I hope you are thinking about my bit of fame. No, this here is not about me being known for more than making quiche or raising chickens. It is about not being able to drive for more than fifteen minutes throughout Los Angeles proper without going past a place I distinctly remember working at on a crime scene.
Fifteen minutes of drive time in LA could be three miles or twenty two miles if you drive like Willie Ford used to or Joey does now. It is all about traffic and that is all about route and time of day.
When I first began my training to be a photographer III, the rank who's primary duty assignment is in the field, I was 'shown the ropes' by other field photographers. Deacon Willie B. Ford was most memorable. Everyone liked “Willie.” He knew his job and he was a paragon of kindness. He liked driving the van. It was the passenger type with a hefty V-8 motor. He only used the brakes to park it. It had drive, over drive and with the Deacon behind the wheel it had 'Willie Speed'.
We were north bound on La Brea above the ten freeway when he asked me what I would like for lunch.
I blurted out “Fried Chicken.”
“Pioneer OK?” He asked not looking over. He never used a GPS or electronic mapping system.
I was soo glad he at least kept looking ahead.
“Sure.” I floated. Lucky for me the front seat was of the bucket type or I would have broad sided the passenger door ass first then head bump. His snap turn into the parking lot would have had me in his lap. He then began another story of crime.
“Oh, I remember the stair way right there. This girl caught her man cheating. She chased him down those stairs poking a knife into him every few steps. Lots of letters.” He trailed off.
Letters meant evidence not to be picked up, in this case the blood splatter and drippings. The idea of the little lady taking her revenge on the philandering fool got him laughing the way only Willie did. You could find his laugh in a large crowd of a comedy concert.
The stairway was across the street, I was in this odd lot planted Pioneer Chicken trying to ignore it. I don't need to any longer. Today it no longer ruins my appetite. I only smell blood when I want to, nothing prevents me from getting the sustenance needed to cover then next scene.
The time I spent learning from Willie, Tony, Bill, Robert, Gary, Gary, Gary, Jean, L'Keva, Kim, Ray and Renato was both priceless and ominous. Those times had me thinking of Los Angeles as a slaughterhouse. It's not, it's just LA like any other place.
Hey, enjoy life will you? You never know when your last fifteen minutes begins.