I called Brad Listi from some sleepy little suburb in Sacramento. We chatted. I think I strong-armed the poor fellow and told him that I wanted to read at TNB’s first L.A reading. He’s too kind. Dear and charming.
I got the gig.
So, L.A. I had to go. Haven’t seen my birth city in years. Memories of crowded streets and concrete buildings tumbled through my head.
I gassed up and hit I-15.
On my way in, I picked up a friend of mine, Christy, at the Ontario airport. Ontario is ugly. My friend is not. She’s gorgeous and has the deepest blue eyes I’ve ever seen.
We zipped into Eagle Rock where my mom’s side of the family was having a family reunion. We ate tacos, drank beer, yapped it up, and I danced to some Michael Jackson cuts, slapping my aunt’s ass who was grooving in front of me. People cheered and snapped pictures.
I love to dance.
I’m supposed to be the rock and roll dude. All spikes and metal. But I love a good beat. And when I hear one my ass shakes and I start snapping my fingers and smashing my brown eyes. What can I say?
Give me Al Green and I’ll give you my body. Hips, dude energy, and all. I’m easy that way.
* * *
Saturday night I caught up with Rich Ferguson, Lenore Zion, and Megan DiLullo for some drinks.
Zion: cute, funny, and she has nice hands. I like girls that have nice hands. I couldn’t believe that I was in her presence after all these years of literary tomfoolery. It was surreal.
Megan: tattoos and black hair. Rock and roll with a hint of danger shifting in the background. I think she could kick my ass. I didn’t provoke her. After all, I had to read the next night. Didn’t need a black eye. Or two.
Rich: what can I say? I met the man before. But Listi told me years ago this dude was the salt of the earth. And he is. If I had just a dash of what this man carries in his heart I’d sleep better and would have a better appetite. He kicks ass, period.
We talked music, movies, and literature and I think I may have dropped too many F-bombs. But fuck it.
That night I slept horribly. Had a weird dream one of my ex-girlfriends – disguised as a maid – was at the hotel door demanding we talk about our problems. Huh? Everything was a problem to her. The color of the sun. Bargain car tires. Green beans. The taste of water.
Lord have mercy.
Please, sir, send me some mercy.
* * *
I walked into Hotel Cafe and saw some dude in a beanie: Duke Haney. In the flesh. He was there right in front of me. Crazy.
“Haney?” I asked, and went in for a hug.
“Reno?” he asked.
See, folks, I’m a huggy-type guy. Sure, I gave the man a handshake like men do, but I went in for the hug because I have an affinity with the dude. He’s a happening thoughtful, talented, man and I knew this long before we met eyes.
Then I hear: “Is that Reno Romero?”
I turn and there’s Listi standing there. Listi, people! With eyeballs, fingers, and tennis shoes. This is another happening dude. But you know this. Or should know this. And I owe him billions for giving me a forum.
Then: Rachel Pollon. Dear, adorable, and way cool. Everything I figured she’d be. Great eyes and a lover of pooches.
Does it get any better than this?
I was in heaven.
* * *
First to hit the stage was Stefan. Funny guy, solid writer, and he delivered a great intro to his reading and carried a tiny guitar that apparently can’t be tuned. He killed.
Next was my turn. Some story about putting a book on hold, some concert I went to, and straight memory. I think it went down well. Heard some laughs. I think. But not too sure. I hopped off stage thankful and feeling slightly giddy. Buzzed from the vibe. Or maybe the Guinness I bought from some chubby dude that was bartending.
I chatted with Phat B and found him dear, smart as fuck, and cool. Hey.
Lenore took the stage and talked midgets and fear. I, unlike most folk, love fear. I find it appetizing. Like a good Kir Royale. Or a basket of wings extra hot. Anyhow, she’s cute. But, I already addressed this. She was great.
And then Ferguson took the stage.
The pictures say it all. Nipples, feet, pink suit, and genius. A true Bond Girl. He blew us off the stage and took over Hollywood like I’m sure he’s done a zillion times. It was a stellar performance. Part philosophical, part comical, and nothing less than astounding. The house roared and later that night I locked lips with him minus the tongue.
(I would have given that handsome devil the works, but we didn’t agree on what bands were cool and which ones sucked dick. His loss. I’ve heard I have a real soft tongue and give one hell of a kiss.)
Anyhow, this guy is the real deal and a glorious, beautiful, human being.
I was floored.
After we were done drinking and spanking each other we moved across the street for more drinks and more irresponsible adult crap.
I met Milo Martin, his girl, Ben Loory, and Listi’s wife. More sweet people.
Shit! Does it get any better?
And that’s when I told Rich that Rush sucks.
And they do. I pinched up my nose and gave my best Geddy Lee impersonation. It was the best thing I ever created in my life and Rich was sickened. He likes Rush.
Haney agreed with me.
“They suck,” he told Rich.
“Fuck you guys!” Rich shouted.
We all laughed our asses off and I will never forget that moment.
Folks, as I write this the word count is telling me I’m over the thousand words. I’m out of time. Way.
In the end, Haney gave me and the girl with pretty blue eyes a ride back to our hotel. We floated through the Hollywood streets and I was yapping some lame shit in Haney and Christy’s ears. What I said, I can’t tell you. But I was loud and ridiculous.
Which is normal.
That night I didn’t dream of that ex-girlfriend in a maid uniform. Which was fine by me.
What a great time. Full of love and craziness.
And that’s me.
I love you all.