They Who Walk You Through Hell


I was moved out of Sylmar by Monday. My things were in two small units of storage in Orange County. My two pittie princesses were staying with Rochelle and Brad was tagging along with me.

I split my nights between Frank and Abe’s place, though Abe made it a point to spend every last minute with me he could before I left.

The first day after I finished Doggie Daycare, I slept in. I was congested and the mucus in my lungs hardened. Even now, as I write this, I am coughing up reminders of my apartment in Sylmar. My lungs haven’t been the same since the flooding.

I woke up and wrote a blog that morning. Abe was frantically doing my laundry and organizing my bag for France.

I kept saying, “Relax.”

He said, “This has to get done. (then mumbled) I am so glad your other friends got to have fun with you.”

I grabbed his big fluffy head and said, “Awwwww”

He said, “You have been staring at that screen for 2 hours.”

I said, “Well, it usually takes me 4-5 hours per blog, so that wasn’t too bad.”

Abe, “You just sit around and write all day. No wonder you get headaches.”

Me, “If I don’t write, I go crazy.”

The sad fact was the two people that were helping me through all the logistics of moving were spending the least enjoyable final hours with me: Frank and Abe.

Abe organized the clothes in smaller bags inside my largest suitcase.

I said, “By the way, I am going to need that dress you bought me (for the wedding I never went to because you dumped me) . . . for Cannes.”

He said, “She wants the dress.”

I said quite seriously, “I need it, more than the trunk of your car.”

And there it appeared, inside my suitcase destined for France.

 

My body was sore, my mind was roaming over everything. Even as I write this, I feel like I am missing a thousand things for either France or Antioch. It’s been hard to sit down and let my mind clear.

Thursday came and I wanted to see Trent and Kent.

After paying my dogsitter in as much ganja as I could afford, I headed over to Highland Park.

I came in and sat down, high as a kite after lighting up with Rochelle and watching my pit bull play with a Great Dane named Herschel.

 

We got a bottle of wine and texted Abe the address, since he insisted on meeting up with us. I found his sudden persistence romantic.

My phone was dying so I texted him Kent’s phone number and said “Use this phone number”

He called Kent immediately and said, “I was told to call this number.”

I barked loud enough so he could hear, “I meant when you get here!”

Abe arrived and we were talking about the Tupac hologram at Coachella.


Trent said, “I don’t remember any part of Friday.”

Kent, “He went to Coachella and sat in his car to listen to music.”

Trent, “I had everything, LSD, coke, ecstasy, weed, shrooms, I mean, everything.”

Me, “So you didn’t see the hologram?”

Trent, “No, I left. Eminem came on and I just really don’t like him, but people who were there said it looked real.”

We watched it on his phone.

Me, “He says ‘Coachella,’ how is that possible?”

Kent, “I think he is alive. I think he taped it beforehand and he is alive.”

I shrugged, “It’s possible.”

Trent, “They released a line-up for Coachella 2013 and it says Janis, Jimi, Doors, everyone! Patsy Cline! Nirvana. The Beatles. Michael Jackson.”

Kent, “I have to go if they do the Beatles. If I see the Beatles I am going to scream. I am going to be all over that.” Kent kicked his feet high in the air, with his ass wedged between the arm of his chair and his seat. He started giggling like a schoolgirl. I wish I had a hologram of that when ever I was having a bad morning.

Me, “Where is Whitney!?”

Trent, “I know, she didn’t make it yet.”

Me, “I am surprised her agent isn’t all over that.”

Kent, “Abe, you are so quiet over there.”

Abe, “I am just listening. Whitney Houston . . . “

Kent, “I don’t know why anyone isn’t releasing the details of her death. They are all being so vague about it.”

Me, “Dr. Drew was talking about how she was found face down, so she must have had a seizure. He was complaining on LoveLine that no one was really looking at the details properly.”

Trent, “She was found FACE DOWN. Oh God, now I know she was murdered.”

We all looked at Abe. He said, “Killed by the Illuminati. In plain sight. The ultimate sacrifice.”

A shiver went down our spines.

