This is Chapter 8 of my memoir: “The Imperfect Logic of the Heart.” The book is available on Amazon. I am reprinting it here chapter by chapter.

My first California home was in the Wyndham Hotel in Santa Monica, one block from the famous Santa Monica Pier.  The Pier was built in the early 1900’s as a way to transport Santa Monica’s sewage into the ocean. Instead of wood they used concrete, which made it a national curiosity. Not such a good idea since it collapsed in 1919 because of rust.  Once repaired it hosted the Whirlwind Dipper roller coaster and the largest ballroom in the world. The coaster disappeared but the ballroom lasted thru the Depression.  The Pier suffered many failed partial repair attempts until finally in 1983 storms destroyed most of it.  When I arrived it was mostly a memory and not restored to its present state until after I had left California.

I never thought of California as a fresh start.  It was just another chapter in a life blowing in the wind.  I wasn’t excited to be in California or upset to be in California.  I was simply numb. But I had a job to do and no advance team.  I had to find an office location, find a place to live and hire employees for the office.  I had a hotel suite, a suitcase, and a rented Lincoln town car that liked to slide through intersections on rainy days.

Someone in the New York office suggested I meet up with a guy who could get me a better deal in the Twin Towers in Century City, the “high end” prestigious part of the west side of Los Angeles.  Century City was built on the former backlot of 20th Century Fox.  The Towers housed some of the most important law firms and accountants in the city.  I needed a “high end” building to sustain our image.  The New York friend referred showed up with his extremely attractive wife at my hotel and promised me a great deal on a sublet in the Towers at approximately 20% less than the going rate.  Forever suspicious, the next day I went to the manager of the building and discovered that I could make a better deal on my own.  I learned later the attractive “wife” I had met earlier was actually a hired actress/escort to hook me into further “good deals.”  You just got to love LA.

Concord had great credit and a home office in an “A” building in New York.  Credit plus credibility. Novel for LA.  I would have an office in less than three weeks and it would be furnished from most of what was sold to me from the prior tenant.

I wanted to get out of the hotel as quickly as possible and was willing to overpay if necessary for a place to live.  I would have been willing to move into an apartment but I preferred to find something furnished because I didn’t expect to be there that long.  Six months at most.  I saw an advertisement for a condominium for rent in Brentwood (near where OJ killed his wife) but when I got there the very formal Persian (not yet called Iranian) manager said it was rented, not furnished and off the market.  I asked him if he knew of any furnished condos for rent.  He did not.  After much haggling and five one hundred dollar bills I made a deal with the manager to rent the model suit month to month. I agreed to pay for a maid so it would always be available for sale.  I moved in immediately.

The company that had occupied my new office and was moving out of state had a secretary I was able to hire.  She was from South Africa and proved to be invaluable.  She knew how to do everything I did not and handled all the mechanics of getting us up and running, including necessary paper work for the building manager.  Employees also fell in my lap courtesy of a New York salesman, Adam, who was moving back home to LA.  He became my right hand man and brought to our office three of his bond trader friends looking for a new opportunity. 

My first attempt to establish a business relationship with an established source was not encouraging.  I met with a senior partner of a prestigious law firm.  He told me:

            “I like your deal but we need to see if you are still around after a year.” 

            “We have a lot of tax shelter guys operating out of the trunk of their cars that have given your business a bad name.”

            “You guys are probably different but strike one, you’re from New York, strike two your legal opinion is not from our firm, and I’ll hold off strike three if you are still in your office next year.” 

            “If you are still here we’d love to talk again.”

So much for my $50 lunch. If we were going to sell, it would be the hard way, direct “one on one” to clients. That would not be as easy and certainly not quick.  Actually it would take over nine months to get sales rolling.

My Adam said I needed to buy a car and stop driving the pathetic Lincoln Town “scar.” 

I said I was not a car guy: “You buy it for me”. 

He did and I became the proud owner of a 300SD Diesel Mercedes, which I would keep more than ten years.

