Monday, February 2, 2009

Man In The Purple Doorway

I spent the night at Larry & Tycelia's Saturday, we watched a John Hodiak film, then in memory of Larry's longtime friend, the late Ray Dennis Steckler, we sat through THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES THAT STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES. What's wild is that there is one scene where Cash Flagg(Steckler)--oh, and you have to say the name as if you are jumping off a trampoline, Cash FLAGGG--is standing in a seedy part of town and I realized that this was Hill Street and the trolley car was called Angel's Flight. The area is quite different than 1964, but through various mystery books and films, Hill Street is one of the few recognizable parts of LA to me, having never been there. Yesterday we cut out, Larry offering me a ride so he could see some south side action. We drove around Bubbly Creek, the Ashland Avenue Market, and stopped at a White Castle on 32nd and Robinson. There was this old man in a yellow coat moving in and out of the place, climbing over snowbanks, back and forth, in and out. Never asking anyone for money, just conversation. A guy behind the counter pointed, after Larry asked, said the guy lived across the street in a two-flat. Spent a lot of money at White Castle each day. When we left, I gave the guy a buck. Told him I was Jonny Algiers. He had a chunk of cancer on his nose. A block away, I took some photos of a tavern and I will post the photos, as the surrounding buildings and porches looked fantastic, but Larry took a few digital shots of me hunkered on this stoop in front of a hideously painted door. I've seen that color used often, mostly with yellow. The worst example being a McDonald's on Lawrence Avenue, and sure enough, as Lasrry and I drove up Archer Avenue, there was one other building with that same Pepto-Bismo Purple trim. Gotta admit, visiting the northside is fun, but wandering the south side is better.

1 comment:

HemlockMan said...

The "chunk of cancer" remark reminded me of something I hadn't thought about in years.

Not long after I became a letter carrier for USPS I was sent to a truly hideous neighborhood. All of the houses were way up on a hill and I had to climb up to each one and then walk back down, go to the next driveway, climb up, etc. Over and over. The place was in a run-down area that had yet to be re-gentrified and the poverty around me was grinding. It was garbage day and the roll outs were all down by the street baking in the almost-100 degree heat. The stench was overwhelming and I spent the entire time in a state of nausea.There were maggots.

I was walking along and a man and very old woman were sitting on a wall in front of the last house on the block. She held out her hand for the mail and I gave it to her, looking up into her face. It took me a long time to forget about that.

Her face was, quite literally, rotting off. I had never seen anything like that and I have never seen anything similar to it since, and I hope NEVER to witness that or anything remotely resembling it.

What the fuck was it? Why was this woman's face rotting off in the USA? Was treatment too expensive? Was medication pointless? Was she being treated and this was still the result?

I have no idea.

This is the planet Earth. There ain't nobody lookin' out fer us.