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  1. Venice

    I got the job offer and asked for a week to clean up my business. They gave me four days. This was late in June of 1987 and it was the massage job at Ballys in Las Vegas. I really didn't have much to do to tie things up in LA. On the last day I packed my clothes and papers in the Dodge and went to Venice to kill the afternoon before I left at midnight.
    I preferred to make the drive at night because of less traffic, and its cooler. It's a five or six hour drive, depending on how much time you waste.
    I was living at my uncle’s place in Torrance. I liked the South Bay beaches, Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan Beach. There was also Santa Monica Pier, but the pier didn't appeal to me.
    I liked Venice for the carnival atmosphere. It is a tourist magnet. On weekends there are entertainment hustles, like chain saw juggling, buskers, guys that make balloon animals, comedy stuff…
    Venice also appealed to me because it gave me a melancholy feeling of sixties nostalgia. I would see these old hippies, homeless guys, around there. Like a small colony of them. I used to wonder what happened to these guys. They blew their minds, maybe; too much acid?
    I drove to the far end of the strand where it is all houses. There is a street there with bars, surf shops, restaurants, and convenience stores. I park. I drove a blue, two door, 1971 Dodge Polara. I pump the meter and as I'm walking by an alley behind the strand I see a bearded old man leaning up against the back wall of a bar. He could have been sleeping but he's dead. A female cop is standing over him. The area is cordoned off with saw horses and the yellow caution tape.
    I'm walking down the strand to the commercial section and naturally I'm thinking about the dead guy. He seemed obviously homeless. I mean he is overdressed for the time of year. These guys wear everything they own. His body showed no apparent trauma.

    I get down to the interesting part of the strand. There is the gym, the muscle beach stuff. The cage and so on. There are tennis courts and kiosks selling the usual crap; tee shirts and watches. There are some bars. I go in a bar and walk through. There is a large patio out back and a duck pond with a duck in it. I enjoy a drink. Morrison played this bar in the sixties. It was torn down shortly after the day I drank there.
    There are tattoo shops and years later, in 2000, I would get a tattoo on Venice. I was into collecting by location; Venice, Hollywood Blvd, Sunset, North Hollywood, Encino.
    There is a Messianic Church on the strand. I never went in. I have been to other Messianic Churches. A Messianic Church is Jews figure the Messiah was Jesus. It's him. He's the one. They ain't waiting. He came already. They call him Yeshiva.
    Anyway, I killed the afternoon. It was a weekday so Venice was not too active. I had the drink and something to eat. I was feeling good. I was anticipating. I'm starting a new life there in Vegas. So I had an open heart.
    I walked back to my car and the body was still there, leaned up against the bar. I was wondering if the guy had been murdered; the body, the cop. It sticks in my memory. Nice day; unknown possibilities. Dead body.

    Comment by Jesse Kaellis — October 29, 2013 @ 7:25 PM

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