'Jump.' Chapter 5 : Hollywood 1932
It is 1932, and Des' Great Uncle Desmond Furey is in Hollywood dreaming of being a movie star. He catched the tram to the beach and swims out as far as he can. When he gets back to his boarding house he has a nasty surprise so he goes for a walk up in the Hollywood Hills.
Desmond didn't give a shit. That was his strength; his ace card. And when he did begin to give a shit he had another drink. He stood on the corner of Sunset and Hollywood outside the Warner lot. Across the road a splinkler sent out beads of water onto a wet, green lawn. The day was lit by what he had come to think of as 'Hollywood' light, as though a result of an executive decision made in one or more of the studios. An innovation, perhaps. Sprinklers were needed to keep this oasis green, to stop it returning to desert and this added to the general air of impermanence that hung over the place.
He looked at the tall wall and the people milling around the studio entrance. Truth be told he knew he was going to be a star. It was his dirty little secret. He, Desmond Furey. But perhaps every wannabe who had ever kicked the dust on this footpath, and looked at the fortress wall and sign above the gates, believed the same thing. You have to hand it to the Yanks, he thought, they had front. He didn't feel like waiting in line, and anyway he was hours late and the sun was already high in the sky. There was really nowhere to hide here and for a second he thought he could leave his climb to movie stardom. Just leave it as one turns around and returns home before night sets in. Just forget it. Leave Hollywood. Go somewhere quiet; get a real job. But he could no sooner do this than a show pony could become farm horse. He was a show pony. All front. He was fully aware of his hollow heart, all the better to charm you with, said the Big Bad Wolf.
He had already starred in a motion picture, had already appeared on the silver screen In Australia, and if he was good enough for Charles Chauvel then he should certainly be good enough for Jack Warner. He had jumped the first hurdle, perhaps the most challenging one. This thought released a burst of energy inside of him and he walked faster, feeling like a movie star already, on his way to an important meeting. There was a quiet, mid morning lull over the street as though everyone with anything useful to do was already doing it and the rest were waiting for lunchtime to fill the seats of the diner that he saw on Sunset. Cars passed, sending up dust. He spotted a tram and thought to jump on - hang the expense - and go to the beach. What an absolutely divine idea! He would swim and lay in the sun and have something to eat.
So then he was stretched out, lounging for god's sake, on the seat of the tram and feeling the breeze on his face. He watched the passing scene. Pretty girls. Old women. Dogs. Motor cars. Two men talking on the corner. The sky. The sun. And then the beach and the ocean, which looked as though it had been painted on, except where the waves pulled in and out leaving big wet patches of sand. Then he had his shoes off and the laces tied around his neck and he sure as hell had his swim suit so he changed and walked to the water, dropping his clothes in a heap. He ran to the water and when it was deep enough he dived in and let himself be enveloped by the ocean's salty coolness. He started to swim and let his arms cut through the water. He swam as hard and as fast as he could and tried to get as much distance as he could between him and the shore. When he felt he had almost swum to China he stopped and turned, and treading water, he looked back at the land and saw it for what it was. A bit of land where some smart guys had set up the biggest dream machine ever seen and he was going to be a part of it. A seagull squawked over head.
Oh shit! I'm a long way out, he realised. The people on the beach looked like he was viewing them from a great height, from an aeroplane. He lay on his back and looked at the sky. It was cloudless except for some whispy puffs of white on the distant edge of the tableau. If he tilted his head he could see the Hollywood Hills and beyond them the San Bernadino Mountains.
He wanted to remember this moment, to mark it as one would the page in a book. He felt the strength of his arms and stomach and thighs and the work he was giving them by being all the way out here at the edge of the vast Pacific Ocean. It felt like the beginning of something new and he had no idea why he should feel this. He was still living in the boarding house, still had nothing except his looks, his intelligence, his charm and his cock, but he knew very well that that was more than most men could only dream of having. In his lucid moments, when self pity wasn't crowding for attention, he knew he had been kissed by the Gods. Oh how easy it had all been! She had wanted to be fucked by him. He didn't have to do anything. Just lay back and let her take him in her mouth. The story of his life. The quietness in the house, with his father at the University and his Mother off god knows where. She had unbuttoned his shirt and with her free hand had caressed his chest. She was kneeling on the bed. The cover had been pulled back so they lay willy nilly on top. His shoes stuck up like two gravestones. The light through the drapes formed a pattern on the cornices and played on the ornate plaster ceiling. Her breasts, heavy and firm, pressed against his legs. Flesh on flesh. Her mouth and hand worked him and his feet tingled. He closed his eyes and all he could feel was the moist warm pressure and the mouning tingle. The light fluttered behind his closed eyes. Oh God. Oh God. And he was in her mouth and then she was on top of him.
A breeze rippled across the blue green surface leaving white crests, while beneath the surface deeper forces created the roll of the waves. It was time to swim to shore, rest in the sun a while, before catching the tram back to corner of La Cienega and Hollywood. He wanted a hot shower and a meal and then a drink. He wanted to feel the alcohol going through his blood stream. He wanted to forget.
When he got to the boarding house his two raggedy suitcases and box of papers were sitting on the front step. Clearly Mrs F. had some kind of nervous reaction and he hoped he could convince her that he was good for not only his back rent but future rent as well. Or he could cut his losses. He decided to walk up the hill a way, up off the main road. A dusty path wound upwards through the brush. The further he walked the quieter it became and soon the sound of the cars was away and below.
He clearly couldn't find a new place to live at this time. Or rather, he couldn't be bothered. He liked his room and he liked Mrs F. and her funny ways. They had an understanding, although he had sorely tested their friendship. The most pressing question then was where to get money.
He kept climbing and was soon at the top of the ridge. The sun was setting and the last rays bathed the greens and browns of the landscape in pink. For the second time in one day he wanted to remember this moment. He sat on a large, flat rock and watched the traffic move along the grid of the roads and streets below. He thought about the other networks and connections in this place. Mulholland Dr. wound along the hillside and he knew that one day he would have a mansion on this artery so he could sit above the grid and look down and be reminded of the mysterious connections, the brain waves, the incidences and coincidences and chance meetings, that had planted him here in this surprisingly fertile soil where he knew he would thrive.
The lights were going on on the grid so it looked like a circuit board. He knew that he was a part of all of this and that all the energy of the circuit board was passing through him. He was the circuit board and the one below him was simply a reflection of his own internal circuitry. This realisation was barely conscious and if someone tried to explain it to him in a pub he would have told them to bugger off.
A coyote howled howled across in the direction of Beverly Hills and just down the hill to the left a fire glowed from one of camps dotted across the hills. He pulled his jacket around himself and turned up the collar. As he did this he felt the edge of the reefer he had hidden in the coat's inside pocket. AhahAh! His heart sang and lifted. He took the reefer out of his pocket, wet the end so it wouldn't burnt too quickly, then struck a match and took the heavy fragrant smoke into his lungs and held it there. Ah! Perfect! The effect was almost instantaneous. He lay on his back and looked at the clear sky and let his mind take him where it might.
He thought about his mother and her anger. He thought about New Guinea and the Laloki River. Another time and place. He thought about himself and his place in all this. He felt his cock jump and thought perhaps tonight he needed something to lift his spirits. What would he like? Oh let what comes come. He felt the hard surface of the rock. He felt the energy of the grid and of the moon that sat, bright and big, in the night sky.
n. When he gets back to his boarding house he has a nasty surprise so he goes for a walk up in the Hollywood Hills.
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Clinton De Vere