Saturday, December 18, 2010

R.I.P. Don Van Vliet

From and essay by Lionel Rolfe, "Ape and Essence and Laura Huxley"

Along with my ex-wife Nigey Lennon, we were joined by Don Van Vliet, best known as the rock cult hero Captain Beefheart. We had been discussing drugs, the ‘60s and the high desert. Beefheart was talking about how people who live in the desert (where he was reared) are often far more eccentric than those who live on the L.A. side of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Once, as a young lad growing up in the desert, Beefheart had a part-time job selling Electrolux vaccuum cleaners in Pearblossom, which was not very far from Llano and Wrightwood, the desert and mountain communities that Huxley lived in. Beefheart explained it was known that the author lived in the desert, so when a tall, gangly customer came into the store where Beefheart was working, Beefheart recognized him immediately.

Van Vliet remembered being impressed by how down-to-earth Huxley was. Huxley explained that his wife Maria had sent him out to look for a vacuum cleaner. Huxley asked Van Vliet if he could recommend one. Since Beefheart was selling Electroluxes, it was, of course, an Electrolux that Huxley purchased. Then they talked a bit.

During the conversation at Denny's, Beefheart said that Huxley had seemed to him a man who was looking for something, that he was an eccentric among the eccentrics who inhabited the desert.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 7.18

Chapters 1-16:


     All the lights were on inside the glass building, so it glowed in the canyon darkness as Matt and Mariko drove up to the guard gate.
     The two guards inside the bungalow at the entrance to Ozawatech were immediately concerned by the late-night arrival, but they relaxed when they saw Mariko behind the wheel.
     "Konbawa, Ojosan. Nagai koto oai shimasendeshita," one of the guards said.  (Good evening, little one. It’s been such a long time.)
     "Mata aete ureshii way, Canto-san,"  she replied. (I’m happy to see you again, too, Mr. Nortbert.) With the formalities dispensed, they switched to English and the other guard handed her a badge.
      "As usual," he told her. "May I say we miss your presence?"
      The second guard then handed Matt a badge – with his photograph on it. Surprised, he looked up to see a camera mounted on the guard gate. It had taken his picture when they drove up. He noticed he didn't really look like himself on the badge – he had a baffled expression on his face and his reddened eyes were surrounded by dark circles, like a raccoon's. But that wasn't the camera's fault, he thought to himself. He was a mess.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

High News Haiku 14


Ha! Another cap!
Didn't work before so what
Makes you glrrg bbbbll gglumphhh

Thursday, July 8, 2010

High News Haiku 13


Ha! Did you hear that!
They call me 'NAVIGABLE!!!!'
What an absurd joke

EPA Calls L.A. River 'Traditional Navigable Waters'

Monday, July 5, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 7.5


Chapters 1-15:

     The night air of Malibu Canyon rushed through the vents and into Matt and Mariko’s faces they zoomed down the winding road. They only saw a couple of dozen cars coming toward them in the opposite direction. Each one shut its high beams on approach. No one was behind them.
     Instead of heading down Sunset to PCH, Mariko had driven over the freeways to Malibu so she could try to see if anyone was following them before they hit the canyon road. Now it seemed they were in the clear. The walls of the canyon, with fossils from pre-historic times embedded into the layers of dirt that formed them, rose steeply on their right. A ravine plummeted down to a creek on their left. A coyote darted across the winding road ahead of them, visible for only a moment in their headlights before disappearing into the brush.
     Matt was going to ask why she was taking the long way. But he knew, so there was no point. He'd hoped that spending time alone with Mariko would clear his head so he could figure out how to deal with Ashton. But since those hopes were now gone, he thought he'd strike up some idle conversation.
     "So," he asked Mariko as she leaned slightly while steering around a curve. "How's class going?" They sometimes talked about her French lit courses.
     "Fine," she said.
     "What are you on?"
     "The Quarrel Between the Ancients and the Moderns," she told him. "Ever read about that?"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

High News Haiku 12


Ah, the French; they are
The world's most complex athletes
They defeat themselves

(Player Nicholas Anelka to Coach Raymond Domenech at half-time: "Go f--- yourself,  you dirty son of a whore.")

