By Karl J. Niemiec
Author of “Alien Made” – proceeds from book sales benefit Indiana Youth Group (see below for novel excerpt, Chapter 4)
I admit I loved Bubba – a white fluffy poodle left behind by an actress girlfriend who somehow found it in her heart not to take the greatest dog I’ve ever met with her when we invited her to leave.
So, I made Bubba Jozeph Picasso’s best friend in his Alien Trilogy, got him in a bunch of trouble in “Alien Made,” and set Picasso off to save him from crazy people who were obviously one of Them, whatever Them were.
The chapters on the dog and the bugs in Apartment 101 happened exactly as written, yelling and threats included, but I changed the names to keep them from coming back and haunting me anymore than they already have through the visits from the cops looking for them.
Unlike their dog, Bubba would hold it for 14 hours if need be while I was out working on a show or catering. My mother had poodles, too, so I had a fondness for the breed. One was suspiciously named Larky, which is pretty close to my name, Karl minus the “y,” spelled backwards. Something I thought of later in life, and I never got a chance to ask her about: Was I named after the poodle, or it named after me?
But potty-trained dogs weren’t the case at Mammoth Towers when I took over the building. A case in point were two handsome, young, mix-racial male lovers who rented up above the pool deck at the back of the building. They, too, were in the building when I took over, so I didn’t know them well.
Now, these guys were nice enough people from all outward appearances. Late twenties, clean cut, polite, drove nice cars, and kept in good shape. One held what appeared on the surface to be a very good marketing job in the biz, and well, the other not so much when the postcard got turned over; he ended up being a popular black gay porn star while the other hocked his videos, as brought to my attention by another tenant who, yes, watched a lot of gay porn. But I didn’t care as long as they didn’t shoot them in the building, paid the rent, and didn’t destroy Mammoth Towers in the process.
Well, two out of three ain’t half bad. But never in property management, so when one roomie bought the other a dog, things started going west quickly.
What I noticed first, on the west side of the building, were the stains out on the newly painted deck, right beside the pool, close enough to splash in, and that the pool furniture was being moved to the other side of the deck, probably because of it. Now, I seldom saw anyone out there, besides an overly gorgeous bisexual teenage model that would sunbathe with a friend or two once in a while, so having to drag the furniture back into place, after rinsing the deck, wasn’t all that annoying. I figured she spilled her soda or something like that.
But the next day the furniture was moved again, and the deck was stained in the same place. So, I finally looked up and could see that something was draining from the vent in the patio up on the third floor. Like a complete moron, I stuck my hand out to catch a drop in my palm.
Now sometimes you’ve just got to ask yourself why you’d do such an obviously dumb thing. Like touching a burner to see if it’s hot. Because when I smelled what the liquid was, it was obviously dog pee. Then I looked to the other side of the deck, up to phone wires that ran above the garage next door to the west, and I could see three tied plastic shopping bags of what was clearly dog poo that must’ve been flung from our building at the roof of the building’s garage next door, and missed.
They dangled there like drug dealers do in ghetto neighborhoods flinging tennis shoes over the wires to promote their shit. What kind of shit this person was marketing, I wasn’t sure of. But there they were, three bags in a row, dangling up above the pool area on the phone wire. Disgusting? Yes. Was I pissed? You betchya.
But what could I prove, and what could I do about it once I did prove it without getting myself into another shouting match? Keep in mind, the cops were already talking to me about missing tenants and the doctor owners of the building were starting to think I was too confrontational, and were giving me sleeping pills.
So I had to be careful not to get bounced from my job and home, while doing my job, for the good of the building, as best I could. Yes, I had to solve the mystery short of threats or offering free rides to the desert in my ’66 Corvair this time. Regardless, I was starting to think Raymond Chandler, who inspired me to write about Hollywood life in the first place, never had to solve these kinds of disgusting mysteries. So why this Marlow?
I had to case the joint for facts, so I went up on the roof to peer down into their patio deck. What I found was a bowl of dog food and water, but no dog, which only meant they were most likely keeping it in the apartment while filming or marketing their skin flicks. The damage that it was causing wasn’t clear at that moment but I was game to find out when they got home.
