My so-called book agent in Manhattan—a guy named Aubrey—is not returning my calls.
And even worse, Liz Taylor just died. I got a glimpse of CNN with the sound down as I walked through the lobby. But I don't want to watch, not yet.
At least the food here at the Bestway Truck Stop is O.K. I’m in the restaurant waiting on my cheeseburger and fries.
And I am going to New York, a place I love almost as much as I love L.A. If anybody was ever truly bi-coastal, it’s your buddy Syd, let me tell you.
And I know I can write the best Charlie Sheen bio of all. After all, nobody knows the guy like me. Like I said before, he and I are joined at the hip whether we like it or not.
My waitress, in her khaki pants and sneakers and white dress shirt, just brought me a burger and fries and a large coke with that finely crushed ice I’ve always loved. I would chew on it during hot summers when I was a kid.
My agent just called my cell—finally..
“Aubrey, what up?” I say.
“Syd. Man, I’m sorry I missed your calls. I was studying Kabbalah.”
“So what about my pitch for the Sheen bio?
Can you shop it?”
“No, Syd. After war in Libya and children homeless in the Japanese winter and a reactor about to pop its zit, you think anybody gives a shit anymore about that bum Sheen? He’s this year’s Gary Condit.”
“But Aubrey, it’s gonna be a great book.”
“I say forget about the Charlie Sheen book, Syd. After all, you didn’t see Huffington Post?”
“What are you talking about, Aubrey?”
“Charlie’s already making a deal for his memoir. He may call it Apocalypse Me.”
“Shit. He beat me to it, that crafty devil.”
“Don’t sweat it. Why don’t you peddle a chapbook. Hell, Sheen did it.”
“Yeah, maybe so, Aubrey.”
“When you get to town, Syd, give me a jingle. We can meet at the Jack the Horse.”
And that was that. Cool. I’ll get a room in Manhattan, probably Chelsea or Gramercy, and call him again.
And I can stroll every day through lovely Madison Square Park on 23rd Street as the spring wakes everything up.
I can try to figure out what the hell I’m going to do. And the first couple of days, if I want, I can lie around the room surrounded by mags and papers and think about Liz Taylor.
You always hear a lot of garbage book titles like “the last hero,” “the last star,” etc. But Liz, except for Kirk Douglas, I guess, was one of the last great stars from the so-called Golden Age.
Kirk's the bomb. He pulled off a decent bit at the Oscars. He’s been married to the same lady for years. I saw him once waiting for his table at Billy Reed’s restaurant in Palm Springs (I read that stars did normal stuff like waiting in line while chilling in the Springs).
I was visiting the Holy Man of Cathedral City on that trip—let’s call him J.B.
He and I later drove out to Joshua Tree and 29 Palms. We went to a bar—The Virginian, or something—that had a happy hour when we went in at 9:30 a.m.
If we were there again, me and J.B. would toast Liz and Kirk—the one who fell, and the one who carries on.
And, now, as I finish off the last few steak fries on my bodacious Pennsylvania platter, I use my last shot of hot coffee to toast Sheen.
Hey, Charlie, just keep it between the lines.
I’ll speak to the rest of you Poor, Doomed, Inquisitive Readers soon, with more about the road trip.
Well, it's time to get on the New York bus.
I’ll remember you guys and gals when I quaff a cold one or a glass of something earthy and strong, like a good Shiraz, at Jack the Horse.
I’ll tell Aubrey y’all said hi.
And we love you, Liz. Rock on, Kirk.
Syd Amerika has a gift for gab and a vaudeville trunk full of memories. He is a graduate of the Ed Anger School of Journalism in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He is a former consultant to felon and presidential candidate Lyndon Larouche. Send your comments to email@example.com.