Jul 16, 2010

Just back from lunch with the city's 'last icon'. After all, who better represents the incestuous, convoluted, and contradictory nature of this city? Who better exemplifies its heart and total disregards?

As we sat down he asked if I had any appointments for the afternoon. I shook my head so he ordered drinks and when we finally left the restaurant an hour and some later we were both bobbing and weaving. He was once a middle-weight prize fighter, and showed he could still bob and weave with the best of them.

He looked great by the way. And for a man in his 70s he said he was feeling well, although his left shoulder still gives him fits and a few times I noticed he had difficulty lifting his arm. I told him it was just as well; he shouldn't be diving off any more cliffs up at Yosemite. He did that once, in his 50s, dove off a high cliff into a shallow mountain lake and should have died.

"Yea, don't count me out," he said.

If there's one thing you know about the boss, it is that you never count him out.

He had his characteristic smile; his hair was long and majestic. But at the very top of his forehead the hair turned in a curlicue and from time to time he looked like a laid-back toddler, but salty-mouthed and feisty. He was ever so glad, giggly at the thought, that Ms. K was having some bad hair days lately.

"That little shit," he said.

We traded stories, gossip. Just like the old days. But it was the last story you want hear. I asked him to clarify a long-standing rumor that he'd had a 3-way with Janis Joplin and one of her Lesbian lovers. He smiled his mischievous smile and said that actually there had been a third woman involved and that was the one he fell in love with and who later "saved" him.

Saved you? I asked.

Yes, he said, Janis had gotten jealous of his wandering affection for her friend, woman no. 2, and so gave him a stiff shot of heroin. An injection not to kill him but more to throw strange sand in his face. In that purple haze he remembers being with a lot of people in a public space and then seeing a huge shadow, which at first terrified him and then turned out to be the shadow of an enormous bird that picked him up in its clutches and flew off. He remembers looking down at the world and then it was as though the bird was clobbering him with its wings. The next thing he knew he woke up and there was a woman slapping his face, trying to get him to come to.

Which he did finally, he was saved, and then sometime later he fell in love with that woman, woman no. 3.

I told him it was high time to write his autobiography. He agreed and added that this was probably the right moment because the statute of limitations has run out on most of the crimes he's ever committed.


Anonymous said...

Pursue this! You must write this! We want to know more!

Wrapped Up In Books said...

And you are the one to co-author this.