Pulp Romance: A Short and Rocky Affair on the Sunset Strip

By | March 7, 2017

He saw her in a waterhole on the Sunset Strip.  She was hunched over a whiskey and a bad life.  It was pulp romance, L.A. style, a short and rocky affair.

Her hair, like her skirt, was long and unkempt.  Neither her hair nor her skirt had ever met a comb or an iron.  While this was obvious, it was also untrue.  Once, last year, while on a bender, she did manage to iron her hair, and comb her skirt, while attempting to kill the cockroaches that tormented her life.  That’s what whiskey do.

She was the loudest one in the bar and, to prove it, she screamed at the bartender to hit her.  “I’d love to,” the bartender calmly replied as he slammed a bottle of whiskey down in front of her face.  This was going to be a long night.  Right about then she fell off her bar stool.

A new customer arrived at the bar.  He saw her sitting on the floor, one flop from repose, and it was love at first sight.  He, himself, was drunk already, as usual.  “Let me help you up, little lady,” he announced to her and a crowd of his admirers.  She had plenty of admirers, too, but her wild and unpredictable ways kept them at bay.

His leather pants were too tight by half and he wore a fringed leather jacket.  General Custer had nothing on this cat.  He wore silver spurs on his leather concho boots and they jangled as he walked across the floor.

“I just love a man who doesn’t wear a shirt,” she cooed like a deranged ingenue.

“You mean these beads don’t count as a shirt?”

“Lord have mercy on me and please don’t look, I have to have some of this man.”  She was not waiting on any answered prayers and threw her arms around this vision of her dreams and kissed him with all the saliva she had.

His nonchalant charm belied the fact that he was still seething over the reviews of his book of French Albanian Romanian Transylvanian (hereinafter, for brevity, French ART) poetry, called, in rough translation, My Little Fawn:  A Highbrow’s Wish for an Unwashed Son.

One reviewer opined, “This murky trip into the abyss is clouded by a veritable algae bloom of nonsense.  This poisonous red tide offers neither visibility nor authenticity.”

Another wrote, “Proffered as a crystal ball into the human condition, it is merely lies cloaked in a charlatan’s robes.”

And so he drank like she did, if not more.  At least they had that in common.

Between them there was an electricity and about four bottles of whiskey, if you counted that morning.  Somebody is always counting, she always said.  Or was that just when the rent was due?  No, somebody is always counting because that’s what she always said.

He recited some 18th century French ART poetry, in a loving and sincere homage to his own work, in what she thought might have been an almost undetectable hint of a Congolese-Laotian accent.

This was mighty impressive by any measure, but he infused this poetic ambiance with a tincture of his own carefully curated pornographic comments which, oddly enough, were annotated in Latin, on a three by five index card, which he produced from behind her ear.

A magic trick?  The enraptured bystanders were delighted.

Not magical enough for her, however, as this agent provocateur crashed to the ground, blood spewing in a geyser of anarchy, a crimson fountain of whiskey, mayhem, and broken glass spraying from the top of his head.

He looked up at the towering figure of rage that stood over him.  She held tight the jagged remains of her whiskey bottle as he gazed up from a sticky bed of beer, mucous and raisins.

He knew then that this was the most beautiful girl he had even seen. He struggled, Gallant, to rise to one knee before her, and propose everlasting bliss, for he was determined her hand would be his to love and cherish forever.

She kneed him right, smack in the mouth with a forearm shiver.

“I love you,” he sputtered, as he rubbed his bloody lips, broken teeth, and lacerated tongue, all while performing emergency surgery on his ruptured spleen.

She walked right over him and stepped away, but not before grinding her stiletto heel into his remaining eye.

(Editor’s note:  Apologies for the previously neglected mentioning of the fringed, black leather, pirate’s eye patch he habitually wore over the empty, unseeing, and cauterized eye socket which was the still-in-litigation, and hotly disputed, result of the infamous, unseemly, and never-to-be-spoken-of-again, Norway Rat Tragedy of 1965.  Mea culpa.)

“I love you, babe, you’re a knockout,” he yelled after her as she shoved the saloon doors open like the daughter of Godzilla or, at least, John Wayne (which she, most assuredly, was not).

Then, this loving hero rolled over and got on all fours, the diseased and insane animal he did not necessarily aspire to be, but, yet, had somehow become.  He struggled, but could not get up.

He recited more French ART poetry.

Sadly, it was to little avail.

“Did you see that?  I think she likes me,”  he asked and answered to no one in particular and everyone who was there.

He panted and gasped, still with all four paws on the floor, and then announced to the adoring crowd, “I think I’m gonna throw up.”

And to the mild amusement of some, and the delicate displeasure of others, he was, in the end, a visionary, a prophet and a man of his word.

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