LA to San Diego
Third day. We got out of LA at last. Having endured the many complaints of one miss Marcia, the counterperson at the newstand adjoining Al’s, we unloaded the waste deposits below the East LA bridge and were on our way.
Perhaps I should go into detail here. Miss Marcia, as I’d personally come to calling her, had developed quite an obsession as regarded our sitting around all day, passing the time between coffees and beer while waiting on Jimmy and Lil’ Mike to return with the copies of our seminal Shotwell film. Greg, Tony, and I repeatedly had to get up from our seats under the torrential insults of this particular woman who, truth be told, obviously hated her job, and, faced with an opportunity to let off some steam, had decided to berate us incessantly. You couldn’t escape her. We tried, but it seemed every time we happened to leave the Leprechaun she would appear, a churlish grin on her face, her synapses firing quicker than her mouth could relay the information, "SHIT! You people haven’t left YET ?!?"
Miss Marcia began each and every tirade with this opening, then launched into what had quickly become a very tiresome assault on our worthiness as individuals. Admittedly, it was quite funny at first. If anything, the merchants surrounding Al’s wouldn’t forget us anytime soon.
We had pulled in almost 36 hours before and had stayed put, reading books, drinking coffee, idling in their stores, causing no stir, but having been there so long we must have initiated some curiosity. They had heard Toast offer us a show more than once for that night, and they had heard us decline every single time: "Thanks, Toast, but we have a show…."
So what the hell were we doing hanging around? Well, to be brief, we had to wait on copies of the film we had compiled for the tour. We would have picked them up sooner but we’d missed the 5 o’clock deadline the day before and, because of this, had to commandeer a lift back up towards Six Flags- a good hour’s drive- where the video copying joint was located. This had left us stranded. It had taken a few hours waiting on the ride itself, which Lil’ Mike and Jim had managed to arrange through Lisa, a woman we’d met on our last swing through last year. Lisa worked next door to Al’s in a video art space and had gone out of her way to set up the ride with her friend, Bulldog. Suffice to say, Bulldog was ready to take on the not too endearing task of mid-day traffic, which, being in LA, is something of a blessing in relation to the abominable rush hour cluster fuck.
So that’s why we were lingering. And though we tried to defend ourselves, Miss Marcia continued to harangue us with her invective. As I said earlier, it started out innocently enough. Tony had wandered into the newsstand shirtless and you could say it all began with that. She started in on his questionable sense: " Can’t you read, redneck?!? " she said, pointing at the obligatory ‘No shirt No shoes No service’ sign. " I can’t have stinking members of a two bit band infesting my store! You want something? Go put a fuckin’ shirt on…!"
Sarcastic outbursts like this snowballed until Tony- at long last in my opinion- began to dish a little back. Personally, I’d grown tired of it all, but Tony let it keep coming. Miss Marcia had become all mouth to me- a bored and tiresome crumb of the workaday grind. What’s worse, I hadn’t seen this kind of self-abasement since the playground. In other words, it became obvious to both Greg and I that Miss Marcia had become quite smitten with Tony. She took every opportunity to express her emotions, following Tony out of the store, barking at him as she went. Remember when you had to insult someone to show how much you felt? Way back in Grade School? I couldn’t believe this shit. And as much as I tried to keep myself from earshot, I still couldn’t shake my irritation. I’d step out of the RV to get another coffee and I’d instantly suffer the effects: "SHIT! You people haven’t left YET?!?" Tony, the insufferable fucking monk, would just stand there and trade jab after jab with her. He’d even begun to enjoy it, and, looking back, I can’t blame him. Shit, it was something to do.
In the meantime, various regulars had been coming and going, each sticking around to say a few words before shuffling off in their modified cars and designer wear. One guy brought along his daughter. Dad was a technician for some studio in town, and in between shoptalk, he’d elaborate on the finer aspects of raising a teen-ager. In this case boyfriends were the topic of choice: " I just told the little punk,’ You lay a hand on my kid and- I SWEAR TO FUCKIN’ GOD- I’ll kill you.’"
I was sitting at a nearby table when he’d said this. I managed to divert my stare just as he turned to look at me. No actual movement of my head had been necessary, but I waited nonetheless for this tough guy to ask me if I had a problem with his sentiments. Dad maintained all the brawn of a flaccid junkie (not to mention a close resemblance to Iggy- a fact I planned on relating if only to waylay any forthcoming violent activity), but I know that means very little when it comes to irrational idiots like himself. Anything could’ve gone down, and as I waited anxiously, I could see him shoot a glance my way, but nothing came of it. I was the twerp reading his book and therefore no real threat to his daughter, who, incidentally, didn’t seem to heed much of her Pop’s attentive parenting.
Like Dad, Daughter was in tune with any and all of the latest trends: think tight and bright, a bit ragged on the ends, hair a little mussed, but not "too", and the perfect footwear to complement, nay, ACCESSORIZE the outfit, and, voila! Here’s your ideal fashion trooper. They’d made such a fashionable impression walking up, I thought them to be a perfectly matched couple. But then I heard " Dad" and was thoroughly piqued. Daughter had nonetheless wasted no time in bandying about, latte at the ready, trading ecstasy tips with Miss Marcia, and basically having a time with the hubby, who’d come barreling in on his Triumph just a few minutes later. While Dad enthusiastically talked upcoming jobs and parenting, Daughter and Hubby had managed to sneak on over to Dad’s ’68 Malibu to partake in some conspicuous grab ass. Dad didn’t seem to mind, though, and as talk between he, the owner of the newsstand, and Miss Marcia continued, a squad car pulled up.
Two smug faces peered out the driver side window. " Hey, good-lookin’, get over here."
Miss Marcia took her time sauntering the few feet to the squad car, an equally smug grin on her face. The boys loved it.
" You got nothin’ better to do than to come and bug me?!"
Miss Marcia leaned in the window. Obviously this was just another day in the life, the same two cops taking a ride by to chat it up with Miss Marcia, and Miss Marcia there to accommodate these huskily handsome gents. The driver leaned closer in, and, along with his partner, took turns peaking at Miss Marcia’s cleavage as their side of the conversation feigned with interest. Miss Marcia carried on, not at all oblivious to any of it. Everybody seemed to enjoy the company, and if a little verbal grabass was in order, then so be it; it gives everyone something to think about, I suppose.
" Catch ya later…."
" Yep." And with that went another notch in this boring little corner in the hippest town on Earth. The squad car gunned it around the corner, and I thought about how we’d have to avoid those fuckers if we were going to dump our black tank ( the one that holds the piss and shit) properly.
Something had to be done. Lingering around the newsstand had taken its toll. Tony and Greg had already gone off for a bit of exercise, and as I had failed to endure any more of Miss Marcia’s sardonic tirades, the idea of my getting away for awhile seemed necessary. So when Greg and Tony returned, we decided it might be a good idea to dispose of our piss. We hadn’t even considered shitting in it as yet- and with good reason. The stench of beer-laden urine was enough all by itself. Lil’ Mike and Jimmy’s idea of eating healthy had no bearing whatsoever on the natural composition of the piss.