I managed to escape the LA scene since I was fairly consumed with work.  I didn’t date and only occasionally went out to the “happening spot.”  Usually after work I would have a drink in the building’s bar, which often featured regulars like David Hemmings and the Ben Casey guy Vince Edwards.  Hemmings starred in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up and was now directing TV in LA.  He had a larger than life personality and stories. Vince Edwards was more of a mystery and kept to himself.

One night I did go out and something very strange happened.  There was a trendy restaurant bar in Brentwood that my new friend, the manager of my building, liked.  She encouraged me to join her husband on a Thursday night which was supposedly the singles night.

I arrived a little early directly from the office, probably over dressed in a suit and tie, to discover there was already a line out the door.  I would have never waited but arrangements had supposedly already been made and I had no idea the name used for a reservation. The girl in the line in front of me was also dressed for a dinner party and a little more fashionably attired than the other girls. She had an extraordinary figure. I couldn’t see her face. 

I heard her say to know one in particular:

            “What do they think this place is, Studio 54?”

            I responded from behind her shoulder:

            “Actually there are no more lines at Studio 54. I guess it has already seen its day.”

She turned around briefly checked me out as I did her. Her front was even more beautiful than her back.

            “Are you from New York?”

            “Yup.  I just recently moved here.”

That was all of it.  There was no more small talk.  The door opened and they let our section of the line into the restaurant.   I ordered a drink and the beautiful girl in the line disappeared.  About ten minutes later my friends arrived and we had dinner.  After the dessert and well into the coffee phase, the girl from the line reappeared at our table and asked me if she could talk to me for a moment. 

            “You seem like a nice guy.  My girlfriend was supposed to meet me here and she never showed up.  I got a ride here and now I need a ride home.  It’s not far.  Is there any way I can ask you to give me a ride home?”

I said: “Of course.  I would be happy to.”

She stood there while I said goodbyes and then she walked out with me.  I did not valet and parked in the lot.  About half way to my car, she grabbed my shoulder and started to fall.  As I held her it was clear she was passing out.  I picked her up and carried her to my car and put her in the front seat.  I waited in the lot a few minutes to see if she would wake up.  Her breathing was not irregular.  I thought she was okay but I debated what to do with her.  Should I take her to the emergency room?  Ultimately I took her to my apartment which was less than one mile away.  Still passed out I carried her into the bedroom and dropped her on my bed.  Soon she appeared to be lightly snoring.

In the living room I opened her purse and took out her driver’s license and wrote down her name and address. Later, this proved to be an excellent move.

About a half hour later I went back to the bedroom and shook her arm lightly to try and wake her.  She opened her eyes, and looked at me.

            “Where am I?”

            “You passed out on the way to my car.  I wasn’t sure what to do so I brought you here to my apartment.  Are you ready to go home now?  Do you feel better?  Would you like to go to urgent care?”

            “No, no…just give me a few more minutes to sleep and then please take me home.”  With that and completely unexpected she, in one motion, took off her dress and now lay mostly naked in my bed.

I am a gentleman but also human.  I was aroused. She was truly astoundingly beautiful.  I covered her with the blanket and made myself some coffee. I read the day’s mail, looked at the paper and then tried again to wake her.

This time there was no problem.  She said she was fine and would get ready to go and thanked me again.  I closed the door waiting for her to dress and drove her home.  I expected an apartment building but arrived instead at a very beautiful townhouse. 

            “Please come in.  I owe you a nightcap.”

I complemented her on her fabulous townhouse and asked her what she did.  She said she was a model.  

            I thought: “Oh sure aren’t they all.” 

            She said: “I know what you are thinking, model/escort.  No actually I have been very lucky with my career until recently.  Let me show you my portfolio.”

What I expected to see was your typical stock photos that most models have accumulated from decent photographers over the years. An assortment of poses.  That was not what I found. Instead there were page after page of magazine advertisements featuring my new friend attached to overpriced high end consumer goods aimed at the glamour crowd. She was hawking everything from perfume to a Bentley.  But the advertisement that most impressed me was the one for Black Velvet Whiskey where our girl is lying on her side on a couch in a black dress caressing a bottle of Black Velvet. The Black Velvet girl is a big time gig shared in the past by Cybill Shepherd, Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley.  