Thursday, June 17, 2010

High News Haiku 11


Shorry offisher
You've seen my cheesy paintings?
You'd be drinking, too

Monday, June 14, 2010

High News Haiku 10


"We will make this right"
Ha! Stop it, Tony, stop it!
You're cracking me up!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 6.13


Chapters 1-14:

     Mariko kneeled on the bed, looking out over the freeway as the two streams of colors  – yellow headlights going north, red taillights south – moved like two lava flows in opposite directions as the sky turned dark.
     Matt moved behind her, brushing her hair away from her neck and kissing her where the white silk of her collar touched her skin. He reached around to unbutton her blouse and rubbed her breasts.
     "Mmmmm," she said. "You're in the mood?"
     "Like you said," he answered, thinking about the Chinese finger-trap. "Maybe I need to relax."
    "It's an idea worth considering."
     She turned and kissed him on the mouth, then lay back on the bed. He pulled the rest of her clothes off and massaged her feet, watching her body glow in the fading orange light of sunset that filtered through the tinted window. He kissed her, caressed her and licked her from bottom to top, then turned her over and moved from top to bottom. Then he lay on his back and pulled her on top of him. They made love. When it was over, she stayed in place, her thighs resting on his hips, her head on his shoulder.
     "I hope your theory worked," he said.
     "What theory?"
     "The finger-trap."
     "I'm pretty relaxed now."
     "Works for me.”

    Mariko got out of the shower and put on the white terry cloth hotel bathrobe.  She was drying her hair with a white towel when she came from the bathroom. Matt was standing by the window looking at the jewel box.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 6.6


Chapters 1-13:

     Driving south from the test site under wisps of white clouds floating high in the sky, Matt didn't know if the hint he'd got from Phillipe would be enough for Ashton.
     "I'm not sure this gets me in the clear," he told Mariko.
     "You'll have to tell him it's all you can get for now," she said.
     "But I know what he'll say. He'll want to be sure. He'll want more."
     "Well, you've anticipated his response. That's good. Now you can prepare yours."
     "That's the problem. I don't know how. It's like one of those Chinese finger traps. The more I struggle with it, the worse this all seems."
     Mariko thought for a moment.
     "You've found your answer again."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

High News Haiku 9


Ha! I can't be stopped!
I'm spewing into the Gulf
You see me from space!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

High News Haiku 8


You think I'll stay put?
You punched a hole in my roof!
I'm here for revenge!

High News Haiku 7


You cannot stop me
With your top-kill, cones, pipes
Now I coat your coast

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

High News Haiku 6


You sucked me up from
Under the floor of the sea
Now clean up the mess

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 5.22


Chapters 1-12:

     The shining silver cube stood about the size of a small house, surrounded by a set of nine white parabolic discs, one larger than the rest. A blue haze hung over the mountains in the distance beyond. Other than that there was nothing but the alkaline sands of the dry desert lakebed in view.
     Several men in white lab coats were moving from disc to disc. A voice over the loudspeaker announced: "Clear the area." The men all walked away.
     The loudspeaker voice then counted down: "One minute warning." Then: "Ten second warning: Then: "Three ... two ... one."
     A red laser beam shot in a circle from disc to disc, then – amplified and concentrated by the main disc – bore into the cube, instantly and silently. Only a moment later, there was a loud click as the laser shut down. A hole about six-feet in diameter had been cut through the middle of the cube.
     Cheers, applause, hoots and hollers broke out from a crowd of about 100 standing behind Matt and Mariko, who had front row seats on the bleachers. Some of the engineers, probably the ones who had worked the hardest on the project, shouted "Yee-Haw!" and "Hot Damn!" and threw their hard hats into the air. Then the technicians, politicians and executives started filing down from the observation deck to a reception area off to the right, under the control tower. A group of black musicians on a makeshift stage started playing a conga-driven hard rock beat, chanting the name of Yamura's company _ "Ozawa! Ozawa! Ozawa!" _ over the pulsing rhythm.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 5.15

CHAPTER 12     

Chapters 1-11:
    Mariko's white BMW sped across the narrow highway as the sun rose. Matt was still recovering from his bruises from the day before and groggy from his second 5 a.m. wake-up in a row. The early morning drive into the high desert, the sticky sweet scent of the sage blooming on the side of the road – it was just like the morning before. How could things have gone so out of control so fast? He asked himself if this was normal life in the real world. Then he remembered his high school days, college finals and the bleak three years at the telecommunications plant.
    High school in Auburn was unremarkable, except for getting suspended for insubordination after refusing to run an extra lap and pushing back when the gym teacher pushed him. So was community college, except there wasn't even a fight with the gym teacher to look back on. Just the basic courses, the French he'd always wanted to learn, plus the credits he needed in electronics for a job at Voxtel, one of the only games in town, the telecommunications equipment company where his dad worked.
     Because he could read a schematic, he eventually set up test benches for the new equipment, did the quality control checks, compiled the printouts and filed them in a report to his department head. It was a living, he eventually decided, but not much of a life. Two years went by, punctuated only by an occasional date, mostly with girls that family friends thought would be good for him. Some were with women he met while he was taking the family Doberman, Alex, for a run in the park. None had anything to offer beyond a quiet life in town and another 30 years of setting up tests for telephone equipment.
     One day a film crew came up from Hollywood, a couple of guys with a Japanese production company making a video for Voxtel stockholders. They were filming Matt while he ran a test. He got to talking with them, and they told him there were hundreds of jobs for electricians on film sets around Los Angeles. They even gave him the name of an employment agency that could set him up with assignments.
     It was just the excuse he'd been looking for.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

High News Haiku 5


Delphi's oracle
Predicted money troubles
But no one listened

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dirty Haiku Series – The Seven Continents


On the train to Rome
Carla did me with her lips
Pisa's tower leans

Monday, May 10, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 5.10

Chapters 1-10 -


     Mariko drove Matt back to her house, silently most of the way. Matt was exhausted and even though he knew she was waiting for him to tell her what had happened, he couldn't muster the strength.
    "It's about my father, isn't it?" she asked as they pulled into the circular driveway.
    He looked at her but didn't answer for a moment. She stopped the car.
    "There's a lot going on," he said. He offered nothing more.
    "Let's go for a swim," she said. "My dad's not home."
    The butler had gone home for the night. They went up to her room, took their clothes off and wrapped towels around themselves. Then they walked back down the curved staircase, across the marble floor of the entry and out the sliding glass door of the living room, into the cool night air of the back yard. Mariko turned on the pool light and they both dived naked into the glowing turquoise water.
    They glided together back and forth across the length of the pool as the rippling light cast a crazy dancing pattern above them on the walls of the house. The black sky showed its brightest lights, thanks to the wind of the night before that had blown the air clear. The Big Dipper was easily visible. Venus and Mars burned brightly near the moon. Mariko climbed out on the steps from the shallow end and Matt followed her. He put her towel around her shoulders and kissed her neck.
     "Don't," she said. She turned to him. "What did the guy in the Jaguar want?"

Saturday, May 8, 2010

High News Haiku 4


How will Jamie spend
Six hundred K every month?
Plastic surgery

High News Haiku 3


Tired, hungry, poor?
We need your cheap labor but
Enough is enough

High News Haiku 2


Not drill, baby, drill
But explode, baby, explode
"Smoke on the water"

High News Haiku


Check it out, Europe
Think you are better than me?
You can kiss my ash

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 5.4


    Tally and Mariko handed their tickets to the valet outside The Black Cat.
     "Girls driving tonight," Rollo explained to the valet, who didn't pay any attention. Rollo turned back to his friends.
     "But the worst part of the whole Madelaine thing, I didn't tell you," he said.
     "What?" Matt asked.
     "She called me Jefferson."
     "Jefferson?" Tally asked.
     "Jefferson," Rollo repeated, shaking his head. "While we were making it. Jefferson."
     "Who's Jefferson?" Mariko asked.
     "Whoever," Rollo said.
     "Come stay at my place," Tally said to Rollo. "It's better than sleeping in your car on that road by the water towers. Yuck."
     "What about Jack?"
     "That's over," she said. "We decided to get HIV tests, and he got so freaked out by the whole thing that he started hyper-ventilating in the waiting room." She thought for a moment. "Your dad been tested?"
    "No," Rollo said. "Not gonna ask him either."
    "What about Madelaine?"
    "What about her?"
    The valet pulled up with Tally's silver Acura, hopped out and held the door open on the passenger side for Rollo.
    "Has she been tested?" Tally asked as she got in the car.
    "They haven't invented the test for her yet," Rollo said.
    Rollo and Tally waved good-bye to Matt and Mariko as they pulled out into the traffic on Melrose.

