June 23, 2013
Source: Marco Walker
Tracey railed against his “lack of awareness,” even setting him right on the symbolism of the color orange, which represents strength and lucidity for Buddhists. Anyhow, it’s not orange, it’s saffron. The Thai sangha chose it, in fact, to stand out better. It’s not always orange, anyway. In Japan it’s black and…and…
You get the picture. As it turned out, the DL outwitted the local forecasters with an unpredictable move. He decided against crossing town in a motorcade and instead chose the mass-transit option. He took the subway from downtown to Burbank. Upon arrival, he chatted amiably with a vendor who sells hot dogs to Universal Studios day-trippers. Tracey was inconsolable.
On the other hand, I”ve been busy dealing with a property deal gone sour. I should have known; it was doomed to begin with. This isn”t easy, but I”m going to try to explain. Look back a few years. Imagine the time before the writer’s strike of 2007-08. It was a good time, when the fruit was hanging low and the trade in intellectual-property rights was brisk. A time screenwriters were awarded hefty advances, a time the imagination market was bullish.
I was standing on the beach in Rosarito, Mexico, a wayside town lying between Tijuana and Ensenada, going south along the Pacific Coast in Baja California Norte. I was staying at the Hotel California, a cliff-top Wuthering Heights situated at KM32 on Highway 1 from T-J, the only highway on the nearly 1,000-mile peninsula.
A dozen sorry-looking horses were tied to a corral on the deserted beach. No customers that time of year. The resort town was not picturesque in season. Out of season it gained nostalgia for something it never had.
I walked past the horses toward a forsaken pier. Several open-air nightclubs stood empty on the beach. You could imagine them heaving with youth in Spring Break; in that season they resembled an abandoned, broken-down fairground.
I”d driven south from LA, running from a bout of screenwriter fatigue. I needed to get some Mexican air, to smell seaweed and ocean spray on the winter breeze. I stopped at the water’s edge when a nearby voice interrupted my thoughts.
A cholo dude, early 30s, dressed slick in the CaliMex style, is talking on a flashing cellphone. He looks at me. I look at him. Say hello to Armando Rhon.
“What’s a guy like you doing in a rat hole like this?” he asks me.
I hesitate. “Considering some ocean real estate,” I reply. He contemplates my meaning with a twinkle in his eye. I ask him in return: “What’s a guy like you doing in a place like this?”
“That’s easy,” he retorts. “The city [T-J] is a fucking war zone. Shit’s going down right now. Any day it’s going to slide into the sea. Even the hookers aren”t working. Bodies are being robbed from the morgue by gangsters just to remove the evidence. ¡Bienvenidos a Baja! “
“Thanks for the welcome,” I reply.
“Yeah. So about this real estate,” he comes back. “I guess you”re looking for a getaway place? Maybe an investment? Maybe both?”
And on that fateful word, I must leave you. I hear the gong.
I”m pitching Grazer a remake of a Golan-Globus horror movie called X-Ray. I have the rights due to an unusual series of events and this time I”m producing, not writing. It’s a frame-by-frame remake. Less stress.
In the words of the Dalai Lama:
Man…sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present….