Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sunday 19 April 1998

It's Sunday morning and I'm at The Lobster Shaq where I'm desperately trying to find work on a fishing boat. A lobster boat, preferably, though that is highly unlikely. The jobs on lobster boats are really, really desirable and there's almost no turnover. A lot of lobster boats have been manned by the same few old salts since back near the beginning of the century. I figured that once they started using computers on lobster boats that would create a few new jobs, but these old timers, the real survivors, have had to weather one advance in technology after another over the years, and the onboard computer is just another thing to adapt to. The only new jobs were for the guys selling the computers and the guys teaching the old salts how to use them. I know nothing about computers anyway.

The reason I'm here on a Sunday morning is because it's the one morning the lobster boats aren't all out before dawn. The lobster boat captains are all very religious guys, and they have breakfast and go to church on Sunday morning, and make sure their crew is lined up for the next week's work. If you're in here on Sunday morning and look strong and hardy, have a good tan and some bulging muscles showing, you might get an offer to man the traps come Monday a.m. But like I said, there are hardly any openings on lobster boats, and usually the only job possibilities are on the bigger, more industrial and dangerous menhaden and shad trollers. I guess they net tons of these small, boney fish, which are then ground down and used mostly as fertilizer. Why the world needs so much fertilizer I don't know. Isn't there enough shit being produced to fertilize the entire universe?

I don't feel too muscular, tan, or strong this morning, anyway. They need strong backs, and mine is all fucked up and twisted from sleeping wrong on my borrowed bed in my Hollywood sleeping room. Mrs. _____, my landlady, pulled the bed, the only one available, out of the cellar for me when I rented the room. It's a massive, kingsize model that is so big it takes up seventy-five percent of the floor space in my small room. Worse, it is really two beds—that is, the boxspring is in two pieces—with a giant kingsize mattress over the top—but the boxsprings always separate and the soft mattress sinks down into the crack between them. On several occasions I had dreams that I was being sucked into a crack in the earth and woke up screaming. And it's hell on my back.

The weathered, majestic ship captains sit together at booths and survey the studly young prospects flexing their muscles along the counter, some who are bragging loudly about harpooning whales and such. The captains aren't easily fooled, though, and it's best to keep your mouth shut. I'm sitting here at the end of the counter, my back all twisted out of the straight line it should be in, and I'm scrawling this gibberish uncontrollably in my notebook like some kind of mental patient. I'm aware briefly of the eyes of four captains, sitting at a booth just behind me, scraping over me saltily, and then I can make out, above their usually hushed tones, along with a chuckle, one of the salty old gents cackle, "Maybe for bait."

I finally found out, after no luck reading the paper, what that line was all about, outside of the theatre yesterday. It was a casting call for a TV movie they're shooting here this summer. Pretty exciting—our neighborhood, Hollywood, rarely coincides with the "real" Hollywood—and so every functioning man, woman, and child of the region was there leaving their name and phone number and getting Polaroids taken. I guess it's to be a period drama, set in the Fifties, about a lobster that grows to tremendous proportions after being radiated by a crashed nuclear submarine secret weapon. The lobster terrorizes the town, of course, and gets revenge for all lobsters, I guess. They're filming it here because of the lobster connection, and because a lot of this town really has a fifties look—I mean, it's really stuck in the past in a lot of ways—and that goes for the dress and hairstyles of many, many locals—and there's a huge vintage restored automobile club here as well!

I considered trying out, but I don't see being an extra extra extra—you get paid, I guess, but mostly in bagels and bad coffee. Now if I could have the part of the whale harpooner, out of work and hopelessly out of touch with the times—a broken down 33 year old alcoholic who sits around trying to get through Moby-Dick—who is then called upon to break out his razor sharp harpoon and save the town with an impossible toss while being squeezed to his eventual death by one of the enormous claws—hell yes, that'd be excellent. But I guess Leonardo Hawke, the hot young star, has already harpooned that role. Actually, I just made that all up!

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