Hippie Squared: Another Surreal LA Night


a blogumn by Jeff Rogers

Summer of 1984. Olympic week in Los Angeles.

Jerry and I were renting a room in a house in West L.A. His girlfriend—for the sake of argument let’s call her Brittany—got a job for the week driving Olympic dignitaries around in a sharp little white Audi.

The Olympic committee threw a party for their workers on the last night. So Jerry and I watched a “Twilight Zone” rerun and went to bed, knowing Brittany would be out late.

Jangled out of sleep by the ringing telephone I tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the living room. Please remember, this was long before cell phones.

Brittany’s voice: “Hi, is Jerry there?”

“Yeah, sure. Hold on.”

I roused Jerry. “Brittany.” “Thanks.” Within moments I had fallen back into a soundless sleep.

Until shaken awake to Jerry’s crazed face inches above mine. He growled, “Who’s that on the phone?”

In something like a whimper I responded, “Brittany?”

But in our imagination let’s slip back just minutes before to follow Jerry into the living room, where he picked up the phone and said “Hi. How’d it go?”

Brittany’s light high voice replied, “Great. They treated us really well. They put out a really nice spread. How about you? How was your night?”

“Good,” said Jerry, a screenwriting student at UCLA film school at the time. “Did some writing.”

A long silence filled the connection. And a change came into Brittany’s voice. “Writing?” she said.

The doorbell rang. “Excuse me,” Jerry said, “Someone’s at the door.”

He opened it.

Brittany stood there on the concrete stoop, smiling.

“Stay right there!” Jerry slammed the door, ran to the phone, snatched it up. No one was there.

That’s when he stormed to our room, shook me and growled. Before letting a poor shocked Brittany into the house. The three of us sat together in that living room and pondered long that night. You might say there was a preponderance of pondering. Now and then I ponder it still.

Ponder with me a moment. Out there in the mysterious LA night a young woman who sounded like Brittany knew well someone named Jerry who sounded like Jerry and who’s phone number was close enough to Jerry’s and mine to misdial without noticing. That young woman was unfazed to hear a voice like mine answer the phone.

She was unsurprised to be asked how something went that night. And the people who put on that something treated her well, just as Jerry expected they would at Brittany’s something. Through a few conversational volleys the questions and answers between this young woman and Jerry lined up enough that neither suspected a thing out of order.

Only the word “writing” broke the spell. And just at that moment the doorbell chimed for entry into…the Twilight Zone.

Another surreal LA night. How I dearly love those surreal LA nights.