Pinchas the alien

I’ve written previously about Amos and his sister Fruma (here and here). They’re aliens from another planet who work on contract at Universal. I forget how I know that they’re aliens, but there is no doubt in my mind that they are.

I don’t see Fruma much anymore. I asked Amos about her and he told me to forget her, and I feel as if I have.

Amos is a lot of fun to hang with and I asked him to point out others of his ilk.

“There are a number of alien tourists working in Hollywood,” he said, “but they aren’t of my ilk. We aliens all look human here, but back on our individual planets, most of us are just plain repulsive. It’s one more reason we like to spend time on Earth. Back home, drunk or not, you don’t want to screw a two-ton cockroach. Especially if she lives in a public toilet.”

“You’re highly evolved,” I said. “Why would you be replusive?”

“Humans are simple. Two of this, two of that. One schvantz. Smooth skin unless some hair on the back. On my planet, oy vey. Three zayin, minimum. Can you imagine three different painful STDs at once, caught from a damned roach? Evolution. Don’t get me started. Everything gets mixed in, the bugs, the birds, the frogs, you’ve got parts you don’t know what they’re there for. Like those old VCR machines here on Earth, with the knobs and the dials and the God knows what. Good riddance to VCRs.”

Amos introduced me one night to a guy named Pinchas, who was working as a compositor at MGM. We were over at the Power House on Highland, drinking caipirinhas on a hot night.

“You a tourist too?” I asked the guy.

“Damned straight I am.”

“Amos was telling me that you all appreciate the simplicity of the human body,” I said.

“It’s true. A babe has two breasts, in most cases. Genius. One isn’t enough. Three isn’t necessary. You play with one, then play with the other, go back and forth. Of course, here in Hollywood there is way too much gel, but once in a while you’ll turn up a natural pair… But you know what? It’s the simplicity of the human mind that I like most.”

“How so?”

“On my planet, I’ve always got nineteen things at once on my various minds. Whereas, look at you. One brain. A silly smile on your face. Your race strolling toward the cliff of racial oblivion and what are you doing tonight? Cocktails? A couple of lines on this napkin? A joint or two out in the lot? Close the place with a pitcher of beer? Genius.”

“Hey,” I said. “I’ve got a lot on my mind. I’m a worried man.”

Pinchas laughed. He drank. He banged his fists on the table.

“You’re sooo primitive,” he said. “Most of your urges and motivations and worries and fears are located in your unconscious. In your unconscious! You don’t even know what they are. You don’t even know that they’re there. My God, what I wouldn’t give for an unconscious. Can you imagine what it’s like being conscious all the time? Do you know how much booze and weed and crank and shit it takes to shut down my f**king conscious? Just take a hammer to my head. The last day on Earth and you’ll be sitting in here laughing at that joke about the bunch of bananas and the lonely doughnut.”

I reached over and conked him on the top of his head as hard as I could with the side of my fist.

Pinchas groaned.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes. For a second there I almost felt human.”

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Who is Fruma Goldstein?

It didn’t take Fruma long to stop returning my calls. When it became apparent to me that she had moved on, I put in some effort finding out what she was up to. Finally, she called me and told me to come over to the sound stage where she was working.

“Do you know what aliens do to stalkers?” she said.

“Just give me a couple of minutes,” I said. “Let’s go get coffee.”

We sat in the canteen. Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs were laughing together at the next table.

“You’re on a seventy-year vacation,” I said. “I’m not asking for committment. I just want a couple more turns around the track. Is that asking too much?”

“Yes.”

“So what do aliens do to stalkers?”

“There are a lot of choices. Most of them, you’d hate.”

“Yikes. Listen, the other night you made me fall in love with you. Is it right for a superior being like yourself to just tear out my heart and walk away counting your change? You knew what you were doing to me.”

“You’re not in love. You just want another shtup or two. I don’t blame you but I’m not in the mood.”

“When will you be in the mood?”

“Soon. Unfortunately for you, I’ll be on another planet. Look, you had a pleasant experience with a supreme being, you and fifty million other humans this week. Don’t get crazy about it.”

