Excerpts: Part 3

Photo by Myles RobinsonSept. 17, 1999 We spoke through the glass by means of a telephone. I was constrained by his lawyer in terms of what I might ask him, but asking anything seemed for some reason a difficult proposition.

How are you doing?

Having any problems inside?

How do you pass the time?

What exactly do you say to a 17-year-old boy who may be a 29-year-old man before he emerges again into the world? And thus the conversation wound on and wound down.

"I've been keeping up with my schoolwork," Arthur said. "I would like to go to college."

I had to turn away. At my side, the lawyer stirred. And down the long, bleft, distant corridors, the shouting erupted once more, troubled and indistinct. I kept the phone to my ear, but I wasn't sure I could bear to hear anything more.

"My dream is to become a chef," Arthur said softly from behind the thick glass.

Bob Emmers, "The Kid Is Innocent: The only question is whether the DA will do anything to free 17-year-old Arthur Carmona"

Sept. 24, 1999 Barry White's constipated groan of a voice gurgling libidinous exhortations atop overproduced tracks rife with washes of whinnying strings and cheesy wah-wah rhythm guitar on such '70s schlock-o-rama fare as "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe," "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" and "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" are among the most insufferable examples of soulless soul imaginable. White had already descended into self-parody before anyone even knew who he was. How this gelatinous sac successfully brought himself off as a sex symbol for a number of years remains one of history's great mysteries.

Buddy Seigal, "Barry White?! Do not step on my funk, please"

Oct. 8, 1999 Lynn Harris is a man. Sort of. He is also a woman. Sort of. He is both, although it could be argued that he is neither or that he is a third sex. Harris is a hermaphrodite, or intersex, possessing both a vagina and a penis that is, he says, about 2 inches long when erect. He has female chromosomes with male genetic patterning, male hair patterns and skeletal structure, and no breasts. He urinates from beneath the base of his penis. He has some mixed ovarian and testicular tissue. His voice is an eerie, androgynous purr. If you met him on the street and he told you he was a man, you'd believe it without question. If he told you he was a woman, you'd probably believe that, too.

Greg Stacy, "Interview With the Hermaphrodite: The many faces of Lynn Harris"

Oct. 8, 1999 OC Weekly: Got any good show-biz gossip for me?

Richard Lewis:That's rude! I wouldn't dish on anybody! I'd be sued. Look, I'm saving it all for the book; let me get sued by all 300,000 people at once. You're captivating, you know that? Sorry, I have to write this all down by hand because my tape recorders always fuck up at the wrong time.

I wish you had a tape recorder; you're gonna misquote me.

No, I'm a great quoter. You know, like Truman Capote trained himself to remember conversations word for word! It's just like that, except, you know, I write everything down, so it's not really like that at all.

Schoenkopf is a great name. Your uncle could have invented the atomic bomb. Or else it sounds like a cough.

That's great. Thanks.

You have a really sensual voice. It's captivating. I'll give you five seconds to get that thing out of your closet. I'm wearing black silk pajamas. I love silk pajamas.

Rebecca Schoenkopf, "Saint Lewis: Richard Lewis is a nice guy, even during attempted phone sex"

Oct. 15, 1999 He could feed his family for life by marketing his name and image alone. He's frickin' Tony Hawk. He has already pulled the loop: two-and-a-half rotations in succession in midair, a.k.a. the 900, the kind of classic maneuver that landed him not in the hospital but in one of Annie Liebowitz's milk ads and a Gap commercial. His Birdhouse skate movie, The End—a kind of MTV music video meets feature film—was last year's highest-selling skate video. He has a Sony PlayStation game with his name and image as the selling point. Skaters like to say that Michael Jordan is the Tony Hawk of the basketball world. And now he's the champ again.

Arrissia Owen, "He's Frickin' Tony Hawk! Skating's poster boy comes in for a soft landing"

Oct. 29, 1999 Beneath the carport of a perky yellow house, his body lay motionless at my feet, still bleeding but already dead. And as if mimicking the last beat of his heart, mine suddenly swelled with the rush of ultimate justice, then instantly drained with the realization that I probably didn't have to shoot the man. I mean, it's not as if he'd stolen my plastic Halloween pumpkin.

It's impossible to unfire a bullet, of course, but it didn't make me feel much better that nobody was asking me to. I was stunned and appalled by what I had done. Worse, I was haunted by imaginings: How would I be feeling if my gun had fired a real bullet, rather than a paint pellet, and if the man who had fallen at my feet had really died, instead of pretending to?

Dave Wielenga, "Armed and Dangerous: A Weekling with a gun"
Next Page »