Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cafe Carrera

Check out Skatepark of

Maybe we can get Mic-E to do "Battle Meat in a Can"?

When I lived with Mic-E Reyes in San Francisco, my room was a large closet off the kitchen. The floor was only slightly larger than a futon mattress. So I built a loft for my futon mattress. I had a desk, a chair and a typewriter under the loft. Although I had created some room below, I had to sleep only about a foot from the ceiling. I would often burn my ass on the light bulb in the socket in the middle of the ceiling. Mic-E was part of the SFPD at the time. Mic-E was kind of a “bad lieutenant.”

One night in the wee hours of the morning, I was unceremoniously pulled out of bed by my ankles by Mic-E. I fell six feet off the end of the bed and awoke crumpled in a naked ball at Mic-E’s feet. He had the look of the devil in his eyes. He was down to a wife beater and a switchblade. His beige Dickies had slipped lower than usual and were around his knees. He took a couple swipes at me with the knife, but quickly ran off in search of other prey. That’s when I saw the back of his tighty-whiteys were stained a dark brown.

In the living room, the Anti Hero team slept: Julien, Andy Roy, Cardiel, Sean Young, etc.. I was wide awake and alert enough to realize something bad was about to happen, so I grabbed my camera and gave chase. Mic-E attacked the group with his switchblade. And as he spun and swiped, everyone was able to see, and smell, that Mic-E had a full load in his pants. Panic spread through the group. How does one defend oneself against ole Mr. Poopy Pants with a knife? It’s a method of attack that is not only diabolical, but nearly impoossible to defend against. (I swear “impoosible” was a natural typo.) I continued snapping pictures, but, fortunately, the attack only lasted a short while because Mic-E was really drunk and didn’t have the stamina to go very long. He collapsed laughing and eventually passed out. The next day we learned that when he got off duty he went to an after hours bar and drank heavily for a few hours. He drank so much that on the BART ride home he shit his pants. This, I learned, was perfectly normal cop behavior.

Ever since I moved out (read: “kicked out”… according to the mother of Mic-E’s child—more on her in a moment—I was the cause of all of Mic-E’s bad behavior… hm-mh, right… ), I haven’t seen Mic-E very often. In fact it’s probably been a few years even. So I was really surprised when we arrived at Nieratko’s semi-regular supper at Carrera’s restaurant to find Mic-E in attendance. We hugged, bro hugged, shook hands, waved at each other, said hello, etc.. And then Mic-E directed my attention to the teenage girl at his right. “Dakota, this is Dave. Dave, Dakota.”

Apparently it was Dakota's 21st birthday?

“Holy shit,” I said. Dakota was Mic-E’s baby when I lived with him. I used to fart on her head. No, she didn’t remember me—she was just a baby—but Mic-E remembered all kinds of weird stuff. Besides farting, we made other kinds of music together. Apparently when I’d play guitar, she’d curl up in front of the amp and kind of bounce along. We even recorded a song with her on the mike. I only vaguely remember these things, but I remember that that house was good times. Just like Carrera's which has also become synonymous with good times.

From left to right… uhhh… fuck it. A bunch of retards drinking and smoking at Carrera's.

It hasn’t always been. Nieratko has always loved Carrera's and I’m not sure why. The food is decent, but there’s nothing exceptional about it. In fact, there was a time when we pretty much hated Carrera's. It’s across the street from the Flynt building in Beverly Hills where we used to work. So it was a natural lunch destination. You could get a small pizza or a bowl of pasta, and the beer and wine flowed easily, and it was relatively cheap. The price one paid about an hour after a lunch at Carrera's, however, was was not cheap. Everyone, except Nieratko, experienced extreme symptoms of fatigue. It wasn’t your normal sluggish, drunk on food fatigue either, it was “I’m in a fucking coma” fatigue. I’ve never felt anything like it before or since, and I wasn’t the only one who got it. So despite the allure of a good pizza and some beer (and Chris’ incessant whining about going there for every lunch), we stopped going to Carrera's.

Chris, however, continued to dine at Carrera's. Even after he moved back to New Jersey, he somehow managed to eat lunch at Carrera's every day. And now, every time he returns to LA, a Carrera's dinner is scheduled. I suspect that this last visit was for Carrera's and Carrera's only.

“It gives me a chance to have Carrera's,” he said when I asked him the purpose of his trip. “I mean, to see you guys. See yous guys. That is what I meant.”

Armando with Chris.

There is one reason that Carrera's stands out, however: Armando. Armando has been working the floor at Carrera's since we started going there in ’97. He’s a dick. But he’s an awesome dick. Kind of like Don Cherry, “The Most Loveable Racist.” Although Armando has been nothing but a gentleman to Chris and I. He seems to be able to smell fear and weakness, though. And when he does, he pounces on it. The story I always tell is the time Jordan the Intern came to lunch with us and ordered a pizza. Armando started out gently enough, accusing Jordan of being a homosexual, poking him in the ears, that sort of thing. When Jordan’s pizza arrived, Armando offered to sprinkle some crushed red pepper on it for him.

“Yeah,” Jordan said, “but only on that slice, not on any of the others.”

Armando just kind of stared at him without moving. His face said, “Really?” Jordan let out an uncomfortable giggle. So Armando dumped the entire bowl of crushed red pepper in the middle of his pie and walked away.

Armando and Chris seem to have some sort of weird “Good Fellas” relationship. And our dinners there seem to have this gangster flavor to them because of it (I’d say “gangsta flav” but that would imply we were sipping on gin n juice, nahsayin’?). It’s “gangster,” I guess, only in the sense that it’s a lot of people being really loud and getting drunk while eating Italian food. Which is what I imagine Italian mobsters do all day. Plus, Armando hooks us up. The wine flows freely. And when everyone’s gone, he locks the door and we get to smoke cigarettes in the restaurant. Breaking the law is total gangster shit. And on top of all that, it’s free! That is if you go with someone who works at a shoe company like our friend Robin. Nike paid for one a little while back, but I think Vans has footed (ha!) the bill for the last two dinners? Thank you Robin. But even if you have to pay for it, Carrera's is worth the trip, if only to meet Armando.

Oh, maybe this explains why they're such good friends?

Out on the curb, we smoked cigarettes and said our goodbyes. Mic-E and his young daughter Dakota were the first to leave. As they walked off towards their car, he said, “We gotta get out of here. We got a bunch of bars to go to.” Okay, bye Mic-E, we all laughed.

“What’s funny,” Robin said, “is he’s not kidding.”

Cafe Carrera
235 S La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 652-5992

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mic-e Reyes was a cop?!? Wha-fugh? Fo' real?