CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT
A ONE WAY TICKET TO LIPSTICK CITY
Long Beach. 1997
Staring at the dark ceiling above the 1980’s hand me down sofa, my life plays out like a sweeping epic of everything that has gone wrong. I am in gray boxer shorts, gray like the nonplus feeling deep inside me and just before the dawn of a new day, it becomes clear that my life up until this point has been a twisted drama, a sad tragedy as well as a sick comedy. The last two months have been the capper and have seen me go from a journalism and film student two semesters shy of graduation to homeless in so many words, a 180 degree spin that has me reeling. The reason for this change is nothing more than initiative, passion and motivation and this is how I am rewarded, by flunking a class and losing financial aid, because I had relentlessly edited and finished my first short film, one I write and directed and neglected one assignment. So staring at the darkened ceiling of my youth and in this chilled air of burgeoning adulthood, my life has hit this great crossroads where textbooks give way to action and youth leaves the preface of our days. I am vowing to make amends and rectify the mistakes of the past and today I am hell bent on doing just that. Yes, today is the day I am leaving this life behind for good, for a dream, for once and for all and no longer plan on waiting for this reverie to happen, but instead I am taking this deep rooted ethereal desire straight to the very core, straight to the heart of it all.
So the tag end of a smoldering night blankets the slumbering city of Long Beach and my gaze shifts to an eviction notice which looms through the window pane of the shaky peeling white painted front door to this sardine can apartment. I haven’t slept in days. My eyes are baggy, my pants are saggy, my life is lagging, but my heart and mind are on a level with an oncoming unbridled intensity and passion that will soon burn along the West Coast with furious fortitude and nothing will diminish that, at least not in this life, because this dream and this passion are the only things that I have left in this world. I refuse to settle on a life never asked for and no one can ever take this dream from me, except of our course only myself. So today I’m taking mine to the top and somehow I know deep down that I will either get there or die trying. There seems no in between.
I stagger and in a backpack is everything that is left to my name, all my worldly possessions. After more visits to the pawnshop than a surly drug addict, there is the short film that I’d made and two screenplays I’ve written recently, not to mention some extra clothes and hair clippers. I snap up, dress with Guess jeans, white T-shirt, black striped Adidas Shell Toes and Detroit Tigers fitted hat, put on headphones and look back briefly on this sad, pathetic chapter, a chapter or a special time and place where I lived while attending California State University, Long Beach, but now it’s the last chapter before a great quest, a quest that is set in stone to defy all odds or become just another one similar to a hundred million before it. I think of what could have been but pondering the “what ifs” in life doesn’t last long and I quickly turn and head out with a new born burgeoning sun. The old front door sways wildly in my wake. There is no need to lock it and no need to look back. There is only what is up around the next bend and there is only tomorrow, though there is no telling how many tomorrows may be left…