“What? Fifty million others had sex with aliens too? How is that possible?”

“It’s mostly the do-gooder aliens in those Indian and African villages, trying to make the poor and down-trodden feel a little better. In your case, Amos said to be good to you, so I was. As a favor to him.”

“What the heck are you doing here, anyway?” I asked her. “You’re not really vacationing. You’re not a do-gooder. You’re not a collector. You’re not government. So what are you, besides Amos’ sister?”

“I can’t explain it to you,” Fruma said. “There is this…this thing that superior galactic races like to do together, to each other, you know, but it requires a little warm up. You helped me. I was getting my groove on. But another night with you would take the edge off, no offense.”

“None taken, but Fruma, it wouldn’t take the edge off. I’ll hone you. Let’s go take a whack at it right now.”

“My friend, if you bug me once more after I get up and walk out of here, you’re going to wake up in the morning to find big chunks of your memory missing. Only warning.”

I sighed.

“All right,” I said. “I understand. If that’s the way it’s got to be, then I promise you, I won’t bug you again. No more stalking. Swiper, no swiping.”

Next morning: Huh? What was that all about?

The alien’s sister

Amos introduced me to his sister Fruma on the lot at Universal the other day. She works in Property and she looks a lot like Amos. I mean, there is a family resemblance. Amos took off to dress a set and I asked Fruma if she would have lunch with me in the Universal canteen.

“Amos was telling me that he isn’t originally from Glendale,” I said to her, after we had sat down with our food. “Where’s the family home?”

“Hard to describe,” Fruma said. “A long way away.”

“Uh oh,” I said. “Don’t tell me.”

“I’m afraid so.”

“You’re on vacation too?”

“Not me. Every alien who comes here isn’t a tourist looking for fun, like Amos is.”

“To hear him tell it,” I said, “he’s been here a long time. You too?”

“You don’t expect beings from a superior galactic race to take a two-week vacation, do you?” she said. “Even the French do better than that.”

“Most of us don’t get born and die on our vacation.”

“One of our vacations seems like a lifetime to you,” she said, “but for us they’re all too short.”

“But you’re not here on vacation.”

“Do-gooders come here, too. Half the residents in many poor Indian and African villages are aliens just trying to help. Also, collectors come. From up there, Earth looks a lot like a garage sale – the kind where the folks can’t afford a table and they spread out everything they’ve got on the lawn. Or on the withered stubble and weeds next to rusted-out cars up on blocks, as the case may be.”

She saw that I had stopped eating and was frankly looking her over.

“Any alien who comes to this planet does so as a private citizen of the universe,” she said. “No government would bother with this dump. And, you’ve got to be willing to tolerate a whole lot of morons and half-wits down here. Just drive to work on the 101 every morning if you don’t believe me.”

“Would you have dinner with a moron?” I asked her.  “I’ve never dated an alien before. I’m trying to imagine what that would be like. In the end, I mean.”

“When she’s in your bedroom,” Fruma said, “with only the little lamp by the bed turned on, and you disrobe her, if  ‘disrobe’ can be transitive, you’ll discover an amazing thing.”

“Don’t keep me in suspense.”

“Every man has his likes, his preferences, his turn-ons. His partner’s hair color, the shape of her body, heavy or light, tall or short, white skin or brown or red or yellow. Smooth or pelted. A man likes the action rough or tender, with mom or a stranger or a whore or a lover, with a coating of leather or chocolate or silk, restrained or restraining, with whips or feathers, whatever. The amazing  thing is, let’s say it’s you and me – when that moment comes, my nose, my lips, my breasts, my hips, my legs will be the nose, lips, breasts, hips, and legs of your dreams. So will my skin, my hair, and the way that I treat you.”

“How can that be? I’m looking at you right now, aren’t I? I can see what you look like, can’t I?”

“Can you?”

After lunch we parted, but met up for dinner at Bossa Nova Brazilian on Sunset, and then had a few drinks at one of my favorite dives, and then went back to my place. In the bedroom, with just the little lamp on by the bed, it turned out that everything she said was true.

