Literature In Los Angeles

JAMES

In LITERARY FICTION on November 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Short story by Liliana Isella.

“Fredda. Come la sua tomba.”
For the last ten minutes. Over and over. Sexier and sexier.
Cold. As his tomb. That’s what it means.

Really?!? Who’s the idiot who wrote this line? Who’s the marketing big shot who bought this shit? Who’s the dummy who’s gonna drink it?

I was picked for the Italian version of this commercial. It’s a new beer. A light one. She is cheering on the tomb of her ex. Cheating ex? I suppose so. Don’t really know.
Well, there’s not much to know anyways. It’s just the beer, the tomb and me.
High heels, red lips and allusive nonsense.

Thank God, it’s done. The hipster teddy bears on the other side of the cameras give me the thumbs up.
As I close the door behind, Melanie reminds me that we’ll be finished in six days. Five after Halloween.

9000 Sunset Boulevard. Los Angeles from the top floor.
I wait for the elevator and can’t wait for the rest to come.
You get this two star town, you get the five star world.

The sliding doors ring. I stare into the hollow they disclose for me.
Him. Him. Him him him.
James. The million dollar pen. The million dollar liar.
The hero. The coward. The father.
The addict. The husband. The Husband.

I drive a few blocks down. Up and down this boulevard of the moon sun. This kingdom of the rock’n’roll nights. This skyless freedom each day harder to dream about.

I turn left into the Starbucks little lot. So little there’s no space.
Well, I’ll park in one of the Hollywood TV’s. I’m Hollywood enough to not be towed, after all.

I sit outside with my latte. The little patio is right across from James’ hotel.
Room 505.
He tried to convince me. On the phone. Last night.
Should I. Should I not. Should I. Should I not.

I was never able to forget her.
Lilly. Lilly. Lilly Lilly Lilly.
James’ muse, his violated Juliet, his million dollar angel.
I desperately fell in love with her in his first book. I missed her to death in the second. Ever after, she’s been following me around.

I take a sip and wonder if she approves James’ wife. His kids. His Manhattan installation.
Probably not. Not really. Schools, meetings, travels, The Hamptons, family, reunions. She chose not to choose those words.
She chose badass. She chose love. She chose sweet boy.
She chose bye.
Her wrists. A cut. Bye.
Bye sweet boy, bye….

Here. Now. She is.
Lilly.
Long black hair, pale soft skin, big blue eyes.
Full red lips. Immaculate heart. Invincible will.

Second, third, fifth floor.
The Sunset Tower.
The golden doors. The ancient walls. The seductive palms.
James. There, he is.

I just look. Look and hold. My latte.
Look and don’t turn.
Don’t. Turn. To her.

I whisper I want to love him.
I want to love him the way she couldn’t.
Love him. Hold him. Heal him.

She grabs my wrist. Empties my hands. Takes my life.
Red. My beats. Into her soul.
Big. Blue. Soul.

-Liliana. Lilly. Lillian… whatever.
I choke. The guy laughs.
-What a sublime, unique name.
-Well… it’s not that unique, around here. Believe me….
-Oh, in Hollywood, you can never be.
Tattoos all over, black nails and a brand new BMW by the patio’s fence.
-Is this your latte, Liliana?
-Ha… sorry. I don’t know how it got that far.
He places it back on my table and sits down.
-Do you often talk by yourself, Lillian?
Laugh. I do.
-I was just… rehearsing. Let’s say.
-Oh, another actress….
-Kind of. Not really. I mean… commercials, so far. Beers, tombs… stuff like that.
Laugh. He does.
Stand up. I do.
-Ok… gotta go…. Happy Halloween, ok?
Three steps.
To James’ tower.
To the other side.
-Lilly….
Stop. Turn. My latte.
-Please don’t leave your lips behind….
His black nails.The white lid. My red lipstick.
-Oh, thank y….
The cup to his chest. He pulls it.
-Don’t leave your reason behind either, Liliana. An unreasonably haunting smile sublimed by an unreasonably beautiful name – too much, to become just unreasonable.

I slowly reach my hand out.
His tattoo jungle, the hot paper, our mirroring Ray-Bans.

Full red lips. Immaculate heart. Invincible will.

Story by Liliana Isella.

Photo by Nic Adler.

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