A beautifully sunny and mild day. The kind of day I leave the building for a few lunch minutes and sit out on the brick wall on Gower while I watch the cars and a parade of Hollywood’s most illustrious parade by.
This is a dream day.
It does not get better. Temps in the high 70s, L.A.’s sky is uncharacteristically clear of haze or brownish vehicular soot. People walk by wearing t-shirts, shorts, even flip-flops. Yet it’s not harshly southwestern desert-like in the least. The kind of day you can sit in the direct sun, and the combination of the breeze and low-cook sunlight still cannot make you break a sweat.
I save a lot of money during the winter on deodorant. You simply don’t need it when the air is so Pacifically unobtrusive that your body does not need to expend one extra joule of energy for the purposes of heating you up or cooling you down.
Even the Arrowhead dude is taking it easy. His truck is parked along the curb and each side is lined with boxes, compartments, filled with empty water bottles or full water bottles, many of which will end up standing in coolers in offices where they will be the office town square around which slackers and lazy-ass paper pushers can talk nonsense in order to break the monotony of their computer-bound existences.
One of the lot security guards is also sitting on the brick wall. Not sure if he’s taking a break or surveying the street for possible intruders, encroachers who would be so bold as to dart through the open door, bypassing the secure, badge-activated doors. Once on the lot, capable of who knows what…
The Arrowhead dude, friendly guy, he delivers to our building and once in a while we make idle, stranger chat, the kind of fluff you talk about with people you don’t really know and probably never will know, but it’s the usual human urge to merge existences, however fleeting. Arrowhead guy and me wave, smile, I sit. Watch the cars pass and the wind is so nice and comforting that I can’t imagine leaving this to walk back into my large fluorescent cage.
I was made for the wild, that’s where I belong. Problem: the wild isn’t wired, is it. What willlll I doooo?
Arrowhead dude (I’ve never learned his name, I’m not good with getting or remembering names) finally stands. Enough chilling. He heads through the door for another water call, apparently. The guard who was out front follows and I am left behind to guard the precious Arrowhead Springs liquid gold weighing down the truck’s shocks with all their 5-gallon heft. A few minutes pass as I sit in utter stillness while I let the beautiful day prolong my stay out here when I should really be heading back to my desk.
Out of the corner of my eye I spot a man, around 30, white, with scraggly dirty blond hair, not unheard of in Hollywood, a tight t-shirt and fashionably distressed jeans. He is lingering around the rear of the Arrowhead truck and without looking too obvious, I study his cautious and tense movements as he slowly leans in and pulls out a full bottle of water from the rear compartment.
Instinct propels me to my feet and I really should begin walking back to my office. Instead, I march over to where the gentleman is slowly bracing the water bottle over his left shoulder and setting to walk way. “Excuse me, you can’t take that water,” I command. The man, shocked, spins to look at me and in that instant of surprise he drops the bottle on the ground; it falls just right because the red plastic cap tears and streams of water pour out the top of the bottle as it dances and rolls at the man’s feet as its emptying contents run to the gutter.
Now the look of shock gives way to…what is that? Anger, fear?
He reaches into his pocket, his right pocket, and I don’t realize or can’t realize what is happening. Because the water is pouring out the bottle, clean, fresh, expensive, distilled water and it’s a waste, that’s all I can think, it’s such a waste and the fact I’m standing here playing water cop is such a waste as well because I should be back at my desk by now but this damned sunny weather, this beautiful day, has enraptured my senses. Won’t release me.
And I played water cop and now a bottle of water is gone to waste and my life gone to waste as well because out of the blue, the water thief pulls out a fucking pistol from his pocket and points it at my face and pulls the trigger.
In the microscopic second before the gunpowder pop and the bullet shreds my skull in half, in that microsecond, all i can think is “H20.” Goddamned H20.