Chapter 18

Monica and I instantly hit it off at becoming good close friends. The only thing that she made me feel guilty about was that she thought I was a sincere Christian. But I played the role all right, even saying grace with her in public before eating at Denny’s or at McDonald’s near UCLA although we knew we were surrounded by atheists who probably wanted to cut off our heads and post them up on public square. I thought it would be worth it as long as I discovered a way to get inside that tight package of hers although I knew it was a long shot. So I was like martyring myself. What I wouldn’t have given to get in between those creamy, supple, vanilla athletic thighs! She could squeeze the breath out of me and I wouldn’t have cared.

Several weeks after the nightclub incident we went to see a movie––Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Boy that was a hilarious movie. We just couldn’t contain ourselves laughing our butts off especially during that steamroller scene where this geeky cop gets run over by Austin Powers and sexy Elizabeth Hurley. It was such a delight to see Monica giggle and have such a good time with me. And she had a very goofy and funny way of laughing. She made me feel warm and tingly all over inside, right down from the heart. I know I tend to fall in love too quickly, but that time, I was really happy because I felt like I was achieving something. One thing both she and I really had in common was that we were both kind of broke. Well, it was more like I was cheap, and she was frugal. So instead of buying snacks and refreshments at the theater, we snuck in our own. I brought bottles of water and Coke (she liked Diet) plus Doritos, and Monica brought microwave Pop Secret (already popped), Gummie Bears, and M&M’s. She said that she and her brother made a killing out of those M&Ms when they were little. Again, I told her that I was sorry about her brother. She said it was okay and that I could mention him any time. I hoped I could get her to rest her head on my shoulder, or put her hand on my thigh again, but she wouldn’t do it. Although she was a year younger than me, I felt like she was the older one sometimes because she was bigger and more mature. Anyway, in front of our neighbors in the theater, who were again, Cholos, sitting right behind us, I tried to pretend and act like Monica was my “FWB.” I tried whispering in her ear and she didn’t cringe. Thank God. I even spoke to her in Spanish, trying to get those vatos behind me impressed that an Asian chump was happily going out with a hot, biracial-looking Latina. I felt so good not hearing any disses that time. They were probably mesmerized and even envious. I felt vindicated.

“I think Mike Myers is so funny,” she said, during the rolling credits. She looked so attractive as the room slowly started getting brighter again. I must’ve wondered how she’d look in a miniskirt instead of tethered ripped beige jeans and corduroys all the time.

“Yeah, those Canadians are a real laugh riot,” I said, not able to keep my eyes off her glistening pink lips that were partly open so close to me. I had wished they sold alcohol in the theaters.

“What do you mean?” She asked, kept smiling and winking.

Smiling at her back, I said, “I mean, some of the funniest comedians in show business happen to come from the country they call, ‘Mexico-North’.”

“Mexico-North? Really? Like who?” she asked, astonished.

“Well, everybody. Starting with Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Howie Mandel, Leslie Nielsen, the late John Candy, Jim Carrey––”

“Jim Carrey is Canadian? I didn’t know that!” She nearly jumped from her seat.

“Yeah, well, you’ll be surprised… Even that guy that created Saturday Night Live twenty-something years ago is Canadian. You heard of Lorne Michaels, haven’t you?”

“No.” She said.

“Well, I bet you didn’t know Keanu Reeves is Canadian.”

“Of course––I know that! Who doesn’t know that? He’s my favorite actor! Well, actually the second…But he wasn’t born in Canada––he was born in Lebanon!”

“Oh. I see…” I tried to not act surprised that time because she really caught me off guard with that one. It was close. Anyway, I just continued on rambling, “Uh––how about wrestlers? Do you have any favorite wrestlers? You know, some of the dominant wrestling talents in the world also happen to come from Canada. Maybe you heard of The Hart Foundation? My favorite of them all is, ‘The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be’––Bret Hart!”

“No. I don’t like wrestling––American, Japanese, Mexican, or Canadian alike. I hate it so much. It’s so racy, fake, and dumb. Honestly, I think it’s for losers and empty-minded buffoons!”

