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Family (Part XXIV)

By Pete Moss

(Click here for Part XXIII)

We pull up to the house in Venice.

It's on the canals. A green glass and stainless steel montrosity. Gotta be worth almost as much as a tumble down shack in Frisco.

I've heard that real estate is nearly as out of control in some parts of LA, like Venice, as it is in Frisco.

I knew Lolita and her fam have dough, but, well, what do I know about having dough? I'm starting to learn.

Having dough means your uncle leases a million dollar pad in a chic neighborhood, more or less on a whim.

Guy like Me? I wanted to live in a joint like this? I be schemeing and scamming 24/7, for months.

"Oh gosh," says Lolita. "I told Uncle GiGi not to get something so ostentatious."

"Ostentatious?"

"It means gaudy," says Lolita. "Oh well, I guess it will do. And that's not the important part is it, Holly? We're going to have sooo much fun playing house here."

"It has a garage for the Pa....Bettie."

"Sure."

Lolita hops out of the Packard and saunters into the house. She heads straight for the kitchen.

I'm left to lug in the bags. Lolita has stuffed the huge trunk of the Packard with Louis Vuitton luggage.

"Oh my, well, this is really nice. I can cook here," says Lolita. "You can put all the bags in the bedroom."

"Which bedroom?"

"The biggest one, of course. The master bedroom. It'll have it's own bathroom. The tub should have jets."

It takes a minute to locate the master bedroom. Lug all the bags to it.

Meanwhile Lolita wanders around the house, criticizing this and that. Then she wanders out the front, onto the deck overlooking the rather turgid canal.

Beats me why living on a basically open sewer, overrun with obnoxious ducks, would be considered desireable. Who knows why rich people think what they do?

I go downstairs and look in the fridge. At least there's beer. Fat Tire Flyer with a note from the RE agent. I ignore the note and pop a beer open. Wander out front.

Lolita is gabbing with one of our new neighbors. A middleaged women in a Yoga costume.

"Oh, this is my husband. Isn't he gorgeous? He owns a Packard. Her name is Bettie Page," gushes Lolita.

"Your husband?" says the middle aged lady. She cocks an eyebrow.

"I'm Lucretia," says the neighbor. She doesn't hold out her hand. There's a definite tinge of frost in her voice.

"His name is Hollister McElroy. His great great grandfather founded that town Hollister up in the Salinas Valley."

"Pleased to meet you," I say.

"Where did you get the beer?" says Lolita.

"There's a sixer in the fridge."

Lolita scampers into the house.

Lucretia can't hide her disapproval.

"So how old is your uh....wife?"

"Younger then you." I say, looking Lucretia in the eyes.

Lucretia spins on her heel and marches off.

'Fuck her if she can't take a joke' I think. I go back into the house.

Lolita is in the kitchen opening and closing cupboards, banging pots and pans.

"Honey, would you get me a beer? And what do you want for dinner?"

"Whatever you're making," I say. I walk out of the kitchen without getting Lolita her beer. Seems like I saw a really big TV on the wall in the front room.

"Honey? Aren't you gonna get me a beer?"

"No, I'm not." I find the TV and the remote. The remote has enough buttons to run a starship. But after a few minutes I get the TV on. Then I try to figure how to switch channels. It looks like there's about 900.

Lolita comes into the front room.

"Honey, I asked you to get me a beer."

"You're only 14. You can't have beer."

Lolita laughs, then she looks at the TV, then she looks at me. Then she waves her hand and the TV goes dark.

"Awright already, I'll get you a beer," I say.

I go in the kitchen and get a bottle of beer and bring it out to Lolita.

"Honey, could you open it and pour it in a glass."

"Geez!" I say. But I do as I'm told. I hear the TV go back on.

Lolita comes back in the kitchen.

"You know, maybe you shouldn't have told that neighbor I'm your husband." I say.

"Why not?"

"Cause we're not married."

"Yes we are."

"I mean we haven't been to a church or City Hall or even Las Vegas."

"I know that! But as soon as I turn 16 we'll take care of those formalities. Then when I'm 18 we'll make a baby and then we'll be a family and live happily ever after."

"Sweetheart..."

"See? You called me sweetheart!"

"Lolita....I know about you're mom and dad, how they died in that car wreck...."

"My mom and dad did not die in a car wreck! I don't know why Uncle GiGi tells people that..."

"Well then where are they?"

"They're scientists. They're at the South Pole doing super important complicated experiments for the United Nations."

"Oh."

"Now quite being a party pooper and help me make dinner."

There's not a whole bunch to do. Mostly keep Lolita company. Make sure she has everything she needs. I am after all, hired help. I can deal with that.

I do like riding up and down the beach bike path. I get up real early and ride all the way down to Redondo, sometimes, or go north all the way to Malibu.

Or sometimes I turn inland at Ballona Creek bike path.

I like riding through the low rise neighborhoods of west LA in the early morning.

The streets littered with spent fronds, if there's been a Santa Ana.

The Taquerias and dollar stores opening up along Venice Boulevard.

Lolita wakes up around 10 or so and I bring her an espresso and a donut.

Then she usually wants to go shopping. So we're off in the Packard for Beverley Hills or Santa Monica or maybe a flea market in the South Bay.

Then back home and Lolita prepares a meal.

She really loves to cook. And she is pretty good.

"I had no idea you were a kitchen goddess," I say.

Lolita laughs and her face gets a little pink. "Well why do you think I wanted to come to LA?"

"Cause you were bored with San Francisco."

"That too. But also I want to get my own cooking show. So what do you think about a dinner party?"

"Dinner party?"

"You know, we have the neighbors over and we all sit around the table and eat fancy food and say witty stuff."

"Uhhhhm..."

"Oh come on, it'll be fun!"

And next day I'm out with a carefully prepared shopping list and strict instructions on where to buy what.

Lolita stays home setting up her workspace (the kitchen) like some kind of artistic genius getting ready to produce a masterpiece.

(Click here for Part XXV)

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