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Blog: Countin’ On The Homeless Census – Hollywood @ Steak with Shorty & Morty

A day without a dumpster is like a day without sunshine.

Razor was one of the elders of the homeless population in Hollywood – like Zippy – he tumbled out onto the streets in his mid-teens or as he would say, “Since leaving my mutha’s womb – the room without a view.” He was a large man – Shrekian in stature - who drank and ate whatever he could pull out of a dumpster.

Unlike most of the other residents – Razor believed that broken dreams - not drugs rang the high death toll to those who lived on the streets. “Road kill” was his term for the inexperienced drug users of all ages that lined the boulevards crisscrossing the burbs in Los Angeles – also known as: the “maggot grid.”

He would tell anyone who listened, “When I first got to Hollywood? I had top squatter’s rights for years in the elitist of mansions… and if an owner showed up? He’d thank me for watchin’ his place. One guy even offered to make me a key. That was how life was truly lived offa the streets – not this entire community of 'wheredotheycomefroms' business.”

Long gone were the days that made him proud to be a citizen of Los Angeles. Life made more sense back then – people gave more or cared less. Like Ockham’s razor he believed that if two opposing theories were similar – what he understood was better and whatever he trusted was best.

His rivalry with Zippy was notorious to those who lived within their culture. The truly blind Zippy had come from a loveless home that forced him into holding a cup or a hat to get his next meal or bottle to feel safe where Razor relished faking blindness - which pissed Zippy off - to the point of taking his blind cane and marking curbs to stake his claim of ownership - as a male dog would hike a leg to reclaim his.  Zippy went so far as to bribe kids to make signs that read: “Zippy’s corner.” Where Zippy was quick – Razor was slow and Zipsters (his nickname) was known to pull out a few fat jokes on Razor when he made fun of Zippy’s inability to see.

This day - Zippy tapped his cane as he diddy bopped past Razor while whistling an unusually cheery tune. Unbeknownst to Razor - Zippy had already seen Mr. Weldon - the Hollywood Census Social Worker and procured extra favors in exchange for providing information about the world’s most extraordinary homeless couple: Shorty and Morty. Inside - Razor wondered what it would really be like to live his life blindly on the street as he adjusted a pair of women’s sunglasses he recently found - on his nose.

Razor wasn’t sure why the social worker was doing a recount of the homeless but he knew it wasn’t just about the yearly census count. As he neared the homeless shelter he smiled. Razor was the only one who understood the social worker’s vice – something only another food addict could appreciate. The social worker’s drug of choice was pancakes – butter or no butter – preferably with syrup – rarely with powdered sugar. Mr. Weldon’s car was filled with boxes of pancake mix and bottles of Mrs. Buttersworth – Razor had seen it himself. With each stride he took Razor’s mouth watered at the idea of breaking into Mr. Weldon’s car and stealing his loot. He even knew what homeless comrade would help him cook the evidence up.

Razor hoped to get more meal outta the deal for wasting his precious dumpster diving time. He belched as he sat across from the social worker – then he pulled out a bottle of rubbing alcohol and took a slug.

 Meanwhile back at the hospital – Morty at 4’6” easily evaded security or detection and stormed through the emergency room door.  Seeing Celine on the gurney - minus her legs - an enraged Morty pounced on the Physician’s Assistant who struggled to remove Morty from his shoulders - as he thrashed about temporarily blinded by the dwarf’s beating little hands that held a vice-like grip over his eyes and throat.

Morty growled: “Thief! Where’d you put my girl’s legs? I made them so she could see the world like everybody else! Give them back…now!”

Orderlies raced to the scene as a groggy Celine (Shorty) began to wake up amid screaming nurses and applauding patients from the room of the ER.

“Listen doc, you either give me back her legs or I’ll break yours.” Morty ranted as the Physician’s Assistant tripped and fell to the ground with Morty seated on his back shoulders – like a jockey waiting for the race to begin.

Then the police sirens careened into the ER lot - everyone went silent - except for Morty.

 

www.shortyandmorty.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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james moorer January 28, 2013 at 08:04 PM
I love that Phil Idrisi gives body and soul to this performance moving easily between the humorous and humane moments in this piece. The subtle nuances captured by Eva Marie Fredric compel us to want to know more about Phil, who feels less like a homeless person and more like that gregarious favorite uncle we don't get to see often enough. And again we find both the brilliance and the blessing found in this piece as we discover these forgotten and often overlooked members of our society as just as real and as painfully fragile as the rest of us.
E.M. Fredric January 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM
You both make a writer feel like she can help create a little magic with these characters. Thank you for trusting me with pieces that don't seem to quite make sense - and then they do.
E.M. Fredric January 31, 2013 at 06:18 AM
The bi-annual homeless census count has reached maximum capacity for tomorrow night in Los Angeles.

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