            “I’m impressed, you look amazing in these pictures.”

            “Thank you.  I’m trying to look alluring. Ironic since I am no longer a sexual being.  If you had ideas about a hot evening, I truly am sorry.  You are the kind of guy I’d love to sleep with but for the moment my only lover has been heroin. Just a bad result of a failed relationship with an airline pilot I hope you never have to fly with.  I’m on methadone but I have a way to go.”

“Please don’t go home yet.  It is really late just come to bed with me.  You can leave in the morning.  We both need some rest.”

Minutes later I was asleep. But after what seemed only a few minutes I awoke to noise downstairs.  Someone else, a male voice, was in the house.  I quickly got dressed and was grabbing my keys when my new friend appeared.

            “Sorry about that.  Just a friend I’m working with.”

            “That’s OK I’m up so I might as well take off now.  Good luck with everything.”

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough suspecting that her friend was her drug dealer and maybe this would be the unlucky night that life said goodbye to her.  I didn’t want to be around for that.

In the morning when I forced myself out of bed to start the coffee I realized that my wallet was not on my nightstand nor was my watch.  In fact I remembered I left them at my models house. Luckily I had her name and address.  I didn’t expect to find her in the phone book but this was pre-cell phones and many people were still listed. 

She answered.  Felt bad.  My things would be under her door mat.

I retrieved my stuff and never saw her again.

            Months later I thought of calling her but didn’t want to find out if she had lost her fight with smack. 

            It occurred to me that my father’s famous college roommate, Jerome Lawrence the playwright lived in Malibu.  Although he was the author of several books and plays, by far his most famous offering was Inherit the Wind, about the Scopes trial.  I decided that just for the hell of it I would try to call him and introduce myself.  After some searching I reached his secretary and a few days later he called me and to my surprise invited me to dinner at his home.

I easily found Pacific Skyway Lane, Jerry’s street but had much more difficulty finding the house.  At the street level there was little to see. The house was little more than a doorstep.   After you reached the entrance, the house snaked down the mountain to reveal a steel and glass palace over ten thousand square feet.  Nature usually hates artificial structures in California.  Houses on stilts fall in the ocean. In the mountains, houses slide in heavy rain with the mud in monstrous heaps.  That was unlikely for Jerry’s house which was anchored to the mountain with huge steel braces and concrete retaining walls.

I dressed for the evening in my best non lawyer-like suit, a conscious attempt on my part to show respect for one of my father’s friends. Jerry was in his seventies and I expected he’d be dressed.

I rang the doorbell plus intercom and identified myself to a voice that sounded like something from a McDonald’s to go window.  I fully expected a butler to open the door.  Instead it was Jerry who inspected me as one might a new garden statute and then gave me a bear hug. 

“My god, Richie, you look wonderful. But nothing like your Mom or Dad.  I’ll have to ask your Dad if Mom was busy with the milkman.”      

Jerry Lawrence aka Schwartz his real name, was dressed in a purple warm up outfit with Michael Jordan track shoes that had obviously never been used for running.  He reminded me of the British guy that hosted family feud. Richard something, but not British.  Maybe an American who had spent a lot of time there.  Jerry had a large head and thick white hair cut short and combed forward in the front to rival Caesar.  It was difficult to really “take him all in” at first because his eyes so riveted mine that to glance away would be obviously impolite.  He had blue eyes that had not lost much power with age and still moved rapidly when he spoke

            “Before we forget and do another thing you must sign my guest book.” 

As Jerry directed me to the stainless steel pedestal which held the book, much like the wooden ones do at funeral homes, I heard a door slam.  Jerry noticeably flinched and slightly wrinkled his brow and then quickly recovered to walk me to a large terrace that overlooked Malibu Beach and consequently the Pacific.  The requisite telescope was in place and it was not aimed at the stars but rather the beach. 

