Prelude

 LOS ANGELES

The primary color, pearl grey, a whitish blue sky. At night, the purple loom of the city, an all-night dusk.

Here, the wind never blows, it hardly ever rains. Los Angeles doesn’t look well in the rain; its stucco houses change color like a runner’s sweatshirt. No building is well-worn, nothing is burnished, there is no rust, there are no weathered houses, no forgotten graveyards.

Here, the wind never blows, it hardly ever rains. Los Angeles doesn’t look well in the rain; its stucco houses change color like a runner’s sweatshirt. No building is well-worn, nothing is burnished, there is no rust, there are no weathered houses, no forgotten graveyards.

Los Angeles has no history, no monuments, no statues, no comment. It exists because its water was once stolen from Inyo County to the north.

Its land was first stolen from the Chumash Indians by the Spanish, then stolen from the Spanish by the Americans. Now, the Indians are dead, the Spanish have returned, and Los Angeles is waiting for revenge from the ruined county to the north, the county that no longer has water, which is now dead. It is ripe for retribution.

There is Beverly Hills. Everything here is new. Cars fresh as eggs, consortiums built on lunches,  recent clothes designed in ancient cities, iridescent paintings nearly dry, wafer-soled shoes that never walk stab German accelerators, bright snappy credit cards, young hair. Nothing said yesterday is remembered today. Only the new is trusted, admired. It is all famously temporary. Haunted by ghosts of its late celebratti, those who traded up, house to house, some only renting, then died. Roots equal stagnation. Timeworn equals poverty. Realtors equal beau monde. Oranges lie in gutters beside furry tennis balls. There are no poor.

The Sunset Strip. A tribute to democratic free enterprise, seen by a cartoonist. Its billboards sell  vanities, set in place above the low buildings to divert the sky, the stained air. Outdoor cafes abound close to sealed cars driven in anger. Strollers are intruders.

Hollywood. The hills are legally green, a green without death. Dusk colors seen in noon gloaming.

Palms in still-life, crematorium ash on their fronds. The landscape ages in the manner of a vinyl sofa. The silence is eerie.

There are two seasons, day and night.

Downtown. Packing crates stand around, half-opened; a cluster of shiny buildings that will not be allowed to age.

Los Angeles is not a city, it is a wide town. A town without a history; it doesn’t want one. It is incomplete, possibly hiding. It is made up of dozens of districts some with their own city hall, each with its own police precinct, its own complacency, its own anger.

It has no memory, no center. It is waiting to become. Anything. Created by water theft. A done deal.

Toyer. He is a masterpiece. A natural response to this neighborhood. He is perfect. The fresh curse. There has never been anything like Toyer, but of course, each time there never is. Each time, the newest cutting-edge-serial-lunatic has the same refreshing aspect; he is unimaginable.

He has it all. He is a reservoir of all those who have preceded him. Of Ted Bundy, because he has the charisma of a would-be congressman. The Nightstalker, as a beautiful Satan. The steadfast Hillside Strangler, with his plodding self-expressionism. The pathetic Son of Sam who took orders from a dog’s voice. The misguided Zodiac. The expressionless Iceman. Tod.

The Toyer’s domain is Los Angeles. And to the north, the San Fernando Valley, a vast, dry flatland that aspires to be Los Angeles when it grows up. He uses the wide town without opinion, as though he were playing tennis on a court too large, its base lines out of sight. The map of his conquests bewilders the police. Investigators connect  colored pins hoping to see pentacles, to discover constellations. He gives them no clue except: he is new and he is unimaginable.

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