[Continued from "Prague, Israel (Part 1)."

Staying with my mother turned out to be a disaster.  When I worked at the bar on the weekends I was often too amped to go right to bed.  When I lived alone this was not a problem; I'd invite coworkers over to hang out.  When I stayed with my mother, one night I invited one coworker, a close friend, Laura, over and my mother threw a fit.  Apparently, we made too much noise heating up food and talking.  My mother and I got into a huge shouting match right there in front of Laura.  I think she began to understand why I lived on my own when my mother lived so close and had an extra room.  That night I called my mother a cunt.  I called her a cunt because I knew she hated the word.  My mother and I knew how to push each others' buttons.

That fight made me realize that I could not stay with my mother for much longer.  My trip to Prague was not for a few more weeks; I hadn't finished paying for my plane ticket yet.  But I had to get the fuck out of my mother's place.  Laura had been talking to me about how crazy it was for me to go to Prague with Israel, a guy I'd only met (and fucked) once.  I know now that Laura wasn't and would never be an adventurous person; to this day she's never lived more than 20 miles from her parents and "long distance" travel – from LA to Hawaii – is a harrowing experience for her.  But I didn't know that then; at the time what she said made sense.

I got an apartment in Pasadena.  It was a cute studio apartment with hardwood floors, a separate kitchen complete with a milk door into the building's hallway, and a Murphy bed (in which I did not sleep).  Though it was a studio apartment it was much larger than the tiny place I'd been living in for years.  I felt like I was moving up.

Israel and I kept in touch.  He made it to Prague.  He said it was fucking cold.  He said it was damn cheap.  He told me he was getting a lot of writing done.  We sent each other post cards.  The ones I received had photos of beautiful buildings and bridges; the ones I sent were written with dirty things I wanted to do with him if we ever again saw each other.

I quit working at the book store.  I was really tired of the idiots who shopped in the mall.  I began working as many hours as I could in the bar.  Before I had a chance to worry about paying my new, higher rent, Israel returned to Pasadena.

He had tired of the cold, and had had his share of beer, and freaked the fuck out when he saw a dead body on the street.  He had also run out of money.  I'm not sure if we bothered to discuss it, but he moved in with me.  He picked up shifts waiting tables at Q's.  After all, he was the favored son there.  So favored that he got me some shifts waiting tables.

The day shifts were not particularly hot commodities.  I had to ask the cook what the specials were, and write them on the board we posted in front of the place.  While Q's was open for lunch, it really was a bar and a pool hall and did much better business at night; it just happened to be open during the day.  Any bartenders the boss was trying out would be given a few day shifts to see if they could cut it, and if they could put up with making no fucking money.

It was working one of the day shifts that I saw John Ritter.  He played pool but I don't think he bothered to try to choke down the mediocre bar food.

So Israel and I lived together.  He was the first guy with whom I attempted to live.  Since we hadn't discussed that we would be living together, we had no idea what our expectations of each other were.  At such a tender age I certainly didn't know what to expect.

I swear.  True story.

[To be continued ….]