The Crack of Dawn
The Crack of Dawn
In June, 1976, when I was 17 years old, I moved to Hollywood for the first time. I got an efficiency apartment kitty-cornered from Paramount Pictures. The apartment consisted of one small room, a bathroom, and a closet with a two-burner hotplate on top of a mini-fridge, all for $65 a month, including utilities. I was on the second floor facing Van Ness St. and I had one Ficus plant on the fire escape outside my window.
I had already been there for a few months, so I had turned 18, and I knew no one. And I was as horny as only an 18-year-old can be.
So, I was out on the fire escape in my bathrobe watering my plant, when I looked down and saw a young lady unloading boxes from a car. She was absolutely gorgeous. She was about 21, a light-skinned black girl, wearing jeans and a white fisherman’s sweater, who looked surprisingly like young Leslie Uggams.
She was carrying the boxes into my building. For goodness sake, she was moving into my building.
I looked up to the heavens and said, “Thank you, God.”
Hastily dressing, I dashed downstairs. As I came out the front door, I found the young lady just standing there on the sidewalk beside her four or five boxes looking completely bewildered. The car was gone. Whoever had dropped her off had split in a hurry. I said as casually as possible, “Need any help?” She smiled and said, “Thank you.” We both grabbed boxes and I followed her inside. Her name was Kathy, and she was moving into the apartment directly next to me.
It was a larger, $85-a-month efficiency apartment with a fold-down Murphy bed. We moved her few boxes into the apartment in no time. Not knowing what to say next, I said, “I’ll be in my apartment.” Kathy watched me open my door and said, “You’ve got a deadbolt.” I said, “Yeah, I put it in myself. It’s a shitty neighborhood.”
She said, “I have to have a deadbolt. Where did you get it? Will you help me install it?” This was all music to my ears. I said, “Of course. Let’s go get it, and I’ll install it.” She said, “Oh, thank you.”
It took hours to install that lock. We talked as she unpacked her few belongings. She took out a scrapbook and asked, “Do you want to see my pictures?” Having no idea what she was talking about, I said, “Sure.” Every photo was of her naked, in various striptease poses. She said, “I’m a dancer.” I thought, “I think I’m doing well.” And being a total sport, I took her out to dinner at McDonald’s.
When we returned to our building, we said an awkward goodnight, then she went into her apartment, and I went into mine. I stood there in the center of my closet-sized apartment, thinking, “That went surprisingly well. And she’s right over there. She lives next door.” God only knew what the future held in store. But then I became both paranoid and nervous because she was older than me, and clearly far more worldly, and though I was a helpful neighbor, I was also a kid. I’d just turned 18. The three or four years between us – between 18 and 22 – was the world. I went to bed in a state of anxious confusion. Maybe having her right next door was a bad idea.
The way I had my 200 square foot apartment configured, my single bed fit between the door and the wall. The door was at my feet.
In the middle of the night there came a knocking at my door. Huh, that was odd. There it was again. I sat up, reached over and opened the door, which was right there.
And there stood Kathy — completely naked. Absolutely perfect, and completely comfortable in her nudity. She coyly said, “Can I come in?”
I took her hand and pulled her directly into bed.
I swear to God I didn’t make this up. She used coconut oil in her hair, which became the smell of my pillow.
I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow.
Have a lovely day.