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It's Halloween night, and I live in a residential area. I'm sitting here in the dark. I can hear the little bastards outside, clamoring for candy. I've got a party to attend, and while I was at the store, I loaded up on tiny bottles of booze but forgot to get a bag of fun-sized sugar wads. The past half-hour has been spent stumbling around a dark apartment, showering, dressing, and snacking with my hand over the refrigerator lightbulb to spoof the horde of trick-or-treaters into thinking no one's home.

I can hear them next door. Knock knock knock . "Trick or treat!" Oh, the adults in my complex are having a grand time. They're dressed up too, sitting on their porches in witch costumes and zombie makeup, handing out crinkly tubes of chocolate and ungodly sour things.

How do I make it out of my apartment without raising the ire of the begging masses? I can hear the parents and see their glares of dissatisfaction -- "You didn't get these kids any candy? For shame."

Well, I can't be a damn shut-in because of a bunch of demanding brats. I fill my pockets with a cell phone, cigarettes, drugs, and grab the bag of miniature booze bottles. The party I'm going to is a Halloween party in a haunted house, and my friends are "trick-or-treating" from room-to-room. That's what the airplane booze bottles and the baggy of pills are for -- treats.

The dress code is "favorite TV stars." My friend, Ron, is wearing a pinstripe suit and thin-rimmed glasses, and he's going to say, "Designers. Designers, I need you to be working": Tim Gunn. Mel will be wearing ripped clothes and has died her hair green: The Incredible Hulk. Of course, I didn't get a costume. In the last few minutes, I put on a denim jacket and jeans: Prison Break.

I'm out in the courtyard. Lock the door. Shuffle around the bird-of-paradise plants, past the laundry room, and hit the back gate.

Bam! A little pack of beggars. "Trick or treat," they say, but they want to say, "Gotcha, you old son of a bitch. We've been casing your joint for an hour!"

"All right. All right. You win. Here. Here's a vodka. What are you, about 12? Here's a cigarette. You, under that mask, are you a boy? Here's a Viagra, go bananas. One, two, three," I count heads. "Six of you. Here. Here's three tabs of E; break 'em in half. What? No, you can't have any cocaine. Damn kids these days..."


Thursday, November 9


WB 9:00 p.m. Some nights I bang around my apartment, crashing from wall to wall. I lie on a bench in my front room and cling to it as though I'm going to fall off the planet if I let go. I wedge myself between the seat and backrest to defy reverse gravity. Until I fall asleep there, with my arms and legs dangling up.

Friday, November 10

1 vs. 100

NBC 8:00 p.m. Damn, I've got a case of lice you wouldn't believe. I was drunk and beat up and curled up on the floor of a nasty Imperial Beach apartment with a shaggy mutt for a pillow. Do dogs carry lice? This one must have. Or it was a plot by my enemies to irritate my scalp, dumping a can of the parasites through my bedroom window and onto my sleeping head. Either way, the dog is now on my enemies list. So it works out.

Saturday, November 13

Saints and Soldiers

HISTORY 10:00 a.m. My new grocery-shopping protocol is to list everything I need and check a map of the store's interior as to where those items are located. I then load up my ghetto blaster boom box, start my "Cavalry Bugle Calls" tape, and dash through the aisles, knocking long rows of boxes into my cart. Faster! Faster! Dun de lun de lun de lun de lun! Hyaw! Cavalry! The cashiers think it's funny, but the stock boys hate me.

Sam The Cooking Guy

CA4SD 9:00 p.m. A haiku:

I fry steak naked

Why am I part retarded?

The smell of burnt hair

Sunday, November 12


WB 7:00 p.m. I'm going back to Sonora, California, my hometown. Five days of baseball caps, small grain tobacco -- stinking and rotten in the lips of men -- and wiry black goatees. I'm going to fire guns from the passenger window of a junk Chevy pickup into the countryside of manzanita bushes and creosote scrub brush. Five days of gravel under my boots, flannel shirts, my dad, and the mud of the land that spawned me. I'm going home.

Monday, November 13

American Experience

PBS 9:00 p.m. Last night at Sushi Deli on Washington, I overheard the tail end of worst conversation that has ever squirreled its way into my ear. Young asshead hipster one: "Lauren got a MySpace T-shirt." With no sense of irony whatsoever, young asshead hipster two says, "MySpace T-shirts are sooo early 2006." Ugh. I just threw up a little thinking about it. How can mere words make me want to bite the concrete curb and dig out my eyes with the discarded pop-top of a soda can?

Tuesday, November 14

The O'Reilly Factor

Fox News 8:00 p.m. Ted Haggard, "Pastor Ted," of the National Association of Evangelicals has all but admitted to doing gritty crystal meth and carrying on a three-year affair with a gay prostitute. All this time I thought being a church leader meant you had to be condescending, intolerant, and boring. Who knew Teddy was this far out there? I mean, WAY out there, on the corner of "Hairy" and "Holy Crap!" I thought I was a deviant. Compared to Pastor Ted, I'm a saucer of milk. Teddy! Teddy! Don't deny your true nature. Come to San Diego and teach me. Be my spiritual mentor! I'll be Daniel-san to your Mr. Miyagi.

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