Article: 261318 of talk.bizarre
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre,alt.butt.harp,alt.prose,rec.arts.prose
From: (richh)
Message-ID: <>
Followup-To: poster
Organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 261-4700 guest)
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 04:34:19 GMT
Lines: 290

     I don't know.  LA is weird.  But it's a place, you know.  You
meet people, you get used to it.  Like the other night, I was
supposed to meet someone at this club in Hollywood, off Sunset--and
that's not really my scene at all but I'd already promised so what
the hell?  Took the 710 to the 5 to the 101, got off on Sunset and
found the place on a side street.  There was parking right across
from the club so all right, at least I'm not lost.  I spotted my
friend, Tiffany, who had brought two friends with her.
     "Rich," she said, "This is Anna and this is Marie."
     Marie had large breasts and was wearing a tight black dress
and heels.  Anna looked oddly familiar, but a lot of people give me
that feeling here.  This place is like that.  She was thin and
pale, in jeans and a "Sophistifuck and the Revlon Spam Queens" t-
shirt.  I found out later she'd had it made by a friend of hers,
which made sense, since the Germs, the seminal LA punk band,
changed their name specifically because that many letters wouldn't
fit on a t-shirt.  They were wrong.  If only Darby Crash could have
seen Anna.  
     It was a cool shirt.  The letters ran all over it, so unless
you really knew what it was trying to say or the point it was
making you really wouldn't be able to read it. 
     It felt funny, being in Hollywood just then and realizing that
it was right here in 1977 that The Germs started getting banned
from club after club, creating the LA punk scene.  I doubted Anna
was even alive in 1977, although she was starting to get that half-
weathered-from-drugs-but-who-really-knew look that meant she could
be anywhere from nineteen to thirty.  She was pretty as hell too,
with sharp cheekbones, short black hair and a tiny nose-ring.
     That new Alanis Morissette song came on and I ordered a shot
and got Anna a beer and Marie a rum and coke and my friend,
Tiffany, a vodka collins.

     I could see Anna mouthing the words as the song played:

     [ Does she speak e-lo-quent-ly?
       And would she have your bay-bee?"
       I'm sure she'd make a really excellent mother."

      And I am here, to remind you, 
      of the mess you left when you went away
      It's not fair to deny me... ]

     "What a bitch," laughed Marie.  "No wonder he left."
     "Hey," said Anna.  "This song's cool.  It has cojones, ju
know, seester?  Too bad she turned out to be the poor man's Sheryl

     [ ...and every time I scratch my nails down 
      someone else's back I hope you feel it. ]

     "Rich likes it," said Tiffany.  "He told me to listen for this
song months ago."   
     Anna took a slug on her beer and wiped her lips on her forearm
and I couldn't stop staring at her.
     "Yeah, a friend of mine at KROQ sends me pre-releases.  I
liked the song but the rst of the cd pretty much sucks.  I want
that Joan Osborne cd too."

     "Ooh.  St Theresa," sang Anna, "dark and sweet as hash."    

     Tiffany whispered into my ear, "If you stare too hard, she'll
get scared.  She used to act when she was a kid.  Commercials,
mostly.  About 10 years ago, I think." 

     I wanted to stop staring but there was something in her face,
something hidden there, some piece of my own history that it felt
like I might be able to retrieve.  Like I said before, I don't
know.  LA is weird.  You meet people.  Some of them are like that. 
It's a place.
     "Hey", said Marie, "did I tell you I saw Johnny Depp the other
     "Did you meet him?"
     "No.  It was weird.  I work at the Academy of Film and he was
getting something to eat and he walked out of this diner, wearing
like some kind of ski cap and sunglasses and trying to look all
inconspicuous and there were these two big guys bodyguards I guess
with him and he walked right in front of the window oh yeah it was
definitely him and it was funny because he was trying to look all
that way just to get something to eat.  But I mean, that would just
suck, don't you think?"

