Memoir

204. Sittin’ On Top of the World

chapter 204

John gave me a raise. Thanks to Tales From the Crypt I was now bringing home $500 per week, double what I made at Music Plus. Combined with Jody’s talent agency salary we were flush for the first time since leaving Savannah.

That’s not all John did to help me out. When he learned that I didn’t have a credit card, he explained how to fill out an application. “But I’ve only been working here a couple months,” I said. “They aren’t going to give me a credit card.”

“Put down a year. If they call I’ll lie for you,” he said.

Four to six weeks later a credit card arrived in the mail. When I pulled it from the envelope, Jody jerked the card out of my hand and ran away. “Oh my God oh my God oh my God,” she said.

“Where are you going?”

“Furniture.”

Our shitty Hollywood apartment contained two rusty lawn chairs we found in the garbage and various cardboard boxes pulling duty as dressers, end tables, and a stand for the little 13-inch television from my childhood bedroom. One trip to STØR and 600 charged dollars later, we owned a bookshelf, couch, dresser, some parsons tables, and a few lamps. Knockdown furniture was a lower middle class miracle.

Jody met me at the door a few nights later. “Close your eyes,” she said, and she led me by the hand.

“What did you do?”

“Just keep your eyes closed.” She eased me onto the couch. “Okay, open them.”

“What?”

“Look.” She point to the cable box resting on top of the little TV, its two bright red digits shining like the light on Daisy Buchanan’s dock.

“Oh, wow. I’ve never had cable,” I said.

“I know.”

“Do we get MTV?”

She turned on the television. Faith No More’s “Epic” blasted through the tiny speaker. I was in heaven.

We probably got other channels, but with exception to occasionally trying to catch a glimpse of a scrambled boob on the Playboy Channel I didn’t turn off MTV for weeks. I didn’t care whether I was watching a shitty Warrant video or the exceedingly cool clip for Jane’s Addiction’s “Stop,” I was plugged in for the first time ever.

Love transcends all space and time….

Who the hell is this guy ripping off the Beatles?” I asked.

And love can make a little child smile….

“That’s Lisa Bonet’s husband,” Jody said.

Can’t you see / This won’t go wrong….

“No shit? I guess you don’t have to have your own sound when you’re Mr. Lisa Bonet.”

But the funny thing was that every time “Let Love Rule” played I stopped whatever I was doing to watch and listen. Eventually I dropped the “I don’t like this” act and stopped by Music Plus for a copy of Lenny Kravitz’s debut album.

Let Love Rule  remains in my power rotation to this day. It’s a weird, interesting album, from the spaghetti western vibe of “Empty Hands” to story songs “Rosemary” and “Blues for Sister Someone.” “Be” is Leonard Cohen channeled through ’70s-era Stevie Wonder or some such.

From there it was a short trip to proselytism. Anyone who would listen heard the good news that there was a new sheriff in town with dreadlocks and a nose ring, and his name wasn’t Mr. Lisa Bonet. I made a tape for Cybill, the new receptionist at the production office. She had big blue eyes, a broad smile, and a convertible Beetle. Surely she could dig the neo-hippie vibe of Lenny Kravitz.

Not long after she started, Cybill became my favorite person in the production office. The woman never seemed to have a bad day: always smiling, always willing to laugh at my stupid jokes. She was in her mid-thirties but looked much younger in her faded Levis and cotton blouses. Cybill was a Beach Boys California girl all grown up, a Goldie Hawn without the optional Kurt Russell package.

We found ourselves in a studio one evening, recording little bits and pieces for a Tales episode — the off-screen “thank yous” and “you’re welcomes” for faceless extras holding doors open, that kind of thing. Between takes she said, “Hey, thanks for the Lenny tape.”

“No problem. It’s great isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I loved it. Do you like Bowie?”

“I love Bowie,” I said.

“Lenny is opening for him at Dodger Stadium. Do you want to go? I have an extra ticket.”

“Seriously? I totally want to go.”

“Okay, it’s a date! Well, not a date,” Cybill said.

Furniture, a credit card, MTV, and Bowie tickets. I was sitting on top of the world.

modified photo Joe and Jeanette Archie / Flickr Creative Commons

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