Dirty Haiku Series - The Seven Continents


Carvinal in Rio!
I had a fantastic time!
But what is this rash?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 5.3


     Rollo, Tally and Mariko were sprawled in the turquoise-upholstered chairs around a big table in the middle of The Black Cat. Rollo was talking. Mariko was typing on her laptop. Matt could see she was linked to a brokerage account.
     "Buying low and selling high, I hope," he said as he sat down next to her.
     "A girl's got to take care of herself," she shot back.
     "Two words: Persian barbecue. Aggressive marketing techniques. Go long."
     Rollo, a Jamaican tae kwon do teacher Mariko had taken some lessons from, continued his story.
     " ... so me dad has her movin' in, sleepin' with him in the bed where he slept with me mum just a few months ago."
     Tally, Rollo's friend, an Israeli kickboxing champ Mariko and Matt had met through Rollo, got up and started jumping rope.
     "Ew," she said. "That's disgusting."
     The cafe was empty except for the quartet and a fat man at the far end of the restaurant, wearing sunglasses and sketching with a piece of charcoal on a large white drawing pad. The waiter brought three large bowls of cappucino and set them down while he looked at Matt. Matt raised his hand slightly and shook his head to let him know he didn't want anything.
     "Udovic," Tally said to the waiter, a Serb in a fedora, "I saw you smoking back there."
     "Call 911," he said. "Oh, I forget. You still kickboxer?"
     "Second place in women's regionals."
     "Oh," Udovic said. "Then I better vatch my ass." He walked away.
     "Damn right," Tally shouted as he disappeared back into the kitchen.
     Mariko noticed Matt was thrashed up.
     "You look like you could use a double cap," she told him.
     "I'm past the point where that would help. It hasn't been your typical day. I'll tell you later."

Dirty Haiku Series – The Seven Continents


Met Linda in Perth
Gave her seven orgasms
The kangaroo leaps

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 5.2


     The black Mercedes rolled to a stop in front of a house on Alta Vista, a couple of blocks away from the Black Cat Café. He hadn't seen a single cop – you usually don’t, but still – all the way from Venice to Melrose; the Mercedes' owner would've called it in stolen. Matt walked quickly away from the car. It was scratched up badly and the rear windshield bore a spiderweb of cracks. His escape through the garage door had reduced the car to a flawed opal, shining in the twilight.
   He wasn't in such good shape himself. His ankle hurt from landing in the alley after the jump from the window, his forearms, chest and hip were scratched from pulling himself over the cinderblock walls. He didn't remember where or how he got the cut on the cheek he'd noticed in the rear view mirror.
     He'd have to go back for the Mustang later, which was a problem, because as usual he'd hidden his wallet under the driver seat so he had no money on him. With any luck, he thought to himself, the surf punks wouldn't figure out which car was his.  And even if they did, they'd have got bored by then and contented themselves with setting it on fire.
     Up the street near the boulevard, two men in turbans stepped out from a storefront. One held a plate with small pieces of meat on it, a toothpick stuck upward from each one.
     Matt noticed the sign on the storefront as he approached. "Ezna'an Bros. Persian Cuisine."
     One of the men blocked the sidewalk, holding out the plate.
     "Eat kubideh," the man in the turban commanded.
     "OK," Matt said. "I'll try one."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 5.1


     But then Matt heard crashes and some shouting. The skate punks had thrown their boards through the window and jumped down to chase him. They were rolling through the alley toward him just as he was losing his breath.
     He raced across the street, forcing a red Jaguar to screech its brakes to avoid running him over. He didn't know if he could make it over the block wall in front of him, but he did, pulling himself up and rolling over on his hip. When he landed, he found himself in a back yard with a kidney-shaped swimming pool and a swath of green lawn.
     A bodybuilder in pink bikini briefs was stretched out in his chaise lounge, eyes apparently closed behind his sunglasses, an iPod's tiny headphones in his ears.
    The Jaguar hadn't started up again yet, so the skateboarders jumped onto its hood then off the other side in pursuit. Leaving their boards behind, they scaled the block wall behind Matt and hit the bodybuilder's lawn just as Matt had crossed the yard and was leaping over the opposite wall into the next yard.
     "Hey dude," one of the skaters yelled to the bodybuilder, but he didn't seem to hear or see them.
     Matt landed on the lawn of the next yard, where a woman bodybuilder in a pink bikini was sunning herself on the chaise lounge in front of her kidney-shaped pool, iPod headphones in her ears, eyes shaded by sunglasses and apparently closed, because she didn't make a move as Matt ran across her yard, followed by the skateboarders.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dirty Haiku Series – The Seven Continents


I met a cowgirl
At a Dallas hotel bar
She rode me all night

Matt & Mariko - The Story So Far


Matt & Mariko are taking a few days off. Chapter 7 will be posted soon. Until then, catch up on Chapters 1-6.

