East Hollywood Blues

A Diary Of Life Among Millennials

Tag: Los Angeles

They’re So Cute

The Red Line was remarkably calm today.

It was as if the Moving Carnival that is the Los Angeles Subway needed a day for rest and rehab just like when I had the Influenza of the moment a few weeks back that has laid more people low than the H1N1 panic of 2009 or the Spanish flu if you are in the overblown media frame of mind.

As we pulled into the Vermont/Santa Monica Station I noticed a late 20 something couple sitting on the orange and yellow colored seats, wearing the same Blue Jean jacket, white shoes and black jeans with identical holes in each knee, playing a game on identical Samsung Galaxy smart phones in identical cases.

I suddenly flash on my grandparents in 1977 wearing the same rust colored beige pant suits and my mother saying how cute they looked, which is what the Lady with the Shopping cart sitting next to them is saying loudly to anyone who will listen.  Then as we pulled out of the station, the Young Dressed the Same couple put down their phones and wordlessly started to play  Patty Cake.

Although taken aback by this course of events, I am still in the frame of mind to think deeply about my grandparents, picturing them discussing their daily wear together as they stood in front of their closet mirror not by sending texts from across the room.  Although now  I wonder if they preferred Cat’s Cradle.

Another Day Another Deranged Shooter

Another day another deranged shooter in East Hollywood.

This time I found out from the LAPD themselves, not an alert popping up on my phone. It seems a knucklehead barricaded himself in an apartment in the SRO next to my building. So after my workout when I was at my most sweaty and slimy the Cops won’t let anyone on the block.

“It’s an active shooter situation,” the Cop says.

“When will it be over,” I asked.

“It will be over when it’s over. No more questions. Go that way,” he pointed down toward K-Town. I was in no mood to argue with the guy about needing a shower, especially with the SWAT team staging what looked like a raid behind him so off I went to the Local to wait out.

There is no place better to wait out an active shooter than at the Local. Jack the Albino behind the bar and our three Russian gun nut pals agreed and thus we waited drinking and trying to figure out what sort of rifle does one use to hold off the LAPD in an East Hollywood SRO when A Line and Man Bun came in with their dog complaining about the Tear Gas in the air.

They had never been in the Local but it was the closest clean well lit place to go. Man Bun gripped his dog tightly.

“Those Cops poisoned my dog! She’s choking,” he cried while A Line tried to remain composed as she called her Mother.

“Oh my Gawd can you believe it Mother? Gun violence is finally here. In East Hollywood! I’ll never be safe again.”

The refused all drinks and water for their dog from Jack the Albino while they waited with the rest of us for the all clear go back to your homes to sound out.

While walking outside to catch a whiff of the CS gas wafting up Beverly towards Silver Lake because hey wouldn’t Hunter S. Thompson do the same thing, I overheard two cops talking and was able to piece together the events of the day in my corner of East Hollywood. It seems the LAPD had been looking for this Guy in the SRO for three weeks because he shot at and hit his soon to be ex wife and her new boy toy outside a movie theater near the Miracle Mile.

Although no status had been offered vis a vie the condition of the boy toy and soon to be ex it appears that the LAPD takes attempted divorce by public shooting very seriously. Therefore they tracked said knucklehead to the SRO next to my apartment and surrounded the place. They only evacuated the block when he pulled out a gun and shot the door frame. SWAT had been called and had occupied an apartment with a clear line of sight into the domicile now being used as a bunker. Negotiations were continuing but had been pushed into overdrive by the emergence of a mirror, a credit card, some white powder and what appeared to be a rolled up $20. Hence the Tear Gas.

Two hours later the neighborhood was given the all clear to return to their homes sans the SRO residents who would have to wait until the LA CSI unit finished their work. It seems our knucklehead had brandished a weapon and fired in the VERY general direction of SWAT team member who in turn gave him Suicide by SWAT which was over 6 hours in the making.

I walked back to my joint with great determination and relief. I stunk so much I was beginning to offend myself and a shower would surely be a welcome relief for everyone in a three mile radius. I walked up the stairs and found the apartment SWAT had occupied during the siege was mine. It was also readily apparent from various marking in the dust on my fire escape that the fatal shots had been fired from three feet outside my kitchen thus allowing the stench of gun powder and involuntary death to permeate and hang over everything in my home.

I walked outside, down the stairs and into the street in an attempt to get away from legal side of the crime scene where I found a righteously indignant almost to the point of being WASP’s from Greenwich, Connecticut A Line and Man Bun arguing with a plain clothed member of the LAPD demanding reparations for their inconvenience and now poisoned dog who in true Chihuahua fashion was biting at the LAPD plain clothes cop.

