Rich People

Most rich people are sad. Their homes and residences are usually unused mausoleums, or, temples to THEM. Oh man, Rudy Vallee. He was really famous in the silent movies. He had this trick driveway at his home up off Mulholland. It was twisting and narrow. Sort of a mini French oceanside with a big drop off past a small stone wall that ran along the drive. When you came to the end of the drive, there was a giant wooden Lazy Susan flush with the blacktop you pulled up onto. It had these little plastic deals to guide you. When it was time to leave, a houseman, or, Rudy himself, would hit a motor and spin you around facing down the drive. Sweet! Rudy’s house was built right into natural stone. When you climbed some stairs into his French countryside style home with the steep pitched roofs, covered in red tiles, potted plants surrounded you. Once inside the big, bolt studded door, you stood on a platform…Looking down into the living room and den. A tall natural rock face with fractures in it was opposite the stairs leading down. Every five inches, was a picture of Rudy doing something, or, nothing at all. Singing through his megaphone was his claim to fame. I also noticed all the people in the photos with him were long dead. I think he was about 95 when I worked on his phones. His phone wires were legendary for sucking ass. His main wire terminal was under his tennis courts. Yep. UNDER. He had a huge museum dedicated to more pictures of him. Some ten feet high with lights illuminating them. His wife was about fifty years younger then him. She spoke with a French accent. She would scrunch her face and speak French when I gave her the bill before leaving. If Rudy spun you around on your exit, he would give you a bottle of wine, covered in dust…I’m once again sent up to his place on a cable repair. I hadn’t been there in quite awhile. The place was, well, different. Once inside, I’m guided to Mrs. Vallee’s office. A tall, well built and tanned Italian looking guy is guiding me. He has really white teeth. No shirt and one of those romance novel hair styles that swept back like a mane. I also notice something else. Not one picture of good old Rudy. All had been replaced by ones of Mrs. Vallee. Some with her and the stud muffin doing party scenes and such. Something told me Rudy wasn’t around anymore. I’m informed by the new boss that my phones are going to be removed and to do an inventory. She then spins her chair away from me. I stand there with Mr. White teeth. I don’t think he understands a word of English. She finally spins her chair back towards me and says a snotty, “WELL?” I say a polite, “Gee lady, here’s where I usually get my bottle of wine!” I’m ushered out…

My Uncle Mel never trusted chimps. He had many stories about trainers and others killed and injured by these apes. When I met Cheetah, the original Tarzan chimp, he was in his sixties, living with his trainer in the Simi foothills. He was so powerful, when he patted me on the head, I thought he cracked some of my neck vertebrae (Cheetah is still alive in an ape rescue in San Diego. He’s eighty.) My Uncle Mel told me of a chimp that a railroad roustabout had given a bottle of beer to while their circus train was on a siding between cities. This chimp was a well known performer, kept on a tiny leash for appearance sake. Another man gives the chimp a bottle of beer full or urine for a joke. The chimp killed the man by breaking his back, backwards, then, destroyed two more workers. When the yard men came to shoot him, he stood with an odd look on his face and took the shots.