Right there, my heart sank and my jaw just dropped dead. I was gonna roll up my sleeve and think about giving Monica a Diva slap. I didn’t think she would talk trash about wrestling like that––one that I held so dearly to my heart. I almost didn’t want her in my bed anymore. Nobody called pro wrestling dumb. I nearly fainted. Good old professional wrestling happened to be my favorite “sport” and if Monica was a guy and said the same thing, then I would’ve slapped the Crossface Chickenwing on him until he tapped out. I’ve been a wrestling zealot since I was nine, around the time my family came to the U.S. and I’ve been an aficionado ever since. My first ever favorite superstar was Tito Santana. I dwelled watching WWF Superstars on every Saturday mornings at 11 o’clock on KTTV. I’ve had nearly every single pirated copy of WrestleMania and Royal Rumble matches on VHS. If I wasn’t 5’3” and 165 pounds or so, I would’ve been the longest-reigning pro wrestling champ in the world. I would beat the crap out of Ric Flair with my head-butt. My killer finishing maneuver would’ve been calledThe Pitfall—a deadly move five times more devastating than the piledriver. It was executed by hoisting a guy up by his legs upside down before climbing up the top turn buckle and dropping him on his head. I got that move off from watching Arnold Schwarzenegger inCommando, where he killed this one baddie by throwing him off a cliff in one of the coolest kill scenes ever. In it, Arnold says to the guy named Sully, the one that was getting away, telling him that although he was promised to be killed last, he was lied to. If you’ve seen it, then you would remember the part where Arnold grabs the short guy upside down by his feet with one hand and then drops him down a dark ravine in the night near the Hollywood mountains right after the guy flips his yellow Porsche. Arnie was riding shotgun in a seat-torn out red convertible driven by hot Rae Dawn Chong. That movie is so cool. I wish they made movies like that all the time. I had the super hots for Alyssa Milano way back then. She used to be in my wet dreams often––along with Kerri Green, the girl who played “Andy” from The Goonies. I dreamt that I was rescuing them both from a tiny, raggedy wooden shed submerged in mud during a massive flash flood way on top of the mountains and after I freed them, they dubbed me their hero and kissed me over and over again.

Anyway, without getting further sidetracked, I tried my best to remain calm. But I was still so in shock I couldn’t help myself from stuttering. So when I said, “You-you mean, y-you do-don’t like the NWO? You don’t like S-STING?” I was very nervous.

“A what? What are those? Oh yeah, I love Sting! He was so fine in Dune!” She didn’t give a spec of an eye crust how bothered I was and resented her. It was all for nothing. What’s more, she called Sting––the old, wrinkled, Tantra-loving, ex-Police member, “fine,” which made me feel sick to my stomach and also jealous as hell because I was the one sitting right next to her and she mentioned that another guy was hot, and I was getting the feeling that she would never use that word to describe me someday. And worst of all, she mistook that no-good British singer for my favorite face wrestler in WCW. That was no good.

“By the way,” she said, “I think we should go see Men in Black next! I want to see Will Smith on screen again. He’s so cute! He’s my favorite actor! I think he’s definitely hot! He’s so tall, funny, and handsome! I would totally go out with him…” That totally killed me. I got so pissed off I almost really didn’t talk to her nearly the rest of the way home.

But the good news is that Monica was an open-minded gal and was eager to try anything once. I had hoped she’d try something with me once, but she didn’t. So anyway, after a long time of bugging her about it, I took her to see the WCW Monday Nitro event when it came to the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, CA in ’97. You could imagine how excited I was. I actually cared more about seeing The Outsiders and Hollywood Hulk Hogan from the distance rather than taking notice of the new leather purse that Monica got or who gave it to her. Naturally, I bought cheap ticket seats way in the back, so what I did was, I taped my laser pointer with electrical tape directly to my binoculars and shot laser beam down the wrestlers’ faces and Nitro Girls’ cleavages for fun. That was cool. The ushers kept coming around to catch who was doing it, but I hid from them pretty well. I also found out that I wasn’t the only moron doing that crap. I remember Chris Jericho defeated Syxx-Pac for the Cruiserweight Title that night and it was totally awesome. I was freaking jumping up and down like crazy along with other tens of thousands of fans that were all cheering there. I was screaming so much I almost lost my voice.

