1. Thursday, February 21, 2002

    summer finally decided to show up here in Hollywood 

    about damn time, February nearly came and went.

    got buzzed with a hot chick last night and didnt get to sleep until 3am. the beer was so good that i woke up at 7 and felt like teenager.

    made my lunch, burned some cd’s for Axel, and got to the subway a little early.

    a young guy reading the paper pressed the elevator button, as we waited an older guy with a toupee showed up. when the elevator arrived both the men rushed to the back so as not to be responsible for the complex controls and the uncomfortable chance to have to close the door on a tardy old lady.

    i happilly accepted the assignment and firmly pressed the Down button.

    made it to the train, rode it to the transfer station, walked down to the other platform, saw that the train had arrived and left early, cursed that driver and said a little prayer about his children picking up shingles for him to contract, rode the escalator to the street and caught the 720 bus.

    people can be weird about aisle seats in busses, ive noticed. they’ll sit there and if you see that the window seat is available they wont slide over or stand up, they’ll just rotate their ass so you have to squeeze through. a fellow pulled this manuever this morning and fortunately the bus lurched forward as I was making my way to the window seat and my rear end met his face. i said i was sorry, but i wasn’t.

    sat down and cracked open some Tolstoy.

    the fellow looked at me and said, “don’t i know you?”

    i said, “probably not.”

    he said, “i swear i do.”

    i said, “not unless you watch a lot of gay porn.”

    he blinked.

    i said, “i look like this one guy Tommy Teabag, he has these whopping large–“

    “Tony Pierce!”

    Even if you’ve known me a hundred years, odds are I will forget your name. I blame the hippies. They say second-hand smoke kills, but when I was in college I think I became victim to and outrageous amount of second-hand pot smoke. I never touched the stuff, of course, but I am now sufferring from the effects. My memory is the prime victim.

    “I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name.”

    “Freddie Miletta, you dated my sister Therese.”

    It was my turn to blink.

    “You didnt date her for very long. But you took us to see the Replacements play at the Palimino.”

    “Holy shit, little Freddie?”

    The kid was now well over 6 feet tall.

    “Yes, yes, damn Tony, that show changed my life.”

    I wanted to say, “me too” but we were both on a bus in Koreatown at 7:45 in the morning.

    “So what are you doing now?” Little Freddie asked.

    “I’m FBI,” I said and showed him my badge.

    He looked at it and laughed, and said, “Oh, God, you were always so funny. Therese loved you so much, you know. But really, what are you doing now?”

    I said, “I sell sunglasses on Venice Beach.”

    Freddie said, “Really?” he looked disappointed.

    I said, “Yeah. At first I did it just to cover for my buddy, but you’d be surprised how much money you can make there.”

    “I hear it’s the second most popular tourist spot in Southern California next to Disneyland,” Freddie said.

    “You heard right. So, tell me, what’s Therese up to these days? Did she ever graduate from Santa Cruz?”

    “Oh yeah, she married this software guy, this hippy,” he said.

    The bus stopped for a young lady with a bicycle. The lady pulled down the bike holder on the front of the bus, placed the bike on the rail, locked it and boarded the bus. Soon we were rolling again.

    “Any kids?” I asked.

    “No, I don’t have any children,” Freddie said.

    “No, Therese.”

    “Yeah, she has twin 6 year old girls.”

    “Well good for her,” I said. I never said “good for you,” type things I wondered why I was saying them now. Oh yes, that’s right, because my mind was recalling all the wonderfully dirty things that Therese and I did in the back of my Cadillac back in my junior college days, and how I was at a loss for words, because how do you share those memories with her little brother who probably thought I was the older brother that he never had simply because I took him to one lousy punk rock show.

    “Oh, not really,” Freddie said, “her husband died a few years in a car accident.”

    “I’m so sorry.”

    “Don’t be, he was a drunk and, ironically, he was hit by a drunk driver on PCH near Monterey and she got a fortune in insurance money.” he told me.

    “How about that.” I said. All of this was too much for me to handle on such a nice morning. I pulled the cord and got up.

    “I thought you were going down to Venice Beach,” Freddie said.

    “Not today, this is my day off,” I said.

    Bad lie, it was a beautifully sunny day. First perfect day in a long while.

    “Good seeing you Freddie, give Therese my love.”

    “I’m sure she’d like to call you. Gimme your number.” he said.

    “tonypierce.com – she can reach me through my web site,” I said.

    And the bus stopped at the stop and I got off.

    A few minutes later another bus arrived and I got on and made it to work a little early.

    After bagels, I wrote on a little peice of paper, “no one believes our badges are real, make them more believable,” and stuffed it into the suggestion box.