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Flashback: 2001 (or maybe it was 2002)

The Winner and Still The Champ

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?"


"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.###

All contents © 2011 by Gene Mahoney