Monica and I started our English-Spanish learning sessions in the summer. I was learning a lot, but she wasn’t because I didn’t know how and what to teach her. It was ridiculous to tell the truth. First of all, she successfully transferred to UCLA long after I dropped out of community college, where the highest-level English course I ever took was English 28––a prerequisite to English 101. And I even dropped that class. It’s amazing how I learned to speak English at all. Anyway, I gave Monica few guitar lessons instead and sang her silly corny songs I wrote for her once a week. “You aren’t too bad of a singer, Dave. Wow,” she said, and laughed like a foxy hyena. She just thought I was a goofy funny guy and she didn’t care if I wasn’t handsome or wasn’t college-educated or not. I loved her for that.

One day she asked me if I could help her move to an apartment in Century City where it was closer to her new school and over all, had bigger space. She said her mom was coming to visit from Buenos Aires to stay with her for a while. She was an only child like me, sort of. She was going to start school soon and said she may not be able to see me so often again. So I said, “Well, at least I get to see you every Sunday at church, right?” but she said she wasn’t sure about that either. Then her face looked suddenly sullen and said that she may not come to church very much at all. I was terribly shocked to hear that. For some reason, I felt there was something else going on behind her sad, once-so-bright-and-filled-to-the-brim-with-sunshine-every-day kind of face. She pretty much looked that way since then. I felt her smile was pretty much gone for good. I totally missed seeing her around being so happy and perky with me even though we didn’t have a lot of money. She seemed to develop anxiety and it was so visible on her white, creamy, but kinda flat face; perhaps she was suffering from stress and pressure with schoolwork while still struggling to be a moral, virtuous innocent chick that everyone around her wanted to tarnish and snatch a piece of. Whatever that means… I thought preachers’ daughters were always struggling with identity crisis and sexual impulses, especially if they were steamy hot. I wondered if she was a repressed lipstick bisexual lesbian peeking at the world from inside her locked closet. I understand it must’ve been hard fighting the urges to not be as nasty as she wanna be sometimes.

I really flipped out one Sunday afternoon in November when Monica showed up at church wearing dark sunglasses and kept them on the whole time during service as if she was trying to hide her puffy, swollen eyes after howling all night. I was thrilled to see her first of all, because I hadn’t seen her like in three months. I had been paging her so many times but she didn’t return any. Only one time she picked up her phone and told me, “Not now, David. I’m afraid I can’t see you. It’s really a bad busy week for me.” She sat next to me during service weeping and praying continuously the whole time. She wore mostly black as if she was attending her own funeral. When the sermon was over, I asked her if she was all right for the ninth time and again, she implied that she was. I also asked if her mother was well and she said she was fine and thanked me for asking. Monica then told me that she really missed me a lot too and wanted to go watch movies and laugh together all over again. And I told her that we could, whenever she liked, and things would go back to normal just as it was before––although, I did have to tell her that she worried me a lot because she reacted so differently and stopped acting like the happy, feisty, giggling, fun-loving Monica that I always knew. She then sobbed and pulled out a Kleenex to wipe her tears. I didn’t know what was going on. She sounded like she was about to tell me something, but couldn’t grab the courage to do it. She then told me surprisingly how she valued our friendship and how much I meant a lot to her. Then she sobbed some more and handed me a small folded note with some writing on it. I was getting worried sick as hell. Something definitely was not right. I felt horrible that she was so miserable and unhappy. She was my best friend whether I was lustfully attracted to her or not, and I wanted to be there for her, always. I told her I missed hanging out with her while singing her corny songs more than she would ever know. She then cried and choked up in tears.

