Continued from previous post.
” Hi Stephie, are you sitting down?”
” Oh no. What happened?”
I discovered dimensions of wisdom inside Stephie, that wouldn’t have surfaced without unleashing the contents of the Letter. She turned the situation upside down, so instead of raking Limbo’s mysterious and spiteful motivation, she said, ” This is his journey, not yours. ” That spawned an image, of Limbo driving Dragon around and petting her desires with presents, lots of presents juxtaposed with me on a road of seriousness protecting my investments, my health, and my career as an author. I haven’t had the daily routine of writing as I did with the book, now it is the business of marketing and selling. It feels like going from the oceans fluidity of wave and crash to solid ground where my imagination is now used to strategize my defense against the Dragon. Two hours later Stephie induced laughter and caressing from my initial whimpering and hollowness.
l hung up the phone, got dressed and went shopping along Palace Avenue, to the shops I frequent. I felt this strange identity with my teenager consciousness in Los Angeles, walking along Melrose, drinking espresso at Cafe Figaro, window shopping, and tanked up on the street activity. A Sargent Peppers parade of bohemian and hippie lifestyles emerged in West Hollywood in the sixties. It was like a preview of a future without Limbo laundering my thoughts and feelings.
I went on a date, and even though he was not towing me in, he has a Tom Cruise smile, and he liked to talk and laugh at his jokes. Stepping out of interaction with Limbo, and his escapes, battles, complaints and vanishing humor, I reached for friends. They’ve been there all along, and I didn’t take notice until the day of the book signing. Wow-I hadn’t been available to mingle with so many friends because Limbo didn’t like them. He doesn’t attach himself to friends, just one woman and for thirty-three years- I was that woman.
A few days later I was perched on a bar-stool refreshing my mood with Eric, Zak, Jennifer, and Raul, the Staab House gang that greases my mood. A man next to me draws me into his conversation about the sixties. We’re just reminiscing, and the woman next to him is listening, observing in a very neutral manner.
” So what do you do in Santa Fe?” he asked.
” I just published a book. I’m an author. White Zen told me I should say that instead of I am a writer.
” Really, what’s the name of it?”
” Cradle of Crime.”
” What’s it about?”
” Growing up with gangsters. My father was Bugsy Siegel’s partner for ten years. It’s about my discovering his life.”
The gal then looked me straight in the eyes and said, My great-grandfather investigated those guys.
“Who was your great-grandfather?”
” Estes Kefauver.” If you’ve not read the book he was the Tennesse Senator that summoned every known gangster in the nineteen fifties to testify under oath on television. Dad was one of them. The excerpts of his testimony are in the book.
” What! Oh my God, he’s in the book, my Dad was one he interrogated.”
We both jumped out of our seats and rushed through the introductory connection without judgment or shame, and then we hugged. It is this kind of incident that broadens my catalog; I’m not ashamed of my legacy. We ended up in Casita, and I handed her a book.
Robyn knew about Estes, his reputation was and still is a historical moment in Mob history. A reenactment of the courtroom and transcripts are exhibited at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. She said this was meant to be, a way of healing our relatives vendetta. Robyn sent me this photograph today. In these unexpected adventures in livingness I forget all about Limbo, had he been there it would have been entirely different. Instead, he is leading the Dragon into my den to rearrange my retirement, friendship, and love for our homes.
The night before the book signing that splendid spell has metallized into a muted gray state of nausea, and I couldn’t breathe. I popped over to La Posada for a touch-up color.
Yvette called out, “Hi Loulou, are you excited about the book signing?”
” Not at all.”
” Why not? This is a huge deal for you.”
” It could have been-you know who ruined it.”
” How can he ruin it? He won’t be there.
” Come on– you’re going to have a magnificent time. I invited my parents, and I posted it on my Facebook page.” She harmonized topics I cannot recall, but at the end of two hours, I walked out without the grimace.
David Stone who juggles all the events at La Posada was moving furniture around and, and intermittently asking me where I want the tables and chairs while I set up my Square card ready to sell books.