            “I like to do a bit of people watching to keep up with the latest fashions.”

He kind of winked a dirty old man wink. 

            “My God, how rude of me.  Would you like a drink?”

Jerry leaped away with a childlike giggle. Somewhere from the 10,000 square feet the chorus plays two more door slams.

            “So Richie, your father tells me you’re a big time lawyer with a wife and kids in the suburbs of beautiful Shaker Heights. Right.”

            “Actually, Jerry, I’ve been divorced now for a few years and no longer practice law.  I’m in the real estate business.  I do appreciate my father’s gushing admiration.  He always wanted to be a lawyer and so loves to talk about his son the lawyer.”

            “I see.  Is there anything I can do to help?” As in “is this the purpose of this visit?”   I laugh:

            “No, if we run out of vodka you can buy some more.” 

Another door slam. This time Jerry stands up and removes his warm up jacket to reveal a pink “polo” shirt and releases his ample waist from jail by pulling his shirt from his pants  reshoots his drink, and sits again with a release of air as if to lower the pressure of his body.

            “Remember “My Fair Lady” Richie?”

            “I’d be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling as to ever let a woman in my life.”

            ” Cyril Ritchard ?”

            “He was one of many Professor Higgins who spoke the truth, eh?   Applies to gay relations as well.

            One final door slam. Jerry leaps up.

            “Excuse me.”

            Shouting at no one in particular but apparently at the door slammer Jerry offers:

            “Listen, you little faggot fucker, one more time and I’ll throw you over this fucking mountain.”

            Jerry returns much relieved and very self-satisfied:

            “I let this little ‘putz’ live with me while he’s scoring one of my movies.  He’s got enormous talent but quite an attitude.  I think he’s jealous of you, Richie, or maybe just a little too strung out on that fucking cocaine he’s always snorting.  You’re not a criminal lawyer are you Richie, or worse yet a narc?”

            “Maybe”, I joke.  “But if I am, you’re out of my jurisdiction.”

            “Go ahead, tell Bob and Jayne their famous Jerry is having a lovers quarrel. They wouldn’t believe it.  And if they don’t, tell them Cole Porter had them as well and from what I hear he had a big basket.”         

            “My composer friend is also the cook let me go get the brat.”

     Enter John Lennon if Lennon was alive and Jerry’s lover and was twenty eight and if he had white hair and if he spoke like he had graduated from MIT.

            “Richard, nice to meet you.  I’m sorry I won’t be able to stay for dinner but I’m not feeling well.  I hate to let Mr. Lawrence down but sometimes these things happen.”

Simultaneously with this little speech Jerry is mimicking the lovers speech and movements, much as Chevy Chase used to do on Saturday Night Live.

            “I understand completely.  Nice meeting you, goodnight.”

            Lover, composer exits stage left.

            “Do you know how to cook Richie?”

            “Fair, what do you have?”

            Jerry opens the Subzero to reveal thin slices of pork already marinated.

            “I hope you’re a reform Jew.  You eat pork?”

            “Do you mean outside of Chinese food.  Every Jew eats pork in Chinese food. Yes, I eat pork.  Have any red wine?”

And then after dinner.

 Everyone has been to a restaurant where stage pictures of stars line the walls-the pictures the publicity head of the studio releases complete with forged signatures.  Jerry’s office was different.  Star A hugs Jerry alone.  Star B hugs Jerry with his wife.  Star C hugs Jerry with his toupee in his hand as a joke.  Star D moons the camera.  Director D and Jerry chew out a star.  Jerry with the President.  Jerry with the Chief Justice of the United States with the Prime Minister.  Jerry with… 

            “You like my pictures?”

            “Incredible.”

            “I’ve donated them all to Ohio State and they’ll be on exhibit there starting in January.  Hopefully I’ll live long enough for some new pictures on the wall.  Maybe my new friend Richie will send me a picture of himself and his kids.”

            “I’d be honored.”

            “So what do you want to know about your folks?  They were young and beautiful.  Lauren Becall and Cary Grant.”

