With thanks to Martin Bax who first published ‘Tales From The Hollywood Bus Stop’ as a short story, in Ambit Magazine, issue 199; 2010
The Hollywood Bus Stop
The Dark Side of Tinsel Town
© The Naked Blonde Writer 2017
For Girls who Jump Without Safety Nets
Become Women who Stand Alone
The year is 2009. I’m waiting by the pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Waiting like I always did in Hollywood. Los Angeles overhead is its usual flawless blue, as if some cosmetic sky surgeon has removed all clouds and creases of grey. Palm Trees stretch upward, begging for rain. But no rain will come. We will all remain dry here. Star after star after star will stay pink and dry on The Boulevard…
That’s Hollywood Boulevard, to those of you who have not lived through it. We – the survivors – haughtily refer to her as ‘The Boulevard’ as if there were no other street in the world.
Where is he? Look at this crowd . . . I know what he’d say about them too. He’d say “How can there be so many goddamm beautiful women in this town? Why do they come here? Why do they wanna get famous? Don’t they realize how long they’re gonna last in Hollywood? They’ll last ‘til eleven o’clock in the morning because there is another bus arriving full of beautiful women to replace them . . . goddamm primadonnas; they don’t know how to play the game.”
It’s almost two o’clock in the afternoon. I am in the shade, dressed in black, covered up. The others are stripping off, jumping into the pool as, on the loud speakers, Peaches tells us to ‘Fuck the Pain Away.’ At the next table sits a peroxide blonde in less than a bikini. She is starvation thin save for her huge, unmoving breasts. On her lap sits a tiny pink poodle. In her mind . . . She’s Jayne Mansfield.
Fifteen years have passed by for me now where the fuck is he? I read somewhere that leaving Los Angeles is like giving up heroin and as I sit here, trying not to stare too hard at Jayne, I can feel the junk slowly creeping back into my veins. Oh please, please, god of Lost Angels, please don’t let it get me again.
I got to Hollywood on June 1st, 1994. Marilyn Monroe would have been sixty eight – had she survived – on that day. I was saddened to find her star outside the entrance to McDonald’s. He walked over Marilyn every day for twenty years, en route to buy a cheeseburger, the only food he could afford to eat. I got to Hollywood with a plane ticket paid for with stolen money. I had a small bag of clothes, a portfolio and a demo tape of one song I had recorded. I had three hundred American dollars in cash. I had never been to America before. On June 3rd, 1994, I wrote in my diary:
Hollywood Boulevard: worst disappointment of my life. Only the homeless and the hopeless are on Hollywood Boulevard. Great expectations smashed to smithereens. Marilyn’s star is outside McDonald’s. I am at a motel. I know . . . I must not spend money but I need a place to cry. I am five thousand miles away from home. Nobody knows where I am. I’m gonna lay down on this bed to die.
Maybe I did die; right there at the La Brea Motel. Maybe I was killed by one of the gunshots I heard as I descended from that long day’s journey into night. There were women screaming outside my room, loud American women screaming at loud American men and maybe one of those women was me. Whether I died or was still alive when I opened my eyes seems of little importance now. It was daylight and I awoke . . . different.
There was a Bible on the desk beside a Yellow Pages. I a curious section called Casting Directors and set a bold finger down at random. It said:
Gilson’s Casting. 7060 Hollywood Boulevard. 213-466-2181.
“Hello,” I said, “I’m from England, I just arrived here and I was wondering if I might make an appointment to come and talk to you about acting.”
“Where are you honey?”
“I’m at the La Brea Motel.”
“Honey you can spit at me from there! Come on over… I’m on the ninth floor.”
That first phone call set in rollercoaster motion a trip that took me down, way down, for six strange years through The Dark Side of Tinsel Town.
But this story is not about me…
raw footage VIDEO HERE: https://vimeo.com/manage/244299548/general
AUDIO READING HERE: https://vimeo.com/manage/252931815/general