Most people stay put for free lunch after the Sunday service but Monica seemed to be in a hurry so she left right away. I followed her outside although she told me not to. Then I was in for another shock of my life. For me, jealousy was the true devil that I could never defeat. I saw her quickly almost rushing to get into a dark green Jeep Cherokee with some huge dark-haired brawny guy with big fists behind the wheel. He looked like Lou Ferrigno from The Incredible Hulk TV show. She didn’t even look at the guy but the guy leaned over and gave her a kiss on her cheek. I could read the hesitance on her body but she powerlessly gave in and kissed him back, resembling how Miss Elizabeth always had to reluctantly kiss “Macho Man” Randy Savage on the cheek every time he won a match. From the distance, the guy turned to me and looked at me straight in the eyes with a nasty sneer like he was saying to me, after grabbing Monica’s crotch, “This is where babies come from and this one is mine! This belongs to me!” like he was goddamn O.J. Simpson. Once again, I felt I lost and fell to the bottom of the emotional pit of doom. I felt I had to start all over again. I was so crushed and disturbed because for some reason, I was picturing that asshole bonking Monica. He was probably always treating her like shit and even physically abusing her, turning her into a live punching bag like she was Robin Givens or something. I imagined Monica getting her ass beat by this huge guy in a wife-beater shirt every night because he would drink and physically whip her with his belt and since she was such a nice girl that didn’t know how to block or know how to deal with the bruises on her face and body, she would sneak out and buy with her own money some dark glasses to wear them to wherever she went, like at the supermarket, but then feel totally alone because she would feel that no one cared about her. I imagined her all alone and thinking about committing suicide in the bathtub with a razor in her hand because there was nobody to understand her pain, especially when her mother was thousands of miles away and I had moved on with my own life because I was so pissed off at her for dissing me and there was nobody left to tell her that she ought to leave this guy. So she handed me the note that said S.O.S. on it but I lost it because I couldn’t remember where I put it. Then I would further continue to picture the guy in his underwear suddenly kicking in the door with a crowbar in hand and she starts trembling in fear so much she breaks out a kitchen knife and puts it against her neck and closes her eyes. But she wouldn’t do it, because she knows that suicide is a morbid sin and she didn’t want to go to hell. So then she gets her ass beat all over again. Except this time, the guy would also bring a drill and some rope into the room and hang her upside down while torturing the crap out of her until she passes out. I felt so sorry for her. ‘How could anyone live like that?’ I asked myself. I still remember the panic and apprehension in Monica’s eyes when I saw her take her shades off for a brief moment, which looked dark and puffy, with smudged mascara all over her eyes, just as I had imagined. The guy I saw in the vehicle was Latino, in case you wanted to know.

“What the…? I thought you and Monica were going out!”

I turned around to see who said such a dumb thing. It was old Bonnie that came out of the fellowship room to ask me for a favor but instead witnessed the Jeep Cherokee hastily taking off. I knew she was going to ask me for some left over newspapers from Saturday which annoyed me, but then I just said, “Nah, we’re just friends… Not much after that.” Honestly, I felt my heart break into a thousand pieces and I was bleeding inside. It was one of my many significant heartquakes.

But then all of a sudden, when I got home, I got mad. I said, “The hell with her! After all I’d done for her and spent all that money on candies and diet soda she dare goes out and gets a different guy and lets him knock her up and still beat her ass while he keeps using her like a used piece of tissue paper and then throw her out the door. Well, let it be! She is a freaking slut and she deserves to be treated like a slut!”

And then my alter ego kicked in and said, “There you go! That’s what I’m talking about! Hate her! Hate everybody! They all deserveto be hated! They don’t care about you or me! They don’t care about anybody but themselves! Nobody has the right to treat us thisway, fool! You can’t let them mess with you like that! They’ll all get what’s coming for them! They betta recognize! But you gotta knowthis: this shit wouldn’t have happened if you made a lot of money already, you dumb piece of shit! Now go make money, you stupidbitch! Go sell drugs or rob a bank or something!”

The craziest thing is, when I was talking to myself, I didn’t know if I was talking to myself out loudly, or just talking to myself inside my head. I thought I needed psychiatric help, but I couldn’t afford $100 an hour sessions so I knew I was screwed. I didn’t know if my part-time janitorial salary offered medical insurance and even if it did, it probably wouldn’t have covered me getting an MRI or something. I would’ve liked to see a shrink. Sometimes, I thought about just donating my body to science so scientists could analyze my brain and compare it right next to Einstein’s brain. It would be like comparing earth to space debris. So I came to a conclusion that I had to live the life I couldn’t stand and tough it out until my next object of steamy desire, a different single attractive Asian female showed up, although there was none around at that moment. My life was really pathetic.