by Marina Lohova
911. What’s your emergency?
Im uh..im failing at life.
It stinks! It stank. even after midnight. Even at 5am in the morning when the traffic died out. It stank after Santa Ana winds and rain in December. 101 Hollywood Fwy stank like cancer and no Elon fleet could ever possibly alleviate the crazy shitty stank of car exhaust. It came from Amazon Prime trucks crawling up north like flies on the sticky paper — making their sad pointless journey past the huge mountain of shit deep into San Fernando Valley en route to San Francisco. It came from the shabby vans that failed smog check, got recruciated, got their papers faked at some seedy third cousin auto shop and now carried simple working LA folk home from their jobs in DTLA, driven by the individuals with dirty peeled hands and wind abrased facial skin their eyes so deep you could think you saw something in there other than constant need to survive and escape danger, to feed their families, to cuddle up to their matriarchy wives in the family bed and visit church to pray to Jesus to please let them survive, the real people of LA.
Are you in an immediate danger?
She jerked forward a little too soon attempting to roll up the windows and screamed in pain from the old shoulder injury — but it was too late. She felt the toxic seeping inside her body like a harmful enemy troops — stinky Nazi troops — through the cracks in her skin, her nostrils, the slits of her mouth corners, the watery corner of her red eyes. It slipped in like sand particles and there’s nothing could be done to decontaminate the fragile temple of her body from 101 smog.
She was not wrong. Entire Los Angeles stank like a crazy butthole. fact. Under constant strain of smog that dried morning dew before the little girl had a chance to smell the roses on her way to school. It was a complete vapid shithole and she felt like she could not spend another microsecond in here breathing in among other things — the shallow, the vapid and the ego.
Stopped at an intersection of Sunset and Vine, she got waved down by four guys in a rental. Trap blasting from their tic tac-sized Nissan, youthful cheerful clean shaven smug faces looked at her calculatingly. She knew she looked hot. They couldn’t possibly have guessed how much older she was.
— Where are you drifting to?
She shook her head, unwilling to talk. Their brain was still developing comparing to the layers of life experience she has already acquired. She had no interest.
— You know any clubs open? they went on. We got jib.
The driver’s buddy, all happy and cheerful, like a new puppy, lifted up the plastic baggie demonstrating the goods.
Light has turned green. she remembered a hole in the wall just a few blocks away. Once parties there were hosted by the infamous Boulet brothers it was a delightful mix of S&M hollyweird and underground scene and all folks that did not fit in in the best sense of the word. From the recent news the joint has completely turned around and was now a typical Hollywood hip hop place with Kim Kardashian-ized mamasitas running gamut and everyone sort of looking identical in the cheesy offical Instagram account — a Kylie Jenner filler army take over.
— Dragonfly on Santa Monica blvd
— Wanna come with us?
— I can’t. I’m meeting a friend.
Her old buddy used to live around the corner. That was 10 years ago, but she didn’t bat an eye lying to these 4 youngins.
— Ok, yes, she finally agreed, Sure, and followed the trail of weed fumes behind the silver nissan to Dragonfly.
The bartender slid five shots across the counter. She bottomed up hers and looked around. There was another reason she picked this place. And her reason had very handsome male face to it. That one Halloween when he put a whole jar of red paint on his face — aka Devil — and she had her mouth and entire lower half of her face covered in solid red smudges in every photo of her that night — from making up in the patio away from everyone’s eyes. It was their spot for years. That being said, she looked over the shoulder, and she immediately saw him. Surprise surprise. He sat head down in the ring of disco light at the far corner of the bar. Lonely. Older. Sad. Or so it seemed. She felt the warmth pouring over her like always.
She perched on a stool next to him.
— Whisky sour? The bartender placed the cool glass of poison and ice on the counter and disappeared.
— How did you know? She laughed.
A brunette appeared by his side. She was athletic. She was strong, tan, and probably fucked. Her face older, but her body was ripped. She was a fantastic choice for his taste. She grabbed her drink. “Karen”, she introduced herself. “Melissa”. “I’m heading to the potty” said Karen. She started walking away sort of half looking back. Her dress was so short it was damn near showing her glutes.
She noted his crazy fixated stare and dilated pupils.
— I’m bringing Karen home tonight .— He sensed her question before she even had a chance to ask it, — Wife is excited.
Adrenaline rush. Dirty club bathroom. Snorting lines of coke off Ms. Muscular Tits tits. Washing it down with bourbon on the rocks. Line of boozy chatty people outside knocking on the bathroom door getting impatient to get in. Sweaty triple play in the marital bed. Chocolate chip pancakes in the morning. Conflicting emotions of inclusion and anguish all day. All of this she knew in great detail except ever since she walked away she started to quickly forget. But now she remembered why they can never be together even though she was still insanely attracted to his charisma, weird mix of insane manliness and fragile vulnerability. They were the same in so many ways, and unfortunately, they both ‘ve been fucked in the ways that made them completely and forever incompatible.
— So that’s why are you here?
— Look, I don’t need your judgement. I’m happy. She’s happy. Everyone’s happy.
— Fucking junkie. You are gonna OD’ and not wake up tomorrow. She said, biting her lip so hard tears of resentment burst from her eyes.
— Nah, you are a crazy one. He turned away slightly as in disgust. — Harmful 5g waves. Magnetic fields. Cancer…You drove me nuts after you drove yourself nuts. Freeway exhaust causes lymphoma. Jet fuel falls on your head. Cell tower radiation seeps into the groundwater. You can’t go the beach because the water is laced with DIT. You can’t sleep at night because the house is too close to the major road. Too close to freeway. Too close to airport. You sleep in a face mask because of cancerogenic fumes. You scrub your fucking hands for 10 minutes in the bathroom till the skin starts bubbling up.
Then why are the houses cheaper near the freeway? She screamed
Cause people die earlier there!
She stormed out.
Zebra print key. Broken door knob. Silence. Darkness. At only 1am their entire place was asleep already. She changed into her pajamas and took a hot shower, then washed her hands really well under the warm stream of water. And once again — just to be sure. Having cleaned herself up, she slipped under the covers in between Shaun and Corey. It was so hot in Silver Lake, but the comforter would’ve always been winter heavyweight per Andrea’s demand. Corey made an unhappy noise.
—You poking me with your granny PJ’s.
— It’s organic washed cotton, like you guys wanted.
— Look, if you are not ready to do the whole naked thing and be a part of a community and share our community marital bed with me Corey and everyone else, quote unquote “love, live, share” you probably should not be a part of a sex colony.
— I never said that. I just don’t wanna be lonely? Want a human connection? Want a kid, maybe? A simple comfortable lifestyle, I think? A very boring middle-aged partner to cook ramen noodle from Asian foods aisle together? Dang you, LA dating scene! Dang you, sex colony, and food colony that kept messing up their orders all week now, and anything with a “colony” in it, too!
— she trailed off.
Andrea let out a loud snore and rolled over.
I’ll just keep on driving