In the beginning it was rather nice. We were into all of the same books, the same movies, liked the same restaurants. We’d take turns going to work or cleaning the house. And he was always brutally honest about what that shirt looked like on me.
But then things changed.
The year was 1985. The Cola Wars were dying down as the Cold War was flaring up. Michael Jackson and Madonna ruled the airwaves and everyone was asking: “Where’s the beef?”
I was six years old, sitting down in front of the television to watch cartoons and draw monsters. And probably eating something made with peanut butter. But what was this? A videocassette was in the VCR. The sticker on it said “New Release.” Already a movie junkie at such a tender young age, I pressed play.
The film, of course, was DEBBIE DOES DALLAS.
Oh. Woops. That’s actually a different story.
No, the movie I popped in that day was Tom Holland’s horror comedy FRIGHT NIGHT.
As a writer, I’m often drawn to horror. Not exclusively, perhaps not even most of the time, but often enough. I grew up on horror films and ghost stories. One of the first “grown-up” books I read was `Salem’s Lot. I was probably eight at the time. Even now, on a dark and stormy night, I can conjure up the fear I felt reading about Ralphie Glick’s cold corpse scratching on his brother’s window and whispering, “Danny, let me in.”
Even when I work in comedy or drama or that non-genre that tweed jacket wearing types call simply “literature,” I always come back to horror. It’s in my blood, you could say.
I remember watching the Los Angeles Riots in the early nineties. As a kid in East Tennessee, it might as well have been footage from Mars. I’d never seen anything even remotely resembling the bubbling anger and resentment that poured into the streets and erupted in fire. Years later, I’d see old footage of the Watts riot. I’d see news coverage of protesters in Egypt and Libya march for freedom on their capitals. I’d see people buckling under oppression and refusing to take it anymore.
Now those were some riots.
But these kids today…
Wednesday night there was supposed to be a concert in Hollywood. DJ Kaskade was supposed to show. Thousands of teenagers turned out only to find that the show had been cancelled.
And they rioted.
In honor of Carmageddon and the closing of the 405, I’ve dug out an old story. This was originally published in CHIMERAWORLD 4 in 2006. While I’d had a few magazine articles published and some short films made before this, “405” is the first piece of fiction I’d ever sold. While I’d like to think I’ve become a much better writer since then, I still think this story is fun and sums up how most of us feel when stuck in gridlock traffic.
And for a real horror story on the Los Angeles freeway system, read about the time a lunatic pulled a pistol on me in traffic: LOS ANGELES AND ROAD RAGE ARE LIKE PB&J.
Here’s the story. Hope you enjoy!
Anyone interested in unconventional diet and exercise advise (or who is in the Los Angeles area and looking for an effective, fun, and challenging workout) should head over to THE LUDUS. I just posted an article there on fat loss titled SCREW CONVENTIONAL WISDOM. Enjoy!
There’s also two additional articles answering a reader email: