However, twelve years have passed since the original Ballroom Days was published in The Doors Collectors Magazine 1999 Annual, and the last of the "kiss and tells"--Linda Ashcroft's entirely fictional Wild Child, based on Kennealy's heavily fictionalized Strange Days--was published in 1998.
Assuming we've seen the last of the fantasists, it's with only a little trepidation that I've expanded Ballroom Days to include some of my favorite stories about my late friend, true stories I was reluctant to tell earlier for fear they'd be "borrowed" and used to pad the highly fictionalized accounts others persisted in writing.
I've also expanded and/or clarified some of the stories contained in the 1999 print version, although in doing so I've pretty much destroyed what was left of the 27-year-old "voice" of the original. On the other hand, a few months ago I found a copy of the November 1970 Jazz & Pop on eBay, the issue that contains the letter that Started It All in the first place, and in that letter--included as an appendix to BD-- my 26-year-old "voice" is on full (and embarrassing) display.
But I took time from my fantasies of coyotes and bougainvillea to write a letter to Jazz & Pop magazine. It was in response to an article in the September 1970 issue written by one "Chris Reabur"-an anagram, as it turned out, for the name of Elektra Records' East Coast publicity chief, Bruce Harris. The article was a review of The Doors' LP Morrison Hotel, and I thought it was a bit over the top so I said so. I pointed out that Morrison Hotel was a rock 'n' roll record, not the Great American Novel. Said moreover there were four good songs, four that were fair to middlin', and four that were real dogs (in my humble opinion, anyway). Also pointed out there were four men in the band, a fact Mr. "Reabur" had apparently overlooked. It was all in good fun, and I mailed it and forgot about it. I had no clue it was about to change my life.
Within a couple of days I'd had phone calls from Bruce Harris and from Patricia Kennely (as she spelled it then), the editor of Jazz & Pop. They both wanted to know about me, and Patricia said she was about to go down to Miami where Jim Morrison was on trial on a number of charges. She thought he'd get a kick out of my letter and asked my permission to show it to him. Of course I said she could. I suspected he could use a good laugh about then.
She called me when she got back to tell me Jim had enjoyed the letter. We also talked about my upcoming move to Los Angeles-I'd spent a week on the West Coast job hunting while she was in Miami.
She called me a third time to ask my permission to print the letter in Jazz & Pop. In the meantime I'd had another call from Bruce Harris, so I decided it was time to reciprocate what seemed to be overtures of friendship. I suggested to Patricia that the three of us should have lunch sometime. She agreed, although as I recall she said Mr. Harris would be unavailable, or she preferred it just be the two of us. I can't remember which, though I suspect it was the latter.
[I'd known her former boyfriend--freelance rock writer David Walley--for nearly a year by that time so I knew about her affair with Jim Morrison. Walley had told me initially that Jim and Patricia were friends. Then, around the time of the Kent State shootings in early May of 1970, when The Doors were doing shows on the East Coast, he told me Jim and Patricia were about to be more than friends. Perhaps three weeks later he marched into my office and announced, "Well, I'm free...."]
I hadn't expected to like Patricia as much as I did. I was also unprepared for her eagerness to talk immediately about the most intimate aspects of her life--I'd barely sat down when she told me she was pregnant. Because of my acquaintance with the newly-ex-boyfriend my first question, while perhaps not the most diplomatic, was a natural one: "Is it Jim's?" She assured me it was. Not surprisingly, the diaphragm-as-Frisbee story came next. I think I was still looking over the menu.
While I was a little discomfited by her too-much-too-soon revelations, I decided that she simply needed to talk to someone who was an outsider, someone who didn't know her or Jim, but who knew enough about him and the band that she didn't need to waste time on exposition.
I filled the bill perfectly, or assumed I did. I'd told her (and Harris) about my Theatre/English background and what Doors fans most of my crowd at school had been. This was in '68, '69 of course; most of us wore out several copies of The Doors and Strange Days, and I remember a friend of mine-he was an instructor in English-turning up on my doorstep with a prized copy of Waiting For The Sun several days prior to its release. Don't remember how he got his hands on it; a friend at a radio station, I think it was.
On the other hand, when The Doors played Chicago in 1968 not a single super-sophisticated one of us worked up the energy to drive the 120 miles to see them live.
So I assumed I was what Patricia was looking for: a friend who was a fellow music industry professional, even a fan of The Doors, but who had no personal involvement with Jim Morrison and/or his band.
She and I stayed in touch after that first lunch; we continued to meet for the occasional lunch or dinner, and we talked on the telephone several times a week.
I revised my idea of the current state of her relationship with Morrison a couple of times in those first weeks. She didn't have a good word to say about the man, so I assumed at first that their affair was over, that she'd done the breaking off, and was simply venting her disillusionment with a man she'd once loved but had come to see as unworthy of her.
But within a couple of weeks she'd told me a little of what he'd said to her in Miami (I don't remember specifics, just the gist of what she said he'd said) so then I knew he'd done the breaking off and what I was hearing from her was not so much disillusionment as very sour grapes.
Initially too I'd assumed she'd gone to Miami to offer him her love and moral support, and I'd also assumed he'd invited her. She soon made it clear he hadn't invited her and that she'd gone down solely to confront him about her pregnancy. She was self-righteous about that confrontation and seemed to think she'd struck a blow for wronged women everywhere. She had no sympathy for Jim's plight whatsoever despite the fact that he was facing a possible prison term.
She also told me about the handfasting, although I don't remember her using that term. I do remember her using the word "soulmates" but quickly adding (at my politely but skeptically raised eyebrow) that she'd meant it in the sense they were fellow artists. She talked about it as a kind of bonding ceremony that acknowledged her equal artistic stature. She also jeered at him a bit for fainting at the bloodletting, and made it plain that the ceremony was her idea, staged at least partly because of his curiosity about Wiccan ritual and practice. What she didn't make plain was that she had also performed the ceremony herself, although that was certainly implied.
Because she didn't seem to give it much importance, the story stayed in my mind for two reasons only. I remember thinking he was a generous man, since the only Kennely writing I'd seen at that point was nowhere near the Morrison level. Also, I pictured the bloodletting as the kind of "blood brother" ritual I'd seen in a dozen Westerns, and that image stuck.
A few times Patricia mentioned letters and poetry Jim had sent her earlier in the relationship, or rather she chuckled about the by-now ex-boyfriend's indignant reaction to same. She claimed that Jim was thinking of moving to New York after the trial, although it seems to me there was already talk of Paris as well.
All her stories about Jim were in the past, involving her time with him in the early summer. In the six months I knew her she never once talked about a letter or phone call from him more recently than June, even though she seemed to think it was an ongoing relationship, or would be as soon as he got over his pique about her behavior in Miami.
She was also determined to abort the child she was carrying, despite the efforts of at least two of her friends to talk her into having the baby and giving it up for adoption. I was one of those friends, of course. Patricia and I had the same extravagantly romantic Victorian sort of sensibility and I didn't understand how she could even think of aborting the child of a man she loved as much as she loved Jim, no matter what the current state of their relationship might be. Too, Patricia had been raised Catholic and there was the concern she'd do herself real emotional damage if she aborted. Finally, there was fear that Jim might not be around much longer. Jimi Hendrix had died in September and Janis Joplin followed him two weeks later. Everyone knew Jim would be next. It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
By the end of October, when I was ready to make my move to California, Patricia seemed to have come around. I left New York for good on Halloween weekend fully expecting to be one of several assorted godmothers and godfathers to Patricia's child come spring.
I spent a week at home in Illinois, then flew on to Los Angeles on Saturday, November 7th. I had the 747 practically to myself-wide open spaces and privacy already!-and when I plugged in the earphones the first thing I heard was a familiar baritone voice: "Hey Philadelphia...!" I listened to Absolutely Live most of the way to California and thought it was a good omen. I decided it meant I'd made the right move, that things would work out well in Los Angeles.
My crowd had all left Illinois around the same time in the summer of 1969 and most of them had gone straight to Los Angeles, so I already had friends there and was met at LAX by the American Film Institute student, who then drove me to the Westwood apartment of the struggling actor, who was running a kind of halfway house for Illinois ex-pats. I spent the next two months sleeping on his living room floor.
I spent the next day trying to get through to Patricia. She finally answered the phone late Sunday night, and the minute I heard her weak voice I knew she'd had the abortion after all.
I don't remember what we said to each other but I think I was circumspect, at least by my standards, and I wouldn't have told her of the suspicion that had taken firm hold in me: that if she'd aborted it, her child was not--could not have been--Jim Morrison's.
She and I continued to talk on the telephone, and sometime in late November or early December she told me of an 11-page letter she'd written to Jim describing the abortion in graphic detail.
In mid-December she called me to say she was coming to Los Angeles. Since I was still sleeping on Steve's floor she arranged to stay with Diane Gardiner, who lived in the same apartment building as Pamela Courson. Patricia said Diane had told her the coast was clear, Jim hadn't been around for months. (As it turned out, he hadn't been around because he and Pamela had had a couple of flaming rows towards the end of September and as a result Pam had stomped off to Paris for a couple of months.)
Patricia announced her arrival in Los Angeles by storming into The Doors' office and nailing a letter to Jim's desk with a dagger. She was very proud of herself and described how Doors' manager Bill Siddons had "cowered in terror" in a corner. I winced when she told me what she'd done. It was the kind of thing that could have been funny only if done in the right circumstances, which these weren't. It didn't occur to me that she hadn't intended it to be funny.
The morning of her third day in town she called to ask me for a ride to the airport. On the phone she told me she'd spent the night with Jim on Diane's floor. On the way to the airport she told me what else had happened: she'd been at Diane's by herself when someone called for Pamela, who'd just returned from France. Patricia had fetched Pam to take the call, and when Pam was finished, Patricia sat her down and told her about the baby and the abortion. They were in the midst of a heart-to-heart when they heard footsteps outside. With stupendously bad timing--or so I thought at the time--Jim had chosen that moment to appear.
When he saw that Patricia already had Pam in her clutches he'd tried to disappear again, but Pam had gone after him and there were some awkward moments among the three until Diane showed up with some other people and it turned into a party.
Despite her night with Jim--actually because of it--Patricia was miserably depressed. I ached for her as she told me some of the things he'd said to her. Just as he'd done in Miami, he'd made it plain to her once again that they were through. He was gentle, but the message was unmistakable. (For instance, he'd suggested that they should start a "great literary correspondence," which pretty clearly meant "you stay on your coast, baby, and I'll stay on mine.")
Later, Bruce Harris told me Patricia had attempted suicide shortly after she got back to New York. She'd taken pills, at least, but then called people to tell them what she'd done.
In January I moved into my own apartment in West Hollywood, and since it was just a couple of blocks west of Pamela's, Patricia put me up to spying for her. It didn't require much effort on my part so a couple of times a week, driving west on Santa Monica Boulevard from my temporary job in Hollywood, I'd turn north on Havenhurst to Norton, driving west past Pam's apartment before turning south again on Sweetzer, since Norton didn't go all the way through to Flores, the north/south street I lived on. The object was to see if Jim's car was parked out front, and it usually was.
In mid-January I learned Patricia's reason for wanting to keep track of Jim's whereabouts. She called to tell me she was leaving Jazz & Pop to take a job with RCA, but first she thought she'd take three weeks off and come to visit me in LA. I was delighted to have her company but wondered if she thought I was so stupid that I didn't know the real reason she was coming back to Los Angeles.
I picked her up at the airport on January 31st, and what follows is the edited transcript of the journal I started keeping in February, when life suddenly got very lively.
[Several readers of the print version of Ballroom Days were confused by the two "mini-prologues" in BD, one of which follows immediately. In the entry dated 2/2/71, I sum up the events of the previous couple of days in the past tense, then switch to the present tense for the entry dated 2/1/71 in order to narrate the events themselves. I do the same thing later on, in the entries dated 2/22/71 and 2/19/71 respectively. Hope that clears up any confusion.]
She came out Sunday afternoon. I picked her up at the airport and we dropped her stuff off at the apartment, where I persuaded her to change out of her idea of West Coast cowgirl chic--knee-high boots over skintight, laced-up buckskin pants, a tight, laced-up buckskin top cut low to reveal her ample bosoms, and her own waist-length brown hair tucked into a short, curly brown wig--all of it looking like it came from the bargain basement at Alexander's, which it probably did. She seemed to think her outfit was the feminine equivalent of Jim's leathers. I managed to avoid telling her what she really looked like, only said that kind of "high fashion" (cough) didn't work in L.A. and she might want to change to something a bit (cough) simpler.
With Patricia now dressed in Levi's, boots and a fringed leather jacket--and her own long hair--we visited her friend Soozin who was out here for a few weeks, staying in a house just a few blocks south and west from my place, below Santa Monica Blvd.
We drank lots of red wine and ate lots of the rich, buttery chocolate chip cookies Soozin had just made, and since as usual I ate and drank more than a reasonable person would I spent part of the night with my head in the toilet. Today the thought of a glass of wine doesn't faze me, but I'll never look one of those cc cookies in the eye again.
We slept in yesterday after getting home around dawn. Got up around noon, and set off in search of the Lizard King. I was very dubious about this enterprise, but kept my reservations to myself.
My relief is short-lived--he's simply moved a couple of blocks up the street, to the office.
Crossing the parking lot I lose my nerve, say I'll wait in the car. I am not ready for the LK, not in my overhung and sleepless state. I've always thought it would be interesting to meet him, but now I'm not so sure. For one thing, what if we hate each other on sight? From what I've heard he's no more subtle about it than I am when he doesn't like someone, and I'd never be able to listen to the music again.
But of course the chief reason for the wildly clanging mental alarm bells is Patricia herself. I've been playing dumb, but it's clear to me that where he's concerned she's about as welcome as the sheriff. I remember how depressed she was in December, and some of the things she told me he said to her then, even if she doesn't. I have no idea why she's back but I don't want to witness her humiliation or be humiliated myself, and I think they may well slam the door in our faces. But she insists that I come along, and the note of hysteria in her voice tells me just how much she's counting on me being with her. Less than 60 seconds later I find out why:
Ray Manzarek opens the door and the look on his face when he sees Patricia tells me things are even worse than I thought.
Her nervousness is obvious as she tells him she needs to see Jim briefly about interviewing him for The New York Times, the implication being that Jim's already agreed to the interview, they simply have to arrange a time and place.
It's a lie, of course, and a good one, probably the only lie with any chance of getting her past this particular door (and Door) but she took quite a chance by not preparing me for it.
Even so, when an obviously suspicious Ray turns to stare at me I manage to return his stare with a straight face. I can see the wheels turning; he knows there's about a 99% chance she's lying, but he's also mentally cursing Jim for not mentioning it to him if she's not, since a N.Y. Times interview at this point in The Doors' career would be a major coup.
He's also somewhat mollified by my appearance, a redhead who (in the words of David Walley) looks "just like Pamela--no T and no A." After a long, tense moment he turns back to her and snaps "Okay, five minutes.
"Downstairs she goes back to the bathroom-turned-vocal booth to announce us while I swipe a beer and sit down to practice chords on one of Robby's guitars. She comes back, lifts up the tie-dyed fabric that drapes the walls and ceiling, and marks some kind of witch symbol on the wall. Jeez.
Presently he comes ambling out to get a beer and she makes the introduction. I stifle an impulse to laugh: how many stories have I heard, from Josephine, from Patricia and others, about how he's deliberately drinking himself to death? I've been expecting a pathetic, bloated wreck, and here's this clear-eyed, rosy-cheeked, patently healthy and very tall person (he looks to be well over six feet; Patricia says later she thinks he's "6'2" or 6'3"). If that's what drinking oneself to death looks like I'm going to take it up.
He wanders back to the booth and, as I finish my own beer, Patricia asks me if I'd mind leaving. Of course I don't mind, though I'm amused at the continued pretence that she brought me along and introduced me as a favor to me. All along I've suspected that she was afraid to beard the beast in his den without the pretty stranger along to keep things polite, but hadn't realized she'd need the pretty stranger--and her acting ability--to get into the den in the first place. Now she's in and apparently my job is done.
I go back to the car and consider going home but decide against it. I'm not sure she realizes the apartment is within walking distance; for that matter I don't know if she'll be leaving alone or with him, but with my luck I'd no sooner get home than I'd get a tearful call to come and pick up the pieces so I decide to wait there.
An hour later--I kill the time by reading the newspaper--I see his car pull out with two people in it. I assume that means she's talked him into giving her another chance, and maybe I won't have company for the next three weeks after all but at least I'll be able to catch up on my sleep tonight.
When I get back to the apartment, however, Jim's double-parked across the street. I wave and start up the front steps, running smack into Patricia as I do. She's coming back down to tell him I'm not there and she can't get in. (I have got to get that extra key made.)
She goes to say goodbye and I head upstairs to finish my paper. I've barely got settled when there's a knock on the door. I open it to find them both standing there, and my expectations of a quiet evening shot to blazes. Of course there's nothing to eat or drink in the house so I have a good excuse to make myself scarce.
At the Mayfair I go to the pay phone, call Lois to tell her who is seated on my sofa at that very moment. I'm hoping to kill some time with a nice long chat with Lo, but she practically hangs up on me, telling me to get my behind back up there where I belong.
Eventually I do, but not before spending awhile wandering the aisles. I want to give them time alone, and I'm in a bit of a flap. I can't read this situation at all. Am I expected simply to disappear for an hour or two? See a movie or something, so they can have the apartment to themselves? The more I think about it the more pissed off I get. I'm the one who didn't get any sleep last night, and besides he's a wealthy man. If they really want to be alone he can damn well rent a hotel room somewhere.
Finally I cool off enough to buy some apples and Camembert, some of my sweet Rhine wine and a bottle of Zeller Schwartze Katz, recognizing that not everyone shares my predilection for drinking syrup.
Back at the apartment I barge into an atmosphere of sheer misery. Jim is sitting at the far end of the sofa, Patricia at the near end, on the arm. Both are slumped over, staring at the floor. The silence is thunderous--I get the impression neither has said a word to the other in the 45 minutes I've been gone.
Then I make a terrible discovery: I've forgotten to buy glasses, and I have only one. "That's okay," he says a little desperately, "we can drink out of the bottles." Not in my house! I tell him and I'm off again, to the Arrow Market this time since it's marginally closer.
They're actually conversing as I walk through the door again, although pretty impersonally--sounds like they're talking about the weather--and while Patricia is now sitting on the sofa itself instead of the arm, they're still at opposite ends. Even so I'm uncomfortable for a moment, wondering if I've returned for good just as the ice is beginning to thaw, but I go into the kitchen to get the food ready and instantly Patricia joins me, clearly glad of the interruption and something to do.
For a minute no one says anything. Then Jim, still in the living room, politely clears his throat and says I have a really nice view, have I lived here long? I take him the bottle of Katz to open and presently we are chatting away like old friends. Eventually Patricia joins in, and for the next hour or so the three of us blather away as we kill off the first bottle. On the rare occasion there's a lull in the conversation I take the opportunity to ask Jim another from the list of questions I've compiled about my new town and neighborhood, since he's lived here for--what?--about six years now?
When we switch to the Rhine Patricia takes advantage of its sweet bouquet to slip some kind of witch love potion into his glass on the pretext of rinsing it out for the new wine, and we continue to make inroads on the apples and cheese. "No bread?" he asks and I'm embarrassed--in my flap I clean forgot bread. Finally he rises, excuses himself, says he really has to get back to the studio. "Well, ladies, it's been a great evening. Invite me back sometime." I tell him he's invited and next time I'll remember the bread.
He asks for the phone number and while Patricia's bent over the coffee table writing it down for him he turns to stare at me from the doorway. I have no idea what he's trying to convey, if anything. He isn't being flirtatious nor appraising that I can see. It's simply the opaque, inscrutable gaze of a cat, the illusion heightened by his large, slightly almond-shaped eyes and feline face. I return the stare in kind. I've had some experience with cat stares, after all.
Patricia walks him down to the car, and when she comes back I say "Oh, I like him!" and then wait for her to jeer and assure me that's only because I don't know him the way she does. But instead she flabbergasts me by agreeing: "Isn't he great?"
I've known her for six months and this is the first time she's said anything remotely positive about the man, but the glow is dimmed almost immediately as she goes into some kind of witch ritual guaranteed to bind him to her eternally, or some such silliness. I sit watching and wondering how anyone as intelligent as she is can believe in such nonsense, and wondering also how she can be so blind to the obvious: that whatever was between them is, as far as he's concerned, ancient history and a major mistake.
It's a great big place, a barn that goes on forever. The horses seem to be in decent shape. I get a skittish little sorrel called Rose, Patricia a docile dark bay. We giggle at the way they seem to have chosen our horses to match our hair color.
She's a little spooked by the Western gear but I show her how to neck rein and after a couple of semi-successful dry runs we set off for the park.
Or try to. Left on her own she can't get the nag to move. I finally take her reins and pony them through the tunnels. At the edge of the open field that leads into the park she tells me to go ahead, she doesn't want me to hang back on her account.
I give Rose her head and we go roaring across the field and up the first hill, passing a couple of cowboys on the way. I slow Rose to a lope to pass them; don't want to be rude and kick up a lot of dust in their faces, or spook their horses.
We run about half a mile up the trail, then circle back to see how Patricia's doing, finding them plodding along slowly but steadily. She tells me the cowboys stopped to chat and told her I was a "really good" rider. Nice to know I haven't lost it.
The rest of the hour is pretty much the same. I gallop on ahead for a few hundred feet, then circle back and mosey along with Patricia while Rose cools off. Patricia's clearly terrified but doesn't want to go back early. I admire her fortitude but wonder why she misrepresented her experience so much. Looks to me as though she's ridden in a ring a few times at most, and with an instructor close at hand. Maybe she thought that was all there was to it. On the other hand, maybe I'm beginning to see a pattern here.
"You don't DO that!" Diane roars. "You DO NOT sit someone down and say [she adopts a simpering, whiny tone] 'Your old man knocked me up.' What's the matter with you?" etc. etc.
Another unpleasant, embarrassing scene. Just as I did on The Doors' doorstep I'm wishing heartily I were somewhere else. I'm also in total agreement with Diane, and wondering as I did in December just what the hell is the matter with Patricia? Why does she keep pulling this stuff, and expecting people to support her in her lunacy? And does she have so little regard for me that she doesn't care how much humiliation I witness?
I am wondering more and more if she befriended me simply because I was moving to Los Angeles and she needed a friend here who didn't know any of these people--especially Jim and Pam. It's beginning to look as if she's made herself persona non grata not only with Jim but virtually everyone connected with him.
Patricia and I are halfway across the room, screaming, before we're even awake. We cling to the doorjamb while the fellow across the hall does his manly thing and advises us to calm down, hysteria is useless. Wull mebbe so, but it feels pretty good sometimes...
I run back to the windows and look out just as the quake dies away, transformers still exploding, smoke and dust beginning to rise all over the city. I turn on the radio to find that some quick-thinking DJ has put "Sympathy for the Devil" on the turntable before getting the hell out of the building.
Then I put my head down on the windowsill and indulge in a good cry. When that spasm runs its course I call Illinois. Better Mom should hear it from me than CBS. Amazingly enough I get through; apparently I've called soon enough after the quake that some lines are still open. Patricia calls New York and gets through too.
There's a knock on the door; from the look on her face she and I are having the same thought. It's Jim, doing the gallant Southern thing and making sure we're okay. It's the wrong Jim, though: building manager Jim T., checking for damage and to make sure his tenants are all in one piece.
We do as the radio advises and stay in most of the day, going out finally in the late afternoon for groceries. I'm amazed at how normal everything seems. It's obvious Mayfair has had to do a fair amount of cleaning up, but there's not much visible damage anywhere else.
That night we stay with Patricia's friend Soozin and her boyfriend at his two-story frame house just below SM Blvd., way safer than my 40-year-old, four-story brick building in the event there's another big quake.
We're all watching The Tonight Show when there's an aftershock strong enough to flap the normally unflappable Johnny Carson, but he rallies manfully and has us all giggling before the earth has stopped vibrating. It's absurdly comforting, this sharing of terror, and though I've managed to do without television since I left Illinois for NYC, the first thing next morning I've taken PK in hand and beelined for the May Company on Wilshire, where I treat myself to a 13" Mitsubishi.
Back at that unsteady pile of bricks I get weirded out again, decide to drive across the desert to Las Vegas. Little chance the Corvair will make it, so we decide to call Jim. He's got a much better car and might even be up for the drive. Patricia leaves a message with The Doors' service, but of course he never calls back.
And so it goes. During the day I'm dazzled by L.A.'s beauty and 80 degree winter temperatures, waking up to orange blossom scent and mockingbird song. Then it gets dark and nothing is worth the fear and dread, not winter warmth, not mockingbirds, not orange blossoms. Nothing.
I lie awake night after night, too scared to sleep, waiting for daylight. One night I even insist on sleeping in the car next to an open field (That field is now the Beverly Center) where nothing can fall on us. Of course neither of us can sleep in that cramped little car, so that particular lunacy lasts about two hours. Nothing has ever spooked me like this.
We chitchat a bit, he says he's going to get a beer and something to eat before going to the studio. He invites me to join him but I tell him I just ate and had better get my clothes before they leave with someone else. He eyes me a little quizzically while I wonder what possessed me to say such a thing--other than the fact that it's true, of course--when I've just been invited to lunch by one of the most attractive men on the planet. One reason occurs to me immediately, just as it occurs to him.
"Is Patricia still here?"
"Yup," I say. Gary Cooper, eat your heart out.
"Still staying with you?"
"Uh huh." There's the flicker of a grimace on that handsome face, which gives me the nerve to add, "I get the impression you're not exactly thrilled to see her."
"That's putting it mildly," he says. He shakes his head. "She keeps acting as if there's something there, and there just isn't."
"There used to be though, didn't there?"
He looks me straight in the eye. "No."
Whoo boy, I think. This man is pissed off.
"Is this just a visit," he says, "or is she planning to stay?" His tone is sardonic, a little bitter. Tell him I think she's leaving on the 20th.
"What day is that?"
"I think it's a Saturday...a week from tomorrow."
"What time's her flight?"
I can't resist. "Why? You want to drive her to the airport?"
"You asshole," he says, but he's grinning. "I thought maybe the two of us could have dinner that night. You can help me celebrate."
"All right," I say, after a short hesitation. This is an invitation I can accept, since Patricia will be back in NY by then and there's no way she can find out and be hurt by it. For all I know he's just looking for companionship anyway, and I could certainly use a new friend, especially one I'm as comfortable with as I am with him.
"I won't be as happy to see her go as you are, though. I don't blame you," I add quickly, as his grin fades. "I know she's made an awful fool of herself."
"She's done a lot worse than that," he says, "but we can talk about it some other time. I need to get going. Where's your car?"
Tell him it's still at the laundromat, he offers to drive me back, I say thank you but I don't think any bogeymen will get me. It's only two o'clock or so, and I don't want to tie him up any more.
"I'll see you a week from tomorrow then," he says. "About six?"
"Okay," I say. "You remember where I live?"
"Sure," he says, staggering me. "On Flores, right? Below Fountain? East side of the street..." he squints, thinking, "...third floor, about halfway down on the right. Right?"
He grins at me a moment longer, then tilts my chin up and gives me a quick peck on the mouth. And strolls off towards Barney's door, throwing me one sly, sideways glance as he goes, while I stand stupified, savoring the smoky-sweet taste of his mouth and wondering what I've just got myself into.
Eventually I make it back to the laundromat and then to the apartment. Patricia is still out and after I get the clothes put away I decide to make a trip to Mayfair. We need some things, as usual. I'd better write her a note in case she comes back while I'm gone and expects to find me--and the key--at the laundromat.
Since my notebook is in the car and Patricia's steno pad is lying on the coffee table I look for a blank sheet towards the back of it. I'm not paying much attention to the contents as I riffle through looking for a clean page, and what I do see is innocuous enough, plane times and flight numbers, phone numbers, lists of things to do. Just what you'd expect from a notebook lying on a coffee table: nothing personal.
It's pretty full, just a few blank pages at the back. But by the time I get there the hair on the back of my neck is prickling, because all of a sudden I am looking at a journal, not a notebook, and the contents are electrifying.
My suspicions about the abortion are correct. She wasn't sure Jim was the father, and that's why she aborted.
What I didn't know, didn't even suspect, was the reason for her coming to Los Angeles twice, throwing herself at him over and over despite his obvious indifference, even hostility. She's trying to get him into bed again, in hopes of conceiving again, "this time 100% proof positive his." She even has the birth announcements written out:
the birth of a daughter
MORRISON CHESNEY KENNELY...."
Chesney? Jeez, Patricia. Well, what can you expect from a woman who thinks he ought to get rid of his golden retriever and mince down Santa Monica Blvd. with an Irish wolfhound in tow?
She knows she's making a fool of herself, asks "Why am I doing this?" Says she "cannot live without him." Wonders if (!) she loses him "shall I live?" Tells herself she should "love him with my body one more time, and then let it die...beautifully."
Good grief, Patricia, smell the coffee. Your "thing" with him is already so dead it's mummified.
She also obsesses about Pamela, how he continues to "cleave unto" Pamela instead of "cleaving unto" her, especially since she's sooo much more worthy of his love.
I wonder how much of this Jim knows, or at least suspects? "She's done a lot worse than that," he said. I imagine he's onto most of it, except perhaps the fact that she seems to be determined to bear his child. Should I warn him? That's preposterous. How do you warn a man that someone is determined to have his kid? She can't rape him, can she?
This is pathetic. I'm so sorry for her, and yet I loathe her. It's just beginning to dawn on me, the extent of her...crimes is too strong a word, isn't it? Yet she bulled her way down to Miami, stuck out her belly, threatened paternity suits, and she didn't really believe, herself, that he was the father. What if the press had discovered the reason for her presence? I remember how she seemed to dismiss the trial as some kind of dodge he'd arranged to avoid his "obligations" to her. But I don't remember any hint of sympathy for him, at what had to have been the worst time of his life.
And then she waited until the baby was nearly five months along, almost viable, before she aborted. Did it take her that long to assess the relative probabilities between Jim and David? Or a third man I don't know about? Did she really have any hope that Jim would take the bait, finally, and marry her out of guilt? She's really, really stupid if that's the case. I've met him exactly twice, and already I know him better than that. I doubt anybody's ever succeeded in browbeating that man into anything.
Something else I didn't know, but which doesn't surprise me, especially after this afternoon: two weeks ago, while I was sitting in my car outside The Doors' office, thinking she and Jim were having a nice long talk inside, she was actually sitting in his car. He'd been coming back down the hall from the vocal booth as I was leaving, come to think of it, and apparently told her to go wait in his car, he'd be out in a few minutes. And left her sitting there for an hour.
And then, when he finally got in the car and she launched into an apology for her behavior for the past several months, for Miami, the abortion letter, the dagger in the desk, saying she'd been "really crazy" for awhile but she was much better now, he simply said, without looking at her, "Which one is Flores Street?" She calls it a "slap in the face." I calls that an understatement.
When they pulled up in front of the building she invited him upstairs but he declined, saying he had to get right back to the studio. And changed his mind, apparently, when I arrived. ("Has she got anything to drink up there?") Didn't get back to the studio, in fact, for nearly three hours. If I hadn't run into him today, I might think that merely meant he didn't mind talking to her a little as long as there was a third party present to keep things from getting sticky. But now...well, that's not what he had in mind at all, is it?
I was right about the near-total lack of conversation between them while I was at the Mayfair, too. According to her, about all either one of them said during that whole 45 minutes was, "What the f**k is taking her so long?" Once when she asked some form of that question he said he thought I was giving them "time to get acquainted." I was too, at least partly. What did I know?
My first impulse is to confront Patricia with what I've discovered and then kick her out, but I quickly discard that idea. Much better for her to stay here where I'll be aware of her whereabouts the majority of the time and perhaps can talk her out of, or at least forestall, any truly screwy plots she may be hatching.
[A few days later she and I are in the car on our way to somewhere when she tells me she's thinking of moving to Los Angeles; she wonders what will happen with the three of us. I stare at her, wondering if someone's told her about my encounter with him at Barney's. Then I decide she's thinking about his decision to come up for a drink after all. Despite the lack of comment in her journal I'm sure she understood immediately what that was all about. So I give her a blank look and remind her that everyone knows he's moving to Paris as soon as the album's finished anyway.]
2/14/71 (Sunday-Valentine's Day)
She's now preparing a voodoo doll, some cheesy-looking black candle in the shape of a woman. She's going to stick it full of pins with the proper mumbo-jumbo and then leave it in Pamela's car. This is it--this is where I draw the line. Has she no idea how they'd laugh at her? How can anyone that bright be such a fool? I've kept my mouth shut up to now, figuring it's really none of my business, but this is just too damned much.
Of course it's true that if ever there was a man worth making a fool of oneself over, he's it, but it's so self-defeating. All she's doing is driving him further and further away.
I wonder what attracted him to her in the first place? Her intelligence certainly, and she does have a beautiful body. And I gather it didn't take him long to realize what a harpy she is, underneath the charm. She has three groups of days from early last summer--June, I think--circled on a calendar in her notebook. I suspect those were the times they were together as lovers. Maybe a week and a half, total.
That's so sad. She's built this whole thing out of maybe ten days. I wish I didn't know any of this. I wish she'd stayed home.
Unbeknownst to me, she'd arranged with Diane to let her know when Pamela left for Paris. (What is Diane doing, playing both ends against the middle?) The call came yesterday, so she took a bottle of Zeller Schwartze Katz and went to Diane's to wait. When he came home she knocked on the door and told him she needed help opening the wine. According to her, he actually started to shut the door on her, then sighed tiredly and said "Come in," standing aside to let her enter.
She didn't say what happened after that, but he tried to get rid of her twice today. He dropped her off about noon the first time, waiting in the car to make sure she could get into the apartment. I told her to tell him I wasn't home and she couldn't get in. Sheer reflex mostly, though the expectant, almost pleading look on her face made it clear that was what she hoped I'd say.
A couple of hours later she was back again, this time in tears. When they left the first time they just went down to Barney's and started drinking and playing pool, and apparently his polite veneer began to crack. She didn't specify, but I gather he got a little nasty. Eventually they came back up here; she said he was about to come upstairs but he was being "too obnoxious" (!) and she "wouldn't let him" (!!)
So while they were squabbling in the street a former Doors' secretary who lives next door came by and invited him to a party, and naturally he went. Patricia, of course, "didn't like those people"--she thinks all of his friends and associates are idiots and tells him so frequently--and came upstairs to pout.
She sat on the sofa fighting tears and told me what I'm sure was a highly edited version of what had transpired. The edited version is bad enough--I mean it's clear to me and surely to her that he's at the end of his rope. He's shown amazing forbearance up to this point, which tells me that (a) despite his denial, he may have felt something for her once, and (b) he may be feeling guilty about her abortion, so maybe he doesn't know there were doubts about its paternity. How can he not know about David, though? Didn't she tell me the four of them had dinner at least once? At Luchow? And Pamela ordered--gasp!--two noodle dishes? ("Maybe," I remember suggesting, "she just likes noodles." But Patricia informed me that such things simply weren't done, harrumph.)
Finally I reached over, gave her a playful kick on the foot, told her to go on, get her behind down to that party where she really wanted to be. It was obvious she was about to bolt anyway, and besides I thought I'd figured out a way to get him off the hook. She threw me a grateful look and ran out the door.
So here I sit, stoned, bored and lonely, listening to the sounds of what seems to be a very nice party--voices, laughter, someone plunking on a guitar--wafting up from the courtyard next door, and wishing I had the nerve to crash it. But I don't.
Shortly after I wrote that last entry I got clobbered with a major depression, such as sometimes happens when I'm stoned, and got absolutely desperate to be with people. I had already decided to put a note in Jim's car inviting the two of them up for a nightcap. My thinking was, after a drink or two he could just leave and she'd have no excuse to tag along.
But after the weirdness hit me I pretty much forgot about bailing him out--he's a big boy, he can take care of himself--and was simply terrified of being alone, practically begging them to come up and keep me company until the high wore off and the world got back to normal, whatever that is.
Problem was, he didn't find the note until Friday. Apparently it had fallen off the steering wheel where I pinned it, onto the floor of the car.
So I woke up Friday still depressed, wishing, despite my contempt for her conduct with Jim, that Patricia were not going back to New York on Saturday, leaving me alone once again. Also, I was beginning to think that maybe she knew what she was doing after all. I was sitting on the window bed looking out when they left the party, she hanging onto his arm, both of them laughing. I expected them to turn up at the door shortly, but instead heard a great peal of Morrisonian laughter as the car roared to life out front. In my paranoia, I assumed he'd found the note and thought it was funny. I didn't think it was so damn funny. I was miserable.
After that, of course, I assumed he wasn't going to be showing up at my door Saturday at six after all, and if he did I'd be obliged to tell him he was a two-timing swine and to go f**k himself. It was not a great morning.
Around two I decided to shake the gloom by going for a drive.
Patricia obviously thinks so too, she's very nervous as she explains that she's told him Soozin's hilarious story about browbeating her boyfriend into taking her on a tour of topless bars and dirty movies, and "Mr. Morrison" has agreed to do the same for us.
"Oh goody," I say joyfully. Tell them I need to go lock the apartment and remove the note I've left for them, "La puerta está abierta." That was a good idea, Jim says dryly, since of course no one else in Los Angeles reads Spanish.
They pick me up in front of the building and we drive to the Phone Booth (across from The Doors' office) but it isn't open yet. Back in the car cruising down La Cienega he catches my eye in the rearview mirror and gives me a conspiratorial little smile.
After much driving around we find a porno movie on Western Avenue near the freeway. It's pretty tame stuff, two women working on a man, Montovani on the soundtrack. After a couple of minutes Jim says he can't take any more and we stalk out like a flock of bluenosed old ladies. Some tour.
More driving around, then we find an open topless bar, on Hollywood Blvd. I think, and settle down to do some serious drinking. Jim insists on sitting between us, says it's "more equitable" that way. I tense a little, afraid he's going to blow our cover and there will be some nasty scenes. O my prophetic soul.…
She and I stagger off to the john at one point, come back to an interesting tableau: there's a fellow sitting across from Jim, leaning forward, elbows on the table, eagerness in every line. Jim, in contrast, is leaning way back in his chair, his arms tightly crossed over his chest, a wan little smile pasted on--classic defensive posture. She and I sit down on either side of him, glowering like thunderclouds. The guy says something like, "Well, nice talking to you," and splits.
"What was that all about?" Jim asks.
"You dummy," I say, "the guy was gay and he was trying to pick you up."
"Ohhh," he says, "Well I knew he had some kind of axe to grind, but I couldn't figure out what it was."
I ask him if the fellow knew who he was talking to, Jim grins, says he doesn't think so. Pretty funny, that. Poor schlub sees a beautiful man sitting alone in a bar, and puts the moves on one of the most robustly and notoriously heterosexual men on the planet, the goddam Warren Beatty of rock. Nice try, kid.
We are drinking shots of tequila (my idea) with beer chasers (his). After the third or fourth round the waitress, a motherly type, comes over and very solicitously explains that only the first round was included in the cover charge. Clearly she's afraid this scruffy trio of hippies--all of us in jeans and boots, long hair, Patricia and me in leather jackets, Jim with his beard and patched Army field jacket--is not going to be able to pay for all the booze. Jim grins, says it's okay, he's rich. She laughs uproariously, thinks he's made a very funny joke.
Now it gets a little hazy, because it certainly was serious drinking. I think we had five or six shots apiece.
We go up to the Observatory next, to view the city at sunset. I indulge in a drunken monologue about wishing for another earthquake (yeah, right), wanting to see LA trashed before my eyes, Day of the Locust redux. Jim rolls his eyes at my bullshit.
From there he takes us to a small Mexican restaurant. We order everything I can't translate, about eight dishes in all. Then I excuse myself to go pee, although I put it a mite more delicately. As I'm leaving the table I hear Jim say something like, "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea," and something in his tone sets the alarm bells off. It's been hours since I worried that he was about to blow our cover, he's been a perfect gentleman all afternoon, in fact nobody observing the three of us would have had any notion there was anything of a personal nature between any of us. But now I realize that I've relaxed too soon. He's about to be very ungentlemanly indeed.
The restrooms are down a long, dark hallway. I'm about halfway there when he catches up with me.
"Janet," he says. Just my name, spoken very quietly. I turn to face him and I'm in his arms. I'm amazed at how fresh his breath is after all the beer and cigarettes, and hope mine's half as good.
When we finally come up for air it occurs to us that the hallway is public and Patricia could blunder along any minute. He pulls me into the men's--happily it's huge and clean and smells of nothing worse than stale cigarette smoke--and leans back against the door to keep anyone else from coming in. Between kisses I tell him he's a rotten man and remind him that he was supposed to wait, goddamit, but he isn't the least bit repentant.
I still hadn't caught on, of course, just how angry with her he was, how much rage and contempt he'd been concealing behind that charming, affable facade.
Shortly thereafter passion is superseded by an earlier drive--we both really do need to pee. "Ladies first," he says, gesturing grandly towards the stalls while he heads for the urinals. Then...nada. Zip. Zilch. Not too surprisingly, neither of us can produce a drop with the other anywhere in the room. I reconnoiter the hallway and slip next door to the women's.
Take my time getting back to the table; he's already there, along with all eight dishes. Patricia is saying something to him as I approach, and the look of exasperation on his face tells me that whatever it is, he doesn't want to hear it.
Soon it becomes obvious that despite the fact that once again he's promised to wait, he really doesn't give a damn whether Patricia knows what's going on with us or not. Every time I look at him he winks at me, and I am having more and more trouble keeping my face straight. Before long Patricia catches one of the looks that passes between us. After that I won't look at him, and the rest of the meal passes uneventfully. The food is wonderful so that helps--gives us something safe to talk about.
A good-natured dispute as we leave the restaurant: he says he has to go the studio, I say nothing doing, The Searchers is on TV and I haven't seen it in ten years. Eventually we compromise, agree to watch part of the movie, then go to the studio.
Back at the apartment I switch on the TV set, then stagger off to the bathroom to get rid of some more slightly-used beer, humming a drunken off-key version of the beloved Searchers theme. Come back out to find them both gone. Run frantically down to the garage to find him sitting in the car trying to make a getaway, Patricia attempting to coax him into staying. I exert all my drunken charm, absolutely refuse to let him go, threaten to pull him bodily from the car. He knows when he's licked, yields, laughing, and we all go back upstairs.
On the couch watching the movie, Jim in the middle again, the sheepskin across our laps against the chill. After awhile he gets bored and begins to grope me under the cover of the fleece. I try vainly to keep my face straight and his hand still. I know Patricia, just the other side of him, can see and feel every movement. Presently he puts his arm around my shoulders and I grab his hand and hold tight to prevent him from perpetrating any more outrages. Patricia suddenly, sullenly, seizes his other arm and drapes it around her shoulders. I suck in my breath, but he has the grace to leave it there while he stares at the TV screen, his face expressionless.
I remember nothing of The Searchers, even though he insists we watched nearly an hour of it.
Then it gets hazy again, because I don't clearly remember leaving the apartment and driving to Poppi Studios for "some of the best rock'n'roll you ever heard." And he's right, it's the best stuff they've done since Strange Days, although nothing like it. Heavy, funky, sexy. "Crawlin' Kingsnake." YIKES.
Ray, Robby, John & Bruce Botnick, plus assorted unknowns. Jim sits at the side of the console, Patricia on a couch in front of it. She demands that I sit next to her but I ignore her and go sit on the riser next to his chair, leaning my reeling head on his knee, clinging to him like a tipsy barnacle. Through some kind of contortion we're holding hands. I squeeze his in drunken enthusiasm at all the good riffs, and there are many.
The standout is a song called "Riders On The Storm," complete with thunder and lightning à la "Raindrops," except of course it's much darker, weightier. He wants to know if I think the sound effects are too much but I say no, I think it's perfect, a classic. He doesn't look convinced, but I am; I'm dazzled.
There's a tiny rosy-cheeked little girl--she looks like a Kate Greenaway illustration--bopping and twirling to the music. I think he says she's their accountant's daughter. He's enchanted by her, in fact will talk about her for days, and I begin to see where Patricia gets her motherhood fantasies.
She and I wind up in the restroom at one point, I think she intercepts me as I'm lurching off for yet another whiz and says we have to talk, but the memory's so hazy I can't be sure.
Once inside she lights into me, accuses me of befriending her to meet him. This jaw-dropping rearrangement of reality leaves me speechless for a minute, but I rally and agree (with heavy sarcasm) that I called her those times, back in New York; that I insisted on going with her to The Doors' office three weeks ago. Then I turn on my heel and stalk out, my grand exit marred only slightly when I crash into the doorjamb on my way through.
Jim cocks an eyebrow at me as I resume my seat on the riser, but doesn't say anything. Then Ray leans over, nods in the general direction of the restrooms, and asks Jim if that's "old what's-her-face...old Kennely?"
"Yeeeaaah," Jim drawls. "That's her."
Ray shakes his head. It's obvious from this exchange, as well as the expression of suspicion and dislike on his face when he opened the office door three weeks ago, that Ray pretty much knows the score where Patricia's concerned. I wonder if Jim confided in him, or whether he's witnessed enough of her strident lunacy to figure it out on his own? Probably both.
I'm nearly asleep, using Jim's knee as a pillow, when he leans down to tell me there's a courtyard in the center of the building and that I should go and wait for him there.
He joins me shortly but I never find out what he had in mind, because in the midst of another clinch he takes a step backwards, loses his balance in the large rounded stones of the very Japanese courtyard landscaping, and we land in a heap.
"Ahhh," he says, stretching out, "this feels good. Wake me up in about two hours." I figure the cold will wake us up in about twenty minutes, but even twenty minutes' sleep sounds good about now.
Then the sound of footsteps crunching across the gravel. Has to be Patricia. She looms over us, demands we get up. Jim is furious but I, for some reason, am sympathetic. Clearly she didn't see the reality--coupla drunks passed out in a flower bed--but thinks she saw The Beast With Two Backs. With both of us fully clothed, and me on top, my head pillowed on his chest? Jeez. But I grab the fringe on her jacket, pull her down, babbling something about pain. Her pain, my pain? Who knows? In my maudlin way I seem to be trying to convey the essential goofiness--and relative innocence--of what she just saw. Catch a glimpse of Jim's clenched jaw as he pulls free of us and rises to his feet. He's obviously willing the earth to open and swallow both of these silly women.
Decide that discretion is the better part of valor and edge away to examine some perfectly fascinating camellias, leaving Patricia to face his ire alone. Serves her right.
Can't hear anything she says and only snatches of his replies, but it's clear she does think we were f**king, or trying to, and is berating him for it. He says something like "...count on you to turn it into..." and a little later "...to get some sleep..." I glance at them; she's clutching his arm but looking at me with pure hatred in her eyes, and what he says next doesn't help (as his anger and exasperation increase, so does his volume; this time I hear every word):
"Patricia, you must know I prefer her to you." No trace of drawl now, he's curt, cutting.
She says something else and I still can't make out her words but her tone is importunate, almost whiny, and this time most of West Hollywood hears his response:
"Patricia, I don't want to spend another night with you!" Reflect that this is the second time today I've heard that amazing voice at full throttle. Liked the first time better.
Someone approaches me from behind; assume it's Jim but it's Patricia. Ask her what he said to her and she amazes me by repeating the "You must know..." line. Manage to avoid asking her just what the hell she expected him to say.
Gets hazy again; assume we lingered in the courtyard a couple of minutes, then we went back into the studio and resumed our former positions. He's already inside, of course; stomped off after yelling at her.
Only vaguely remember leaving the studio later, except that I cop a couple of matchbooks from the bowl on the front desk. The drive back is a haze too; I doze in the back seat and the two in front are silent as monks.
Back to the Phone Booth, more drinks. Fellow comes by the table to invite Jim to his wedding Sunday, Jim tells him not to do it, he'll be sorry. I snort derisively--what does he know about it?--but he doesn't rise to the bait.
The girl on stage is a breathtaking porcelain goddess, Monroe-like but slimmer, longer-legged. One of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. I'm considering taking the veil, or suicide, when Jim interrupts my reverie to ask if I'll dance like that for him. My jaw drops but then I see the twinkle in his eye. Tell him sure, I look just like that without my clothes, honest. He grins, says maybe sometime when we're both really, really stoned.
We talk awhile about nothing in particular, but the spurt of energy brought on by bright lights, people and--especially--more booze, quickly fades and he asks me to go around to the Alta Cienega and get us a room, telling the proprietor he sent me. Says he'll be along shortly, presumably after he unloads Patricia at my place or Diane's.
I'm so drunk I actually consider it for a second or two, mentally walking myself through it. I get as far as imagining the smirk on the proprietor's face before I catch myself. That son of a bitch, does he think I'm some sleazy groupie? I don't say that, of course, just tell him I won't do that to Patricia, if he really wants me he'll wait.
Then I wait for the explosion, for him to ask me if I know who I'm talking to, he can have any woman he wants, why would he waste his time on an uppity snot like me? etc. etc.
But I've underestimated him; of course he doesn't say anything of the kind. He just stares at the table for a few seconds. I realize to my relief that he's stifling a grin. Finally he looks at me, nods approvingly, says, "I'll wait."
Patricia has overheard at least some of this. She rises to leave, reaching for her purse, which is lying on the table. I make a grab for it to keep her from leaving, and she claws my wrist, then tries to break my thumb, but I hang on until she gives up, sags back into her chair.
Then I do my best Lady Bountiful imitation, ask him to please talk to her, give her some attention--and gathering up my bag and jacket, I sweep out to wait for them in front of the club.
A couple of minutes later the front door opens, but it's Patricia alone. She says my grandstanding has pissed him off and he's not coming with us. I mutter something like, "Ahh f**k 'im, let's go home," and with that we set off to walk the five or six blocks to the apartment.
We are smack in the middle of La Cienega Blvd. when my head clears enough to realize the foolhardiness of this venture. It's well after midnight on a Saturday morning, the two or three billion clubs/bars in the area are all emptying out, we have to walk along either Santa Monica or Fountain, and if we make the entire distance without at least getting harrassed a few dozen times it'll be a miracle. Even if we do manage that miracle she and I will certainly get into it the minute we're inside the apartment.
So we head back to the parking lot. His car is still there, and as we get closer we see that he's in it, sitting motionless behind the wheel. He tells me later that he was watching us in the rearview mirror, trying to work up the energy to come after us, and reluctantly facing the fact that he was going to have to stay with us, in case we needed a "referee."
I don't know any of this at the time, of course, so as we approach the car I tell Patricia she can do the talking. I'm assuming that for the moment at least he's angrier with me than with her. I lurk by the back bumper while she leans down to talk to him, then climb into the back seat as he starts the car.
On the way she keeps up a steady stream of verbal abuse aimed mostly at me, although he comes in for his share. She seems to regard him as mindless chattel with no right or ability to choose for himself, and winds up by challenging me to a duel. I've been ignoring her, just as the chattel is doing, but this is irresistible. As the challengee I have the choice of method, so I snicker "On horseback, Patricia?" That shuts her up, and we cruise the last block or so in total silence.
I expect him to dump us out in front of the building and disappear, but he pulls into the parking garage and takes the first empty space. I decide this is not a good time to tell him the spaces are assigned and he could get towed. Figure chances are pretty good that anyone who isn't home by this time isn't coming home, so maybe it'll be all right.
Once in the apartment I point out that there are three of us and three places to sleep, so there shouldn't be any problem. Jim lays claim to the sofa, and is ready to sack out with no more preparation than taking off his boots, but I insist on making up a decent bed for him. He rolls his eyes but waits while I install bottom sheet, top sheet, blankets and pillows.
Then I head for the dressing room to get into my blue Indian cotton dress/lounging garment. Patricia is sitting on the daybed by the wall, looking bleak, stunned.
Jim comes through a couple of minutes later, on his way into the bathroom. He's down to nothing but his jeans. I've finished my change of clothes but it wouldn't have mattered if I'd been standing there buck nekkid; he doesn't even glance at me.
After a fair amount of splashing around he emerges, his hair curling damply around his face, a towel draped around his bare shoulders. He is so ungodly beautiful I simply stare at him, speechless.
"Still mad at me?" he says, pulling me into his arms.
"Am I mad at you? I thought you were mad at me."
"Beats me," he says. "I guess I got over it."
A long, long kiss, in the middle of which my knees buckle under me. If he decides to throw me onto the floor and ravage me on the spot I don't think I could offer any resistance whatever. I've never wanted anyone so much in my life.
We manage to break it up finally, aware that Patricia's just the other side of the door. He turns me around to face the dressing table mirror, stands behind me, his arms around my waist. In the soft light my hair looks almost as dark as his, so for a couple of minutes I get my fondest childhood wish--I'm Black Irish too.
He gives me a departing squeeze and opens the door to the living room; I go on into the bathroom to wash up.
I'm just rinsing the soapsuds off my face when the door opens again. It's Jim, with his shirt back on and carrying his cigarettes. He has the look of exasperation I've started to think of as his Patricia Look. Ask him what's going on out there, he mutters "Who knows?" Pokes around in my bag to find one of my purloined Poppi matchbooks, then sits down on the closed stool, props his feet on the edge of the bathtub, and wearily lights up. His exhaustion is palpable, and I'm beginning to feel guilty for not going around to the Alta Cienega as he asked. I'm not sure either one of us is going to get any sleep here.
That suspicion is confirmed almost immediately as the bathroom door flies open and Patricia rushes in, obviously expecting to find us banging away in the bathtub. The fact that the scene before her could hardly be more ordinary--Jim is almost asleep, his head propped on his hand, and I'm squeezing toothpaste onto my toothbrush--seems to infuriate her even more and she flies at me, squealing with rage, pounding on my shoulder with her fists.
I screech "Get her off me!" but manage to dispose of my toothbrush before he gets his cigarette put out and when I wheel to face her she's directly between me and the bathtub. I give her a shove and she reels backwards, landing on her backside in the tub.
It's a ridiculous sight but the sudden violence is too much for my frayed nerves and I burst into tears, fleeing into the kitchen to crumple against the cabinets, sobbing. A contrite Patricia fetches me a couple of minutes later and leads me to the couch, where I continue to howl as they awkwardly attempt to comfort me, one on either side, patting my hands, blotting my tears, "There, there, Janet, it's all right, don't cry...." etc.
The crying jag finally slows to a snuffly stop and I go back into the bathroom to splash cold water on my face and pick up where I left off.
Hear Patricia's voice raised in vituperation a few minutes later, go out to find that Jim has gathered up my kitchen knives and scissors and is stashing them under one of the sofa cushions where she can't get at them without disturbing him. I think this is a bit much, as is her frothing about how she can't cut off balls he doesn't have, but I ignore them and get my blue comforter out of the closet. I'm going to bed and as far as I'm concerned they can carve on each other's livers from now 'til Christmas as long as they're quiet about it.
Quiet, unfortunately, is not on the menu. Patricia goes into some kind of arm-waving witch incantation, generously including me in whatever whammy she's calling down on his head. That silly black candle has been in the closet ever since I forbade her to put it in Pamela's car so, remembering what she told me about activating the curse by touching the pins to the cursee and then lighting the candle, I shove it against her arm, then set it on the coffee table and fire it up. She promptly douses it with a pan of water from the kitchen.
Gets hazy again, I don't remember what happens next, except that I have a faint memory of throwing water in her face and there's a water stain on the wall behind the sofa to confirm this.
Remember at some point giving up on getting any sleep and killing some time by practicing chords. Jim, even crankier than I am by this time, tells me he doesn't want to hear my stupid guitar playing, or something like that. I tell him to go f**k himself. Obviously booze and exhaustion has loosed the snotty eight-year-old in each of us.
Also remember him coming out of the dressing room once, laughing uproariously about something. I have no idea what he's so tickled about but notice his hair looks really tousled. Then I realize he's found Patricia's wig and simply plopped it--still folded flat--on top of his head, where it blends so perfectly with his own hair you have to look twice to spot it.
Also remember him picking up Patricia's notebook from the coffee table--this must have happened before the voodoo candle incident--and Patricia lunging at him, screaming "OH NO, JIM, NO...NO!!!" My stomach flipflops sickeningly; I have no idea how he'll react to the revelations in the journal section, and as much as I loathe her at times I can't bear to think of her exposed like that. Of course her hysteria has tipped him off that there's something in there he shouldn't see and he's backing away from her, his eyes narrowed suspiciously, holding the notebook behind his back so she can't grab it.
I take advantage of my privileged status and step in front of him, reach around to snatch the notebook out of his hand, toss it to her. He and I glower at each other but he turns away as the glower turns to a grin. Occurs to me that he must intimidate the hell out of most people and is big enough to appreciate it when someone treats him like a mortal.
More haze; next memory is Jim, pale with fatigue, stretching out on the sofa. Says he can't stay awake another minute, wants me to stay with him, not leave him alone with Patricia. He's doing what she once called his "helpless little boy number." It's funny but right now it merely exasperates me, just as his hiding the knives under the cushion did. I think his pretense that Pat is a dangerous loony just waiting to stick a knife between his ribs is a bit much.
But I humor him, sit on the floor next to the sofa, stroke his face, smooth the hair back off his forehead. He's on the verge of sleep when Patricia stomps off through the dressing room into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
Instantly he's wide awake and deadly serious, all traces of the mock-plaintive little boy gone. Says he thinks she's crazy enough to be dangerous, might even be capable of killing one or both of us while we sleep; that he thought he could stay awake but he hasn't slept in a couple of days and it's caught up with him. Pleads with me to give him a couple of hours, then he'll take guard duty so I can sleep.
I stare at him open-mouthed. It has simply never occurred to me to be afraid of Patricia; I guess I don't respect her enough to be afraid of her. As a woman I still feel some sympathy for her despite my contempt for her near-total lack of pride, but afraid of her? Patricia? Whose idea of destroying her enemies is to stick pins in a candle?
I say some of this to him, although nowhere near as articulately. He nods, says something about maybe knowing her a little better than I do, or at least in a different way. Of course I snicker lewdly at that remark, clearly interpreting his "knowing" in the Biblical sense. He shakes his head in wonder. "So pretty, and such an asshole..."
Tell him to go ahead and sleep. I'm still fairly alert, can probably last another two hours without much difficulty. Decide I'll make myself a cup of tea, that should do the trick. Repeat the face-stroking that seems to soothe him so well, then rest my cheek against his rib cage, listening to his heartbeat and breathing slow as he drifts off.
Patricia emerges a few minutes later, still dressed. Apparently she isn't going to try to sleep. She takes my hand, leads me into the kitchen. We embrace, sobbing, a couple of maudlin, drunken women.
We go out into the hall by the staircase so we can talk without disturbing him or the neighbors. Once again she accuses me of befriending her to meet him; once again I grit my teeth and remind her whose idea it was that I should come to The Doors' office with her, and that I tried to back out. Also remind her that he's a man, not a thing, and seems eminently capable of making his own choices. Also point out that from what she herself has told me he's been trying to let her down gently since Miami at least; and again when she came out in December, and...and...and then I shut up, because I'm about to reveal that I've read her journal, but she doesn't catch it because she's flipping out again.
She does exactly what she did before, pounds on my back and shoulders with her little fists. I hunch over and let her flail away, taking deep breaths to keep myself under control. If I lose it I'm liable to pulp her or at the very least raise such a ruckus someone will call the police on us. I can just imagine the headlines. In fact I do imagine the headlines; that works much better than deep breathing to keep my rage tamped down. It occurs to me too that if there were to be headlines Jim would be mortified (and furious) and so would I, but Patricia would love it. Anything that links her name to his is fine with her.
She runs out of steam shortly, sinks back down on the steps, sobbing like a child. I sit down too, don't say anything but just sit with her while she cries it out. It's hard not to feel pity for someone in so much pain, even if she has brought it on herself.
Finally she's calm again and we go back inside. I put the tea kettle on; she calls the airline to find out about switching to an earlier flight. A heart-stopping moment when Jim, who's been sleeping peacefully all this time, suddenly cries out, "No! No!" I rush into the living room expecting the worst but Patricia's nowhere near him, in fact is in the bathroom. He's having a nightmare and it's a doozy: his head thrashes from side to side, he continues to cry out, each "No!" part plea, part command.
I have to wake him, even though it's said to be the worst thing you can do in the circumstances. I lay my hand on his forehead--it's clammy with sweat--and he starts violently, his eyes fly open. He relaxes when he sees it's me and not Lizzie Borden. I get him a glass of water and he goes back to sleep very quickly.
Patricia has changed her flight from noon to just after 7 a.m., a couple of hours away, and is now packing. I make my cuppa, then set it on the table by the window bed to cool. Lie back against the pillows, close my eyes to rest them for a second--and I'm out.
Wake with a start about an hour later, aghast at my lapse of caution. Take stock for a minute; nothing hurts, so I guess it's safe to assume I don't have any knives in me, but I'm afraid to open my eyes and look at Jim. He'll either be dead, or so angry I'll wish I were. Finally work up the nerve to look and he's still sleeping quietly, no protruding knives, no blood, in fact he's slept enough to get some of his color back.
Patricia's on the phone, crying and talking to Bruce, but gets off the line when she sees I'm awake. It's nearly time to go to the airport anyway. I freshen up a bit, get dressed, and we head out. She bends to kiss the still-sleeping Jim goodbye as I watch from the doorway, thinking how young, how angelic he looks despite the beard, and thinking too how ironic that is considering all the trouble he's just caused.
We drive in total silence to the airport. I cringe inwardly as someone driving a Challenger identical to Jim's pulls in front of us from a side street. Poor Patricia --the Universe itself seems to be rubbing it in. At the terminal she reaches in to clasp my hand one final time and then she's gone.
2/20/71 (Saturday) 8 a.m. or so
But he's still there, curled up at the near end of the sofa, the orange blanket pulled all the way up to his nose. It's cold in the apartment; only then do I realize the windows have been open all night.
"I thought you'd be long gone," I say. I go straight into the kitchen, dry-mouthed from hangover, desperate for something cold and liquid.
"No such luck," he says.
"Whose luck?" I counter.
He ignores this sally. "What are you doing?"
"Looking for something to drink. How do you feel?"
"Awful. There's nothing in there," he says, meaning the refrigerator. "Don't you ever buy groceries?"
"Sure," I say. "Then I eat 'em." I manage to scrounge up a couple of oranges and a bottle of apple juice and go sit on the floor next to him. He plumps the pillows and props his head on the arm of the sofa, lights a cigarette, I pop an orange segment into his mouth, and he's a happy boy. Almost, anyway.
"Is she really gone?"
"I guess so."
"You 'guess' so?" he says, in that sardonic tone he uses so often. "You didn't actually see her get on the plane?"
"No, I just dropped her off at the terminal."
"Oh Christ, she's probably getting out of a cab out front this very minute."
"I doubt it. You demolished her pretty good. I don't think she'll be back."
"Don't bet on it." He takes a drag on the cigarette, blows the smoke out, watches it dissipate. Then, "What was in the notebook?"
"None of your business."
" 'None of your business,' " he repeats wonderingly, as if he can't quite believe his ears. When I don't respond immediately he prompts me with gentle menace: "Jaaaaanet..."
Ask him snappishly what difference it makes now, the woman's gone.
"Whose side are you on, anyway?" he demands with some heat. "I wondered about that a few times last night. Who's more important to you, me or her?"
I tell him he is, of course. Tell him I've been on his side for quite awhile now, that some of the things she's done make me ashamed to be female and I really despise her for it. But I also tell him how hard it was to watch her get trashed, no matter how much she'd asked for and deserved it. Tell him if he really wants to know I'm pissed at both of them for dragging me into the middle of this mess.
He drops the sardonic tone and says, tiredly, that he hadn't expected her to show up on his doorstep. Wants to know why I didn't warn him.
Tell him I didn't have time, and besides he didn't have to let her in, did he?
He grins a little wanly: "I almost didn't."
I cackle a bit myself, imagining the look on his face on finding Patricia at his door. Then I remember her telling me that he'd started to shut it in her face.
He's amazed she'd admit it, wants to know when she told me that. It takes me a minute to think; it's only been a couple of days but it seems like a month. Finally remember it was after he dropped her off the second time on Thursday.
Also remember her telling me that he was ready to come upstairs himself, except of course he was being "too obnoxious" and she "wouldn't let him." I've already confessed to sending her back both times he tried to get rid of her Thursday, so now I tell him he's as much to blame for getting stuck with her again Thursday night as I am. Tell him it serves him right for letting her push him around.
Again I wait for an explosion, just as I did at the Phone Booth hours earlier, and again I get a surprise. He looks at me sharply for a minute, and then he starts to laugh. I can't imagine what the fool man is laughing about and when he finally manages to speak I decide he's lost his mind completely because what he says is, "So how was your big date?"
"Whaat? What are you talking about?"
This sets him off again and I'm so exasperated I'm ready to smack him when suddenly everything clicks.
"She told you I had a man up here? That's why you couldn't come up?"
"Not quite," he says. "She said you were getting ready to go out. I think she said you probably had curlers in your hair, or something like that." He shrugs to indicate his ignorance of such feminine rites and contraptions, and tells me that later, when Patricia came over to the party, she told him I'd decided I wanted the apartment to myself altogether so my date and I could come back here afterwards. Says she told him she'd be happy to go stay with Diane except Diane was out of town.
I ask him about the note I left in the car, didn't that give her away? He shrugs again, reminds me I just said I was depressed and wanted company. Says he assumed that meant the date had ended badly, or early; maybe--he grins wickedly as he launches this zinger--the guy had just got up and gone home afterwards.
Tell him how I really spent the evening, sitting in the window smoking dope and listening to the radio, hoping one of them would come and get me and when neither did, thinking how rude and thoughtless they were to leave me sitting up here by myself.
He wants to know why I didn't just come down; I tell him I thought about it and probably would have if he and I hadn't had our encounter at Barney's. Tell him I was afraid he'd think I was chasing him, so of course he says I can chase him any time I feel like it. I give him a dirty look but decide not tell him the other reason I didn't crash the party: my suspicion, as the night had dragged on and on with no sign of either of them, that she'd managed to win him over after all and that I would most definitely have been de trop. Now that I know the real situation my paranoia is looking pretty silly.
It seems even sillier a few minutes later. Jim notices the water stain on the wall behind the sofa and confirms that I threw water in Patricia's face, but he can't remember why I did it either. He agrees that it seemed to have something to do with the voodoo doll/candle.
"Do you believe in witchcraft, Jim?"
"F**k, no!" he says, laughing, "but I kinda wondered about you a few times." I assure him I don't believe in it either, certainly not Patricia's sad and desperate version, but since she most certainly does that was the point of using the black candle against her.
We spend a little time comparing our spotty recollections of the night before. He thinks he remembers her challenging me to a duel, I confirm it, so then he wants to know what the "horse thing" was all about. I tell him about our excursion to Pickwick Stables and Patricia's less than stellar performance in the saddle. He grins, delighted.
"Lash LaRue," he says, giving my hand a squeeze.
By now we're both running out of steam. I've pillowed my head on his stomach, he's playing with my hair, twining it around his fingers, tucking it behind my ear. I'm so relaxed I'm a blob, but he has the cure for that.
"Well," he says, sitting up abruptly, "let's go to bed."
He steps over the coffee table, heading for the window bed, shedding clothes as he goes. I wobble to my feet in time to catch a glimpse of that notorious body--long legs, nice bottom--before he wraps himself in the blue comforter and stretches out on the little bed, his back to the room.
"Just like that?" I protest, feebly. "I don't get seduced first or anything?" I mean, am I really expected just to lie down and spread 'em?
"Later," he murmurs, deep in the pillows. He sounds half asleep already.
Apparently he's just determined to get more sleep and the seduction will come later and presumably with more ceremony, so I pick up and fold the jeans and shirt he's left in heaps on the floor. I consider putting my Indian cotton dress back on, even making up the other daybed for myself, but reject all that as much too unhip, too Midwestern prudish. Finally I sit on the coffee table to take off my boots, my socks, my jacket. Before I shed the rest I take another quick look at Jim. He hasn't moved, his breathing is slow and regular. He's apparently asleep, so I relax and strip down the rest of the way.
I straighten up and start towards the bed, only to freeze in my tracks, mortified: Jim is now facing me, propped on one elbow, grinning lewdly. "Mmmmm," he says. "Nice. Very nice."
I let out a screech, try to cover myself with my hands. Doesn't work. He raises the edge of the comforter invitingly, so I dive in beside him, pull it up to my chin. A brief tug of war ensues--he gallantly lets me win.
"All right, be that way," he says, matching my exaggerated modesty with mock wounded feelings. Then he grins the lewdest grin yet.
"Get some sleep," he says, turning over and preparing to take his own advice. "I think we're going to need it."
I try--at least I close my eyes-- but I open them again a couple of minutes later and and lie awake for a long time curled around him, staring at the peachy, nearly poreless skin of his back and trying to sort out the events of the last couple of days.
I've finally dozed off for what feels like maybe five whole minutes when he wakes me up by sliding off the end of the bed to go pee. I expect him to come back to bed but he's up for good; marches back into the room with a towel wrapped around his waist, determined to roust me out to take a shower with him. I respond by pulling the comforter over my head, growling obscenities at him from underneath. This relationship is doomed from the start. I can't possibly take up with someone who's this cheerful in the morning.
Besides, as tempted as I am at the thought of soapy, sexy fun in the shower I suspect his hair's enough like mine that he'll understand immediately why I'm so careful to protect mine from the shower steam, and he'll dunk me. Then I'll have two feet of frizz to deal with, and won't that be fun?
He finally gives up on me, goes off to shower by his lonesome. I've snuggled back down for another few minutes' sleep when he calls out to ask me where I've hidden the soap. Tell him the stuff in the bottle, the Rainbath, is the soap.
Drift off again; this time he pokes his head around the door, asks me if I have any shampoo. Tell him the Rainbath is shampoo too. Uh oh, he says, too late. He's already used it all. Too bad, he says, he can look pretty good when his hair's shampooed.
That gets me; I start to laugh as hard as he did earlier, because of course he's ridiculously gorgeous as he is. The damned man doesn't have anything wrong with him, there's not a single ugliness to be seen, unless you count his beer belly and even that looks pretty good, encased as it is in flawless, faintly gold-toned skin. I manage to stop laughing long enough to throw his line back at him: "So pretty," I cackle, "and such an asshole...."
He retaliates by yanking up the end of the comforter, exposing me from the waist down. "AHA!" he says, "a natural redhead!" I pull the comforter away from him, stuff the pillows behind me and lean back against the wall. I guess the day has begun.
He goes back into the bathroom to brush his teeth while I sip some of the tea I made earlier. It's cold by now and a little bitter, but I'm hoping the caffeine is still there.
That evil laugh booms out--Patricia's left her wig behind and he thinks it's even funnier now than he did last night. He plops it on top of his head again, picks up my black Spanish hat and does a couple of seconds of a remarkably sexy soft shoe routine, raising the hat to cover his jewels at the precise instant he drops the towel. Tell him when he gets tired of rock he can always revive vaudeville. He says sorry, show's over, it's time to get moving. We're due at the studio.
We go to Mouling for some lunch first. He orders us drinks and "the Imperial din-din," much to the amusement of the Chinese waiter, who's clearly encountered this handsome goofball before.
Jim wants to know if anyone's ever told me I look like Elizabeth Taylor. I don't even look up from my eggroll to say, "Yep, 'Liz' was my nickname in high school." Too late I realize I'm supposed to be bowled over by this compliment; when I do look up I realize I'm for it and the zinger isn't long in coming.
"Yeaah," he drawls, a wicked gleam in his eye, "you kinda remind me of Liz in...Butterfield 8." In which film, of course, she played a high-priced call girl, or rich man's mistress, or both. He decides it would be nifty to have a red-haired Elizabeth Taylor lookalike as a mistress, and he'll have to buy me traditional mistress presents. How about a mink coat?
"In California??" I snort.
"Well then, how about diamonds?"
Tell him I don't like diamonds, I'm very happy with my turquoise and silver. He slides the turquoise ring off my index finger, examines it, and pronounces it machine-made tourist crap. Wants to know if I've ever been to the Southwest, especially New Mexico. Tell him not yet but I've always been drawn to the area. He says maybe we'll go over to New Mexico for a few days so I can see what the real thing is like. He's not razzing me any more; this is obviously something he's really interested in and he's dropped the usual faintly sardonic inflection. He also slips the ring on his pinky and wears it the rest of the afternoon. I ask him about the trademark concho belt, did he get it over there? He says yeah, he picked it up in Santa Fe 3-4 years ago.
(Later I'll find the ring--as well as the necklace of rose, blue and purple Czech trade beads he's also appropriated for the afternoon--in a neat pile on one of my side tables. When I ask him why he's taken them off he says he's "too old" to wear such things. I'll hear that declaration a lot in the coming weeks--that he's too old to be a rock star, he's too old to wear the concho belt, and so forth. I start calling him "Gramps.")
I remind him only married men have mistresses, is there something he hasn't told me? He grins, says no but he does have an old lady. He really likes her; she's overseas now. He gets a bit of a glow when he speaks of Pamela. I have to wonder if she might not be a more or less permanent fixture after all, Patricia's wishful thinking notwithstanding.
"Well that's a bummer," I mutter.
The glow disappears and the arrogant rock god I've been expecting for hours now finally puts in an appearance. "Why?" he asks, his tone downright snotty. "What difference does it make?"
I take a deep breath, preparing for battle. It might not make a difference to him but I bet it does to her and it certainly does to me. But he forestalls the lecture by instructing me to drink up, we're running late. With uncharacteristic obedience--at least for now--I fold up the little paper parasol from my drink and chug the rest of the concoction. He insists I finish it down to the last drop.
Then we're off down the street to Sunset Sound.
This time it's just the other Doors and Bruce Botnick. We sit behind the soundboard next to Ray; he nods cordially.
I'm not quite as smitten with the rest of the album as I am with Riders on the Storm, but some of it comes close, especially the title track.
On another track--something about cars hissing by my window--I'm marveling at the human sounds Robby's getting out of his guitar when I realize it's not the guitar at all....
"Ssshhhhh," he says.
Presently he asks me if I'd mind getting him a pack of Benson & Hedges from the cigarette machine in the lobby. I'm not thrilled with this--I'm neither a gofer nor a groupie--but the others are already filing into the studio to redo or overdub a few bars so I decide under the circumstances it'd be downright churlish to take offense. From the door I look back to see that Jim has seated himself at the piano, but I don't stick around to see if he's actually going to play it.
No Benson & Hedges in the machine, though, and I've already discovered that I've lost my comb somewhere so I decide to go down the street to a drugstore. I need a little time to myself anyway. He's incredibly easy to be with but I haven't been alone in nearly 36 hours and I need a breather.
I get back 30-40 minutes later--the drugstore turns out to be five or six blocks down the street, not the one or two I expected--to find that I can't get back in. The high iron gate is locked so I lean on the night bell.
Presently Jim and Ray appear but neither has the key so they can't do much but offer sympathy and suggestions. There's some talk of me climbing over the ten-foot high, spike-topped iron fence, but if I slip I'm liable to lose far more than my virtue so that idea is quickly discarded. I hand Jim his cigarettes; he puts the pack between his teeth and pretends to try to pull the bars apart. Doesn't work, though, they don't budge. Finally the security guard appears with the key.
Back inside I decide almost immediately to make a trip to the loo. It's a windy day and my hair looks like it's been combed with an egg beater. Also I need to pee, as usual. Behind me I hear Jim say something like, "Huh...where does she think she's going?" but I don't think anything of it.
I'm whizzing away when I hear the door to the loo open. Slow on the uptake as always, it takes a second or two to sink in: I'm the only woman in the studio. I look under the partition to see a familiar pair of Frye boots drifting across the tile, then one large, lewd blue eye peering into the cubicle. I pull my t-shirt down to preserve my dignity, lob spare rolls of TP over the partition at him, screeching for him to GET OUT!!
"Well all right, if that's how you feel about it," he says, and drifts back out again.
Return to the studio; Jim is sitting behind the soundboard again, my huge round Holly Golightly sunglasses on an impassive face. Ray on the other hand is as red-faced as I am, but from suppressed laughter rather than embarrassment.
Later Jim puts him up to dropping a whole reel of loose recording tape over my head like a lasso. I assume Ray did it anyway, since by this time I'm sitting on the couch in front of the console reading the Free Press and Ray is directly behind me while Jim is down at the end.
For some reason he and I are the last to leave the studio; we discover when we do that the back gate is locked from the inside as well. It's also ten feet high but wooden with cross-bracing in the shape of a Z, so he decides it'll be easier to climb over it than to locate the security guard again.
He goes over first, then I'm to step onto his shoulders and from there to his cupped hands. As I come down he pretends to sniff in the direction of my crotch. I try to box his ears for this impertinence and as he dodges the blow he loses his balance and once more we land in a heap. A woman sitting in a car in the parking lot is laughing hysterically at this silliness, so on a common impulse he and I join hands and take a sweeping theatrical bow.
Back to Mouling for a late afternoon snack--my introduction to the wonderfulness that is Mongolian beef. Then back to my apartment. He asks me to put on my sexiest nightgown, but I have only one real nightgown so it'll have to do. Since it's a long-sleeved, lace-trimmed Victorian number I'm not expecting much of a reaction, but it seems Victorian/PreRaphaelite is his favorite look for a woman, and besides I've forgotten that it's sheer and see-through.
I don't keep it on for very long anyway, and so it is that I finally get seduced, very gently, very playfully, and very, very skillfully.
We both fall asleep afterwards; I wake up about 45 minutes later and decide to take the shower I weaseled out of this morning. He can't dunk me if he's sound asleep, so I slip out of the bed as circumspectly as possible. He mutters a drowsy protest, but doesn't really wake up.
I've finished my shower by the time he does wake up, pounds on the locked bathroom door, wants to know if I'm gonna open the door or if he has to pee in the kitchen sink. Under the circumstances I decide to open the door.
I turn on the news for him, then go back to finish my toilette. Come back out to cuddle with him under the blue comforter. We exchange a few pithy comments about Tricky Dicky's latest outrages, but that poor twisted bastard simply doesn't have what it takes to hold our attention for long, and the next thing I know I'm getting seduced again, on the floor this time, on a sheet we've spread over the carpet in a vain attempt to avoid friction burns.
When we're finished he leans back and looks up toward the windows at the end of the room. My stomach flip-flops at the expression of shock and horror on his face. Momentarily forgetting we're on the third floor, I whip around expecting to see Patricia climbing through the window with a knife between her teeth, but there's nothing more menacing in view than the curtains billowing softly in the late afternoon breeze. Of course the windows are still open.
"Oh well," he says with a wan little grin, "I guess if anyone heard us they'd just be envious." Ask him what he means, "if anyone heard us?" It seems to me he was pretty quiet--"I was concentrating," he says--but most of West Hollywood has to have heard my trills of joy.
He eases me back down and we're contemplating a third round when two stomachs growling in unison convince us that another appetite needs more immediate attention.
This time we head down La Cienega to the Pear Garden, and for the first time it's obvious that I'm in the company of a celebrity. He's known here, and adored, and every major and minor functionary in the place comes by our table to pay tribute. He pretends to be embarrassed by all the attention, says rock'n'roll is really popular in Japan so they think he's some kind of big star or something. I roll my eyes at this shameless false modesty, but as usual he's not the least bit abashed.
The downside of fame is also quickly obvious: there are two women and a man seated at the other end of our large Teppan table. The two women do not take their eyes off Jim, not once, throughout the whole damned meal. Every time I look up there are four saucer-sized eyes fixed on my dinner partner. It begins to annoy the hell out of me--how truly and stupendously rude--but Jim seems totally oblivious. Of course he's had plenty of time to get used to it by now. I'm not sure I ever could.
The odd thing is that I'm not really sure why they're staring at him. They look to be in their late 30s, totally straight up Middle America, and very possibly have no idea whatsoever who he is. Maybe they're trying to figure that out themselves, wondering who's this scruffy but drop-dead gorgeous hippie who's getting all the attention from the restaurant staff.
We've started dinner with some kind of hot soup, and when I take a sip of cold water immediately after a spoonful of soup one of my fillings jumps painfully. He wants to know what's the matter and when I explain and say something like, "...and you know how that is" he says, uh, no, actually he doesn't, he's never had any cavities so he doesn't have any fillings so he's never had one jump. I'm skeptical, can't believe it's possible to get to adulthood without at least a filling or two, but he opens wide and reveals a truly amazing sight: 32 perfect ivory choppers and not a speck of filling. I steal a glance at The Watchers; they seem suitably impressed as well.
At some point during the meal I get what I've come to think of as the Super-WASP Third Degree, the same sorts of questions my very class-conscious mother asked about any new friend I might have made since at least as far back as fifth or sixth grade: have I...ahh...have I been to school? (meaning university of course); what's my religious background? and what does my daddy do?
I draw myself up haughtily and inform him that I have a B.A. in Theatre with an English minor from the University of Illinois; that my daddy's dead and before that he was a civil servant and before that he was an Air Force officer; and as for religious background, I don't have any.
"So you think you just die and that's it, huh?" he says.
"Yep," I say.
"Yeah, me too."
He tells me some tall tale of going to Europe by freighter, says the captain's going to teach him how to tie knots. Also says he's never coming back. Of course I turn pale green at this remark, so he considers--or pretends to consider--taking me with him, but almost immediately rejects the idea. Says he needs to get away from people for awhile, he's come to depend on them too much.
I swallow hard and ask him when he's leaving; he says when the album's finished. Says the release date is April 1, April Fool's Day, a date he finds entirely appropriate. Also says that at the rate they're going they'll be working on it right up to the last minute. I manage to convince myself this is his roundabout way of telling me he'll be around for another five weeks or so, so I relax a bit. A lot can happen in five weeks, and I'll worry about it later. Aftuh all, tomorruh is anothuh day.
I tell him about a conversation Patricia and I had about names, how we both preferred the traditional John/Mary types over faddish handles like Lance or Tiffany, and how I'd then told her a story I'd heard from the sister of a friend of mine at school.
That friend, whose first name was James but who'd chosen at some point to use his middle name instead, had played football for his Kentucky high school. According to his sister, the cheerleaders had cheered him on using both his given names, as in "go go Jimmy Tom!" Patricia and I had speculated whether Jim--also a Southerner, of course--had been "Jimmy Doug" as a boy.
Jim is tickled by the story and for awhile refers to himself in the third person as "Jimmy Doug," as in "Do you want to know what Jimmy Doug thinks about that?" etc. Then he scares me half to death by telling me, in all apparent seriousness, that he has to know the truth about something and under no circumstances am I to lie to him. My brain runs in frantic circles for a second or two, trying to imagine what in the world he could be talking about.
What he just has to know, as it turns out, is "Whose idea was 'Jimmy Doug'?" meaning of course was it mine or was it Patricia's? I tell him he can relax, that it was indeed my idea and I'm surprised that he needed to ask.
After dinner we cruise West Hollywood a bit, looking for a movie he hasn't already seen. He's also tempted by Junior Wells and Buddy Guy at the Ash Grove,but we decide we're really too tired so we head back to the apartment.
We settle onto the sofa to watch a little television and drift off almost immediately, Jim with his head in my lap. Suddenly the building begins to creak and sway violently--a strong aftershock. Of course I'm terrified, start to hyperventilate and whine. Mr. Macho, on the other hand, doesn't even tense up. I ask him to p-p-puleeeze h-h-hold me and in response he simply grins up at me, eyebrows raised in amusement at my terror, then gives my hand a perfunctory squeeze. It works perfectly of course; it's hard to be scared when you're laughing as hard as I am.
We start to drift off again, rouse ourselves just long enough to undress and get into the window bed. He extends an arm so I can pillow my head on his shoulder, I do, close my eyes and fall immediately into a black hole.
Poor devil, of course he woke up a lot. Apparently I didn't move a muscle all night, so his arm is asleep and about to fall off. I apologize, tell him it's the first good night's sleep I've had since the earthquake. In fact, since Patricia tended to grind her teeth and thrash and mutter in her bed all night long, it's my first full night's sleep since her arrival.
He grimaces at the mention of her name but doesn't say anything, just slides out of bed and heads off for his morning whiz. When he comes back he starts pulling on his clothes. I watch in dismay but I'm determined not to ask him where he's going or if he's coming back.
When he's dressed he does something that hits me like a fist in the stomach: he fishes around in his pocket and extracts a $20 bill, which he places on the bedside table. I can feel the blood drain from my face, my eyes fill with tears. I can't believe what I'm seeing. What on earth did I do to deserve this insult?
About this time Jim looks up and sees my ashen face and watery eyes. He frowns in bewilderment, then abruptly catches on. "Uhh...groceries?" he says, grinning. "If you're going to make me Sunday dinner at least I can pay for the food." Immediately the blood reverses direction and my face turns red and hot. I cover it with my hands and start to giggle and sniffle at the same time.
He pulls my hands away so he can kiss me goodbye, says he's going home to wash his hair and get some clean clothes, he'll be back in a couple of hours. Then he shakes his head and still grinning, says "You've seen too damn many Westerns, Lash, you know that?"
"Just go away," I say, covering my flaming face again. He's halfway out the door before I think to ask him if he wants me to get anything special. "Surprise me," he says, and he's gone.
I take the $20 to Mayfair, spend $19.74 of it. Come back and straighten up the apartment a little, then get into the shower.
I'm still in the bathroom when I hear the pop and hiss of a beer can being opened in the living room--he's back. I step into the dressing room doorway and get bowled over by the splendor of the man sitting on my sofa reading the Sunday Times. He's changed into tobacco-brown suede pants and a burgundy V-necked sweater, and even from across the room I can see the suede is fine and soft, absolutely top quality, and the sweater is cashmere. I wolf whistle in appreciation; he raises his beer in acknowledgment.
I make us my sooper-dooper omelet, after retrieving my weaponry from under the sofa cushion, and we spend a couple of hours reading the Sunday paper. We each have a copy since we both bought one, and he's brought me a copy of Vogue as well.
There's an article about the aftershocks, since apparently there were two. The first happened around 9 p.m. and we didn't feel it because we were in the car. The second was five something on the Richter scale. I feel quite vindicated in my reaction to it; 5.0 is a pretty fair quake in its own right.
He's still Mr. Macho, however; says I must really hate roller coasters. I give him a dirty look, inform him that from what I've been reading over the past couple of weeks the main quake was not the expected Big One on the San Andreas but a medium-sized quake on a previously unknown fault, and the Big One could be 1,000 times stronger. Finally he's impressed, says "Yiiikes...really?" Then he shrugs, says oh well, what does he care, he'll be in Paris anyway. "Oh thanks," I say, stung. He grins, squeezes my shoulder, tells me not to worry, nothing ever happens to him or his friends. I believe it, because in spite of his reputation as a self-destructive lunatic he has the most reassuring presence of anyone I've ever known. I feel absolutely safe when he's around--except for earthquakes, of course.
We decide to go see the new Truffaut (Bed and Board) but loll around on the sofa until the last possible minute. I'm curious to see if he goes to the movies like ordinary people or if he'll have me go in first, then sneak in at the last minute with his jacket over his head or something. But it's all very low key and normal, in fact he asks me go in and find us some good seats while he gets the popcorn and Pepsi.
Back at the apartment later we consult the entertainment pages again, trying to find some more films neither of us has seen. He also talks about getting tickets for Abelard and Heloise at the Ahmanson. We're still in veg mode so we find a Clark Gable/Spencer Tracy/Myrna Loy film called Test Pilot on television. An oblique warning that I shouldn't be getting any ideas about our relationship: Myrna is telling Clark she's been waiting for their meeting her whole life, or something like that. The man is clearly a goner. Jim says something to the effect that the Gable character probably thinks nothing of it, this kind of thing clearly happens to him all the time. Meaning, of course, a hero man and the many women who fall in love with him. I let it pass, just say something about how insidious these movies are, they make you think real life is like that.
We're getting hungry, so towards the end of the film I get up and start supper--steak, salad and wild rice. During the meal I ask him about acid. He says he definitely thinks I should try it and even offers to find me some, but says I have to promise not to call him screaming that I have cockroaches in my brain or something. Tell him he makes it sound really appealing. He grins, says it can be great but he's not into it any more so I'm on my own. I manage to avoid telling him he's the last person on earth I'd want to drop acid with anyway, so there.
Back on the sofa I get seduced again, then we both fall asleep but I wake up about an hour later, cover him with the orange blanket, wash the dishes, straighten up the apartment.
Wake him to come to bed and we settle down to sleep again, but shortly discover raging insomnia is something else we have in common. We consider putting the mattresses side by side on the floor but ultimately decide he'll keep that bed and I'll try to read myself to sleep on the couch. We each take a couple of my OTC sleeping pills and I dig into The French Lieutenant's Woman until I get drowsy. Jim is already asleep, so I crawl into the other bed so I won't disturb him.
Next morning I open my eyes to find Jim's bed empty; he's in the bathroom. I turn over to go back to sleep, then hear him pulling on his clothes. I pretend to be asleep as he crosses very quietly to the kitchen, takes something--probably a beer---out of the refrigerator and very softly closes the front door. He's gone.
He doesn't come back that night, but late next afternoon I'm coming home after a day of job hunting when I see that rarest of rarities, a parking space right in front of the building. I aim for the space and accelerate--and immediately have to hit the brakes hard, practically standing the Corvair on its nose, to avoid T-boning the Challenger as Jim comes roaring up out of the garage. He tells me we're invited to dinner with some friends of his who turn out to be Frank and Kathy Lisciandro.
Frank serves sake as an aperitif; we've emptied the little bottle before Kathy is ready in the kitchen so Jim peeks though the ornate carving on the back of their Victorian sofa and meows for his supper. We reminisce about our high school years over some tasty Italian dishes--Jim remembers being a "Sherlock Holmes freak" in those days. At some point the conversation turns to his upcoming sojourn in France and he puts Frank in charge of shipping his books to Paris after he's found a place over there.
He and Frank talk about the Bermuda shorts fad of the late 50s. (On the way home I threaten to blackmail him with the news that he once wore Bermuda shorts. He says "You won't tell anybody, will you?" Tell him that depends and he'd better be nice to me since I've got something on him now, but he doesn't seem to be very worried.)
After dinner we return to the living room for coffee and slides from the Lisciandros' recent trip to Mexico, since Frank can't find the "early rock'n'roll Morrison" photos he'd wanted to show. They talk about making a film of Dark of the Moon; Jim thinks I'd make a good Barbara Allen except I'm a little...uh...and his eyes drop to my decidedly unimpressive bosom. I retaliate by razzing him about his beer belly. This pisses Kathy off and she comes roaring to his defense: "Well we love him just the way he is!" Her reaction strikes me as a tad unfair, since Jim needled me for something I can't change, not short of major surgery anyway, whereas he can get rid of his little paunch in about a week any time he puts his mind to it, but I let it pass. "Lay off the booze and it just melts away," he suggests later, when I complain about the little pot belly I've grown just trying to keep up with him.
He turns up again a few days later, around eight. Says he'd thought about coming over earlier to take me to dinner but was afraid I'd think all he ever did was eat. Tell him my supper consisted of a burned pot pie so I would have welcomed a dinner invitation, he needn't worry about that.
We're still updating each other on our activities over the preceding few days when we hear someone coming down the hallway, knocking on doors and conversing briefly with whoever answers, then moving on to the next apartment. He's directly across the hall before I realize it's building manager Jim T. and I suspect I know what's up. Sure enough, he's trying to find out who owns the green and white Challenger that's parked illegally in one of the assigned spaces in the garage. When he sees Jim he decides to ratchet things up a few notches, claiming the cops are on the scene and it's turning into a major incident. Jim pales visibly at the mention of the police; I tell him not to worry, it's my fault for not warning him about the parking situation and I'll handle it. He hands over the car keys with relief, says I'll be much better at dealing with "those people" than he would.
Except when I get downstairs there's no one there but Jim T.'s roommate and the owner of the hijacked space, an irate old woman who continues to foam and rant despite my explanations and apologies. Clearly this is the only human contact she's had all day and she intends to make the most of it.
Of course I'm furious with Jim T. and his bullshit, go stomping back upstairs after I've moved the Challenger to a space down the street. (From then on Jim parks by the fire hydrant opposite the building when he comes over, adding the inevitable parking tickets to the collection already in the glove box of the Challenger until it's full, then turning them over to his accountant.)
He's more relieved than angry to find out Jim T. was putting us on about the cops, and makes it clear he just wants to hang out and relax. He mutters something about how "raucous" the music on KLOS is, changes the station to the classical KUSC but turns down the volume so it's barely audible. Then he turns on the television but turns the sound all the way down, and finally sits on the sofa to read the L.A Times I'd picked up earlier.
Another time he turns up early enough that it's still light out, although fading fast. I've stayed in all day, giving myself a break from the job search, so I'm still wearing the full length, long-sleeved, sky-colored Indian cotton dress that's been my preferred at-home garment since I bought it in NYC's West Village the previous summer.
This time I don't bother to ask him what he's been up to, aside from the interminable mixing of the L.A. Woman album, because by now I'm well aware that all I'll get will be a variation of the same airy "Oh nothing, just reading, sleeping, taking baths..." Likewise he doesn't ask me how the job search is going; it's obvious I haven't been out of the apartment all day.
We're sitting side by side in on the sofa, shoulders touching. He fingers the sleeve of my dress, says "That's a pretty color," that blue is his favorite. Then he looks up, meets my eyes and grins. While Jim's smile is beatific and beautiful his grin is pure Huck Finn--and in this case it's Huckleberry with a certain gleam in his eye. In less than a minute Huck's boots and jacket are on the floor and I'm flat on the sofa with my pretty blue dress around my ears.
Afterwords I face disaster in the bathroom mirror. He's done the majority of his heavy breathing into the right side of my hair and it's frizzed up and standing out at a 30 degree angle, while the un-breathed on left side still hangs relatively straight and smooth. The difference is too blatant to be ignored and I have nothing to fix it with, no hot rollers, no curling irons, no nothing. The only choice I have is to wet down the unfrizzed side and wait for it to expand to match the passion side.
I step into the dressing room doorway to find that Jim's now stretched out on the sofa, flipping through the copy of Borges' Dreamtigers I'd left on the end table. Once again I'm struck by his beauty. In the warm light of the scarf-draped lamp he's all black--his hair, his beard, his jeans and black denim Wrangler shirt--and rosy gold, that splendid complexion.
He's now in prima donna mode, however: senses my presence in the doorway and wants to know WTF is taking me so long, he's starving. So I go ahead and get dressed, assuming--correctly as it turns out--that the left side of my hair will have frizzed up to the proper level by the time I'm finished.
Then he disappears for a few days and I'm afraid I've seen the last of him, a fear soon reinforced by Bruce Harris, who's flown into town a couple of days ahead of time for the grand opening of Elektra's new offices on La Cienega Boulevard. I pick him up at the Continental Hyatt House (the "Riot House") on Sunset and we stop at Barney's for a long talk over beans and beer, then go to my apartment so I can roll him a couple of joints. He's amazed at what I'm getting for a mere $135 a month; says this apartment in NYC would be at least $400. Tell him that's among the many reasons I left. Then I walk him downstairs, offering to drive him back to the hotel, but he declines because he wants to walk.
We're standing in front of the apartment building talking about Jim--Bruce still insisting I've seen the last of him--when I spot the Chartreuse Car gliding up the street from the south.
"Oh Bruce, there he is!" I turn to Bruce only to behold his rapidly diminishing backside. He's taken one look and skinned out as fast as he can move.
Embarrassed, I get into the car muttering "What got into him?" "
What got into who?" Jim says.
"Bruce Harris," I say, exasperated. I know Jim saw him. "We were standing on the sidewalk talking and as soon as he saw you he took off."
"Who's Bruce Harris?"
I remind him that Bruce is merely Elektra's--and therefore his--East Coast publicity honcho.
"Oh," Jim says. "That Bruce Harris."
And that's that. Never do find out what it's all about. I have some theories which are borne out by subsequent events, but I think I'll keep them to myself. Let's just say that while Bruce had great respect for Jim the artist, he didn't much like Jim the man. He was also a close friend of Patricia's, and of course Jim knew that.
Jim doesn't stay overnight that night. He's still tired and sore from playing touch football the previous day--I tell him politics is next (a Kennedy reference, for those too young to remember)--and he falls asleep with his head close to the apartment's only source of heat, an old-fashioned steam radiator. I don't think to rouse him when the radiator comes on late in the evening, so when he does wake up he's congested and his throat is sore and scratchy. I'm convinced that I'm personally responsible for the ruination of the most remarkable voice in the history of the world. But he takes the aspirins I offer, chugs most of a quart of milk, delivers himself of a good-natured lecture on the dangers of living in stuffy, overheated rooms, and goes home to sleep, making a date for the following evening at six.
When I talk to Bruce the next day he assures me Jim won't show and insists I'm foolish not to make other plans. When Jim turns up hale and hearty and right on schedule--actually he's a little early--Bruce takes the news with such bad grace I finally lose my patience and point out that Jim's conduct with Patricia is not necessarily an accurate predictor of his behavior with anyone else.
My times with him are among the best of my life--no one has ever made me laugh the way he could, or feel so protected, or so much at ease with another person, certainly not with someone I'm as attracted to as much as I am to him. So of course it's just when I'm beginning to think we might really have something going that it goes straight to hell.
It's already becoming obvious that I'm not going to see Jim on weekends, but when I see him going into a club one Saturday evening in the company of several male friends, the only woman in the group being Kathy Lisciandro, I feel a little better. Of course I'd die before I'd complain to him about it. Let him think I have such a busy social life myself that I don't notice or care that he prefers to spend his weekends with his UCLA cronies.
Then one Saturday afternoon in March, driving south on La Cienega, I see him walking north on the west side of the street, apparently coming from the Garden District restaurant and heading for the Doors' office. Hurrying to catch up with him and slip her arm through his is a stunning, stylish girl in a tan silk pantsuit. She's nearly as tall as Jim and while her glossy black hair swings down to hide most of it, I don't have to see her face to know she's beautiful. She looks like a model, or a Beverly Hills Jewish princess, or both.
It's clear he's not comfortable with this stunner because his body language is the same as with the gay fellow who tried to pick him up weeks earlier. His arms are tightly crossed over his chest, he has the same wan little smile pasted on, and as an added filip, there's a Band-Aid plastered vertically (and ever so stylishly) through his left eyebrow.
I manage to avoid wrapping the car around the nearest telephone pole and pull off onto one of the side streets to the east, where I find a place to park so I can throw a proper fit. For awhile I alternately cry, then pound the steering wheel, then cry some more.
When the fit's over I pull myself together and buy a jug of cheap red wine and a new Iris Murdoch novel to get me through the rest of the weekend. I've decided to break it off with Jim the next time he turns up--assuming he does turn up again--because while I might not be a trophy woman I'm still a queen bee and I'm damned if I'm going to be part of anyone's harem, even his. Especially his. If I can't have his love at least I'll have his respect--and my own.
I mentally compose the speech I'll deliver then: I'll tell him I care too much about him (and myself) to be part of a crowd, but that he's made a friend for life and wherever I happen to be, as he perambulates his way through the rest of his days, he'll be guaranteed a hot meal and a warm bed if he needs it. I just won't be in it.
Having made that decision I feel relieved and even manage to get some sleep that night. Something to do with feeling so much better now that I've given up all hope, I guess, aided of course by several glasses of the plonk.
I wake up late the next morning and immediately take the weekly load of washing down to the laundromat on the corner, determined as I am to get on with my life and not give in to self pity.
I've just got back when the telephone rings. It's my friend the AFI student, who's been checking on me periodically, sometimes in person, sometimes by phone, to make sure I'm not starving and/or preparing to go live in a cardboard box in Griffith Park.
He'd called to check on me a week or two earlier, and asked as usual how things were going and was I seeing anyone? He was being brotherly, since he himself was living with a beautiful girl he'd soon marry. When I told him I was seeing someone and who it was I was seeing, he'd all of a sudden found himself "just passing by" within a couple of days of that conversation, on a day I was expecting Jim.
I'd booted Mr. AFI out again well before Jim was due so I'd have time to get ready, but not before we'd spent awhile wrangling about which was the better film, Easy Rider or Alice's Restaurant. I've since softened my harsh judgment of Easy Rider--a lot of it was filmed in New Mexico, after all--but at the time I found it mostly insufferable. Lines like "I'm hip about time, man" made my teeth hurt and I told him so. He said he had the impression Jim talked like that. "Does he say 'man' a lot?"
I told him Jim's speech was really rather formal--he didn't drop his g's, for instance--though it didn't come across as formal because of his soft, slightly stoned drawl. But the couple of times I'd heard him use 60s hipster slang--or any slang, for that matter--it was with the dry, sardonic tone he often used, that seemed to comment on the gallactic silliness of the language while simultaneously appearing to embrace it.
In any case I'm delighted to have company that Sunday. A couple of hours of good talk with an old friend will go a long way towards lifting my mood. Mr. AFI says he has something else to take care of in West Hollywood first, and will be falling by in about an hour.
Half an hour or so later I'm about to walk back down to the laundromat to pick up my clothes when there's a knock on the door. Since I assume that means Mr. AFI's errand has taken him less time than expected it doesn't even occur to me to ask who it is.
Who it is, as it turns out, is a big blond man shifting nervously from one foot to the other as if the hounds of hell are on his tail. My jaw is heading floorward when Jim--who's flattened himself against the wall next to the door so I can't see him--peeks around the doorjamb with an impish expression on his face, and then rushes past me into the living room, closely followed by his companion.
"Quick! You gotta hide us! The cops are after us!" I slam the door and lock all three locks, thinking fast. I can hide them in the shower with the water on while I start puttering in the kitchen making lunch, and when the cops show up I'll tell them that's my roommate in the shower. The two daybeds in the living room will add credence to the story and if they ask me about Jim I'll tell them--loud enough to be heard in the bathroom--that I haven't seen that sonofabitch for several days and if he ever shows up here again he'll be sorry. That'll teach him to leave me sitting at home while he gallivants around West Hollywood with his trophy women.
Except when I step into the living room Jim's friend is still on script--he's pulled off his shirt and is mopping his sweaty face with it--but Jim is perched on the edge of the sofa, his expression still mischievous, looking nothing whatsoever like a man on the lam from the law.
I give them my last two beers and set off for the laundromat to get my clothes, wondering if I should try to head off Mr. AFI. It's obvious I'm going to have to introduce him to Jim at some point, though, the way he keeps turning up. I assume he has a project he wants to pitch, and since the film that got him into AFI in the first place was a version of Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard To Find I wonder if he has it in mind that Jim should play The Misfit in a new version of same. Now that would be a movie.
But when I get back to the apartment there's still no sign of Mr. AFI--or the police--so I put my clothes away and sit down next to Jim.
When I ask him what happened he says they got into a fight with some guys at a pool hall, supposedly over which group was entitled to the next available table, and as a result he'd got clocked and knocked on his keister. He points to the sawdust all over one leg of his jeans as proof of his story, and to the scabbed-over cut in his left eyebrow as further authentication.
Needless to say I don't buy a bit of it, which leads to further hilarity. He launches one of his patented whoppers, I roll my eyes and point out the problems with it, such as that the bruise surrounding the aforementioned cut is already turning greenish yellow--meaning it's actually two/three days old--and then look to Babe Hill (for of course that's who the big blond man turns out to be) for the real story.
Jim has sawdust on his jeans, Babe says, because he'd been sitting on the floor at the pool joint talking to an old hobo who hangs out there; the cut through his left eyebrow is not the result of someone throwing a full can of beer at him as he claims but because he'd been walking with his head turned to talk to someone and had collided with the sharp edge of an open door (or maybe it was the other way around? I forget.)
Then Mr. AFI arrives and I get another surprise. He's undergone a transformation since I've last seen him, from the moderately Bohemian/hippie style he'd adopted in late 60s Illinois--boots, Levi's bellbottoms, shaggy hair and beard--into hardcore Young Republican. He's had a haircut and a shave, and traded the boots and Levi's for loafers, chinos, a sport coat--and a tie. A TIE.
We step into the living room and I manage to introduce this paragon of Middle America to the two hipsters without cracking up. Jim takes one look and nearly falls off the sofa.
"Oh wow, Tom, man, you got any cigarettes?"
I've heard he can do that--instantly perceive another person's idea of him and turn it around on them with malicious glee--and of course there are the visual cues: the booted, bearded Tom might not have got quite the same reaction. Still, it's an astonishing thing to behold.
Tom sits down on the sofa opposite Jim, hands him his pack and they both light up. I tell Tom I'm out of beer and can only offer him apple juice, and he makes his next big mistake: says that's okay, he's been drinking since 9 a.m. Without missing a beat Babe counters with "A late start, huh? You must have overslept!" and it goes downhill from there, devolving almost immediately into a contest to see ¿quien es mas macho?
Except there's really no contest; poor Tom is way outgunned and knows it, though he soldiers on, dry-mouthed and nervous, repeating the same things he'd told me over the phone, meetings had and deals discussed, name-dropping shamelessly in an attempt to impress the Lizard King. I manage to resist the temptation to remind Tom he'd told me all of it just an hour or so earlier, but it isn't easy.
His efforts are wasted in any case; after the initial "Oh wow, Tom, man..." Jim ignores him (and me) completely, lapsing into an ominous silence except for the occasional belch or comment to Babe.
It's Alpha wolf vs. Beta: Jim with hackles raised, growling softly under his breath, Tom rolling onto his back in terrified submission. Figuratively speaking only, of course, but still I want to kill both of them, in fact I want to kill all three of them, silly posturing male creatures that they are, though Babe's only real offense is that he hasn't put his shirt back on after mopping his face with it and sits there on the window bed the rest of the afternoon with his big beer belly hanging out, look faintly amused at the spectacle before him but conversing amiably enough with Tom and even, sometimes, with me.
After 20 minutes or so of this lunacy I decide it might be a good idea to make it plain that I'm with Jim and Tom is here strictly as an old friend, so I scoot over a little--I'm sitting on the floor in front of the sofa with Jim on one side and Tom on the other--and lean back against Jim's legs, hoping this will soothe his wounded ego enough that he might even show a little reciprocal affection. He doesn't, though, at least not that I can discern, but he doesn't pull away either and after that the tension in the room seems to ease a bit.
Finally Tom rises to leave and as soon as he's out the door Jim tumbles sideways and stretches out full length on the sofa, seemingly passed out. He isn't, though, as he soon demonstrates. I've turned on the TV to catch the news and the lead story--that the Nixon Administration is preparing to spend several hundred million on a new bomber--gets an immediate reaction.
"Oh boy, that's exactly what this country needs!" he says and reaches for the phone. "Who can I call?" The rest of the newscast receives equally snarky commentary.
Then he and Babe decide to drive the long half block or so down Flores to Santa Monica to get some dinner at Kelly's, a steakhouse just around the corner to the east. Jim drives, with Babe in the passenger seat and me sitting in the middle on the console, trying not to impale myself on the gearshift. On the way down the hill Jim--who's a lot drunker than he initially appeared--nearly drifts into one of the cars parked on the side of the narrow street but Babe grabs the steering wheel just in time.
Over dinner I'm grilled about the identity of "that hippie" who was around earlier, whether that's a new boyfriend or an old one. I tell him an old one. Of course Tom's really neither but I'm damned if I'm going to tell Jim that.
He's feeling extravagantly sorry for himself, declaring several times, that "ya can't trust women." It's clear that I'm expected to wait chastely at home until it's my turn for another visit from HRH and I'm getting more pissed off--and more deliberately obnoxious--by the minute:
Babe suggests making one more trip south of the border before Jim leaves for Europe; I invite myself along.
He asks Jim what he wants to do about his stereo; I make a pitch for it, say I have a big box of LPs and nothing to play them on, my old record player having given up the ghost back in Illinois and of course I didn't really need one in New York since I'd had a stereo in my office courtesy of Columbia/Epic Records, my employer.
Back in the car, Babe driving now; he drops himself off at the Clear Light building that houses Pamela's boutique Themis. Then it's my turn. I get turned around, go roaring back up La Cienega, burn rubber making the right onto Santa Monica. Of course I'm venting as well as showing off, but it's mostly the joy of having my hands on a powerful car again, my own clunker Corvair being a far cry from the T-bird I'd left behind in Illinois. Jim glowers in disapproval but acknowledges my skill, however grudgingly: "I guess you must be a pretty good driver, huh?"
At the apartment we immediately get into it about the temp job I'm starting the next morning; he expects me to spend more time with him and seems to take it as a personal rejection that I'll be going to work instead. I attempt to explain that I can't turn down this assignment or Kelly's liable to write me off; that I'd told them I wouldn't be available during Patricia's visit and this is the first job they've called with since then, but he just doesn't get it. Wants to know if I want him to help me out but of course I refuse. (Years later I'll think of Jim when I come across Gore Vidal's assertion that people who have money never think about it and people who don't have money never think about anything else.)
We leave off the wrangling after awhile and go on to have a good night together, during the course of which he says some very sweet things. Of course he's saying his goodbyes and the rest of the harem has probably heard the same sorts of things already but it will be awhile yet before I figure this out.
The next morning, though, when I get up early to go to work he's bitchy and cold and when I try to kiss him goodbye he turns his head away and won't even open his eyes.
In spite of his apparent pique, however, there are no signs of it when I get home that night.. The little bed is neatly made up, the covers turned back with almost military precision, and the current issue of the Freep is lying on the floor next to it. There are also a couple of empty beer cans in the trash, so it looks as though he spent the morning there; most likely went straight from my place to the studio.
So I halfway expect him to turn up again that night. He doesn't, though. Not that night, nor the next.
I was afraid he'd already left for Paris, so I decided to cruise by the apartment on Norton just as I'd done back in January when I was spying for Patricia. I was still nearly a block away when I saw him standing next to his car, which was parked at the curb in front of the building. I couldn't tell if he was arriving or leaving and it didn't matter anyway. He'd seen me, and stared his laser beam stare over the open driver's side door.
I lost my nerve. To this day I don't know why I didn't just pull up next to him and ask if he wanted to rumble, but I doubt anything would have changed if I had. We might have worked it out and had a few more days together, but that would simply have been postponing the inevitable. It was his fate to go to Paris, and to die there, and mine, as with so many others, to stay behind and to miss him the rest of my life.
In any case I was mortified to be caught spying. It seemed such a desperate, clingy thing to do, the sort of thing Patricia would do. So I waved airily and turned north on Havenhurst, pretending I was just passing through on my way to somewhere--or someone--else. It was the last time I was ever to see him, but of course I didn't know it then.
A few days later I couldn't stand the suspense any longer and called the Doors' office. "Janet, he's gone," Kathy Lisciandro said. "He left a couple of days ago." I said something cheery and inane, hung up, and burst into tears.
Then I pitched a fit and shredded and/or threw out everything he'd bought me, copies of Vogue and Bazaar for instance, his not-so-subtle hint that I should consider expanding my wardrobe to include something besides cowboy boots, jeans and t-shirts--or that I'd bought for him, favorite foods mostly.
Of course it didn't work worth a damn and I was amazed to discover, in the lonely weeks that followed, just how colorless Los Angeles had become without him.
On the other hand that was nothing compared to the color and savor that went out of the world itself four months later.
I heard it on the 1 a.m. re-broadcast of the 11 p.m. news. When I could talk again I called Bruce at home in New York to find out what had happened. He didn't know either, but said Patricia was there and promptly put her on the line.
She was drunk as a lord and quite giddy, and for a little while we were friends again, united in our love and grief for the same extraordinary, impossible man.
"Three widows," she said, meaning Pamela, herself, and me. "At least," I said.
Then she started babbling over and over that Jim had told her this would happen. I thought she meant he'd killed himself and told her ahead of time he was going to do it, and I couldn't decide which idea I found more astonishing or unlikely.
But it turned out she wasn't talking about suicide or any calls or letters from him beforehand. She was talking about a dream she'd had around the time of his death, and she proceeded to describe it to me in detail.
She said she'd been asleep and dreamed she woke up to find Jim standing at the foot of the bed staring at her. She said they'd "communicated wordlessly" for a few seconds, then she [dreamed she] went back to sleep. When she woke up for real her ring was on a different finger, and a picture of him that had been on a bedside table was now face down on the table, or on the floor--I'm not sure about that detail. She said she guessed her dream meant that "all was forgiven."
I wondered what ring she was talking about, since an Art Deco onyx and diamond chip was the only ring I'd ever seen her wear. Now, of course, I realize she must have been talking about the claddagh ring from the handfasting, but I don't remember ever seeing her wear it, and of course she hadn't described the handfasting as anything particularly meaningful.
In any case, I too had just had a startling dream involving Jim and so, instead of questioning her about the details of her dream, I proceeded--with truly stupendous naivete--to tell her about mine.
It had happened around eight o'clock the morning of July 7th, four days after Jim's death but at least 36 hours before the world and I learned of it. I had seen my then-boyfriend off to film class at USC, and since I was still drowsy had flopped down on the living room sofa for another hour or two of sleep. I was just drifting off when someone sat down next to me on the sofa--I felt the cushions give under his weight--slid his hands under my shoulders to lift me up, and bent to kiss me. He was so close I could feel the heat of his face over mine, and I knew it was Jim because I could smell him (what my journal describes a tad breathlessly as his "incredibly rich, masculine smell").
I had time for two thoughts in the nanosecond it took me to sit bolt upright, wide awake and startled out of my wits:
1. How on earth did he find me? (I'd moved out of the West Hollywood apartment a couple of months before and was living with friends in Hollywood.)
2. Aaaack, I look awful! (No eye makeup of course, and I'd noticed earlier I was looking a bit pale and peaked, not my usual rosy-cheeked morning self.
But there was no one there.
Patricia listened to all this without comment, then told me she was too drunk to talk any more and asked me to call her at her apartment in a couple of hours. When I did she was sober, cold and hateful. There was no more feminine camaraderie; in fact she demanded to know what right I had to grieve for Jim since I meant nothing to him, unlike her; said Bruce told her I'd seen Jim just once. I told her Bruce knew better, but forbore to add that he had undoubtedly told her what he did so she wouldn't make another one of her melodramatic "suicide" attempts.
However, she did say that while she was forced to hate me because I was the means Jim had used to do her in, she had to admit I really hadn't done anything myself.
In turn I managed to avoid telling her how much I knew and how much I'd come to despise her because of it, what a wretched excuse for a woman I thought she was, how her behavior had fed into and reinforced every misogynist stereotype Jim and any of the other men involved might already have been harboring.
Nor did I tell her I still managed to muster up a good deal of sympathy for her. I thought she'd simply been driven mad by her obsessive love for a man she couldn't--no one could--possess.
I no longer believe that to be the case. I now believe she was unstable to begin with. Certainly Jim thought so, and Patricia's close friend (the late) David Walley seemed to agree, but blamed it on the witchcraft books--"black" magic as well as the benign Wicca--with which he believed she'd become obsessed.
That was the last time Patricia and I spoke, though we did have an interesting encounter in New York City a few weeks later.
On a hot and muggy afternoon in August I was walking along 2nd Avenue in the East Village when I was stopped by a young man who was apparently astonished (or appalled?) by the mass of frizzy red curls I'd pinned up off my neck in an attempt to keep cool. He wanted to know if the mess was "real," and I was in the process of giving him my standard answer to such questions--"You don't think I'd do this to myself deliberately, do you?"--when I saw Patricia approaching us from the south. Clearly she'd seen me too and was trying without much success to pretend she hadn't, and as she got closer I realized she'd dyed her dark brown hair red, and the combination of red dye over natural dark brown had produced a color virtually identical to my natural dark red, whether she'd intended it to or not. She passed us with head down and eyes averted, looking mortified (and no wonder) and that was the last time I ever saw her in the flesh.
In any case it's been decades now since I've felt any sympathy for her at all. Those tender feelings died a very quick death when No One Here Gets Out Alive was published in 1980 and I saw the real Patricia in all her dubious glory, and when in 1986's Rock Wives (subtitled "The Wives, Girlfriends and Groupies of Rock'n'Roll") she not only expanded her earlier tall tales but "borrowed" my dream and grafted it onto her own.
I haven't read Strange Days, nor do I intend to, but I've had parts of it read to me, enough to know it's simply a further and ever more spiteful rearranging of reality. Since its publication in 1992 Patricia has continued to demonstrate what seems to me to be her utter lack of pride, her lack of love for anyone but her sorry self, and most of all, her truly vicious, vengeful and greedy nature.
So I still have only one thing to say to my erstwhile friend:
On horseback, Patricia?
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