Closing at Brick+Mortar means not getting home until late. It’s after 2am as I speed home on my bike. It was so hot on my way in at 5, but now in my short-sleeved shirt it’s chilly. I reach the Windward Circle which is right by the Venice sign. It’s well lit. This guy walking on the sidewalk by himself waves with both hands to stop me. “Heyyyyyy. Hold up.” For some reason, I do. I don’t really know why, but I feel like he’s probably drunk, lost, and needs to be pointed in the right direction. Yes? What’s up? “Nothing. How are you?” Fine. “You live around here?” Yes. “That’s cool.” He walks closer to me. The streetlight, as if on cue, suddenly flickers out. “Ooh, now it’s dark. Better be careful.” OK, now I’m legitimately regretting my decision to stop. I put my right foot on the pedal, preparing myself to speed away (as much as you can speed away on a beach cruiser). He senses my nervousness. “No, I’m just kidding,” and he laughs a horrible, nerdy laugh. Which is funny, because he definitely thinks he’s a cool cat. He’s not ugly, but not good-looking either. Probably around my age, average height, brown hair, skinny but visibly muscular, dark eyes. Umm do you need something? “No.” So why did you stop me? “I don’t know. You live around here?” (Again), yes. “You have a boyfriend?” Yes. “That’s cool… It won’t last.” He laughs again at himself. “You have a phone?” Yes. “Why don’t you put my number in it?” No. “Uh, why?” Because I don’t do that. “Why?” Because I don’t give my number to strangers (well, anymore). “Pfft.” He’s drunk, but somehow keeping me here. I don’t know why. So you don’t need help? “No.” So why did you stop me? “I don’t know.” OK, well, I have to go. I start to pedal away. “Wait! I don’t want you to leave before you find out who I am.” Oh, Lord. OK, who are you? He builds it up as much as he can. “Well, I just got here.” OK. “You know the Tom Cruise movie they’re shooting now? Van Helsing?” No, but OK. “Well…I’m Tom Cruise’s stunt double.”
He’s just said this as if I’m going to jump off my bike and ask him for his autograph. Cool. …So you’re shooting around here? “Yea, around here.” Like, in Venice? “Well, it’s around here.” He’s being very elusive, like he can’t tell me the location as if I actually care. But anyway, I can believe it. He actually could be his stunt double with his body type and looks. This is still not a reason to stop someone on the street.
“I’ll show you a little move. Umm.” He looks around. There’s a street sign. He puts both hands on it, lifts his body in the air and flips himself. “OK that was bad.” My eyes go wide. Why is he doing this? Then like a ninja he just jumps onto a postbox and does this twisted flip off it into the street. He laughs his nerdy laugh. I mean, he’s obviously trying to prove something here. I never said I didn’t believe him. I don’t really know what I’m supposed to say. Wow, that was cool. Do you really think you should be doing that right now while you’re intoxicated? I don’t think you should hurt yourself. “I’m a prodigy.” Oh, really. OK, I’m leaving. I start to pedal. “Wait!” He runs back in front of me, on the sidewalk. “I can’t talk to you while you’re riding away, that would be weird.” Right, like this whole scenario hasn’t been just that. I don’t know why I keep staying, I keep thinking he’s going to say something….huge, or insane, or wildly entertaining. He doesn’t. OK, I’m leaving. What’s your name? (Of course I forget what he says.) It’s nice to meet you. Goodnight.
Venice does it again.