Axel F

LA’s finest were parked outside the hotel tonight. “They waiting for you?” Robert joked. “I got five bucks that says they’re here for the hip hoppers across the hall from me.”

Today began auspiciously enough. A beautiful din rose from the clock radio’s tiny speakers. It sounded like Beta Band meets Talking Heads meets Franz Ferdinand. Energized, I jumped straight out of bed to look for the room service menu, but was sidetracked when I saw the sun rising over downtown.

My room in the tiny Le Montrose is on the second floor which, because we’re on the hillside below Sunset Boulevard, is barely above ground. So I had to jump up from my balcony to the floor above to take in the vista. And what a vista. The air, choked with exhaust, was a beautiful, burnt orange. I took it as a good omen.

It took me 30 minutes to drive six miles to my office.

I’d prefer to forget my day at the office.

It took me 45 minutes to the six miles back to my hotel.

When I finally stepped into the lobby, fully empathic to those Angelinos who have brandished a weapon on the freeway, Robert was waiting. Sway was in from L.A. and greeted my with his usual enthusiasm. MTV News was arriving in earnest.

We went for sushi on Sunset (probably a bad idea), then stopped through the Hustler shop so Robert could pick up some gifts. After awkwardly wandering around the t-shirts, lubricants, and DVDs, I opted to stand outside for a few minutes. In a heartbeat, a grizzled cowboy in blue shades was in my face, “Wanna’ buy some sunglasses?” He monologued on crystal meth, burglary, sobriety, boom boxes, and Texas, vaciliating wildly between rage and joy, when it occurred to me that it might be time to make myself scarce. “Don’t let the bastards get you down,” I said, practically jogging away.

I spotted the black and white cruiser as we stumbled down from Sunset. The lobby was quiet. But stepping out of the elevator, I saw a cop speaking with a woman, “Now, ma’am, you can’t be both victim and suspect.” Sure enough, the police activity was right across the hall.

At least they weren’t waiting for me.

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