            “Your dad had burdens I never had.”

            “What do you mean.?”

            “He was normal.  He wanted the normal things. To fit in with the world.  Marry your mom.  Be a success.  Make a living.  Have children.”

            “Why are those desires burdens?”

            “Some of us, myself included, know we’ll never fit in.  We may have a talent. We may even end up with financial rewards but we’re not normal and never will be.  At least we cannot behave or think like most people.  I never chose to be a writer.  I never chose homosexuality.  They are a part of me.  I could never win in your dad’s world.  I had a free pass.  I was allowed to be me.  I accepted the fact early on that I could not be anyone else.  I was never burdened by the potential of being normal by society’s rules.”

            “Why do you pick the subjects you pick for your plays.  Truth, justice and the American way?”         

            “I guess, it’s because I like beautiful things.  A clean simplicity.  At its best that’s what America is about.  The truth, or at least the ability to seek it out.”

            “Hey, Richie, who did you say you married? Did I know her parents?  Was she a Cleveland girl?”

            “Yeah,  Dr. Geller’s daughter.”

            “Jac Geller?”

            “That’s the guy.”

            “God, was he handsome.  I mean your Dad was good looking but Geller was fucking unbelievable.”

            He is silent while he visits another world in his memories.

            “Richie, let’s call it a night but I swear if you don’t visit me again soon, I’m coming up to Cleveland and I’ll explore your sex life and ask you all kinds of personal questions like what happened to your marriage.”

            “Jerry, thanks for everything. I will come see you again, I promise.”

            I never did see Jerry again.  He died in 2004.

Still not having much luck at love, I decided the most reliable source was in Cleveland with my children and old friends. My townhouse was mostly empty since my visits were less frequent.  I decided to rent it to a friend who had opened a restaurant.  He traded guacamole, carna asada, and margueritas for his rent.  It seemed a fair trade since my place was furnished and I didn’t want it trashed and he was a quality tenant. My kids were doing better than I and seemed well adjusted and happy. I made arrangements with Betsy so the kids could spend part of their summer with me in California.  I was excited to try and spoil them and impress them with my California life.  Even though I was not happy I wanted to make sure they had a great time.

Since my place was not furnished and I had a month to month lease, it was easy to just say goodbye to my Persian landlord.  He had a sweetheart deal with me and was not happy to see me go, but I had decided to move to the beach for the summer so the kids could have something to do that was better than sitting in restaurants with dad.

The place I found was in Marina Del Ray but not in the actual marina.  Perpendicular to the beach was a series of streets named in alphabetical order for parts of a ship.  I was moving to the T street. Topsail. The place was unfurnished. Really unfurnished. It had a stove but no refrigerator.  It did have a sauna and underground parking to keep your car from being eaten by salt air.

I furnished the place with cheap but colorful furniture.  I bought two single beds for the kids and a futon for myself.  I put the futon directly on the floor and loved sleeping that way while I still had knees that worked in the morning.  A short walk from my new home was Venice Beach and an assortment of interesting people.  Some lifting weights, some drunk on roller skates, and one guy juggling chain saws. A little farther north and I was back where I started in California in Santa Monica.

There were downsides to living on a beach that belonged to God and the people.  Anyone could walk on the strand in front of your doorsteps.  I was on the first floor and subject to desperate women needing a bathroom and people who tried to U Turn on Topsail, only to find their rear wheels were now stuck in the sand. And then there were those that liked to drive to the end of Topsail late at night, with their car about twelve feet from my bedroom window and play their music too loud while they smoked weed or made love.

I was not making love and did not have a girlfriend.  I was spending a lot of weekend time in nearby Hermosa Beach watching the drug and beach scene and roller skating with friends but I was still very solo. Sleeping alone was getting old.  Things changed when one day weeks after the move, I asked my building manager friend if she played tennis.  She did not. 

            “I think my bookkeeper does.” 

            She shouts: “Lisa, you play tennis, don’t you?”

Having a chance to leave her desk and stretch her legs, Lisa bolts up to announce that

            “Yes, I am a tennis player”. 

