20 January, 2007

I was alone at the flat when Tony showed up from the Greyhound Station. I invited him in feeling I had just introduced the gypsies into my LA shack. He had olive skin and a faint mustache he could unfurl. He wore his hat the way you do if you are cool. At night we would play writing games while Matt sat on the patio listening to sad country songs till he was drunk enough to face his dirty sheets.
One day, before the bus strikes, and during the grocery store strikes Tony and I took a cross town bus to Venice Beach. Tony wanted to teach me the bus lines, and needed to scope out a performance angle. Last time he had come through town he had some guys suspend him by his ankles from a freeway bridge. Two guys held onto a rope that was tied around his ankles while guzzling cheep beer. Apparently someone snapped photographs from a disposable camera, because I saw the proof of his story later.
Now he was back and pacing around a conspicuous sculpture that stood a few yards from the Venice Beach Police substation. It was a breezy day, and I called Matt at work to tell him of our plans. I liked calling Matt while he was at work, he sounded so normal and confident. Like he was going to go tackle a hard crime in Pasadena.
Tony explained to me that he was going to be wrapped in chains and hung upside down from the apex of the modernist mass of angles. I tried to believe him, but was immensely distracted by the physicality of Venice Beach. I sought knee socks and mild perversion. I wanted someone else's conversation.
I wish I would have paid more attention, cuz a few weeks later Tony was found dead in a borrowed room up north.

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