Friday, November 25, 1998
"You know, Sir, moving in so early, we didn't have time to repaint it," said the middle-aged Chinese man with the distinct Mexican accent. He was Robert Chang, my new apartment manager, opening the door to Edgemont Manor No. 38, on 1716 North Edgemont St., Los Angeles, CA 90027.
The studio apartment consisted of two rooms. Three if you counted the booth-sized bathroom. I walked into the main room: off-white, with baby blue trim, and wall-to-wall mint green carpet. Yellowed Venetian blinds hung over two small windows on the far wall. A brown futon sat beneath the windows, folded into a couch.
"Looks fine," I replied, taking a whiff of Lysol as I walked in.
I sat my cardboard box of worldly possessions on the futon, and took the move-in form from Robert. "You can do anything you want, as long as it looks like this when you leave."
He smiled at his wit as I signed the bottom: Michael Hallissey, November 25th, 1998.
"No problem there," I said as I smiled back.
"Here's your key, Sir. See you on the first."
I took the key and shook his hand, noticing the leather vest under his charcoal gray tweed sports coat. He smiled one more time and left me to my new home.
I took a look around as I heard Robert's Harley take off. The room was clean, at least. Next to the main room was a small closet. I sat the box in the closet next to a hammer and a gallon of paint left there, then I took out some clothes for my job interview tomorrow afternoon, hanging them up in the faded blue bathroom.
Next I checked out the kitchen, which was the same off-white as the main room, with a small table at one end, where I'd probably write in the mornings, once I had my computer sent down. A refrigerator, sink, and stove sat at the other end of the kitchen. The refrigerator was beige, clean, and a little scratched around the door. The tiles behind the sink's faucets were painted black with a brush, and the cabinets above and underneath brick red.
A small pile of mail sat on the sink's counter, addressed to the previous tenant: Kevin O'Neil. Mostly bills, and one red, Christmas card envelope.
I tossed the bills in the kitchen's black Rubbermaid wastebasket, but I held onto the red envelope. The return address only said Echo Park, CA, the next neighborhood over. The envelope was too light to contain a card. I threw it back onto the counter and walked out of the apartment, looking to try the Indian restaurant I saw on the bus ride over, maybe some grocery shopping.
Saturday, November 26th, 1998
Having a few White Russians at Ye Olde Rustic Roome tonight was surreal, but it didn't distract me from the fact that I had found an apartment, but I had yet to find a job. It turned out that Dona at Little Sicily ("It's like Donna, but only one N") only had positions for bussers. A busser couldn't afford an apartment in Los Feliz. Even my apartment.
I walked homeward bound on Hollywood Blvd. Every passing car seemed to be a Range Rover pulsating the neighborhood of Los Feliz with Gangsta Rap. On the corner of Hollywood and Edgemont was a Mexican woman with a hotdog cart, so I bought myself a jumbo with grilled onions and mustard. Across the street, it was closing time at Cuchi Cuchi Salsa-teque and the Saturday night crowd was pouring out. A short guy in black stormed out hand in hand with a mamacita in a Lycra dress and go-go boots, followed by a bigger guy who was shouting at the chick. About ten yards from the club the guy in black turned around and hit the bigger guy in the side of the head. I finished my hot dog as the two salsa kings beat the living shit out of each other, then walked up the street to Edgemont Manor.
Entering the Edgemont, I made my way to No.38, barely surviving the stairs and institution green hallway bathed in fluorescent track lighting. I walked into the main room of my apartment and turned on my only light, an adjustable desk lamp I'd brought with me from Larry's, a souvenir from the month-long stay on his couch. I threw my jacket on the futon and headed for the kitchen, still hungry.
After examining my day-old bag o' groceries, I decided Ramen noodles with a little spaghetti sauce would tax my fermented dexterity the least. As I waited for my boiling noodles to reach a consistency softer than plastic, my eyes fell on the red envelope from Echo Park.
I picked it up, looked it over again.
Post marked yesterday, to someone long gone.
What the fuck.
I opened it.
Might be a good read for bedtime masturbation.