Abe, “Maybe she wasn’t the only one. A lot of those big names died at the same age. 27.”

Trent, “Janis, Jimi and Jim! It was weird all at the same time like that. One after another. The one I know the most about is Janis. They said that she was talking to the bellboy for 45 minutes before she died. She had just gotten back from buying cigarettes, spoke to the bellboy for a long time and then they found her, in her apartment dead with the cash, the change for her cigarettes, still clutched in her hand. Her friends came in and wiped away all the evidence, so that no one would get in trouble. But then they tried to put everything back to see if there was any kind of evidence.”

Kent, “Once the evidence has been taken away like that, there is no way to bring it back.”

Trent, “It was just too weird, her still having the cash and all of them dying like that.”

Abe, “Maybe they were assassinated. They all represented the 60s.”

Trent, “Yeah, maybe the point was to let everyone know that the 60s was over, and we all have to return to the way it was. Back to work!”

I let this sink in. That sounds disturbingly possible.

I don’t know how this happened, but Trent, Kent and I all broke into song at the same time:

Oh I want to dance with somebody,
I want to feel the heat with somebody,
Yeah, I want to dance with somebody,
With somebody who loves me.

I broke into the, “♪ ♫ Someone WHO . . . someone WHO ♪ ♫”

Kent and Trent kept my back-up chorus going. ♪ ♫

Me, “♪ ♫ SomeBody who Loooooves me yeah. ♪ ♫”

Kent, “Look at the straight white boy terrified in the corner. He is thinking, ‘What the fuck just happened?’” Kent laughed like a jar of gold.

Abe, “No, I am listening.”

Trent, “Do you want to talk about your dreams about me?”

I had told Trent that Abe had two dreams about him after Joshua Tree. One where he woke up and Trent was having sex with me, and the other where Trent was watching us have sex.

Abe, “What? Oh.”

Kent chimed in with a loud, “HE HAS A BIG COCK.”

Trent laughed, “I do.”

Me, “The legendary cock I have only ever heard about but never seen.”

Kent, “All bottoms have big cocks. It’s ironic. I have known 4 bottoms, and all of them had huge cocks.”

(in case you don’t know, it’s ironic because Bottoms take it in the ass and don’t use their giant, godly cocks for penetration)

 

Kent leaned in and put his hand on mine, “Trent’s cock is SO big I think it gave me colon colitis. I am serious.”

Trent, “He was in so much PAIN.”

Kent, “I mean I was shitting myself, it was awful. Yeah, and I asked my doctor if this is possible because I recently had anal sex with a large cock, and he did this, (Kent’s face turned placid and his voice went light and apathetic) ‘I don’t know.’ Just like that, (placid, light) ‘I don’t know.”

Abe must have been shaking in the corner.

We went outside for a smoke and were talking about how Kent looks Jewish. He has a big full beard and an Italian nose.

Trent said, “He is circumcised.”

Me, “Aren’t you?”

Trent started fucking the air, “No, this is in full form.”

Me, “I think it’s traumatizing anyway.”

Trent, “I know!”

Kent, “It’s not traumatizing.”

Abe, “It’s like peeling a kiwi.”

Trent cackled.

Kent, “It’s more like a chip clip put on the end of the penis, the tip turns purple and falls off.”

Trent, “What!? No its not like a chip clip!” Penises don’t just fall off!”

Kent, “I know, I fucking saw it at my nephew’s circumcision.”

A man walked by.

We walked over to Subway to put some food in our bellies of white wine, tobacco and pot.

Outside, Abe finished yet another cigarette and we were on to Muslims.

Me, “Well, Abe thinks Muslims are destroying the country.”

Kent, “They are.”

Trent tossed up his hand, “See? Jew.”

Me, “la heim

Kent, “You two are racist. Bashing Jews.”

Me, “I can’t be racist against Jews. I want to have sex with them.”

We went inside the Subway and there were three little girls at the counter.

Two of them were wearing rain boots.

Me, “I didn’t know rain boots were back in style.”

The chubby girl looked over her shoulder at me, and coolly gave me the snottiest look since St. Jude’s Catholic School, Milwaukee, WI.

