endured the storms both good and bad were born of sterner stuff. Having common ground made for easier footing in a non-literal sense. Otherwise, you have sex and then soon you’ll have to get out of bed. And then what will happen? Boredom would result. Not even the best sex could save a doomed love affair.

“You could say that, yes,” I started. “I just think you are fine. Like aged wine,” I added the last bit for good measure and flattery.

“Aren’t you the charmer?” She laughed. “Let’s go back to the house.”
We called for a cab and waited for it to arrive.

Back at the house we had a nightcap. A couple shots of Jack with Dr. Pepper chasers were the poison of choice. We downed the liquor and shared a few cigs before retiring to the bedroom and one last hurrah before we drifted off to dreamland.

Bright and early the next morning I woke up and threw on my clothes and ambled out to the kitchen. Where Charlotte was fully clothed and waiting for me. I saw a glimmer about her face and she was trying to stifle a smile. The night before had been the first time we’d done it out here and what a way to end my official welcoming to the left coast than bumping uglies with my agent’s secretary.

“You’re up awfully early,” I joked.

“It’s half pass ten,” she countered pointing at the clock on the wall.

I turned to glance at the clock and sure enough it was half pass ten.

“Ah shit, so it is,” I stammered. “Give me a second to get ready,” I declared and headed back to my bedroom.

An hour later we were in a meeting with some big wigs at the LMK L.A. office. This place made the office in New York look tame. The spacious interiors and art deco décor spanned through the whole building of which was four stories. That was at least twice as tall as the cramped space the New York office occupied within a shared skyscraper. The L.A. office had its very own building. One thing was certain no expenses were spared. Such was the bold and rash mindset of the west coast. Go big or go home. I was finding California more and more to my liking. They called it swagger. Soon I would come to coin a term that was Cali Swagger.

“James Adler isn’t it?” a short, elderly man wearing a tight fitting gray suit asked.

“Yes, it be James Adler,” was my response.

“Good, very good,” he responded in a raspy voice that belonged to a mobster boss back in the thirties.

“So, if I may be so bold. What’s the purpose of us all gathering here on this fine California afternoon?” I asked feeling ballsy.

“Well, James, it is like this,” the old man with the raspy mobster voice began. “We liked your novella, and so did some very important people,” he said clearing his throat. “They want to option it off to a studio,” he added.

“So, they want to make it into a movie?” I asked a tad shocked.

“Yes, they do. But the negotiations could put this little project off for a while. So…”

“Josh, I think I am still the boss here?” he smiled at me. “Anyway, yes, we’re still in talks with them. But that’s not the reason why we asked you here,” he declared finally getting to the heart of the matter.