UNITED STATES—I wouldn’t make a very good politician. I leave shambles, wars and broken hearts wherever I go. It must be my big mouth.

Anyhow, nothing bugs me as much as people who are time vampires. There may be somebody I really like but if they get off track on the phone and tell me about the wart on their butt or their childhood traumas or old girlfriends over and over, like it mattered, I will hang up on you. And there are people I really like and I will think about calling but I won’t because I know I will suffer.

And it goes for guys in the street, there’s this shy guy Danny and it will take him 10 minutes just to get warmed up and say hello. I think he has shyness issues. Danny just isn’t used to being around the speed of life today. Like he was in a time capsule and came out with the red mullet and slang from the 80s. I’d see him when I was on my way to work, and I’d like to turn into a rock. Then I’d sabotage it and say hello out of being nice, and I’d be late to work again. And the boss who was hitting on me, right in front of his wife –she was cashier slash hostess– and make it understood that it would decrease my chances of getting fired this time if I would agree to make out with him behind the meat locker. Giselle, why do you do that to yourself?

The other day I was with Tommy who’s another case. It’s not that Tommy has nothing going—he’s made a fortune selling his app to Silicon Valley, it started as a way to locate friends and family who had been taken to the emergency room. But Tommy figured there was much more money to be made in an app to locate your incarcerated loved one, and after it blew up internationally, Jailbird could be used in small autocratic nations or where family from Africa and Syria would flee to Austria or Spain, it could be of use. Tommy has a lot of cars, housed in a stadium-sized warehouse in the Valley, it is lighted like a stadium, too.

“Giselle, what do you feel like going out in tonight?”

“How about Italian? How bout the Pinin Farina Mazerati?”

“That sounds wonderful,” Tommy said. “I heard about this new gourmet paleo fusion place in Culver City. Let’s go out in the Mark IV Jaguar. It got back from the shop.”

Tommy must of forgave me for driving it down the embankment of Mulholland last time and ripping the fuel line, or was it the brake cables? Or he wouldn’t be inviting me to a drive and dinner. He has Mommy issues. She was a very controlling force in Tommy’s life, and it rubs off on him who tries to be controlling in other’s lives. He expects everyone to listen, and gets mad when they don’t. It’s not like I am totally free of the sin of not listening, but I sure don’t unload on people the kind of BS I have to put up with. Anyhow I was walking up Sunset Boulevard, thinking, Giselle, you’re too nice, you’ve got to be clear and direct with these people, and right then Danny came up with his puppy-dog stare. I considered ditching him. I had to work, but why was I in a hurry to get to work, if that sleazy boss was just going to harass me and get upset at me for not knowing the difference between a salad fork and a dinner fork?

Danny half smiled. “Giselle, hello how are you? It warms my heart to see you. It goes without saying, the honor is all mine.”

“It’s all mine Danny,”

“No, sincerely,” he said. “I’m honored to be in your presence, shall we say. Your face, Giselle, is music for my eyes. I know this may sound a little corny, but I really worship the ground you walk on, shall we say, even if it’s in a bad neighborhood.”

“I really must be going,” I said, “I have work.” (even if I didn’t have work I must be going).

“It warms my heart to see you. It goes without saying, but why then am I saying it?”

Danny’s cellphone, not the most recent model (in fact it had a hand crank), beeped one of those nostalgic ringtones that brought me right back to a spring five years ago.

(to be continued)…

Graydon Miller is the author of the humor collection, “Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood” https://amzn.to/2HJKNPf

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Hollywood humorist Grady Miller grew up in the heart of Steinbeck Country on the Central California coast. More Bombeck than Steinbeck, Grady Miller has been compared to T.C. Boyle, Joel Stein, and Voltaire. He briefly attended Columbia University in New York and came to Los Angeles to study filmmaking, but discovered literature instead, in T.C. Boyle’s fiction writing workshop at USC. In addition to A Very Grady Christmas, he has written the humorous diet book, Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet and the popular humor collection, Late Bloomer (both on Amazon). His humor column, Miller Time, appears weekly in The Canyon News (www.canyon-news.com)