I do, now, but also hors d’oeuvres, canapés, and garnishes. The Saddhu took us to Dante’s View (in Griffith Park, above the observatory), then to Dupar’s, where he ordered a cheeseburger without the burger. He lived in the Penthouse at the El Royale on Rossmore. When we moved to the valley, I hiked in Topanga and saw a werewolf and UFOs.

Now I hike in the Paradise cemetary. I left my glasses there, retrieving them the next morning, before the first wave of lowlifes. A slug fell from the case, and slimed my drawing. Wiping only darkened the paper. Erasing caused the dissolved pulp to shred.

I write this column in the cemetary, in Thanatotic repose. Once, a crazy lady apologized for standing nearby. Then, she came to my door in a walker (I didn’t recognize her as she switched from a babyless stroller). She’d seen the “for sale” sign and “wanted to know where the front door was,” thinking no one was home. Was she a homeless squatter or garage raider? I said, “Don’t come back!” I tried calling the police, but they didn’t answer all day (there were signs all over Paradise, asking for volunteers!)

She had the same gait, posture, height, build, and clothes as my mom, and it was my mom’s birthday. Was she a “Haint” who’d usurped a dead body? The face was almost identical to a deranged lunatic the cops had shot and killed in the cemetary. Chills went through me. I had the slack-jawed, wide-open face of Don Knotts (sounds like a Robert Goulet song). The creature had the air of a Japanese dowager ghost from a Lefcadia Hearn story. Corporeal? Broad daylight? A walker? “This just can’t be!” (-The Stooges’ landlord, after they wallpapered).

My neighbor’s son confirmed my final suspicion. She was stalking me! I feared she’d do something drastic. Earlier in the week, a hot young co-ed had ogled me at a library table. As I rose to flee, she sucked on a lollipop and gave me a Lolita-look that said, “This could be your dick! Everybody wants me.” (-Mamie, in Attack Of The Mushroom People).

My mom passed three days before her birthday. I had a card then, but she was comatose when I arrived with the family, an hour after a Hospice nurse called me, only intimating a massive dose of morphine. February was her time. She liked Lincoln, blossoms, and the Academy Awards. I turned them on for her (just because all the hosts bombed in a skittish room was no reason to use a young dork, and have an old dork {William Shatner} chastise him from the bridge of the Enterprise). My sister would take me to her grave up north a week late  because she made a clay head that blew up! I told her to glue the pieces together and paint it. It would look cool. She felt this monument would bring “closure.”