Amos the alien

I think that I wrote a little post a while back about an actor I know in Hollywood who believes that he is a robot. Obviously, the fellow is mentally ill. I haven’t tallied the number of robots per mental institution around here, but I’m guessing that the condition, taken together with its mechanical specifics, is an unusual one. That actor is the only robot self-identifier that I’ve met, anyway.

Not so with aliens, and I’m not talking about my Mexican gardener. I am amazed at the number of professed non-humans that I know, and even work with. Take my friend Amos. Ask Amos at a cocktail party about his planet of origin and he will cheerfully tell you that he is not of this Earth. In Hollywood, at least, there are multiple extraterrestrials for every robot out of the closet.

“You can’t interview me,” Amos told me one time, “but you can buy me a drink and we’ll enjoy a conversation and if you record what we say using that Droid you carry around in your back pocket, than I won’t hold it against you.”

Amos works as a greensman at Universal. He’s a specialized set dresser who deals with plants, real and artificial. Sometimes he reports to the art director and sometimes directly to the production designer. He’s got a green thumb. Literally. He lives in Glendale.

So we met at The Bar on Sunset one Tuesday night. Dark and noisy. We’re drinking Ice Bombs, which I can recommend. (Blue raspberry vodka, orange vodka, vodka, and Sprite. Lots of ice, of course.)

“Listen, Amos,” I said. “If you’re an alien, why don’t you keep it a secret?”

“Why should I? Nobody cares.”

“INS might.”

He laughed.

“Are you kidding? Amos Greenberg from Brooklyn? The guy the studio loves for his great sets?”

“What about picking up women?”

“Hasn’t hurt me, that I can notice. To tell you the truth, they get it in their minds that they’ll uncover the equipment and point to it and say, Looks pretty human to me, haha, but then when the moment of truth arrives, their mouths drop open and they say You’re right. That thing ain’t human. Not that I’m complaining! they say.”

“So what are you doing here? Besides dressing sets with ferns and palm leaves, I mean. Invading the planet?”

Again he laughed.

“Who’d want to invade this shithole?” he said.

“Hey, you’re talking about Hollywood here. Maybe Brooklyn’s not so hot, but show a little respect for the industry.”

Amos was shaking his head.

“You’ve turned your planet into a crockpot. What self-respecting alien would come down here and invade Detroit, for Christ’s sake.”

“So then what? Are you studying us? How we doing?”

“In what respect?” Amos said.

“The respect of advancing as a race. Of developing, evolving, reaching the point where we can zip around the galaxy or whatever, hanging out like you are.”

“Ninety-nine per cent of sentient races become extinct within, oh, a few thousand years of their initial technological breakthroughs.”

“That doesn’t sound good.”

“Humans are way too smart for their own good. They should have got smart slower, much slower, over hundreds of thousands of years. You’re still too much animal to survive, being this smart. You’ll come to an end quite soon, in one of the thousands of ways that you’ve developed, on purpose or inadvertantly, to kill yourselves off. It’s one of the reasons that Earth is so popular as a vacation spot. A visitor like me can act like an animal here, be quite bestial, quite instinctual, and yet still hang out with smart people. Nobody wants to take a vacation at the zoo… It makes me giddy just to think about it. When I come here, I can abuse drink and drugs, I can watch senseless, mindless acts of violence on film and TV and on playing fields and on the street. I can litter! I can drive around in cars spewing carbon, flicking my cigarette butts and beer cans out the window. Anything goes.

“Believe me, when I go home to a sane civilization, I immediately start counting the days left before I can come back here again. It’s like you, running down to TJ on a weekend to behave badly. I’ll be depressed for years after you’ve blown yourselves up, or poisoned yourselves, or screwed the pooch some other way. No pooch screwing on my planet.”

This news should have been depressing, but, after all,  the human race invented the Ice Bomb, and we drank enough of them to laugh off the whole thing, at least for the evening.