It was 2 a.m. and I was dropping off my friend Sam at his place near Fairfax and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. My car was on and we were sitting in park, talking, when two men with handguns came up from behind — one guy on each side — tapped our windows and demanded we open the doors.
My first instinct was to run: Although we were contending with guns, they were contending with me after a lethal night’s mix of Sangria and Jack Daniel’s. Since I had pulled up behind a parked car, I could only go backward into the intersection. I shifted the car into reverse and, hoping for the best, was ready to slam on the gas, but Sam told me to move it back into park and do whatever they told me to. I was so pissed.
We opened the doors. The guy on my side demanded my keys. I couldn’t bear to give him everything, so I separated the car keys from the others by hiding all 10 of my house and work keys in my right hand while unlocking the car keys from the bunch — it’s that "quick-release" function, when you can separate them with a button. Highly recommended. So he may have only seen the car keys, I don’t know. It seems now that I could’ve been shot for that, but I had to risk it. I couldn’t give him my wallet with my ID, house address and my house keys!
I gave him my wallet right away, but I wouldn’t give him everything up front. I dumped out my bag that was on the floor of the back seat and sorted through the mess, handing things over piece by piece, hoping after each pass that they’d be satisfied and go away. Mmmm-no. Leather Prada bag. One dollar. A quarter. A penny. He kept hitting my shoulder with the gun, poking it into my ribs and back.
"Gimme your money. I know you got more money."
I finally gave him my old worn-leather Filofax that contained my checking and savings account numbers, lists of books to read, everyone’s birthdays, even my favorite picture of my favorite ex-boyfriend. Maybe he thought that was a wallet? Sam gave his guy his wallet. He still had a twenty in it, but I’m sure we drank the rest of its contents. Between the two of us, they made out with $21.26.
"Look," I said, "I’ve given you everything. We have nothing. We haven’t looked at you. Please just leave." I knew those were the last moments. Of the robbery? Our lives? I wasn’t sure. The lights went out, but we weren’t dead. They had just closed the doors. Very quietly.
That night, an unidentified man found my purse and Filofax at the intersection of Edinburgh and Melrose. He left a creepy message about it on my voice mail at work (from my business cards, I guess): "I don’t know if you been smashed up or gone missing/I’s worried about you/I called the cops/Call me back and I’ll tell you what I did with the stuff/ . . . my name is . . . just kidding . . . this is freaky."
Yes, sir, it is! Was it one of the guys? Whatever, I called back Death Trap and asked him to call me at that same work number. He never called back. Story of my life.
A week later I went to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department, where the crime was reported, and asked the deputy to call this guy. I’d pay him cash to return my things. Death Trap told the deputy that he turned it all in to the LAPD. Which station, no one’s sure. Of course, the LAPD didn’t think to contact the WHSD — they’re separate entities! And they certainly didn’t think to call the number on my business cards. So I kept going in to different stations until I found it at the Hollywood station on Wilcox.
But not so fast: I spent most of a day trying to coax any detective at the WHSD to talk to my assigned property detective at the LAPD Hollywood station so they could release it to me. I finally got it back, Filofax and all. That same day, my prescription eyedrops rolled up under the car brake pedal. In the end, the only thing I didn’t recover was that favorite picture of my ex.
If you think I’m going to waste any time pondering the meaning of all that, you’d be so wrong. Really. I swear.