Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, January 9, 2000 6:55 AM

A Short Bit for the New Year

After a difficult 5 day workweek, a losing ice hockey game in which I was sorta responsible for the goal that beat us, and a Kings game where a fight broke out in the crowd, I head down to the Frat House for a Friday night of music. (The fight in the crowd at the Kings game continued on for a long time and was only broken up when about 20 Staples Center security guards hand-cuffed one guy and carried him out like a side of beef.) ChiChi has told me that he wouldn't be here this weekend, but I go anyway. I playfully smile a number of times with the HVAC and she smiles back. Toan is there and he tells me about his trip to Las Vegas and I manage to keep the conversation light and away from difficult topics. I leave around 12:30 am - alone - though this was a difficult choice to make.

Saturday afternoon I head to a coffeehouse to read. Everyone leaves me alone and I am happy. Before leaving to cruise the Pacific Coast Highway liquor stores, I use the bathroom. And am somewhat surprised when I look up and see blood stains on the ceiling. (For those who don't know, the typical thing to do after shooting heroin in a public place is to point the used syringe to the sky and splatter blood on to the ceiling. It is like a note to the following users that "Hey - I just geezed here".)

Sunday morning at 9:30 am, after doing the laundry, lifting weights, and going for a 16 mile bicycle ride (in the cold winter morning with freezing fingertips), I go to the local Vons to buy good stuff - like blueberry muffins, fresh squeezed orange juice, and nonfat milk with NO missing person advertisements on the carton. As I am leaving, I see the pretty asian police woman that was the subject of the following previous scribbling.

I suspect that she is responding to a call involving lewd conduct in the produce and/or bakery section, but I have'd bet that the perpetrator has left the area already. I stop in my tracks and process data in my head: Do I ask her and her nightstick out on a date? "Would you call me if I gave you my telephone number so that we can go for a bicycle ride and have lunch?" I wonder if she is married. I can read her nametag - Officer M. Tan - and wonder if that is Vietnamese. I could ask her to go to Vietnam in February 2001 with ChiChi and me. I see that she has no partner - this would make it easier to approach her.

I finally decide that I don't know what I am doing and I leave. Being careful that she cannot see that I have both vegetables and baked goods in my shopping bags.