I opted to bus it to my friend Joel’s regularly scheduled ExecTec networking event in Westwood via the No. 704 “Rapid” bus. Point of order: Nothing is rapid between Silver Lake and the westside at 6 p.m. and it took me an hour to get there from here. On the plus side, it also allowed me to chew up a travel-sized chunk of pages from my current read, John Gregory Dunne’s absolutely awesome “True Confessions,” and I just have to share with you a snip from chapter five when Detective Tom Spellacy is recalling his barely legal past as a repoman, and how during on particular grab a dog bit him badly on the backside and his future partner with the LAPD showed up, to save his butt — literally.
He rubbed his ass.
The dog who bit him in 1933 was named Wolf and Wolf had taken thirrty-seven stitches worth out of his ass when he was trying to lift a black Packard with nine thousand miles on it. Crotty was the cop on the beat and when Tom Spellacy screamed, Crotty showed up and drilled Wolf with one shot. You dumb fuck, Spellac had said, you could’ve got me. Not a chance, Crotty had said. He blasted Wolf once more for good measure. You ought to think about joining the department, Crotty said. It beats hot cars and you can shoot the fucking dogs.
That last line made me laugh out loud, right there in the back of the No. 704 bus westbound out of Century City on Santa Monica Boulevard, and as I looked up from the pages I found one of the MTA’s “Poetry in Motion” series placards hanging above the window across from me. It featured a work by Gwendolyn Brooks titled “Speech to the Young : Speech to the Progress-Toward.”
Say to them,
say to the down-keepers,
“even if you are not ready for day
it cannot always be night.”
You will be right.
For that is the hard home-run.
Live not for battles won.
Live not for the-end-of-the-song.
Live in the along.
Who knew one could fall in love with two works of art and their artists right there in the back of the No. 704 bus as it crawled past the Mormon Temple.