Dirty Haiku Series – The Seven Continents


Ah, those French women
My manhood stands as erect
As Eiffel's Tower

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.25


Parked in front of Villa Diana again, Matt held the shiny metal box in the palm of his hand. It didn't bear any indication of what was inside – if anything. There were four metal buttons on the back. He tried pushing them a few times to see if a combination would open it, but they didn't even beep and the box stayed closed.
      He looked out the windshield for a few moments while beachgoers were heading home after their time on the sand or the bike path. Matt patted his pocket to make sure the tear gas pen was still there, got out of the car and walked up to CJ's place.
     CJ's door was open about six inches and Matt walked in. But he didn't see the guys in suits. Instead, two blond teen-agers in shorts and basketball shoes were sitting next to CJ, who looked worried. Two skateboards were propped up against the wall and another one was placed on the floor.  Each skateboard was elaborately decorated. One was painted with a surfing skeleton riding a towering wave. Another showed a beautiful naked woman riding a huge motorcyle. The third displayed a dagger, dripping with blood.
     "What's up?" Matt asked CJ, trying to get a read on the situation. Not even CJ would be stupid enough to screw around dealing coke or pills to some skateboard kids while those guys with the shoulder holsters and piles of cash were around.
     "Not much," CJ said. His tone revealed nothing.
     Then Matt sensed movement in the kitchen. A redheaded teen surfer closed the refrigerator door and turned to walk toward him. He was holding a rolled up slice of ham in his fingers and taking a bite.
      "Du-uude," Red said to Matt. "You got it?"
      "Got what?"
      "The little box, dude. You know, the little box."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.24


Rounding a corner on a quiet street in Beverly Hills on the way back to Yamura's house, Matt heard a siren and pulled over. A police car passed him, lights flashing.
     Matt pulled into the Yamura driveway just as two cops in their dark blue uniforms jumped out of the black and white and ran over to the a gray box on a pole at the curb. Matt watched as they stuck a card into the box, and the massive front doors of the house swung open automatically. The officers sprinted inside, guns raised.
     Aileen sat up straight, suddenly paying intense attention.
     "What's going on here?" she demanded.
     "I don't know," Matt said. They could hear yelling inside the house: the cops shouting orders to someone.
     "Where are we?" Aileen asked Matt.
     "My girlfriend lives here. It's my girlfriend's house."
     Aileen didn't respond.
     "Well, then you better go in and see what kind of problem your 'girlfriend' is having," Aileen said, as if she didn't believe Matt's answer.
     Matt looked at her, got out of the car and walked into the house.

     The butler stood on the black and white tiles of the entry hall with Mariko next to him, her arms crossed and her hands on her shoulders, protecting her heart. She was looking up the spiral staircase as a voice shouted: "This is your last warning. Drop the weapon."

Dirty Haiku Series - The Seven Continents


After thirteen weeks
At this climate research lab
Penguins look sexy

Friday, April 23, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.23


     They drove down Lincoln to Rose and parked in front of a faded green apartment building called Villa Diana. Aileen led the way up a flight of stairs at the back of the courtyard. The Mexicans and Filipinos who lived in the apartments left their doors open, and when Matt glanced inside one he saw a group of men inside huddled around a coffee table playing dominos. In the courtyard, a small boy rode a tricycle around the swimming pool. Aileen knocked on CJ's door. After a delay a little too long for an apartment that size, CJ, about 50 years old with a thin mustache and a black beret, opened the door six inches or so and peered out at them from behind his round wire-frame glasses.
    "Hey-hey ba-abe, whadya say? Not a good time. Come back in about an hour."
    But the door opened wider and a man in a suit was standing behind CJ, holding a gun to his neck, although Matt and Aileen couldn't see that.
    "This the one?" the gunman said, turning to another man in the apartment to ask about Aileen.
    "That's the one. Get her in here."
    "Come on in," the gunman said, then noticed Matt. "You too."
     In a moment, the five of them were standing in CJ's sparsely furnished living room, crowded between an old gray couch and a TV set, which was tuned to a nature show. A lizard was stalking its prey, a large white insect poised gracefully on a green plant. Snap, and the bug was in the reptile's mouth.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.22