            “I will play a set or two with you.  Whenever.”

            She was very cute wearing the tennis outfit but not much of a player.

Lisa was just a child in her early twenties with bright green eyes, dark hair, and legs that were too long for the upper part of her body.  She walked like a little teenager who had not yet learned the technique of the graceful stride of a young woman. She was very bright with a bit of gosh and golly. And of course she was an accountant, not a bookkeeper, and if you’re interested she had a boyfriend much older than her.

After our first tennis date, back at her tiny apartment, she announced that her boyfriend, who called her “popsicle toes,” was no longer her boyfriend.  She loved Michael Franks, though, so the nickname could stay and by the way since she no longer had a boyfriend, “You can make love to me if you want.” 

“No” she amended, “You cannot make love to me but you can fuck me if you want.”

I should not have but I did.

Like the little girl she was, she loved to drive my new Mercedes and pretend to be a Hollywood star.  I knew little of her family life except that she told me her dad was in a similar business to mine and that her mother was divorced from her dad and apparently an alcoholic.

A few days before the kids showed up for the summer, we met Muhammad Ali.  I had seen other stars: Johnny Carson, Richard Dreyfuss, and the Happy Days cast when we took the kids to the television live taping. I never really responded as an excited fan.  I actually saw too many Hollywood notables to mention here. A few I knew quite well. No one could compete with “The Greatest.”

Lisa and I had played tennis and were in our tennis clothes when we drove past the Muhammad Ali gym.  To my shock and surprise The Greatest was standing outside the gym surrounded by a ring of young kids.  I pulled over as soon as I could and prepared to gawk.  We had ice cream cones and of course were wearing tennis clothes and walked towards him.  The tennis clothes were relevant only because Lisa’s legs seemed to catch the attention of the champ.  He made it obvious that he was staring at her, so I pretended like he was looking at the ice cream.  I asked him if he wanted some ice cream, knowing full well the double entendre.

His response was to put up his arms in fighting mode and shout

            “You calling me a nigger?”

Then he quickly smiled and laughed. I was too cool to ask for an autograph.  But I will never forget the incident.

Lisa and my children got along very well.  It was not surprising since she was a child herself.  My kids took to the ocean and in fact the ocean early on took to them.  It swallowed up their boogy boards and at least one time swallowed up their bathing suits.  I took the kids up Highway 1 all the way to San Francisco where we visited Ghirardelli Square and all the tourist traps. The kids took a helicopter ride without me.  Those things scared the hell out of me. 

Later that summer we took a wild ride to Mexico with some friends.  We bought the extra insurance to drive out of the country and headed down the Baja Peninsula in my new Mercedes to Ensenada.  We stayed in a class D hotel where the kids discovered culture shock for the first time.  They blew up their new boom-box by plugging it into the wall without a converter.  Later with my friend, they managed to get arrested by the Mexican police by blowing up recently purchased firecrackers too close to their base.  My Spanish speaking buddy saved the day by being able to smooth over the event.  Thank God I was not with them at the time.  I think they will never forget the trip. So much more happened there that they will never know about that reconfirmed my carelessness at the time. Thankfully we all made it home safe.  And then after all the tourism, and when we were exhausted from too much everything, it was over and so was the summer.  The kids would go back to Cleveland, and I knew in my heart I would have to return quickly as well.  A long-distance father is hard to pull off. I knew after the summer I wasn’t good at it. And I needed to get away from the sea of drugs that had invaded California.  Cocaine was everywhere and it had begun to infect me.

I had told Lisa that my California tour of duty was about to be up.

 “Let’s just have fun, but you need to find another guy.  Your boyfriend is too old for you. The Cleveland guy will be going home soon.”

I should have said “in a week” because Lenny called and said we need you to go back to Cleveland and help sell in the Midwest immediately.

“California is under control.”

I said: “I’ll pack up the car and drive back.  It will be an adventure.” 

He said: “No, fly back tomorrow.  We will pack you up and put your car on a truck and it will all be there in less than a week.”

