I’ve had to relocate to Los Angeles to do this Doors gig. The producers found me an apartment in North Hollywood, not far from the editing room. I’ve learned that North Hollywood is called Noho. It is named after Soho, the artist district south of Houston Street in New York City.
I guess they either thought I was an artist or I would prefer living in an area where members of that species existed. The complex I live in now is called simply The Loftes. They are not real lofts, like in New York, but newly built apartments with ceilings a foot higher than normal which I can only assume to Californian architects seems particularly cutting edge.
The Loftes are very nice. They surround a large pool and a jacuzzi that is a little sticky sometimes but very hot. I haven’t seen too many “artists” but the people who live here are friendly. The median age is about 18. The pool is a central meeting place and the jacuzzi is very popular, particularly after 11pm when it is officially closed. At times I feel like I’m in a strange dream where I’ve somehow ended up back in college.
One cold night, after a long day in the editing room, I went down to the jacuzzi. A bunch of people were already in it, laughing and sipping mai tai’s. I was instantly offered a drink by a young guy wearing sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap. His name was Donny. His girlfriend’s name was Doni. I’m not really much for small talk but I ended spending 45 minutes in the tub and greatly enjoying it.
The next morning I was woken by a woman’s voice at 6:15. It was coming from the pool and was so loud it penetrated both the closed windows and my new set of earplugs. I staggered out of bed and looked out the window. A somewhat heavy-set young woman was standing by the jacuzzi. She dangled one flip-flop in the water while she bleated into her cellphone, “Yeah, she’s a really, really, really pretty, pretty girl. Don’t you think?!!”
I opened the window and said, “Please be quiet.” Actually, I think I said, “Shut the fuck up.” Actually, I probably screamed it because I still had my earplugs in.
She didn’t even look up. She didn’t even stop talking. She just fished her flip-flop out of the water and slowly ambled off.
It kind of gave me the jitters. Her utter obliviousness made me feel the whole world was going to shit. Tuesday night didn’t help. At 11:30 a party erupted on the balcony directly across from me. I closed the windows, twisted in another set of earplugs and strained for sleep.
These were some very happy people. At 12:30 I couldn’t take it any more. Again I opened my window and yelled, “Hey, keep it down!!”
Before the last word had left my mouth a guy leapt up onto the balcony railing and screeched, “Alright, bitch!! Come on, faggot!! Down by the pool!! Let’s do it!! I’mona kick your fuckin’ ass!!”
Well, I didn’t meet my neighbor down by the pool even though I did hear him down there kicking all the lounge chairs into the jacuzzi. I took a pill and drifted off, expecting at any moment for a paving stone to come crashing through my window.
The next morning I went down to the management office and explained that perhaps I’d be better off in a more remotely located lofte unit. I moved that afternoon. Now I live down the hall in an identical lofte though this one does not overlook the pool but instead a very nice parking lot and a 150 foot wall painted a grayish pink evoking a huge expanse of bologna.
My first night in the new place was very quiet. I woke up refreshed and found a notice from the management office slipped under the door. It said;
“While we care about you, your safety at The Loftes is not our concern. The recent armed robbery in the parking garage should serve only as a reminder that it is the responsibility of all tenants to secure their own security.”
The door to my new unit suddenly seemed much thinner than the old one.
Saturday was blistering hot so I went down to the pool. The dense cluster of people bobbing in the water on brightly colored inner tubes evoked a Club Med or a motel in Ft. Lauderdale during spring break.
Donny saw me and waved me over. “Hey, dude! C’mon in. Wanna rum’n coke?”
It was just a little before noon so I passed but I did jump in and meet a whole new bunch of my neighbors. Donny asked how The Doors film was coming and then we all discussed the armed robbery for about an hour. I told Donny I’d moved apartments.
“The noise. Didn’t you hear that party on Tuesday?”
“Yeah!” Donny cried, with a sharp laugh. “We were there! Oh, shit; man. Was that you who yelled? I knew it was you, Tom!”
Donny splashed closer and told me the whole story. It appeared Tregor, the guy who’d bugged out, really was going to come down and kill me. And he would have if Donny hadn’t grabbed him with both arms and held him down on the floor with all his might.
“He’s a whack-job!” Donny laughed. “He’s got a fuckin samurai sword in that apartment; sharp as fuckin shit! Hey, Doni! Didn’t I tell you it was Tom who yelled?!”
Doni nodded and smiled, her lips pursed around her turquoise cocktail straw.
“You didn’t tell him my name, did you?” I asked with a grim smile.
“Fuck, no, bro! Come on, what do you take me for? Hey, wanna rum’n coke?”
I suddenly realized Donny was one of the best neighbors I’ve ever had in my life. I took the rum’n coke.