By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
In a way, it doesn’t matter, because you don’t really mind having to stay to eat. I mean, look at the place: With its vaulted ceiling and huddled masses, this In-N-Out is unlike any I’ve ever experienced — it’s somewhere between a pleasant cafeteria and a brightly lit cathedral. The Snyder family may still print New Testament quotations on the bottoms of In-N-Out’s disposable drink cups, but the Brand location seems a celebration of an altogether different trinity: you half expect the giant windows facing Brand Boulevard to feature stained-glass representations of Double-Double, Fries and the Holy Coke.
They don’t, of course. What you see when you look out the window is traffic. And, if you watch closely, I’m told by the store’s staff, sometimes you’ll see the same car pass by several times in the span of a few minutes, a puzzled look on the faces of the driver and passengers.
They’re looking for the drive-thru, you see.
They ain’t gonna find it.
AS I WAS COMPLETING a left turn onto Sycamore Avenue from a busy Beverly Boulevard, the driver of a baby blue Cadillac Seville pulled head-on into my path in an effort to get around the massive delivery truck waiting to make a right turn in front of him. I was able to stop, but by jutting into the middle of the street, M&M — my made-up name for the wigger driving what was most likely his pop’s hooptie — effectively pinned my shiny, 22-day-old Honda Civic between Baby Blue and a row of parked vehicles lining the curb. Accelerating would mean a game of bumper cars with consequences.
The driver’s-side window was tinted a few shades lighter than a limousine so I couldn’t tell for sure, but I’m guessing M&M was no older than 23. He had a faint beard and was reclined to the max in his seat. I think he was jostling a toothpick in his mouth. The hood of his sweatshirt was pulled down to his eyebrows, forcing him to raise his head when he finally decided to turn and acknowledge my presence, which he did only after I honked and honked again for not making an effort to let me pass. M&M then pointed his hand at me like it was a gun . . . Bang!That’s when I lost my cool.
I drew down my car window and spit a loogie at M&M.
Spitting at a person is low. It’s worse than a sucker punch because the recipient can’t react appropriately. How exactly does one deflect spit? Even though my loogie landed on M&M’s rolled-up window, he knew the real bull’s-eye was his face. Much disrespect.
Right after, the delivery truck turned, freeing up space for Baby Blue and me to maneuver out of our standstill. I continued down Sycamore. An adrenaline rush. A sigh of relief. Then, a double take in my rearview mirror: M&M was flipping a bitch on Beverly and coming after me. I sped up, then slowed down, then the pussy in me rationalized that I didn’t need the confrontation and sped up again, right past my apartment, before turning right onto Second Street and then right onto La Brea. The northbound chase was on.
In high school there was a group of us who did stupid shit like toss balloons filled with ketchup at moving cars and play chicken for real. Once, we pissed off a cowboy in a pickup truck and he chased us for miles, along the way firing his pistol just to scare us. This was in the backwoods of Colleyville, Texas, though, not a Hollywood thoroughfare, where there is safety, presumably, in numbers.
I lost myself in the music, the moment, I owned it, and temporarily eluded M&M. North of Beverly, however, he exhibited some skillful maneuvers to gain ground, swerving in and out of lanes, screeching and scrapping his way around other cars. Once aside me he veered Baby Blue close to my Civic, as if, like Craterface gouging Zuko’s Greased Lighting on Thunder Road, he was intent on doing some serious damage to my new ride. Colorful combinations of words spewed from his mouth. “Pull over, li’l bitch.” “. . . kick your muthafucking ass.” “You’re dead, punk-ass ho.” Realizing he was within spitting distance, I quickly closed my windows.
Then M&M tossed what must have been a lighter, judging by the impact and the mark it left on the passenger-side door, and swerved in front of me, his momentum causing Baby Blue to fishtail over to the other side of the street and face the opposite direction . . . the direction in which he kept going. The lack of lights and cameras confirmed for unknowing passersby that this wasn’t an action sequence for a low-budget film but instead real life, where one never knows who he’s fucking with.
I was reading the paper at the Rose Cafe in Venice when a well-heeled mother, very preggers, plopped her two small children — one about 4 years old, the other a sobbing, bellowing toddler — down on two tall stools and then left to stand in line for food and coffee. The toddler immediately started kicking the steel leg of the chair and intermittently yelling and howling. She came back and said something to him when the screaming got a little louder, causing him to cut his volume ever so slightly, but not entirely — probably because her version of the “firm hand” of parental discipline appeared to be more of a limp wrist. The moment she got back in line, the kid upped both his decibel level and his chair-kicking campaign.