I had a good night sleep last night. Thankfully. The bushes kept me warm and the overhang kept the dew away. Better yet, no one bothered me and the dirt was a hell of a lot more comfortable than the concrete from the night before. I woke up at eight and got dressed, being as quiet as I could and standing still whenever I heard people approaching. I decided to leave my sleeping bag and a few other things, namely clothes, behind the bushes and to keep my knapsack on the roof of Marcia’s building. Her apartment building has a stairwell to the roof with a small patio that no one ever uses. I figure I can safely keep my knapsack up there, hidden behind the air-ducts. So, when the coast was clear I tossed my knapsack out of the bushes and hopped out after it. I looked around real quick and luckily nobody was around to see this. I dropped my knapsack off at the apartment building and sat down for breakfast. As I sat at the picnic table munching on my peanut butter sandwich a woman came up. She seemed startled to see me there, eyed my knapsack suspiciously. She had a ring of keys in her hand and went to open a storage closet next to the stairwell.
‘Do you live here?’
‘No. I’m just visiting someone on the third.’ I said this cheerfully, hoping it would disarm her. I was talking to the landlord’s wife. They live inside the building. She asked me then to help her move a box and that was it, no more questions. I finished breakfast, stashed my knapsack behind an air-duct and went back on the job hunt.
I walked a mile west into Culver City to deliver an application and nab some more candy. Then headed south with a notebook full of resumes and got onto Abbot Kinney, a main strip in Venice Beach full of novelty shops and swank restaurants and cafes. I walked all damn day. Visited at least thirty different restaurants and cafes and stores.
Seven o’clock and I was in Santa Monica, not far from the famed pier. It was dark out. Walking around I’d seen many people with badges hanging on their necks. I came up to the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel on Ocean Ave. The front of the building was strung with banners of production companies and movie titles. People with badges were streaming in and out. I went in. There was a movie gala going on, the whole place full of movie writers and producers and whoever else in involved in these things. I wandered around the lobby and the lounge and everywhere, people in suits and sweater-vests and shiny shoes talking about movie scripts and drinking expensive beer. I didn’t blend in at all. I had on an Emerica t-shirt and dirty jeans, holding a crinkled notebook emptied of resumes. I wandered around and scooped up a few beers and two whiskey on the rocks, grabbing them real quick in passing whenever the owner of the drink wasn’t looking. Outdoors was a wide pool with flood lights, tables on either side. There was a hot-tub. The large patio was terraced with two lower levels. These had tables and couches on them centered around fire pits. Back inside, and a little tipsy now, I found a cart full of pastries and real quick grabbed four and dropped them in my notebook. I found another beer, the stairwell, the fourth floor, sat on a couch overlooking the ocean and the Santa Monica Pier and feasted.
On my way back to the marina I took Main Street and Abbot Kinney again. I stopped at a little pizza joint and found a hardly eaten slice of pizza — bbq chicken and red peppers. (I’m making myself hungry typing all this.) I passed the restaurant called Firehouse on Main Street. The whole way back I’d been ducking into restaurants to see if there were any empty tables that had yet to be bused. I didn’t get lucky. So as I was passing the Firehouse I see in the window, near the front door, a dish of soybeans, untouched. I ducked in and sat down and started shoveling bbq-sauced soybeans into my mouth. The beans were tough and stringy and I couldn’t chew them fast enough. A small Mexican man appeared at my side.
‘Is this your food? What are you doing here?’
‘I’m just finishing up.’ I took another forkful, chewing laboriously. Another, taller Mexican man, came over.
‘You can’t do this! This is not your food! Get out! What are doing? You can’t just do that!’ I heard people at another table laughing, surprised.
‘Sorry!’ I grabbed my notebook and took off.
I slept well last night, until five in the morning. When the sprinklers went off.