RINGING BOOKS AND BELLS OF FRIENDSHIP
In the early stages of writing, 1996, there was this one bookstore in Del Mar that I browsed every week. The owner was a sweet east coast woman, I imagine she was from a literary New England city because her collection and arrangement likened to going into a candy shop as a little girl. Overstuffed sofas, rocking chairs and a roundtable for readings and workshops. People spent hours in her reading salon. Right next door was the Pannikin Coffee House that catered to loyalists of aromatic coffee, pastries and slouching. I ordered coffee, sat outside on the walkway and read the book I had just bought. Almost every time I bought a book the cashier commented, ‘ I love that book, or that looks interesting.’ As soon as I walked in, I looked at the new releases set on wooden frames; the dream was already soaring above practical measures, but I imagined my book would be sitting upright on a table. Twenty-three years later, I am signing that book at La Posada Hotel. The dream of completion was happening in the library room. Friends walked in with these glowing smiles, and its funny they thought it was about me, and I felt it was about all of us. You know how many times some of them had read different versions of the book? Baron has been reading the stories for ten years. He is on the board of commissioners of LouLous Adventures. We met through a gallery owner in Taos, who knew I was going to open the Galleryloulou Rock & Roll Photography. We arranged to meet at Harry’s Roadhouse, a ranch style restaurant that makes you feel like your on main street in a western saloon. Limbo was there, following my throw of dice that a gallery of Rock & Roll Photography from the 60s-70s would make us gleefully rich. I was wearing these new Spanish platforms I’d bought in Del Mar, and I was six feet. Baron stood up immediately as we opened the door, ” You must be loulou and limbo.” I looked down and suddenly felt like an amazon out of the jungle. I sat through a two-hour dinner listening to Baron talk about and photography, not knowing the any more than what I picked up at museums and galleries. I didn’t know platinum from giclee.
Merriam Webster definition of photography: the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor)’
To this day I don’t know if I fooled him, but as we were walking up the entrance to his studio of photography, he turned and around and said, ” Do you have to wear such high heels, you’ar pretty tall as it is LouLou.” At that moment, my self-consicousness came down. Baron is about 5 6′ and he walked like he was 6 ft tall. He doesn’t walk, he skip without his feet living the ground. When we met he was in his early seventies, but his eyes were childlike marbles that acted as his lens. He started pulling out the photographs of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatle, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, and my jaw never closed.
” These sell really well, take some of these.’
Limbo was jawed out too, and when we walked out to the car, the promising future was just overwhelming. Baron introduced us to Jim Marshall, Micahel Zagaris (his book was just released and is fantastic), and the word spread. That was once a dream too, my own gallery of photography. Limbo financed it, and I managed it. He used to be one trusting supportive and generous man. I wonder where that went? When people turn upside down and they are unrecognizable, frightening, sneaky and filled with hate. I know he used to love me. Why did it stop the day the book was published? I dedicated the book to him, he’s one of the main characters written with all the love my pen could spill.
Baron bounced in the library at La Posada like Jimmy Durante does on stage, and yelled, ” LouLou, I’m here.” In the next moment, he began shooting photographs of me. Limbo wasn’t there, and it really didn’t matter because of my friends. They mingled, laughed, and bought books.
Sometimes one transforming moment leads to another. I am in the Spa working out on the treadmill. I turned around, as the door opened, I hesitated for a moment before calling out.
“Hi, how are you?”
“Okay, how are you?”
“I stepped off the treadmill, and approached Audrey. We had been friends, more like sisters for serval years. Then we were broken apart by a misunderstanding that never corrected itself.
“ You won’t believe what happened!” I blurted out before even asking if she wanted to know.
“ What?” she said with immense expression. Audrey is a tall long-legged exotic, the kind that withholds her appearance, as second to her compassion for people in pain. My story poured out and then she told me her father had died. When a woman makes up with another woman after two years, you know it’s going to be the last, at least I do. That week she cat-walked, she does it really well into my garden and cooed, ‘Dawling, I brought you gifts.’ It was Valentines Day! Imagine. She had bunches of roses and lilies, a bottle of wine and Godiva chocolate. I just blossomed into her cradle of comfort. I’m not going to reenact our conversation because it was rapid-fire non-stop, like watching Thema and Lousie, she of course is Louise.
That next week I called Limbo’s attorney after sending a response to his demands. Another few weeks past, all about nerves, prescriptions, and nightmares. I turned myself inside out waiting for five’ o’ clock so I could go to La Poada and be a tiny part of people enjoying life, instead of the gruesome neurotic seemingly unsolveable problems of Limbo. As I crossed the threshold, the light of day fell on a head of Sophia Loren hair.
I have no control over my response to friends, again I blurted out, “Guess what happened?” to be continued,