The argument


They rode up to Mulholland to take in the sunset. Maybe he said something wrong, or maybe she pushed his hand away, but they quarreled about it. The moment was spoiled, so they stopped talking altogether and she walked away from him.  He almost followed her, then reconsidered. Then again, he couldn’t just leave her there. After pacing the lot, he decided to call her.


She let it ring.  And ring. And ring.  She sat there in her private purple gloaming,  then turned the phone off.

Satan’s Workshop


What would you call a store with a business model founded on bulk liquor at warehouse prices, discount cigarettes,  snack foods in family-sized portions, and an abundance of opiate-based medications? Toss in an aisle or two of wart remover and tampons and we call it CVS pharmacy.  Sav-On, Osco, Caremark, all duly devoured, new CVS stores are going up like kudzu all over the Valley. Clean, bright, and always with ample parking. Like Burger King if Burger King was a smack emporium. Considering for a moment the leading causes of sorrow and disease in America…what would God call it?


La Vaquita Minimarket and Carniceria

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This used to be the worst block in the valley, and the locus of the first civil anti-gang injunction in Los Angeles. So bad was its reputation, up to only a few years ago pizza franchises would refuse delivery to any address on Blythe Street, even in a different neighborhood. Now, on a Tuesday afternoon, bikes are left, at least momentarily, unattended.

Lawrence’s contraption



If you frequent the Orange Line bike path or LA Fitness on Sepulveda, you may have seen him before. He sleeps in an old RV parked on the street. By day, he pulls his….lawn chair/rolling pallet around Van Nuys with his menagerie of dogs. Some ride, others trail alongside. There used to be five. Now there’s four.   Women bring him dog food.  And money.  He doesn’t panhandle. The contraption does the work for him.