Beverly Hills, California
I made up an excuse and booked a Memorial Day trip to LA. On Tuesday, the day after, i had coffee with Jesus.
I was hoping to schedule something when I found an AirBnB in Beverly Hills for $100 a night and booked a quick getaway which could possibly further the project. I had never been to Beverly Hills. Bill’s place looked like a real treat: pool, jacuzzi, a private bedroom and bath, kitchen access, breakfast included. I asked Bill if I could charge my Chevy Volt overnight and he said sure. Trip on.
Turning off Sunset Boulevard I see gated driveways and estates. The road is well lit and GPS works. I follow The Voice and watch the touchscreen, left, right, up past lines of cars parked under towering 3-story mansions within spitting range, They subdivided the hillside into postage stamps and the crumbling Mediterranean facades indicate the inhabitants are clinging to the house as much as the house clings to the hillside. An earthquake could be nature’s revenge. At the end of the road, Bill’s house.
He answered the door in a faded T-shirt. He showed me his vintage wine collection, which he was allowed to keep pursuant to his recent divorce. My bathroom was from the 50’s, brown tile and water-stained glass. A hand-lettered note said I could help myself to any food in or out of the fridge, but there was only Cheerios and milk. I was grateful for the lack of a smelly dog. My room was pink with purple sheets and mirrored closet doors. I felt the urge to go eat at Sizzler’s. It was Down and Out In Beverly Hills, with WiFi.
The day before, I e-mailed Jesus reminding him of my visit. He rearranged his schedule and the meeting was on. We met at a coffee shop in West Hollywood. I staked out a position on a bright orange couch by the door. i wasn’t taking a chance that he would miss me and leave.
Sixteen years younger but with more grey hair, Jesus had wrestled with the devil in Hollywood and somehow survived with his soul intact. Confirming my impression by phone, he was friendly and unassuming. A neatly trimmed beard and casual dress. He wore shoes. I wore sandals, a Hawaiian shirt, and jeans.
His Facebook page noted that he was an Emerson College graduate so we had something to chitchat about right away. I went freshman year to Emerson and met a love of my life there. (See: Love and Other Afflictions). Then I transferred to a more prestigious university and lost the girl. Big mistake. Happily ever after at age 22 is my life story in another quantum universe now.
So Jesus gives me the scoop on the latest draft of The God Helmet. He likes it. He’s got a couple of ideas to improve the story structure, but it’s mostly cutting and pasting. He’s talked to an up-and-coming female director about it and she’s interested in reading it as soon as she is free. She’s just finishing up a project and so she’s free next week. Jesus has a meeting scheduled with her for Monday.
My heart is a supernova 4th of July spectacular. Psychics from Hollywood Boulevard recorded my aura filling the room. I split a chocolate chip cookie with Jesus while the God Helmet movie hovered over the table, an embryo in ether, rising up out of our cappuccino foam. As my coffee cools the revelation sinks in. Jesus meets with Alfreda Polanski next week. and she is going to read the script. Alfreda is an American Film Institute graduate, award-winning short film director, and an artist of the highest calibre who has made the leap to the big studio but wants a project that will place her in the Hollywood firmament. The God Helmet could do it. Jesus just has to convince her (and her agent) that this movie is the ticket.
An hour and a half later and I shake hands with Jesus and and watch him float off to take his next meeting. A celebration was in order. I walked up Sunset Boulevard and paid a ridiculous amount of money for a bottle of California Pinot Noir. Later, under a star-speckled black sky, alone in the jacuzzi with a bottle and a joint, I conjured up blissful fantasies of red carpets and golden idols, acceptance speeches and paparazzi. I had coffee with Jesus and life is good.