Trivial Pursuits {?} - Chapter 16, Part 2

We took the bus over to this part of Sunset Boulevard that she wanted to go to and we set up in the parking area of a 7-Eleven. After having no luck with several of the customers going into or out from the 7-Eleven, we were suddenly approached by a big man with a big moustache growing over his lips and down toward his chin. He was dressed like he worked at the 7-Eleven.

“Do you have permit?” he asked to us with a rude voice.

“Actually we don’t need one,” said Eos.

“Get out of here or I’ll call the cops!” he shouted. “Go on!”

“Chill out dude,” said Eos.

“Go! Stop harassing the customers!”

“Okay, just chill man. We’re going—“

“I call the cops on you niggers!”

At this point, I told Eos we should just be going. That it wasn’t worth fighting over, but there must have been something about this man she didn’t like because she suddenly didn’t want to move.

“What did you call me?” she asked him in a tone I had never heard from her mouth before.

“You fucking niggers are always harassing people. ‘Gimme change, gimme food, gimme, gimme, gimme.’ Get your nigger ass out of my parking lot or I’ll call the cops right now!”

And then there was another stranger who stepped in-between the man with the big moustache and us. He was one of these people who has the one arm shorter and skinnier than the other with some fingers missing from the deformed hand.

“It’s okay, they’re with me,” he said, showing the big man a small white card that he held in his normal left hand without the missing fingers.

The 7-Eleven man took the card and read it. “Yorkshire Productions?” he asked. “You guys filming a movie?”

“Just go back inside and let us do what we do, okay?” said the guy with the deformed hand.

“I don’t want my customers harassed.”

“Just go back inside and we’ll find some other place to shoot, okay?”

And without saying any more words, the big man turned and went back in his store. I looked to Eos, who had sweat on her face and was looking like she was going to kill someone.

“That was sooo unnecessary,” she said to the guy. “I mean—”

“I know him,” said the small arm guy. “I’m here like every other day and he’s not someone you want to piss off. Believe me. I’ve seen him pull a knife on more than one occasion.”

“He’s a bigot,” said Eos.

“He’s a senseless asshole, too. What can I tell you? They usually go hand-in-hand. No point in fighting him. You want to send a letter to 7-Eleven’s corporate office, to the ADL? I’ll help you petition to get him fired. Just don’t exchange words with the guy. He’s looking to pick a fight on a daily basis. And on top of that, I don’t think he’s had a bath in several months. Trust me. You don’t want to get too close.”

Eos thanked the guy and when we went to go say goodbyes, so it was also strange because he stuck out his left hand to shake, not his right. I guessed he didn’t want anyone touching the skinny one, but I had never shaken anyone’s left hand before and so I did, but with my right hand.

Later that night, when we were back at Park La Brea after the whole day of filming, Eos told me it was also awkward for her shaking his left hand, but that it wasn’t the first time she had to shake the hand of someone who had phocomelia, which she taught me was the proper name for this deformation. She also explained me that in the 1950s and ‘60s, pregnant women were taking a drug called thalidomide to help them with morning sicknesses and thousands of babies were born with the short arm as a result. I felt bad for the babies and the mothers and very angry at the chemical companies who are always moving too fast for the money. I wanted to know if that guy’s mom had taken thalidomide, but my hunch was no because he looked like he was only about 25.

More than that, I wanted to know why Eos didn’t ask to him if he wanted to be on Ask Otis and all the uncle Saul questions. He seemed to be the right age of the guy she was searching and so, for a moment, I thought it would be very cruel if she told me she wouldn’t want to know a guy like that because of his phocomelia, even if he was the guy from the party. If she answered with that reason, I think my opinion of her would have changed from that point. But she didn’t say that, of course. What she said made a lot of sense and it was that she’d shook the guy’s hand at the party when they’d met.

“I said, ‘I’m Eos,’ and shook his hand, his right hand. And it was a normal hand,” she explained.

“Yes, but it was dark and you couldn’t see,” I said. “How can you be sure?”

“Fareed!” she shouted, indicating that my question wasn’t smart, which even I knew as I was asking it because when you are shaking someone’s hand, you know the way it fits in yours if it’s the correct one or not. But maybe I wanted her to say something very cruel, so I could change my opinion of her. Or maybe, just like the phocomelia guy was saying about the big moustache man at 7-Eleven, there was still some feeling inside me leftover from the night before, like I wanted to be in a fight with her, so I kept on her. Of course, I really wasn’t planning on having such a big fight as it became—I just wanted to make her a little annoyed, like a flea in her ear. But everything just kept building and before I knew it, I wasn’t able to heed my mother’s advices anymore about being a guest at someone’s house, and later I felt very ashamed about it.

Basically, what I said that really bothered her was something like How do you even know you like this guy when you don’t even know his name? And she thought I was joking, I think, because she responded with a funny smile and that famous quote from Romeo and Juliet: What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

But I was asking her seriously and I told her that.

“Fareed,” she said, looking at me like she was wondering if I was making jokes, “do you still want to work on this with me? Because I’m starting to pick up a vibe like something’s changed. I know it’s not the most exciting work, holding the camera all day, but I thought you were psyched about the project… until now, at least.”

“I like working with you,” I responded back. “Maybe too much, sometimes.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I am just not understanding searching so much for a guy you only knew for some few minutes, really. For all you are sure, he’s the type of guy who puts on a good impression for a party, with some beer in him, but when the sun is up the next day, he’s just another person who’s out there with few original thoughts in his brain, and maybe even a cheater.”

“What the hell are you talking about?!” She was now starting to raise her voice, which was making me very nervous inside and gave me a feeling like I was going to vomit up my Italian BMT on Honey Oat bread from Subway.

“I’m not denying how much you two were clicking that night,” I said, “but can it be possible that you’re romanticizing the evening, with some wine in your stomach, and the blackout, and the coincidences you had in common and all kind of things like this? It’s like in your Bulgakov book, and now I see maybe you’re Margarita devoting all of yourself to this mythical, mysterious person, and hoping to have some sort of prizes at the end because you endured the struggle and showed off all your loyalty.”

“You’re crazy, you know that?”

“Just think about it Eos,” I said, really wanting to vomit now. “You’ve been building up this whole thing since the night you met him and with every day that’s going by, so basically it’s become larger than the 30 minutes at the party. What if you do find him and then discover he’s just a plain person? Was it worth all this effort of shooting all the films and all the emotions you’re putting on it?”

“What do you care what emotions I’m investing, Fareed? What the hell difference does it make to you?! What if he does turn out to be just some guy? What if I am making it all up to be something bigger? So the fuck what? Sometimes a person needs to dream a little, you know what I’m saying? What’s it to you?! Sometimes a person needs to be the Margarita for a Master, just to get through the humdrum frickin’ hand she’s been dealt. You know? So the fuck what? Whose side are you on here anyway?”

And she opened the door to her apartment and walked out, leaving me wanting to say “Eos, wait!” or “I know exactly what you mean!” or “Let me be the Master!” many things, actually. But all I could get out was zhopa! which means fuck it in Russian and did nothing at all, other than fill the spaces of silence up with something loud and foreign, which I was sure meant nothing to Eos’s very sweet, tender ears that I wanted very badly to kiss, even as I was throwing up the Italian BMT finally on her nice, shiny parquet floors.

Check out previous chapters of Trivial Pursuits {?} right here.

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