It’s the last night of Hannukah 2020. Having been frozen out of the plum D.C. gig that is his birthright, the mayor of Los Angeles is contemplating suicide.
He sneaks away from his LAPD guard and goes to the remains of the iconic Sixth Street Bridge, now a half-built noodle cutting Boyle Heights off from the Arts District. He contemplates the concrete river, rebranded on his watch as a Frank Gehry jam.
Some weirdo hops over the edge of the bridge, and Eric jumps after him. It’s the first selfless thing he’s done since elementary school, and it freaks him out. He looks at the city lights and wishes he’d never been born.
The weirdo, who says his name is Clarence, smirks and waves his hands, and Los Angeles as Eric Garcetti knows it melts away. What WOULD the city be like if he had never been born…? Let’s take a look!
Golly, Hollywood is still a neighborhood full of working class people who love their mid-century apartments and look after one another as only longtime neighbors can do.
Broadway Downtown is still a thriving Latino business district, with music stores and shops selling flouncy dresses, the old arcade Charles Bukowski wrote a poem about, Clifton’s Cafeteria still slinging pie and cheap coffee.
The Olympics came calling, but nobody answered. Every sensible urban leader knows that the Olympics bring nothing but displacement and economic inequity, and make life worse for years for the citizens of any city that invites this summer vampire to visit.
In this strange, Garcetti-less Los Angeles, all those big empty apartment buildings and SRO hotels aren’t empty money laundering vehicles–they’re full of people. A thriving business district surrounds each one. Cafes, bookstores, movie theaters, galleries.
Yeah, we could go on like this all night, but as Clarence shows Eric Garcetti the shining Los Angeles that might have been had he never been born, something changes in the mayor’s stiff, smirky face. He looks like he ate a frog.
“What’s that tinkling sound I keep hearing?” the mayor asks. “Is that an angel getting his wings?” “Oh, that’s a homeless person dying on the street.” He looks like he swallowed the frog.
And then he’s just running, yoga loose limbs flopping like the noodle bridge above, straight up the concrete river bed towards Frogtown. Just under the 1st Street Bridge, a whisper from City Hall, he runs full tilt into the rightmost pylon.
Clarence never had a chance to stop him. He reaches his charge, who is bloodied, delirious and moments from death. He pants, “But I was showing you what L.A. would be like if you’d never been born. It’s supposed to make you want to live.”
“Who the hell wants to live in Eric Garcetti’s Los Angeles?” groans the mayor. And he expires. THE END.
Happy holidays to all the gutsy Angelenos who haven’t given up on this broken, beautiful city. Stay safe, stay sane. We love and need you, and there is life after Garcetti.