This was the last bit of weirdness I could stand. It was time to go to the same desert where Phil Kaufman took Gram Parson’s corpse and burned it.

The Next Day On The Red Line

The Red Line.  24 Hours later.

This time I’m going into Hollywood to do the hang with the Production Partner when a police action holds us up for a few minutes. A Meth Freak starts ranting about something and he has to go. No big deal. Welcome to the 2018 Opiate/Amphetamine Pandemic: Los Angeles Theater.

The train gets underway after a 10 minute delay and from the back of the train, the door opens and lo and behold who comes into the car but the same guy dressed in black, body armor, several mags on the vest with his holstered pistol. This time instead of stroking the barrel of his weapon he’s holding a brown paper bag and walking up and down the car eyeing people with an odd sense of calm.

Instead of freaking out and calling the cops – we’re moments from my stop at the Hollywood/Vine Station so I’m fucked if he goes Postal – I decide to turn to the two 23 year old skate punks with baby dreads next to me and see if they are as disturbed about this display as I.

Baby Dread #1 – You mean that guy?

Baby Dread #2 – He was in the car when the cops came in and left.

Me – And he comes back after they leave. Look at him. With all the accounts of Jihadi’s dressed in black blowing themselves up and what’s happened recently in London and D.C. you feel perfectly safe with this creepy guy in here?

Baby Dread #1 – Of course. He has a police badge on his vest bro.

Baby Dread #2 – Word.

Baby Dread #1 – And calling him a Jihadi is totally racist.

Baby Dread #2 – Totally bro.

Several other straphangers within ear shot agreed with the Baby Dreads, on which statement I had no idea.

Of course, the police shield in question was a tin replica shaped like an LAPD ID with the name of a different security company than that on his left shoulder badge which was different than the name of the security company on his right shoulder badge but hey I’m sure he works for all those companies.  After all, these are trying economic times.

Moral of the story: if you ride the Red Line that hits Vermont/Beverly Station between 9:20 and 9:34pm on any given night you are doomed.

Life On The Red Line

On the Red Line last night after my shift, I find a seat pop out Queer by Burroughs when I look up and see this fidgety 29 year old guy in a black kevlar vest, several mags of ammunition on his chest and a holstered pistol he keeps fingering. He has a nondescript security guard patch on his left shoulder and he’s eyeing the car suspiciously.

I wondered why I was the only one in the car who was at all taken aback by this guy and then it occurs to me that a third of the car is off their meds and rambling incoherently, a third is nodding off from the H they just ingested to cut across the Meth and a third just don’t seem to care this guy is eyeing them and stroking the grip of his weapon. However, due to the events of the past few weeks I start looking for a way off the car before he starts shooting.

The train pulls into the Vermont /Wilshire station and I run to another car where I alert two off duty MTA employees that there is a man in body armor, dressed totally in black with his hand on a pistol he is carrying openly. They glared at me until I sat in the back of the car as far away from what I was sure to be some form of stupidity coming at any moment.

I jump off the train, note the time 9:34, run up the stairs and call 911. Total time on hold waiting for an operator 2 minutes 10 seconds. She listens impassively for 30 seconds and says I’ll pass on the information. Click.

30 minutes later I get a call from the LAPD asking me for a description and where I think the man with gun is now.

“I don’t know,” I tell them. “Some place between the Vermont/Santa Monica and North Hollywood stations.”

“That’s a lot of ground to cover. We’ll do our best looking for him,” the cop tells me and hangs up.

I don’t know about you but I feel safe.

Toilet Paper Leads To Child Support? Welcome To The Neighborhood

I walked out of the Korean deli at the corner of Berendo and Vermont at 1 am with the toilet paper I forgot to buy hours earlier as I was engaged in a meeting for my project.

I managed to walk 20 feet towards the Local when a shrill voice rang out and set the hair on the base of my skull and back – because the hair isn’t going to the top of me head anymore – straight up.

“Buck,” she screamed.

I could see her in silhouette; spiky blonde hair, black tank top and a tight black skirt slit just enough with what looked like velvet black ankle boots but I really need new contact lenses.

“Buck” she screamed.

The Korean deli owner at the corner of Vermont and Berendo calls me by my last name, which he thinks makes me sound like a thug,  while he reads the Bible behind bulletproof glass.   How did she know my name was Buck?

Perhaps a lucky guess from a denizen of a neighborhood moving from the Central American to the Anglo-Millennial. Do I know you, I thought.

“Buck,” she screamed.

The Original Drinker sat on the window ledge on the local Lavendaria  drinking his  Jose Cuervo, scratching his bald head and laughing at me.  “Looks like it’s child support time Carnal!”