     I looked at Anna and said, "You were the girl, weren't you?"
     "Yup."  She leaned on her tiptoes and whispered into my ear,
"Hey, that's not bad.  Usually I have to tell."

     Anna, it turns out, had been the girl from the Art of Noise
"Close to the Edit" video.  Now, she lived off her parents, who
travelled a lot, and she was "seriously thinking about going to
school".  She was moody and popped a lot of pills and I didn't much
like dealing with her tantrums but she fucked like Nastassia Kinski
in "Cat People" and I'm stupid and there you are.  

     We were in her car, a zippy old Alfa Romeo, coming back to my
apartment in Long Beach.  I'd been dropped off in Pasadena and Anna
said she'd drop me off back at home before driving back to North
Hollywood, where she lived with two of her friends.  Now, the
Pasadena freeway, the 110, which goes from Pasadena south to the 5,
may just be one of the best rides around.  Because of the blind
winding turns and tunnels and banks it wouldn't qualify to be a
major California freeway.  It's a blast, especially when fifty
feels scary and you see signs that say "Exit 5 mph".
     Well, it's about midnight and there's almost no traffic and
Anna's been doing something.  She's not drunk; she swears she
doesn't do tweak but I don't know.  She's thin and wired and always
looks hungry.  On KROQ they're playing "Everybody Hurts".
     "Fuck," she shrieks, and stabs preset 5.  

     [ ...let's play Twister, let's play Risk, yeah yeah yeah

     She shrieks again and hits the accelerator.  
     "I.  DO.  Not.  Fucking.  Wanna.  Hear.  Fucking.  R.  E. 
Fucking.  M."
     "Anna.  Do.  You.  Fucking.  Wanna.  Live?"  I dug under a
pile of books at my feet and put in an Everclear cd that was hidden
under _Microserfs_ and _Edie--An American Biography_.  
     [ I used to know a girl
       She had two pierced nipples 
       and a black tatoo...]

     Anna's breathing returned to normal and we made it back to 
the 5 while Everclear sang about that special someone:

     [ Esther used to be 
       The kind of girl that would never leave... ]

     Anna had to downshift in a hurry but still managed to drop two
gears and pound on the dash and sing her favorite part,

     [ She'd do anything
       To give me what I need for my disease
       She'd do anything

       I can hear them talking in the real world
       But I'm happy in hell
       With my heroin girl... ]

     Later, we were splitting a joint, watching a VH-1 '80's
flashback thing.  

     "Ooh.  Nick Kershaw."

     [ Wouldn't it be nice..]

     "No," she said, doing an impressive Butthead, "it would
     Anna muted it and sang in this scratchy Neil Young kind of
imitation, "I could be happy the rest of life with a heroin girl."
     It was my turn.  "I love I love I love I love my heroin girl."
     "What's that?" she said.  "Calendar girl?  Before my time."
     "Speaking of which, did you bleed this month?  I don't--"
     Anna muted the tv and queued up the Everclear cd to "Pale
Green Stars".

     [ Amanda is in love
       With the sight of the moon
       She's got pale green stars
       In her room
       Right above her bed


       Hey Hey yeah
       It's hard on a girl
       When the blood won't come
       When it ought to come
       When you try to walk around
       On the shaky ground ]

     "*You* were the one who missed it, Rich."
     "Really?  Did we fuck?"
     Anna laughed.  "Dude, it was fucking Wiccan!"
     "Yeah.  I lit all my candles and I wore this, 'Hey, you ever
see any Barbara Hammer films'?"
     That was odd.  "Yeah.  I know the one you mean.  Was it like
     "It was, only it was just the two of us, and we fucked and
drank my blood and actually it was a lot more like 'The Doors'
except Meg Ryan is to puke for."   
     "He didn't drink Meg Ryan's blood."
     "You drank mine."
     "Hey, that's risky."
     "Yeah yeah yeah.  So's sharing a needle.  So's breathing the
air.  So's coffee and drugs and smokes and erotic autoasphyxiation
and everything fun." She curled her legs up under her and leaned
against me on the couch while VH-1 did its thing:

     [ I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
       That much is true ]

     "Christ, how can they play this shit?"
     "I grew up on this, Anna.  And you played a major part in it,
you know."
     "Oh.  'Art of Noise' were just huge."
     "Well, I do have 'Who's Afraid of...' and let's face it: 
there'd be no, um, no Pet Shop Boys without Art of Noise."
     "Hee.  I like 'Always on My Mind'.  And 'Go West'."
     Anna put on Jane's Addiction 'Nothing Shocking" and peeled off
her old, old black tights.  She also took off her "Blind" t-shirt
and threw on one of my flannels.  The temperature drops a lot near
the ocean at night.  
     After a while the "Close to the Edit" video came on and Anna's
hand darted towards the remote.  I pulled it away and said, "Hey,
I haven't seen this in a while.  Check out this little girl."
     "Check out *this* little girl."

     Afterwards, she said "Rich, do you think I've gone from being
a pop cultural icon to a cultural stereotype?  Doesn't seem very
far to move, does it?"
     "You read too much, Anna.  What's the latest?  You finish
_Sexual Personae_ yet?"
     Anna hadn't had much formal schooling but had grown up in a
house with a great library and a lot of time to herself. 
     "No.  I've stopped reading for a while.  Ever since I reread
_The Castle_ I've just been thinking.
     "I dunno.  Just stupid stuff.  Things I don't understand. 
Things you don't.  Things no one does and no one ever will."
     "Oh.  That stuff."
      "Rich, what's the right way to live?  I wish I just knew what
to do next."
     Anna queued the cd player up to "Jane Says" and I said, "Anna,
do me a favor?"
     "I can't give you an answer to your question, but promise me
one thing, okay?"
          [ jane says i'm done with sergio
            he treats me like a ragdoll
            she hides the television
            says "i don't owe him nothing,
            but if he comes back again
            tell him to wait right here for me
            or, try again tomorrow"

            "i'm gonna kick tomorrow..."
            "i'm gonna kick tomorrow..." ]

     She put her head on my chest and said, "Anything.  What?"
     "Just that if you ever, ever get an answer to your question,
you'll let me know, okay?  Call me.  Find me.  Wire me.  Morse code
me.  Just tell me.  Okay?"
     "Okay, okay, I promise.  Now stop that.  It tickles."  
     "Does this?"
     "Hey, smack's back, you know.  Remember 'Pulp Fiction'?"
     "Yeah, but we knew that long before Quentin, right?  She
folded up her left arm so I couldn't see.  Actually she hadn't
skin-popped that much and didn't do any now.  I'd snorted heroin a
few times and a friend showed me how to mainline but I never had my
own works.  I knew myself and knew what would happen.  Anna had
somehow managed to do H on weekends for a long time.  I still don't
know how she could do that, but there's a lot I don't know.
     I stretched out her arm and kissed up inside her forearm.  
     "No one knows the right way to live, Anna.  I don't think
anyone ever will."
     "We live as we dream," she said, passing the roach.
     "I love Conrad.  I love reading what people smarter than me
think about the same things I think about."
     "You ever read any John Gardner?"
     "I think we had some short stories in the house.  Why?"
     "He said that people read because they want to know how to
live the next part of their lives."
     Anna took a drag on a roach and said, "That's so cool.  Didn't
he just die?"
     "Yeah.  I forget how.  Motorcycle accident comes to mind for
some reason."
     "See, now that's cool.  He was trying to *live*.  He didn't
know.  But he was trying."
     I did this terrible brogue and said, "Every man dies, Anna. 
But only a few mean really live."
     She laughed and said, "I'm your uncle, William.  Argyle."
     We'd seen 'Braveheart' a few nights ago and were still
cracking up over that line.
     "And I'm your other uncle, William.  Tube."
     "Yeah, well I'm Culotte, your slutty cousin."
     I kissed her on the forehead and said, "Good night, legwarmer."
     "Night, fluffy ball tennis sock."
     "That's really gross."
     "Good night."