Friday night in the city. Val and Emily. Living the life. Hitting up a bookstore and café on Sunset. Looking through the magazine stand. Emily pointing out the latest issue of Indie Weekly. Valentine rolling his eyes. Shaking his head. Not wanting his day job to interfere with his nightlife. Walking down the film section. Finger smacking at a few biographies of the rich and famous. Some dead. Realizing his breathing was easy for the first time in weeks.
They moved to the café. Crammed in a table that was supposedly made for two but could barely contain their cappuccino and latte, let alone a book or magazine. Caffeine and smiles were all that was needed. Gratification, both fleeting and eternal, was with them at that tiny table.
And then Captain Kirk.
“Holy shit. Look. Bill Shatner.” Val nodding his head in a direction over her shoulder. Emily flipped her brown hair to the side and turned her neck and shoulders around for a quick scan of the room before looking back at her man. Her smile grew knowing that her boyfriend wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity. “Living long and prospering from the looks of things.”
Shatner had two schoolbook-thick paperbacks, one on top of the other, cradled in his open hands. Dressed casually in jeans and a white button down. Gray sports jacket. Converse All-Stars. He was old, hip, comfortable, and lost, like most of LA.
He took one hesitant step into the café area but didn’t fully commit. Deciding if he wanted to order. Perhaps looking for an open table. Val caught his eye. They both nodded at each other, each acknowledging the celebrity in their midst.
There were no available tables, so Shatner walked right up to their table. “Do you mind if I place these here for a second? I’d just like to order a mocha. Thanks.”
Val and Emily immediately shifting their drinks as Shatner surrendered his books. The first thing Val noticed was how quickly the man spoke. No sign at all of the cliché pauses that were present in so many jokes. He didn’t wait for their approval. Went off to place his order; flirting with the college-aged barista. Val and Emily were on the border of all-out laughter. One tiny push and they’d be falling off the cliff of composure down into that long fall of hysterics where there was no coming back until lack of oxygen prevented them from going any further. All they needed were passports. They looked at each other. Knowing each other completely at that instant. Smiling at this surreal and completely LA event.
“What are you going to ask him?” Emily asked.
“If he really wears a toupee.”
“Stop it,” she laughed. “When he gets back here, he’s probably going to pick up his books and leave. So you have a second, hotshot. This is Bill Shatner. At our table! What are you going to say?”
“Ask if he thinks if he could take on Tyler Durdin.”
“Dammit, Val!” She slapped his arm. She knew the hold the man had, or rather, the hold James T. Kirk had, on so many men. So many boys. He was a walking, talking, phaser-firing id. Masculinity defined. He saved the day, bedded the babe, and had command of the coolest ship in sci-fi. He wasn’t a hero. He was the hero. Val was starry-eyed, but too cool for school to admit it.
He looked at the tomes left behind. The Three Musketeers and The Uses Of Enchantment. “Are we inviting him to sit with us?” Emily asked.
“I’m thinking of inviting him home with us,” Val smiled back.
“Thank you,” he said. Mocha down on the tiny table. Picking up his books. Placing them under his arm in order to juggle the hot coffee.
“Not a problem,” Val stated.
“Do you need help? We could… help,” Emily offered
“No, thank you. That’s kind of you.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Shatner,” Emily smiled up at him.
“Indeed. And it’s ‘Bill’. I’m sorry to have to disturbed you. Looks like you are having a nice date.”
“No bother… Bill. We were just… daydreaming. Listen, you free for dinner?” Val added.
“Make a fanboy dream come true for this one,” Emily elbowing Val.
“Ah. Thank you. Really. But no. I don’t want to intrude on your dreams. Plus,” shifting the books under his arm, “I have some dreaming of my own to do. Isn’t that what’s so great about LA? There are dreams anywhere you go. Don’t let anyone take yours away. Captain’s orders.”
And then he left. Without even notifying Scotty.
The preceding was an excerpt from an as-of-yet unpublished crime novel set in the shadows of Los Angeles. Interested in more? Hit the Connecting link. And let’s talk.