Several weeks before, I had sent my parents tickets to visit.  I missed them but it was also an act of ego.  I wanted them to see that their son was doing well.  I had been to visit them in their new condo in Florida and surprised my mom at Thanksgiving but I thought the long trip would be an adventure for them.  Dad doing something other than playing golf.

I had hoped Jerry Lawrence was in town for a visit with my dad but he was in Europe so that wouldn’t happen.  My mom was horrified by my new beach digs and wondered if I had lost my sanity.

            “Aren’t you too old for this?”

I think my Dad liked it.

I wanted at least one dinner out to be a Hollywood experience.  Hopefully they could spot a star or two. I took them to dinner to Mortons in Beverly Hills on a Monday night.  From my many nights there I had become friends with the manager and learned that Monday night was reservation only for special people. You had better be famous or you weren’t getting a table.  I told him my parents would be in town and he loved the opportunity to help me entertain them.  He made sure I had a good table at the best time on Monday.

Thankfully my Dad had left his golf clothes in Florida. No lime green sport coat.  He had on a nice jacket and tie.  My Mom of course was dressed for a party and looked beautiful.  She had on her dancer legs and best high heels.

When we arrived I saw seated Ryan O’Neil and Farrah Fawcett, Carl Reiner, Richard Dreyfuss (always coked out) and a few others who were TV stars not yet on the A team. Johnny Carson usually came on Mondays but sadly was not there. 

When we walked in and spotted my friend, the normal bar and restaurant hum was audible . When he walked us to our table like we were royalty the hum abruptly silenced.  All eyes were on this couple.  Is that Farley Granger?  What is his name? They knew he was somebody and kept staring until they hoped to figure it out.  My Dad remained totally unaware. 

“Marvelous steak, Richard”.

There was one last adventure weeks before I returned to Cleveland.  Attending the shopping center Convention in Las Vegas as a representative of Concord Assets group was a significantly different experience from my earlier wanderings around the conference on my own. Concord had a bungalow behind the Desert Inn where we entertained sellers and future investors. I was involved with a constant meet and greet.  In the evenings I went to sleep while my coworkers gambled and did the other things Vegas has to offer.  I would rather take 10 friends out to dinner at an expensive restaurant than lose even one dollar gambling in Vegas. No table would be cheap enough for me. A dealer who beats you at blackjack five deals in a row requires too much restraint on my part. I was never a Vegas fan.

So the shopping center convention for me was just a lot of hard work and I was happy to return to LA.  I left Friday afternoon.  Saturday morning Lenny called me and said that they had the bungalow until Monday.

            “Come on back, Rich.  I need some company and I finally need some fun.”

I didn’t say no. I arrived late Saturday afternoon.  We had an early dinner and then talked strategy for the evening.  I voted for a Vegas show.  Lenny wanted to gamble.

            “You know, Rich, if I gamble I will lose at least ten grand. I have a better idea. Why don’t I give you the money and you buy us hookers and cocaine until the money is gone?”

I had no experience with acquiring the entertainment Lenny requested in Vegas, but if you rented a private gondola at the Desert Inn in the 80’s you had a concierge very different from that normally found at your Loews or Weston Hotel.  If I wanted to hire Burt Parks to sing God Bless America in our living room, it could have been arranged.

So the first lady of the evening arrived shortly after my two ounces of cocaine.  To say she was a lady would be accurate as to her gender but really she was just a kid.  So many of the hookers in Vegas who were “higher quality” were actually college students just trying to make some extra money to pay for tuition.  But if it were your daughter you would of course be horrified.

After the second girl arrived Lenny was ready for bed.  What happened next surprised me and I was not easily surprised.   Apparently the second girl had told her friends that some crazy guys had a ton of cocaine.  The door was being knocked on and shortly there were at least 10 beautiful young girls who wanted to party.  If not with Lenny or me, with each other.

Use your imagination.

Shortly after my Vegas trip my California tenure was over. There were goodbyes at my office party a few weeks later, and then I was gone as if I had never been there.

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