Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Two Muses

Okay, I've been remiss about blogging lately, as I've been too busy, and I've been getting acclimated to a new way of life. In other words, I have been lacking inspiration. That all changed this week when I was driving to the gym, and I saw an Asian little person gleefully strolling the sidewalk off Hyperion. I'm assuming "little person" is the politically correct term these days; however, I don't know if it is the term to use when referring to both dwarfs and midgets or just dwarfs or just midgets. Please no nasty emails telling me that I am prejudice. I have nothing against little people, since I'm not far from being one myself. Anyway, with her Louise Brooks haircut and her Shirley Temple dress that ended just below her thighs, the wrinkles on her older face increased when she smiled and waved to the cars passing by. Why I became so excited and happy at the sight of this sweet little person is beyond me. Though I must say that I think it had to do with her outfit. To see a grown person, little or not, have no shame and only total comfort about wearing little girl clothes was enough to make me laugh and set my imagination running. I was moving too fast to look to see anything below the knees, but in my mind and to emulate James Frey, I am certain that she was wearing Mary Jane shoes with Bobby socks. And I am certain that she started and stopped a game of hopscotch, deciding instead to capture the attention of the boys down the street who were shooting craps by doing an impromptu tap dance routine.

Two days later, and sick with a cold, I walked to the 99 cent store to buy bottled water. Yes, I have really changed my life, and the 99 cent store has replaced Target and all other "high-end" discount stores. You do what you have to do to make life work and money last. While I thought living in a place with no central air, only a window unit, and having to go to a laundromat to wash and dry my clothes was a bit of a sacrifice, it was nothing compared to giving up Target. Sneezing and coughing, I stood in the checkout line. In front of me, in a deep voice, the woman said, "I want a bag of ice, too." With a little more inspection, I noticed that the attractive Hispanic woman who was wearing a black pantsuit and a wig, perfectly-styled in an homage to Jaclyn Smith's hairstyle, the same hairstyle that Jaclyn has had for the last 30 years or more, was more likely than not born a man. Slowly, the young male cashier checked out her purchases: a loaf of white bread, a squeeze bottle of mayonnaise and a pack of bologna. I watched as the woman handed over the $5 bill to the cashier. I thought to myself how smart it was to be able to buy food for a week, plus a bag of ice, for $5. As the woman left the checkout counter, she walked over to the ice bin and began digging for a bag of ice. The young male said to me, "$5.45." I coughed a few times, as I took the grocery bags that he handed me and headed out the door. Once I was home, I began to unload the bags. Holding the pack of bologna in my hand, I laughed, which was quickly followed by a sneezing attack. Then I immediately felt sad, concocting a story that the poor woman was spending all her money on hormones to complete her sex change and had little to no money for food. And there I stood with the only thing that was keeping her from starvation. What was I to do except take the bologna, loaf of bread and squeeze bottle of mayonnaise and walk my sick tail back to the 99 cent store. Creeping down the street, the sun baking the flowing mucous in my nose, making it thicker, I thought of how the poor woman probably had to buy hormones off the street, dodging bullets and having to sucker-punch random attackers, in order to become the person she was supposed to be. Back in the store, I said to the cashier, "I think you accidentally gave me that lady's bag." He nodded and smiled, "She's still cussing out the manager back there." As soon as he announced over the loudspeaker, "I need the manager up front," I ran out of the store. I was too sick to have a transsexual kick my ass in the 99 cent store. Hurrying up the street, I had visions of her doing those slow-motion, fly-though-the-air kung fu moves from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," crashing through the store window, knocking me to the ground, shouting, "Bitch, nobody takes Mama's bologna!"

How lucky I am to have found not one but two muses. I've spent many hours thinking about these two ladies, creating all sorts of scenarios and stories. Some writers get inspired by sex, booze, drugs or travel. All I needed was a little person and a transsexual.


  1. Oh yes. This is what I'm talking about. You have painted some very vivid word pictures. I will carry them with me into my day. I will be on the look-out for my own inspiration today. Feel better.

  2. Maybe you were having an out of body experience and were really in New Orleans! That little person sounds like she would be right at home in the French Quarter. For that matter, so does the Big Bologna, as I'm going to call he/she.

    Just remember, I love you more than my luggage; what separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize; and finally, you are too twisted for color tv (thank god!).

    I miss you and hope that LA is everything you dreamed of, even if you have to shift your dream to the 99 cent store. Target will still be there when you're back in the tall green again.

    Take care! Kirsten

  3. What a delight to read your words, Jerry Lee. You are such a vivid craftsman, and Kristen is a marvelous match. I wish we four were back in the French Quarter sharing that magical trip! Shallow old me just marvels at the two of you and at your combined talents. Love you both most dearly, Milam

  4. Confession: I am self-diagnosed with A.D.D. Of course it might be my convenient excuse to never finish reading long emails or long blog posts, but alas, my A.D.D. left me as I read your writings. You are pure magic. "Irreverently fresh" is how I'd describe your burgers, baby.