 Matt walked out of Ashton's place and saw a woman in a black dress sitting on the hood of his car, painting her toenails red. It was Aileen.
     "What are you doing here?" he asked her.
     "I left my make-up case in your car. I need it."
     He opened his door and got in. She walked to the driver's side, hoping he would hand it to her.
     "Sorry," he said. "I left it at my girlfriend's."
     "Why'd you do that?"
     "Cause this is L.A. and you don't leave stuff sitting in your car unless you want somebody to break your window just to see if it's worth stealing."
     "Well, I need it," Aileen said as she walked around to the passenger side on her heels, her toes in the air so the nail polish could dry, while a stream of SUVs, Porsches and BMWs whooshed by them on Pacific Coast Highway.
     He reached over to open the door for her from the inside, popping up the handle. She got in.
     "What's in it?" he asked as he turned the key in the ignition.

Dirty Haiku Series - The Seven Continents


My bullet train
Enters Yumiko's tunnel
Snow on Mount Fuji

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dirty Haiku Series - The Seven Continents


Deep in the jungle
My spear penetrates her bush
The proud lion roars


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips No. 10


You all know the drill
Eat less and exercise more
You'll live life lightly

Monday, April 19, 2010

Matt & Mariko - The Story So Far


Matt & Mariko are taking a few days off. Chapter 5 will be posted soon. Until then, catch up on Chapters 1-4 -

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.18


After Mariko had said goodbye to her father, Matt used his cell to dial the number in Malibu. A woman answered and he told her he'd been asked to call. She asked his name and he told her.
     "Yes, Mr. Ware," she said. "Please come to 42300 Pacific Coast Highway. Can you be here by 2?" He said he could. Then he tried to form a sentence asking if he should bring anything. It was a way to ease into a conversation that could help him find out more about who wanted to meet him and why.
     But the woman hung up quickly and a dial tone was sounding in his ear before he had even finished his question.

     Matt steered the Mustang south on Sunset to the coast. The ocean glowed turquoise, lighter toward the horizon, almost white in the sun. As Pacific Coast Highway rose toward Malibu, the sweeping lawn at Pepperdine climbed up an embankment to Matt's right, a lush bright green carpet under the bright blue sky.
     The driveway leading to 42300 was lined with a dozen towering eucalyptus trees, swaying in the beachside breeze. Matt parked his Mustang on the highway, not wanting to leave a stain from an oil leak in front of the house. As he walked to the front door of the white facade it was opened by a blonde in a bikini.
     "Ron," she called behind her. "Matt's here."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.17


     Matt was floating under water, face up, a stream of red trailing from his mouth.
     It was the long red ribbon Mariko liked to tie to her ankle when she swam so she could see it making pretty patterns in the blue pool behind her.
     In her white T-shirt with a black geometric design printed on it and a black bikini bottom, she dived into the water and pulled him to the steps. He was still playing dead.
     "Strange," she said. "That they would fire you like that. It doesn't make sense."
     "It makes perfect sense," he said. "I was supposed to be an electrician. It was supposed to be a made-for-cable picture with a real budget that could get me into the union. But it was a cheap porn flick and I was working with coke freaks and low-lifes."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.16


Aileen stood on the ridge, her black dress shining in the sun. She looked behind her and started running down the hill. A man in a flannel shirt, wool cap, jeans and work boots appeared on the spot she'd fled. He looked down the hill with a grin.
     The man ran after her, catching up by the bank of a small mountain stream. He grabbed her arm from behind. She whirled to face him and writhed in a futile effort to escape his grip.
     He tossed her onto the ground and ripped off her dress. She winced, but as he unbuckled his belt, her face lit up with anticipation. She smiled.
     He lay down on top of her and kissed her neck as she moaned in pleasure. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth.

     But suddenly she opened her eyes again, raised her eyebrows and sneered at him.
    "What was THAT?" she burst out.
    "Well, I tole ya beforehan' it wathn't gonna work," René said, his Southern accent distinguished by a lisp. "I wathn't gonna be able to go for a lon' time today. You coulda pretended."
     "Cut!" Rico yelled. "What the hell happened?"
     Aileen was furious.
    "Pretend?" she shouted at René. "This isn't pretend. This is REAL!"
    "Well I tole ya," René protested, pulling his pants back up.
    "OK," Rico said, sniffing. "Time is money, people. Let's do it again. From the top."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.15


The black Mustang zoomed down the two-lane road that cut through the high desert toward the mountains. The radio blasted a mid-tempo pop tune Matt hadn't heard before. He'd been driving for about 45 minutes and the sun was up, brightening the sky by the minute. Matt put his sunglasses on and he sensed Aileen stirring in the back seat.