What I found on the roof next door was beyond human though, startling to say the least. There were about 20 or 30 of those little bags that made it to the roof; which only goes to show that some gay men have good arms, and surely meant I needed to move cautiously so I didn’t get punched in the face by one or both.
When they got home, I paid them a kindly managerial visit. Knocking on the door sent the dog barking off in one of the rooms. So they weren’t about to deny having one. When they opened the door, I could hear their dog digging at the sliding door that many of the rooms had that closed off the kitchens. This alarmed me greatly because I could just imagine the damage its nails were causing the irreplaceable sliding door.
But in bringing up the dog pee and the bags of poo, they both stood there and blatantly denied that they had anything to do about it. Imagine that. They had a dog, their patio was the only one that overlooked that garage, and yet they had no clue as to who flung poo. At that point, I’m sure if I held both their heads under water long enough to count the bubbles escaping, they would deny that the bubbles were theirs if I let them up in time.
So I thanked them kindly, asked if they planned to change their deposit for the dog, and they then said it was a friend’s dog they were looking after for just a few days. But from the count of the poo on the garage, it looked like they’d had the dog for at least a month already. So my devious manager mind, and dark sided writer’s imagination, had to come up with a solution that would force them to move the dog out on their own.
Sitting at my computer stewing, thinking of many ways I could rid myself of them, but none of them legal, I decided to play with their minds a bit, so I wrote a nice little flyer titled “Who Flung Poo?” I didn’t want to waste the ink or paper, and didn’t really want to involve anyone else, or overly blame anyone, so I only put the flyers on the doorknobs that I knew the two lovers would see posted on their way up from the parking garage, but addressing it to the whole building so it would look like everyone would know that someone was flinging poo and that their dog was peeing on the deck. And off to work I went, allowing my flyers to work their little magic.
Well, it worked better than I thought it would. When I went up to check on the notes, they were all gone. The next day, while I was back at work, they moved out the backdoor and out through the pool gate, leaving the keys and garage remotes behind, with no forwarding address to send their deposit, showing they at least had some remorse as to the damage they caused the deck and the kitchen sliding door.
Proving the power of the pen is stronger than poo in this town.
If you choose to read on, just know that these adventures have been twisted tightly into a sci-fi trilogy so that those who have threatened me about repeating what I know to be true will leave me and my family alone. I don’t claim that any of these people are real – alien or otherwise. And if I did, like Jozeph Picasso, I am not at liberty to admit it. Because of the danger that underscores letting these stories go, I have held on to them for many years.
Below is “Alien Made: Chapter Four.” If you decide to jump ahead and read the whole trilogy and buy copies on Amazon, either in paperback or Kindle Books, at http://amzn.to/karlniemiec, know that portions of the proceeds from those sales will be donated to Indiana Youth Group, which supports LGBTQ in ages 12-20.
Karl J. Niemiec is Executive Producer of Programming at LapTopPublishing.com and KjN On-Camera Studios; contact KjN@LapTopPublishing.com.
Until I say, forgetting about the dog, “You people are pigs.”
They go into a mild glazed eyed daze, suddenly focusing on me. I’m almost an aberration, because I’m the one pissed off person they’re trying to avoid – yet here I am seething in front of them.
Then all those horrid thoughts wash over, possessing me as though these thoughts of murder are my own. I know what I have to do to get even with these people. The desert isn’t far. I want to drive them there in the trunk of their car so badly I can smell the open air and feel the hot desiccated sand beneath my dancing toes.
It is then something else possesses me to open one of the double electric ovens. As if I need more evidence to support my pig family allegations, only to find it completely ebonized by overcooked grease. I mean, I couldn’t even try to get a stove this black. There is a frying pan in there so coated with burnt grease I can’t see metal, top or bottom, inside or out, and the handle is unrecognizable burnt wood.
“How could you people live like this?” I’m reacting involuntarily at this point. If telekinetic powers ever ran in my family tree it will spontaneously mutate right now and roast this pig clan on a stick!
“It was like this when we moved in,” Sonya says.
I’m speechless…but I recover fast, pointing instead of grabbing.
