Mother’s Day, 1986.
Mike Stewart and I are killing time before I head to brunch at my mom’s. Mike and I met working on the newspaper at the local community college. He does the page layouts and design, I take the pictures and write the stories. It’s a good partnership.
We have stopped by his brother’s apartment. They have two young girls, Holly, three, and Allison, two. Allison pushes herself around in a little scooter. Holly is busy at the table. Holly is ALWAYS busy.
Everything in the apartment has a label, written in Crayon, by Holly. She followed the broken guideline in the middle of the label to help her shape the characters. Her parents are doing this to encourage her to read. She is a very smart little toe head in Huggies.
I’ve been here before. Holly’s progress is amazing.
Mike has a Betamax player. He has a Betamax copy of Alan Parker’s film ‘Pink Floyd’s The Wall’. I’ve never seen it. We put it on. It is still the only Betamax videotape I have ever seen.
While we are sitting on the couch watching the movie. I catch little Allison looking at me curiously a couple of times. After a few minutes, she motors across the room. Her strong little legs propel the cart over the carpet. She pulls into the space next to Holly at the table. I catch whispers coming from the two little girls.
“Who is that?” Allison asks Holly. Allison looks over at me.
Holly looks up from her work. I look away quickly.
“Who, him?” I can imagine Holly’s face as she’s saying it. Maybe an eye-roll?
I steal another look.
“Uh, huh.” Allison nods.
“Oh, that’s Steve Deeble.”
I laugh at her matter-of-fact tone.
“He’s a writer.”
I stop laughing. I’m stunned. If I hadn’t already been sitting, I’d have sat.
I started writing screenplays for short films in elementary school. Then I started writing stories. In church school I wrote parables.
I have written press releases that ran in the L.A. Times and other papers. I am freelancing for an advertising agency.
But this is when I see myself as a WRITER.
It is 1981.
I arrive at Ken Spears’ condo to find Mark Reynolds pulling up the manhole cover in the back patio. Mark has shaved off his long hair and there is definitely a ‘Taxi Driver’ vibe. Anything can happen.
An extension cord is dropped into the bone-dry storm drain and a floor lamp is lowered for illumination. Mark descends purposefully and we lower his amplifier and guitar to him.
He turns on and tunes up, and begins to assault the guitar at ear-splitting volume. We replace the manhole cover and I head out into the night. Iggy Pop and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd come from every storm drain I pass.
That night the Irvine Police are frustrated in their attempts to find the source of the mysterious music.