Straighten Out The Rug

Val Kilmer, wearing a pair of dirty, shredded jeans and nothing else, not even shoes or socks, climbs the security fence surrounding Lake Hollywood: “His day started off by entering the coffee shop on the tenth floor of the Union Bank Building and ordering a toasted water bagel with butter, two scrambled eggs, a side of bacon, home fries, a large orange juice and a coffee. When he told the cashier that he could only pay for the bagel he was asked to leave. When he wouldn’t leave he was threatened by one of the line cooks, a sprightly Korean woman holding a butcher’s knife. Kilmer, who had learned self-defense in preparation for his role as Batman, quickly disarmed the cook, did an Irish jig in celebration, made a bee-line for the streets, and ran as fast as he could, soon finding himself in a familiar neighborhood adjacent to the UCLA campus, where he recognized a house belonging to a woman he used to date. Kilmer knocked on the door and was ushered inside immediately, as the woman, a mother of two teenage boys, had never gotten over her torrid, brief love affair with the actor. Kilmer noticed that there were bags of groceries on the kitchen counter and went to work putting them away. The woman, stunned at the sudden reappearance of her old flame, thought about the time Kilmer had covered her entire body in candle wax and left her hogtied in a trunk, which she still, to this day, considered the pinnacle of the erotic side of her life. She was so lost in reverie that she didn’t notice that Kilmer had left the kitchen and was now marching upstairs. The woman’s oldest son was in his bedroom, listening to music and doing his math homework when Kilmer opened the door. The young man looked up and, unaware of his mother’s past relationship with the actor (although he knew she was a huge fan, which, he figured, was the reason he was a huge fan, and why he had an original Real Genius one-sheet hanging over his bed) stared for a beat before saying, ‘Hey, you’re Val Kilmer.’ Kilmer responded by pointing at the Real Genius poster and saying, ‘That guy looks exactly like me,’ then he shut the door, walked downstairs, opened the front door and started running again, not stopping until he found himself in the Sepulveda Pass Tunnel, where he began to walk in the middle of the northbound lane, oblivious to the cars whizzing past. By the end of the day he was backstroking across Lake Hollywood, his jeans and underwear waiting patiently for him by the fence. He looked up at the moon and wondered if he had rendered himself valueless and, as such, succeeded in making himself untranslatable to the culture at large. If he had, he thought, then his job was done, and if his job was done, then he didn’t need to continue swimming, and so he relaxed and let his body float. Then he remembered that Lake Hollywood, until recently, had been a source of drinking water for the city. After all the running he had done he was dying of thirst. He rolled his head to the side and started to take small sips, and then, after a moment, great big gulps. He intended to keep drinking until the entire lake was gone.”

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