I was in the middle of the amazing final chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when there came a knock on my door -- It’s not actually a door, it’s more of a grated metal monstrosity that protects the sliding glass doors, but for this story, we'll call it a door.
A blond woman with a stout figure and European accent squeezed her fingers though the grates in my metal screen and whispered, “Matt?” Her tone was hopeful and her voice softer when she repeated, “Matt is that you?” (His name has been changed to protect his true identity)
I emerged from the shadows of my dark apartment/command center and as the light touched my face she realized – quite to her horror judging by the way her eyebrows rose and her lips pursed together – that I was, of course, not Matt.
“Sorry.” I replied, “There’s no one here by that name.”
“Oh,” she said, disappointed. “I’m looking for Matt, the hair dresser.”
Her eyes drifted to the fiery red mushroom cloud of hair a top my head and that seemed to reassure her that I was not the hair dresser she was looking for. So instead she asked if Matt was my roommate
“No,” I assured her, “There’s not enough room in this apartment for me to have a mouse as a roommate.”
She smiled and we proceeded to have a California moment. You know those moments in the movies when two strangers meet at a bar or a park or on a plane and then proceed to tell each other their entire life stories. Yeah, with one exception -- this California moment was a little one sided. She regaled me with stories of a middle-aged man with rolling blond hair who could wield scissors like Picasso wielded a brush. Matt the hair dresser. He was the best West Hollywood had ever known! The maestro had been cutting her hair for five years, giving her a look that Hollywood stars paid millions for. Then one day, she went for a trim and he had vanished. No notice, no call, even his drawer was still full of combs and trimmers. His co-workers had no idea where he had gone. That was over five months ago. Fearing the worst, she hired PIs and Detectives to track him down. That’s how she ended up with my address. This was his current residence as of April.
Well, considering my apartment is the size of a small VW Bus, I’m pretty sure I’d know if there was someone else here. I said her PIs have led her astray because I’ve been here since October. She did not seem convinced.
I’ve always felt that even when I tell the truth, I give off a guilty aura and she must have picked up on that. She pleaded that I must tell her where Matt was. He was the only one who could help her. The only one who could make her beautiful again.
Well, what can you say to that? This is one of those moments when you can cheer someone up with a few heart-felt words or tear them down with the wrong ones so…
I decided to play it safe and do what they would in the movies…
I told her that her hair looked wonderful, but that true beauty was on the inside.
And that’s when things got real--
She ripped her fingers from the grates – I thought she was going to take the entire door with her – stomped her foot into the cement and leveled me with a look that would make the Devil shrink with fear. “F*#k you! This is LA. If you’re not beautiful you’re nothing!!!”
She kicked the grate with her designer boots and stomped off.
“Good luck on your journey,” I whispered. Not because I wanted her hunt for the hair dresser to be a success, more because I wanted to piss her off by having the last word. She pounded down the stairs, glaring at me the whole way.
I quickly closed my door and the drapes and jammed the wooden stake in the slider rails. Ain’t no crazies getting in tonight.
I see why Matt, the hair dresser, disappeared…