All Hands in the Piggy Bank: California’s Red Light District and the Money Whores at Work


But alas, this is how the money is spent in our state. These were just a few of my findings in trying desperately to make some sense of our budget crisis. Someone is making fantastic gains from whoring out backdoor deals and special favors. Indeed, California’s Red Light District is a row of steamy, dirty, white offices, and the sluts in the windows wear dark suits and satin ties and have all their sticky fingers along the worn leather of old, sedated men’s wallets.

I jolted to my car, where BOB was waiting patiently as usual. Ah Bob, the only one who listens, the only one who understands. I jiggled the NoDoz box to find only a tiny rattle. Two pills left. I set them out on the dashboard, crushed and snorted them with a rolled dollar bill. A cop was right in front of me, standing near the entrance line to an Irish pub. I didn’t care. Eyes red and wide and ready to explode out of my head, I raced out of the parking lot, pulling into high gear for a shriek and small, black cloud of rubber shot into the nose of the nearby police officer. Hopefully, he’d be moving along soon, not wasting valuable tax money on observing short-skirt, underage women in line for the bar.

Back to the desert now. Back to snake venom and palm trees. Back to a place where things make sense after the sun goes down, where life glows and vibrates in the afternoon heat. On with the radio now. Off with the hat. This was the dark road leading out of Sacramento, out of the confusing amusement park of deep pockets and foreign words, back to the place where the great masters received their commandments and inspirations, where things become clear in miracles and epiphanies, where slow-talk and quiet movements are regarded as high qualities. Back to the desert. Back to L.A., to the Westside. To the land of lost souls and bright stars. Where more people wear sandals rather than ties. To write this story, somehow, and get it to my editor on deadline. Jesus. How was I ever going to get back and get this done in time? No sleep. Just drive, I thought. Just drive. Turn on the lights before you crash! Stay awake. Talk to plastic Bob. Follow the yellow lines. And drive.

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