Me, “Oh, excuse me. Jesus, I can’t escape social ostracization from little girls, even in my 30s?”

Trent cackled again.

Trent said, “Pardon us.”

Kent said, “Are you two being mean?”

Me, “They are the ones being mean!”

Kent, “Oh my Goodness. Oh my Goodness.”

Me, “You are watching too much Little Orphan Annie.”

Kent broke out into song, “♪ ♫ You’re never fully dressed without a smile . . . ♪ ♫”

We ate our sandwiches fast and before we knew it had to say goodbye.

Trent hugged me hard and started biting his nails, “Maybe I can come up and see you in Washington.”

I said, “Now, don’t lose your job and don’t overdose.”

Trent, “Drat! . . . Golly Gee.”

We hugged more, but it was never enough. And I had to leave my two love bird in their nest. Oh Jesus, how I will miss them so . . . it aches more than the fungus scarring my lung tissue.

Then, Abe and I headed over to Sascha’s.

We invited a few others from work, but no one could come. I wanted an intimate night with Sascha anyway. She worked too much for me to really get the chance to spend a large amount of time with her.

I gave Sascha a gift; a skull ski hat, a vinyl Pavarotti collection and an edible to help with her migraines.

With each gift she said, “I love you.”

And then with the edible, “I haven’t smoked pot or cigarettes since high school. So this will be interesting.”

Her voice was drifting over me in the background as she chatted with Abe about marijuana. She gave me a Rolling Stones, 80s cut sweatshirt.

All my friends had helped me move the dogs around, move my shit around, move me around with such care. There were so many hands carrying me that last week in Los Angeles, it felt like I was levitating.

How did things go from being so hard to so easy?

How did all the fear, doubt and poverty lift in a few weeks to promise, opportunity and love?

I really don’t know.

Sascha had a bottle of champagne for me and kept herself drinking Bud Light.

Anytime Abe moved, her little chihuahua mix would attack him, so Abe sat still in the corner and fell asleep. He just wanted to be close to me those last few days, even if he was sleeping on someone else’s living room floor.

Sascha was sitting with her feet together and her calf muscles displayed a conglomeration of tattoos.

 

Me, “Is that a . . .”

Sascha, “A bigfoot with underwear, that’s right. And I thought that would be hilarious with a skeleton on the other leg in underwear. I was . . . special.”

Me, “And that one?”

Sascha, “That is from something called ‘Drunk Clip Art Game’ where we got drunk, covered our eyes and picked a tattoo. We thought that was a brilliant idea.”

On her ankles, there were matching tattoos “1134” right side up on one ankle, and upside down on the other. She said, “It spells Hell. I always thought that was interesting. You know Dante ‘s Inferno is about the circles of hell, but it is more about walking through and learning from the sins before getting to that next level.”

 

Me, “Hm, that’s interesting. Buddhists believe you have to endure a certain amount of suffering before you graduate to the next level of enlightenment.

I was on set with a Buddhist once, and a cockroach was dying. We discussed putting it out of its misery and the Buddhist said we would be hindering the chance for that soul to reach the next level.”

Sascha, “Hm, that is interesting.”

You know what else is interesting? 1134 is one digit short but otherwise the address to my apartment in Sylmar. Certainly felt like a circle of hell, now this next round of experience promises to be the next stage of enlightenment.

 

1134 spells hell, and to Sascha symbolizes the person you walk through hell with. 2011 was hell- among those who walked the closest with me this round, Trent, Sascha, Abe. My angels.

***

I want to make Sascha laugh. In all her profile pictures, she looks stone-faced, rock star and stern, but when that girl smiles, flowers grow on the wallpaper.

 

I was tired, slightly drunk and worried about not being entertaining enough, or not being poignant enough, not making this last night everything it should be.

But with the people you have the most to say to . . . the less you talk. You sit across from each other and think. Words don’t quite do it justice. The air and the alcohol and the sleeping dogs between you give the goodbye a stillness. It can’t be bothered with a sentence, when a whole novel is stirring beneath our tongues.

We hugged goodbye.

And I went home with Abe . . . for the last time.

 

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