Friday, July 06, 2018

Blind Item #17 - Elegant Degradation – A Himmmm Blind Item Story – Part 10

I explained some details to the Albanians, such as how certain lawyers handle certain things.  The man I was going to contact was a very special lawyer like that, and he did not work in a courtroom.  The more I explained the more they understood what a "fixer" was – and why we…like they too I'm sure…need to speak in certain codes.  They understood this as well.  Finally, I informed them that if they wanted to see one dollar, they must do everything exactly as dictated by the lawyer.  If they wished to spend a dime of it, they likewise must never attempt to contact me, my family, or…my friends.  Ever.  Including Doc.  I said it loudly, for all to hear, and for a specific reason.  Everyone agreed.

"Yeah?", said the lawyer answering the phone.  I took a deep breath and spoke into the receiver: "Sorry K, it's me.  I need an…an abortion.  You see we -".  He cut me off instantly.  "Stop kid, stop.  All I need to know is this: Can you travel? What time? What's the amount for the abortion?"  The Albanian boss looked puzzled as we shared the receiver in the motel room.  "Yes, I can travel.  Yes, two hours…and yes, the abortion costs uh…$25,000 in cash."  The Albanian nodded.  "Fine kid, fine.  See you in my firm's driveway in two hours." Click.

I explained to everyone that we all must now travel to the parking lot of a Century City law firm.  In two hours a limousine will pull up and drop the cash to me and I will pay everyone.  As Doc (obviously) knew the Albanians' residence, there's no profit motive in them hurting the kidnap victim.  Likewise, Mr. Mountain & Truck were known.  With two hours to get to Century City from Burbank – no fear of us going to the law.  Just to be sure, Duke agreed to ride with Albanians and Ben with the other two.  Jess and Doc with me in my car.  We traveled in line to be sure.

A CENTURY CITY LAW FIRM – LOS ANGELES, CA

Arriving in the parking lot of the law firm, it was strangely quiet that evening.  The front lot adjacent to the parking garage was empty, and we all pulled in.  Almost on cue – so did a black limo.  I walked over to the window, and it was an elderly man who had been like an Uncle to me all my life.  He asked one question: "Friends of the family?".  I shook my head, "No – more consonants than vowels." He nodded, and handed me a folder.  He exited the ride – his back to the waiting cars the entire time.  He walked into the lobby of the firm and disappeared.

The waiting limo sat and idled, waiting to transport my friend home for me.  I walked to the waiting cars, as my friends emerged.  The drug dealers in each car got paid.  We exchanged assurances again, and I shook hands with the men to whom I gave the money.  Heading different directions through the city, they drove off as fast as we wished them to disappear.  Ben asked:"You sure they'll let her go?", as I shrugged.  Duke said it happened sometimes in the music business – dealers wanna get paid.  It's not like a hostage/torture thing, but more of the "victim" being inconveniently detained.  They watch a movie or something, til the payment then they go free.

He said:"But if no money comes? That's when it could get ugly. Otherwise, everybody goes home without much fuss. Only in L.A."  I told him it was still a total dick move to put somebody through.  Not only for his family – but for the price I'd hoped it wouldn't cost me with Gillian later.  Then again, those of us without sin should just shut the hell up I guess.  I told Duke he can drive; and for Jess and Ben to hop in my car.  I wanted to talk to Doc before I had the car take him home.

Jess gave Doc a pitiful hug; and even big Duke shook hands with the guy who only the night before he was ready to beat up himself.  Ben said it would all make for a hell of a movie one day – but nobody would probably ever believe it really happened.  Doc told him that indeed, he predicted that Ben would make a movie out of it someday and win all the awards, ever.  (Funny enough, I've seen parts of that prophecy come to fruition).  I told my friends to wait in the car for me.

Sitting there on the curb alone, staring into a purple sunset sky, was my friend Doc.

"Helluva birthday, huh?", he asked awkwardly.  We both just stared into the sky in a brief silence.  "Yeah…helluva birthday", I said.  "Guess you'll never speak to me again, huh?", he asked.  "Of course I will. You owe me money", I replied.

We both began to laugh.  That kind of gallows laughter that only comes at the end of a nightmare.  "I really am sorry", he said – and he meant it.  In all the years we'd known each other I saw for the first time that he was reaching out to me for help.  Not just to save his life, but those around him who loved him.

The limo driver opened the car door for him.  Doc smiled at me: "You know, it's still early.  We could hit a few bars, a few clubs…I know this sexy crazy actress we can meet at the Formosa…"

"GO HOME!", I said with a laugh.  I hugged him, and told him goodbye – his laugh echoing in my head.  I wrote a drop off address on paper and handed it to the driver.  "Straight here, no matter what he says.  Period."  The driver nodded at me, and my friend rolled down the window: "Hey listen! It's that Jakob Dylan song you guys were all talking about from last night!", as he began to mimic the words:

"Come on try a little,

nothing is forever;

There's got to be something better than,

In the middle…"

As my friend waved goodbye with those eerily haunting words ringing in my head.  I knew it would not be the last time I'd ever see him.  This one I knew.  For a fact.

We made a promise in that parking lot, sitting together there on that curb.  We promised that no matter what ever happened in this lifetime, that we'd be there for the other.  That we'd save each other and that there would never be any judgment or back-turning from the other.  It has been the most painful, difficult, and often-impossible promise any two friends could ever make to the other.  Because doing what is best for someone is not the same as letting them do what they wish.  It's a lesson I've learned over and over again when I wish I'd been able to save brothers who just "want to be left alone".  Fortunately, I never left Doc alone.

He never left me alone either.  He saved my life as many – or more – times than I saved his.  Sometimes we do get to live long enough to see that ending turn out happy.  All it takes is the will to change; the right friend; the right love; and the strength to see the sun rise just one more day.  It took many more nightmares, fights, debts, and near-deaths before he realized I was not going to give up.  That I was not going to turn my back on him.  That I was not going to "leave him alone", or let him down.  He could hate himself and lie to himself all he wished – but I loved my friend, my brother.  When it finally…many, many years later began to occur to him that I wasn't ever going to abandon him?  He asked me about "that birthday night".

"What about it?", I replied.

"When you sent me home…afterward. The limo driver? Did you do it on purpose or was it an accident?", he asked.  Just as he's asked many times since.  Each time - I just smile.  It may be the only question he's ever asked me which I've never answered. I always change the subject. Sometimes we can call it fate, God, the universe…or a friend who knows the difference between bull-shitting yourself…and bull-shitting him.  All that is really important is that friends will do anything for each other, even when it is painful.

Just like that night when the car reached it's destination:

At 8PM that Tuesday, 16 of July 1996. MALIBU, CA.

THE END ?

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