“Hello, I own this building, I remodeled it. I spent my life savings trying to make a decent, affordable place for you creeps to live in!” I can’t believe…no…wait, I can, because these people are pig liars. They wouldn’t admit to breathing unless I could see bubbles. And even then they’d blame it on gravity crushing their chests.
I’m a millisecond from losing all involuntary control of my mind, body and soul. I’m a true portrait of a crazy man. The things I want to say are so twisted up in my diminishing vocabulary that my eyes begin a rotating iguana protrude forcing my temple hair follicles to sweat. It actually hurts. Something very unnaturally is happening to me. I feeling so much inner anger that I’m about to turn inside out.
The rest of my life spent in a padded cell for double homicide is enacting itself inside the stove, flashing before me like nitrate film, when Mr. Essinola shows up with a large canvas bag and a stick. He has the nerve to demand to know why I’m in his apartment. I can’t believe this? I’m visually insane, standing before him, a complete possessed nutcase plotting against my own freewill to take his wife and child out to the desert and kill them. And he wants to know why scary me is in his destroyed apartment before he has everything out.
I’m still somewhat inarticulate because of wanting to say so many things at once, but only for a flash, before my hostility surges out of me like a swelling volcano, ruefully zitting out, and I yell. I get up in his dark skinned face and I allow spit to free flow with my words. I tell him point blank, loud enough for anyone to hear, that he and his disgusting pig family are about to be taken out to the desert and shot in the head for what they’ve done in this apartment.
I fight with all my might not to do these things. What’s happening to me? I feel as possessed as that Blipping dog. Is that dog controlling me? I stick my hands in my pockets to keep them off his neck. And wait by the door while they get what they need. That dog! The prick husband goes straight to it on the balcony with the canvas bag, fearing it enough to approach it from behind. In one quick practiced swoop of his arms he’s got it inside the bag and he is on his way out, taking the bagged dog and his pig family with him.
I follow them outside, down the north steps, through the pines to the street. “What is with this dog? Hey, I’m talking to you. It’s done something to me, hasn’t it. What’s with the dog appearing and disappearing? Why did you leave it to dump in my building? Don’t think you’re getting away with what you’ve done here. Hey, you prick! Come back here and give me your forwarding address.”
Of course pig-king Essinola doesn’t even bother to reply. Why give me the satisfaction? He unambiguously throws my building keys into the sewer and departs to lands unknown. The creeps.
But I don’t care what it takes. I will make these people pay. This is not racial, and screw political correctness. These dishonest people, the Essinolas, they lack respect for rental property. It’s some kind of common genetic evolutionary caveman dysfunctional dirt floor behaviorism that draws a line between living and surviving, owning and renting. They are – the whole family – a brood of disrespectful sullen pigs wallowing in the subhuman filth. Contaminating their environment, with no regard to the consequences of anyone or thing that becomes mired in their droppings. Eat and defecate. And they’ve got one spooked up dog!
This isn’t just about rent. I’m not above helping out a family in need. Who hasn’t been down on their luck? It’s about how they treated my property and the disregard for who would live there next.
That astronomically awful thing I dreaded happening has altered my vision of life. I stand thinking that the La Brea Tar Pits have somehow become an unwitting metaphor for my life in LA. The LA on the flipside to all those suns over palms postcards. What tourists see when they come here to sip the waters are thin glossy picturesque photos of a fertile, imaginary quenching oasis. But once they step foot to live in this pungent, endlessly growing city, they see how we’re really all stuck, slowly being sucked down into an uncivilized quagmire of overpopulation, falling victim to a ruthless predator’s next meal. And the only way out of it is hard cash to beat away the inevitable end for as long as possible, certain death.
A wave of anxiety washes over me with these dour thoughts and suddenly my life is nothing more than a handwritten lie on the backside of a discarded California postcard lost along a crowded highway. Because right now, everything isn’t good, life isn’t grand and I don’t wish you were here. The fact is, even though I solved the mystery of the barking dog, I’m pretty sure I just witnessed something entirely lacking earthly explanation. And it somehow has a hold of me, controlling my emotions. Now instead of having a sense of achievement, I’m left with the unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach that somehow that spooky cocker spaniel will come back to alter my mundane life forever.