     She climbed over to the front, the towel sliding off, and cuddled her naked body against him.
     "Ummmmm," she said. "Thanks for waking me up. You feel nice."
     "Good morning," he said blankly.
     "I'm hungry," she announced.
     "We'll stop at the first place on the road."
     The desert was soaring by them, a moonscape. But up ahead a small building sat off the highway. It was Benedetto's. Matt had passed it the day before and knew they served Italian coffee and pastries, so he pulled up to the drive-through.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips No. 9


I skipped lunch today
Did you? I suggest that you
Skip lunch tomorrow

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 4.14


     The two ice cubes clickety-clacked across the gray sidewalk and then came to rest, barely visible under the soft glow of the street light. If they'd been dice, Matt would've wanted to see the numbers.
     He had a sticker showing a pair of dice on the rear windshield of his '65 Mustang, which he had just parked in front of the Riverside Arms apartments. He'd emptied the ice cubes from the Big Gulp he bought on the way over. If the ice cubes had been dice and he'd rolled snake eyes, maybe he would've gone back to his girlfriend Mariko's house and forgotten about this job.

     He was supposed to be the electrician on this shoot. Nobody had said anything about driving the actress to work in the morning.
     But Rico told him to pick up Aileen on the way in, so that's what he was doing. He pulled his sunglasses out of his pocket and put them on, then realized the sun hadn't come up yet and took them off again. A strong wind had blown from the east the night before, leaving big palm leaves here and there along the street.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 11


Today, tomorrow
Then: Penalties, interest
Mail the money NOW

Monday, April 12, 2010

Watch This Space

I'll be posting Chapter 1 of Matt & Mariko, a serialized novel, on this blog soon. It's a love story. It's a high-tech thriller with a dash of insider trading. And an implacable gang of skate-punk hit-men. Who's pulling the strings? The sleazy Hollywood producer? The computer mogul? Or Mariko's father, a Japanese businessman in the middle of the corporate takeover? It's L.A. noir in the bright sunlight of Malibu, Beverly Hills, the High Desert and the Valley.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips No. 8


Enjoy a mango
Have one for breakfast then fast
The rest of the day

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 10


Check in envelope
No penalties or interest
Don't forget the stamp!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Vacation Haiku


Adventure awaits
I will be computer-less
Check back in 10 days

Friday, April 2, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 9


The clock is ticking
Have you filled out all your forms?
Begin to anguish

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips No. 7


Fill three glasses with
Clear sparkling water today
Consume only those

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 8


Send your money now
You don't want to stand in line
Insult, injury

Fun Facts Series: Jack Nance

No. 1: Married to Kelly, porn star daughter of Jerry Van Dyke.
No. 2: She called him while he was filming on the Yosemite set of "Meatballs 4" threatening suicide.
No. 3: He was attempting to console her over the phone when a lightning storm cut them off.
No. 4: By the time he was able to send the police to his home, she had hanged herself.
No. 5: He later died after a fight outside Winchell's in South Pasadena.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips No. 6


Burn your calories
As fire turns trees to ash
You become lighter

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips No. 5


Train for distance runs
Then complete a marathon
The pounds will melt off

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 7


Acts of charity
Are important for karma
And tax deductions

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 6


Withhold maximum
Pay it on April 15
The world may end first

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 5


Ah, my rite of spring!
I play the game of 'avoid'
With the IRS

Friday, March 12, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 4


Stream flows to river
Just like my money's flowing
To the IRS

Haiku Tax Tips No. 3


Contrary to what
The guy who crashed that plane thought
You must file each year

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 2


It's only money
Coins, bills, but still ... I would like
To keep what is mine

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Haiku Tax Tips No. 1


Live the simple life
Keep earnings low, losses high
You'll go unnoticed

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips No. 4


Clouds float in the sky
As lightly as you will feel
If you skip your lunch

Monday, March 8, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips. No. 3


Move across this world
As lightly as the morning mist
Consuming little

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips No. 2


When the sun comes up
Start walking and do not stop
Until the sun sets

Friday, March 5, 2010

Haiku Weight Loss Tips - No. 1


Sit perfectly still
On the floor for twelve hours
Look out the window