The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 44
Saturday, 8AM, The Conservatory for Coffee, Culver City, CA, sometime in April, 2001. Shana was not only the perfect model, physically, but she was also wildly inventive and fearless. And exciting, which usually meant that our sessions, like last night’s session, backfired, or rather—made hard and sudden, screeching left turns away from whatever sacred journey I’d intended, really truly intended, soon straightening out into such naughty, dreamlike sex.
And though now—over double espressos and butter croissants—was definitely not the time to tell her…
Me: I’m leaving LA. Like, soon. June.
Shana: What?! Bullshit. Why?
Me: Mr Slurpee said so.
Shana: You’re fucking insane, Robert. (Standing up) Here, switch seats. Something’s not right here.
Good. The sun was in my eyes anyway. She slid the plates and demitasse cups around.
Shana: OK. Go on. Mr Slurpee?
Me: Thing is, you have a completely different L.A. experience from mine: real estate, modeling, dog sitting for rich people, living with your folks. I’m bloody stuck in the (whispers) Mex ghetto. I ride buses around everywhere.
Shana: So? That’ll change. Your teacher’s already gotten you into, what, three shows? (Pause) Or us, I mean.
That was true. Shana had modeled for one of the pieces. No sales, still…
Me: Yeah, us. You think I’m… impatient?
Shana: Or impulsive or… wait. Where are you going?
She knew just by looking at me: the desert, somewhere near Joshua Tree National Monument. She hated rural. I put down my espresso and pounded my chest twice, simultaneously quoting a line from the Green Acres TV show theme song: “Fresh air!” She glared at me. “You know,” I said, “Green Acres? Eddie Albert and Ava Gabor?”
Shana: You’re old enough to be my fucking father, Robert. I probably wasn’t even born when that was on. I’ve never even heard of those people.
Me: Baby, I’m not breaking up with you. Besides, if I was, it’d be because you’ve totally stopped saying totally.
Shana: (Finally cracking a smile, then throwing her napkin at me) OMG, Robert. You’re the only person in the WORLD who thinks that’s a bad thing.
Me: Yeah. Totally.
She dropped me at home, then drove off to her weekend dog sitting gig in the Pacific Palisades.
Yoga. But never like this. An ordinary session took 45-50 minutes, but my plan for the afternoon and possibly into the evening was to repeat the sessions until… well, I didn’t know. Until I was saturated?
I took a 20 minute break after the first. After the second I stood up, intending to do the same, but the room—everything in the room and everything I could see outside the window—began to dissolve, like lifting fog. Then something warmer in hue, softer in its odd, gently pulsating outlines began to replace it.
I couldn’t let that happen. Not yet.
On June 8 I caught a Greyhound to Palm Springs. Then the MBTA #12 to Yucca Valley. Then the #1 to 29 Palms. Then a taxi to a trailhead off the road to Cottonwood Springs in JTNM.