Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guidos, Ghosts, and the Lost Van Driver

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Deep bass shot out of the black Jeep. Laughter ensued.

I peered into the driver's side without trying to make it look like I was scoping them out. Peripheral vision. I saw a white kid with slick back hair and a chain around his neck. If this was back in New York, I'd say he was a Guido-in-training, but this was the slums of Beverly Hills, so he was just another spoiled rich kid waiting to score something on his lunch break.

The passenger seat was empty and two other teenagers sat in the back. Whoever was riding shotgun had run into one of the apartments to score something... not weed because you can get weed at five different dispensaries within a five block radius. Doubt it's meth because these kids were a little too pretty-boyish, in short, they weren't dressed like tweakers. By process of elimination I figured that they were on a cocaine run.

Casey Jones you better watch your speed.

I hoped that the wheel man was smart enough to park a block or two a way from the actual drug house. By the looks of him, I assumed the opposite. Dumb ass, blasting hip hop in front of his dealer's crib. If I was the dealer, I'd go outside and pistol whip the Guido and tell him to turn down the fucking music.

* * * * *

Overheard at the coffeeshop...

"Don't take this the wrong way," said the Dentist, "But you're too intelligent to believe in that horseshit."

"What do you mean? Ghosts or aliens?"


"Nah. I believe in both of them. I have a special theory about ghosts, you see, they are not actually attached to the ground, they only appear when there's enough energy to make them appear. What that energy is, it's hard to say, that's why they are floating apparitions."

"Well, how come there's never been proof."

"I saw one on tape. First ghost every caught on video."

"I want physical proof. I want to see a ghost in a box or a cage. Like from Ghostbusters, when they stored all those ghosts in the traps."

* * * * *

The driver had no clue where he was going. I had the sneaky suspicion the moment he asked me where I was going and he just looked right through me, like a grunt spending too much time in the jungle. I sensed that the driver was filling in for somebody. He barely spoke English, and looked Middle Eastern or Eastern European. He was swarthy and sweaty. He reeked of cigarettes. Maybe he was Persian or Bulgarian? Who knows.

I dunno why his van wasn't outfitted with a GPS. With those suckers, it's so fucking simple to get places. I figured that a share ride airport van would have a GPS system to speed up their trips in order to eliminate delays from getting lost. You think... that would be the case.

And if they were Luddites, how about a fucking map?

The driver got lost in East Hollywood when he dropped off the first guy which added fifteen minutes to the trip that was already costing me more than the $25 I spent. Somewhere off of Vermont, while we sat at a red light, I a saw two idle police cars with their lights blazing behind an empty convertible. Two officers stood on the sidewalk with three bad guys next to them in handcuffs and facing the wall.

I dunno how our inept driver got us to Sunset, but I figured everything was back on track. I was one of two passengers that he had left. It was an old guy in his 80s. He had no idea where he was going but he insisted his stop was just north of Sunset on Doheny.

Yeah, everything was going right until we got lost in the winding streets in the hills north of Sunset. It was dark, approaching Midnight, and the driver couldn't find the correct street, let alone see any addresses. He almost clipped a Lexus and he kept getting caught in the same dead end despite my instance he go the other way. Three fucking times. I was pissy and grumpy and had a hellacious flight from JFK that included two screaming babies. That's when I hijacked the van without actually pulling a weapon. I snapped.

"Enough. Go back to Sunset. Drop me off at the Standard. Now."

He dropped me off and I told the driver to ask one of the valet guys for help. That's the price I pay for trying to save a few bucks on a cab from Burbank to the slums of Beverly Hills.

* * * * * *

I have been diligently working on issues of Truckin'. May is going to be a month of lunacy for me with very little unstructured time due to a two week work assignment, in addition to the home stretch of Lost Vegas. Once I move to Las Vegas for the summer and slip into World Series of Poker mode, I have very little free time to devote to anything outside of poker.

Over the last couple of weeks I had been working on and polishing a couple of short stories that will be featured in Truckin' over the summer months. I made a conscious effort to work on fiction at least one day a week in an attempt to strengthen my overall contributions to Truckin'... which had been slacking at times and extremely inconsistent. I'm not proud of the odd month here or there when I was short on time and I took a shortcut under duress -- I cut and paste old blog entries on Tao of Pauly and submitted them to Truckin'. Sure, those were the best of the best and I fixed up the spelling, but it sorta felt as though I was cheating... that I wasn't creating something new, something special for Truckin'.

Speaking of which, I came across a slew of old poems that I wrote circa 2002-03 (under a dark veil of depression). I'm gonna add a few of my favorites to Truckin' in to mix things up a bit and add a little flavor to the summer issues. It's always interesting to peak into my former madness. I'm shocked that I survived those trying times.

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