Flashback: 2001 (or maybe it was 2002)
When I returned to L.A., I was scheduled to have a lunch meeting at Ed Silver Productions to discuss Sylvester Stallone's upcoming project, "Arsenal: The Return." Ed himself would be there; he wanted to make it clear that if I worked with Sly, I would have to avoid any of the ‘negative energy’ I'd displayed at Oprah's party.
On the way to Ed's office, I stopped at KROGIE'S DELI and grabbed a bagel-and-lox to go. Sebastian took my order. He wrapped up my bagel with a pickle and added my usual Lyman's Iced Tea. I paid at the cash register. Sebastian nodded at me and said, "Go with God." I smiled at him. "Sure thing."
I started walking along Hollywood Boulevard. Suddenly I spotted Julia Roberts and her curly auburn hair walking a few yards in front of me. Julia had just stepped out of ARTINE'S BIG SALADS and was striding along the sidewalk carrying a brown lunch-bag I hurried off toward her.
Near Vine Street, I drew up next to her. As I did so, I leaned toward her and said, "UH-OH…LOOK OUT…my takeout lunch is RAPIDLY catching up with yours, and…look out…it’s taking the lead now…and…WHOOSH…it’s leaving yours in the dust…" I turned to her and smiled, giving her my ‘I’m-as-good-as-candy" smile. Then I pivoted and started to walk past her.
But Julia whirled at me. "JESUS. WHAT THE HELL?"
I slowed down and looked back at her. "What’s the matter?"
"YOU ASSHOLE. YOU SCARED THE HELL OUT OF ME."
"Baby, I’m not that scary looking. Some people think I’m kinda handsome—"
Julia pointed a finger at me. Her hand was shaking. "I thought you were a terrorist or something. Don’t you know what’s going on in the world? What the hell’s your problem?"
"Oh come on. I was racing your lunch-bag"
Julia squinted at me. "WHAT?"
"I was racing your lunch-bag And mine was clearly winning. Freddie and I were passing you like a Volkswagen stalled on the Santa Ana."
Julia put her hand to her forehead. "God, you’re just some nut."
"No, I’m not. I used to race Tom Hanks along Los Feliz all the time. He’d have a chicken salad on wheat bread from PACO’S. I’d have a burrito from SI SENOR. A burrito’s much more aerodynamic. I’d leave him sucking wind like a gully-fish."
Julia started walking away from me. Her shoes made rapid click-click sounds on the sidewalk. I called after her. "Uh-oh, Julia’s making a late surge..."
I balanced my lunch and started racing after her. I was amazed: Julia was moving just like Ben Affleck at THE SWIZZLE STICK. I shouted after her, "Baby, no one’s taken me in almost seven years…YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE…" I began to really move. "I’m carrying a Lyman’s 32-ounce Iced Tea, and I’m STILL gonna catch you…No one’s gonna take me on my HOME TURF."
Soon I was sweating. But I was gaining ground. I watched Julia switch her lunch-bag from one hand to the other. I recognized that move: she was beginning to falter. It was only a matter of time.
I stepped through the Del Rey intersection and, by the next corner, had drawn up parallel to her. I nodded quickly. "Thanks for playing." Then I breezed past her.
I hit the sidewalk and accelerated, leaving her trailing in my wake.###