I’ve been fighting off an ugly cough and am finally back to normal. I had not worked out in almost a month.
Tonight, I have never felt happier doing Pilates and even sexier, in Santa Monica. An old lady was passing the window and we all happened to be facing outward for some inner-thigh work. She stood there with her big pink floppy hat and shopping cart staring at us from the darkness. She stood there so long, that I raised my hand and waved at her. That brought out a big laugh.
My legs are wobbly and dead. After a good workout, I’m usually famished. Like, I’ll eat anything. So I pull into the nearest diner and throw my keys on the table.
Just then, it occurred to me that I throw down my keys all the time—not realizing what effect it has on people.
A friend of mine had found a “Police Department of New York City” keychain on the floor of an LA strip club. He gave it to me said, “Here Ji, I thought you would appreciate this since you’re from New York.”
Well, not technically.
This was the best memento ever. Every time I throw my keys down, all you see in big letters is “Police Department.” I’m surprised no one’s ever offered me a free meal yet. But it’s kinda of funny bc I wonder if people treat me differently—just in case they think I’m a cop.
So tonight, I will write about my cop stories:
In New York, I used to go to a lesbian club. I forget the name of it…it wasn’t Meow Mix—oh yes, I think it was Julie Tolentino’s Clit Club.
I made friends with everyone, from the bouncers, to the bartenders, to the coat checkers, the DJs etc. One year, I saw this teeny, tiny, sweet Vietnamese girl standing at the front door, carding people. She was probably no more than 4’. Petite, soft-spoken.
Anyway, it turns out that she was a bouncer. LOL. What’s funny was that not only was she a bouncer at a dyke club—she was also a lesbian and on top of that: a COP. Yes, the tiniest, Asian, female cop you could ever meet.
My second cop story is about my friend Chris.
Chris was one of the first guys I became friends with when I moved to New York. I was studying filmmaking at School of Visual Arts in my first year. I was dirt poor and interned at an independent film organization on Broadway that is now defunct. For all the legends from the true indie days, the org was called AIVF.
AIVF had the meanest man-hating lesbian running it. Her name was befitting. Martha.
Martha hated one of the few men who worked there—Martin, the in-house accountant. He was a good-natured, typical, fat guy from New Jersey.
One of my intern duties was to sit next to him while he did the company’s bills. He showed me the art of writing checks. It’s hard to believe that there’s a science to it, but he was detailed about how things should be written to safeguard against fraud or to avoid processing mistakes. So I wrote checks all day. To this day, I still write checks the way he showed me.
Long story short, it took about a year, but Martha finally got Martin fired. She only wanted women working in the organization. I was very sad for him.
Many years later, I saw Martha on the 1 or 9 train heading north. She looked as miserable as ever—with that hateful scowl on her face.
We did have a guy intern, Chris. Chris had a best friend also named Chris. Chris #2 visited all the time. We’d go out for pizza during break.
Chris (#2) was one of the sweetest boys I’ve ever met. He was Latin, laidback, outgoing, a gentleman, and had a great sense of humor. He knew I liked girls and respected that. We became good friends. Chris was a Brooklyn native and invited me over to his studio where he’d played acoustic guitar and sing me songs. Whenever I was going through a rough time, with roommates, moving, and stuff, he would always be there for me. He had cared for me like a brother.
Years later, we lost touch. One day, I was walking down Avenue A (East Village) and someone calls my name. I turn, and there’s this cocky, handsome cop leaning against the wall. It was Chris. He had become a cop.
I thought this was funny because I never knew a cop before. I asked him all kinds of questions about his line of work. He pulled out a martial arts kind of blade that was engraved with a dragon on it—it still had blood on the edges.
He had just arrested someone and confiscated it. The knife was one of those kinds that required tricky handwork to flip it open during a fight.
I said, “Cool, can I have it?”
At first, he said no, but then I begged him and he handed it to me.
That was the last time I saw Chris.
While finishing up my film studies in upstate New York, I became friends with a retired policeman. He was very old but in good shape, except for a bad heart.
We were an interesting pair because I looked 12, and he probably looked like the biggest pedophile—at least that’s what people assume when they see old men with young Asian girls.
But John was my best friend during my years at SUNY Purchase. He knew Westchester like the back of his hand. So he was a great and helped me with location scouting for my film project. We went on long drives together and talked a lot.
Strangely, the men I know talk as long as teenage girls.
He told me lots of cop stories, the history of White Plains, and the gruesome things he saw. He told me about a psychic his team hired to track down criminals. He showed me a big dam that had a gradual projecting side wall—a wall that bent out so gradually that it looked 90 degrees when you stood at the top of the bridge. So people would commit suicide but they never fell far enough to die—because the wall wasn’t straight…so they would get splattered coming down but never hit bottom.
The cops would find a lot of dead bodies there. He told me a story about a kid he knew who was a star athlete in high school. The kid had a lot of pressure and plans to be really big. But when he lost a football scholarship, he took to the same bridge where everyone else splattered. The kid survived and was crippled. He went on to give talks to high school kids about his experience.
We drove over that bridge, we drove under it. I loved it, it was scenic. It was something ancient like in Rome. I always visualized soldiers from distant past marching over it and invented romantic battle scenes in my mind.
I decided to film a scene at this bridge. I returned and scouted it over and over again and found a hole in the fence that led beneath the area to a stone platform looking up to it. Everything was done guerilla-style. We never shot with film permits for film school.
John was very easy going and tolerant of me. I would put my punk mixtapes into his deck and he never complained about the awful noise. I talked to him about everything—and he never judged me. I recorded all of his voicemail messages and was going to make an experimental film that detailed how his messages painted a story of our lives. But I never got around to it.
John was like a big brother to me. He was often in and out of the hospital for some major heart surgery. If I lost touch with him, it was probably because of I didn’t want to be around for that day.
He was the last cop I knew. Good guy.