Time to Settle Accounts
February 5, 2012: Acting.
As we limped happily down Hollywood Blvd. toward our friend’s hotel after a night of fervent dancing, I admired the scene. The temperature was in the mid-50s after a sunny 65; this was a people enlightened by their weather instead of denigrated by it. Even the homeless smiled at night, lacking Chicago’s desperation. Young men sat on the curb in dirty clothes with backpacks and guitars and signs that said NEED $$$ FOR WEED. Police cars were prevalent but not invasive on a personal level. Their presence was felt mostly by drivers as cops parked police cars the long way across one lane of Hollywood for about two blocks, transforming the drag into a one-way strip.
We were walking in a group of 12 or so, staggered for a block, with me, MJ, Train, and their friend Kelly the Sparkplug at the back. In a pizza shop to our left, six men in their 20s stared menacingly at each other.
“Hey, fight in the pizza shop,” Mike said.
A half second later, the punches were flying. The staff looked more stunned than frightened. One of the six looked as if he would fight, but then grabbed his slice from the table and hustled out. As he left, we heard the bullhorns from the parked police cars.
“PEOPLE IN THE PIZZA SHOP. PLEASE LEAVE THERE.
“WE REALLY DON’T WANT TO GET OUT AND COME IN. PLEASE LEAVE ON YOUR OWN.
“YOU DON’T WANT TO BE A GUY IN THE BACK OF OUR CAR, LIKE THIS GUY.
“THE PIZZA THERE’S NOT EVEN THAT GOOD. PLEASE LEAVE.”
To my amazement, this line of directives ended the fight. The men stopped punching each other and marched out of the pizza shop single file, splitting into a few small groups and walking their separate ways to their own cars.
Up ahead as we crossed the intersection, the parked police announced to some pedestrians:
“YOU ALL LOOK GREAT TONIGHT.”
“What a weird little town,” I said.
NEXT: The laundromat. (2.6.12)
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