Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Character Sketch

Weston Harris can’t stop twitching. Propelled by his own mysterious mojo and hot coffee from Denny’s.

“Rocket fuel.”

He’s wearing an olive green shirt. Short- sleeved and well-pressed. Blue slacks. Slacks, mind you. He’s not tucked-in. He’s spread out across the booth and gesticulating towards the ceiling with an unlit cigarette.

“Smoking is ghetto. I’m lucky I’m a sensitive guy because I’m well aware that cigarettes cut you off. If I quit smoking I’d be an emotional mess. You know what they say about touching someone three times don’t you?”

I’m suddenly aware that I’ve touched his knee, kicked his shoe, slapped his hand, and stolen his fork. I’m ahead of the game. He’s lost weight since going to L.A. Claims he’s happy in La La land. But I’ve never met anyone who was. Everyone is too shiny.

“They’re comparing me to Malkovich! Except they say I’m more butch. “

His enthusiasm takes him to his feet and he dances over to the counter orders two double Americanos and tosses a coin into the air. Mindful of the Tao.

He’s going to get work down there. His face. The camera sucks him up like lemonade through a straw. The deep crags from acne. Each one its own little Sea of Tranquility. His steel gray eyes. The left pupil torn like a cat’s eye marble. Cut by a piece of glass during a fight with his brother, Stan. His forehead, etched from worrying over his vast responsibilities and his fear of disappointing those close to him. I’m among those he cares about.

“My agent doesn’t know I’m back up here. I mean, she knows I’m up here. I haven’t copped to the permanency yet. I’m cabbing up here. Doing the longshoreman thing. I’m committed. I’m going to start being a labor organizer. That’s cool. I’m a born shit-stirrer.”

I can see his shadow stretched across the yellow wall behind us. He stops talking and ponders his situation, elbow propped up on the back of the booth, hand cupped over his mouth. He always looks up and to the left for inspiration. I always look to him.

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