Helter Skelter

Three friends meet for dinner. They converge well after sundown at El Coyote, a kitschy Mexican joint smack in the middle of Hollywood, California. In the dusty haze of 1969, Sharon Tate ate her last meal there.

They are three men, all in their early thirties, with less hair, perhaps, and more girth, for certain, than they when they first met. They are three men who once dreamt of bigger things: director, poet, rock star.

There are miles and years between them, but on an unseasonably cool Thursday night in February, an unwitting wind leads them to the corner of Beverly and Fuller to share a basket of chips, a few unsalted margaritas, and some talk.

“Dude, I don’t own a fucking thing.”

“You’ve got a lot of intellectual property.”

“Which is worth exactly $57 a month.”


“You’re the only guy I know who goes to the gym on a Friday night.”

“I love the gym on Friday night. There’s no pressure. You don’t have to be in a hurry.”

The sound of ice cubes against glass.

“Will I always be remembered as the drunk guy who slammed into the kitchen cabinet?”

“Will I always be remembered as the guy who said he could never love a woman with flabby arms?”

Lita, their slightly mustached waitress, delivers another round. The talk resumes.

“The only time you ever called me was when you had girl trouble.”

One pauses. One stares. The other stirs his drink. In the intervening moment, they notice that the restaurant has emptied, and grown silent.

“I’m doing the best I can, man.”

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright said that “The continent tilts to the southwest and everything loose slides into Los Angeles.”

We are on the edge of a continent.

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