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Letter from America June 24, 2004
Ode to the Dolphins
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 2 of 3
"I vas crying so much yesterday. I don't vant to leave Malibu," Vibe said.

She told me that she's working on a novel, writing every day. "It's about my vild life. It's really about me, you know. Real vild stuff. I vas zat vay until I had my son. Now, I can't do zat no more, you know."

She was wearing a tight white t-shirt which had large wet circles over her breasts. I thought maybe she had been swimming or had fallen forward into the water, but no, she told me, she was jogging and sweating. I didn't know that women sweat out of their tits -- you learn something new every day.

"I am having a little pahty tonight, vis food and stuff. Just bring some vine if you vant to come by. Zere vill be interesting people, you know."

The party started at 6pm, but I didn't come until about ten. When she answered the door, she was stumbling drunk. She introduced me to her boyfriend, a short, swarthy guy with gray-streaked hair, also named "Mark." He eyed me aggressively and walked away.

In the dining room she had two more guests -- one, a nice English woman who lives in our gated community, and the other, a thin, gray-haired hippie who had some product samples and colored brochures on the dining table.

As I sat down with a plate of Danish meatballs and potato salad, the old hippie was in the middle of telling the English woman about dust mite feces. Apparently there are millions of dust mites in every home shitting out hundreds of millions of dust mite turds. The solution, he said, is an air-filter device that he sells. You can't buy it in stores -- only through him. The hippie then leaned over and gave me some color brochures and told me if I wanted to buy one, to call him. "The number is there on the brochure," he said.

While we were talking, a scandal erupted. Mark, Vibe's aggressive little boyfriend, wouldn't sit with us. Then we heard a car peeling out in the street below.

"Zat vas him," Vibe said, looking upset. "I don't know vhy, he is so angry. He is being und asshole."

She grew more upset as the minutes ticked by, repeatedly referring to her boyfriend as "Psycho." That's when it hit me -- gee, I should leave before "Psycho" gets back.

The hippie got the idea too. He up and bolted with his little samples and brochures. The English woman followed. I was right behind them at the front door when Vibe stopped me. She told me how upset she was that her rich friend was making her leave Malibu. Vibe and her son were moving back to their small, rank apartment in Culver City, in the hot, flat Los Angeles sprawl. She sub-leased one of her apartment rooms to a younger woman. "I need ze money," Vibe said. "I'm poor -- I vill have to vork some shit job again." Her car was old and beat up. "But I'll sell my book and make money and zen me and my son vill get out of Culver City!" she said cheerfully. "I believe you have to be optimistic." She told me that she has been working on the book for ten years now. "But it's almost done," she said. Her son appeared, made fun of the fact that she'd never finish her book, then ran away.

"He's a good boy," she said. "His father is in jail, and he doesn't want to write to him."

"Why's he in jail?" I asked her.

"Oh...I don't know," she said, with a pained expression. Obviously she was lying. A really, really bad sign. She'd only lie about why he was in jail if he did something really awful. Putting that together with Psycho...

"Uh, look, I really have to go now," I said.

She was sad. "I choose ze wrong men, alvays. I make bad choices my whole life. Like Psycho. But no more. I change, Mark. Ve meet again tomorrow?"

"Sure thing." Exit, stage left.

As I walked away, I heard rustling in the hedges nearby. A man was hiding there, watching us. I had a bad feeling.

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