Bill DeMarco Rates the Top 50 Starbucks in LA: This Week: #5
#5: the Starbucks in the Commerce Citadel Shopping Center and Casino.
Gotta get my head straight. It’s one of those things where. . .I ordered this hat and these garage door clickers. I ordered them in March. They got here yesterday. So I’m not cheerfully disposed. I put on the hat. It says Ottawa Rough Riders so that turned out ok. But the clickers were fucked. They only had four dipswitches. I need sixteen. Not good. What am I supposed to do, use four clickers at once? Time my jumps? Break into my own parking garage? Those days are over thank you very much.
Gotta get my head straight. And find the fifth best Starbucks in LA. I get in the Fairmont and head out on the. . .5? . . .10? . . .210? What about the 56,000? Can we get a freeway with five decimal places? I think this would put California on a level no one could reach. “Yeah you wanna take the 56,000 to Santa Ana and get off at the Slauson exit.” There would be those kinds of exchanges in our salons and civic meeting places.
I’m feeling pretty positive this can happen and have basically forgotten about the clickers when this weird feeling/weather passes through where I’m driving. All of a sudden everything wasn’t quite as stucco-looking but more adobe. I think also the temperature dropped from 86 to 83. There was a definite weirdness passing through/by me/Commerce. And then I look up and see these. . .man-bulls. They have wings and beards. They top the walls of the Commerce Citadel. If Franco Harris had grown his beard out he would have looked like them. They look ominous and portentous and looming, gazing out across the horizon toward–what?
I try to shake it off but can’t. That’s when the Starbucks finds me and saves me–salves me–with a drip coffee. A big one. I think they served it in an upside-down parking cone. That’s a lot of coffee. It’s barely enough. The man-bulls plague me. Why here? The citadel sure, I get it, ancient Los Angeles had a lot of enemies back then, these outlet stores commemorate that time. But bull-men with wings??? What is that? That’s. . .ancient Babylon? I drain my 256-oz coffee and head to the casino.
Gotta get my head together. Gotta take my head apart. The room hums. Tables as far as the nearsighted can see. Like putting greens without the fairway. A lot of Vietnamese dudes not that it matters. The three twenties in my wallet ache to be rid of me. My body rides an outboard motor of caffeine. Why winged man-bulls. An answer begins to reveal itself to me. . .when I see her.
Chantal. So many Starbucks ago. Your vibes were unmistakable and ambivalent. Here you are, serving rum and cokes. Dressed like a pirate. Please don’t see me at my $3 ante blackjack table.
“Hey big spender!” Chantal says seeing me and coming over to my table. “What’s up, man, what’s your name again?”
“That’s on a need to know basis,” I say without confidence. She gives me that smile again. The smile the zookeeper gives when the ape spells “thank you” on the keypad. “You are such an asshole!” she says punching me in the shoulder in such a way as to give me a 2/3rds hard-on. “Bill. It’s Bill right? Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill. How could I forget ’Bill?’” I have a 3/2ves hard-on.
“Do you want a drink?” she says.
I ask for a Cuba Libre, hold the lime. She goes. I lose eighty more dollars. She comes back, places the drink next to my elbow. Her breast implant brushes my scapula. My boner, which had subsided, goes up to a 9/5ths.
“Hey uh. . .I’m sorry what’s your name again?” I inquire falsely.
“Chantal,” she says.
“Chantal what do you think about all these man-bulls all over the place?”
She looks me dead in the eye and says “I think they’re great” and makes a jerk-off motion, bending her thighs deep to get into it.
“No not the dudes, I mean the statues outside on the walls. Aren’t they kind of weird?”
“Oh yeah, those things. They are weird. But you know what? I think they’re kind of hot. They look like big dicks. That’s hot.”
The dealer lays down a four and busts my pair of queens. I wasn’t looking.
“Do you want another drink?”
“Yeah. The same.”
She open-mouth smiles again and leaves. Chantallelujah. My dollars are simmering away. I don’t want to miss Chantal and I don’t want to lose $480. Then it hits me: Hollywood and Highland. The ancient winged dieties that decorate the walls! They come from Babylon! One of them possessed Reagan MacNeill in The Exorcist and now gazes insolently on mortals buying flip-flops and sequined tote-bags! I should have never ranked that Starbucks #19 or whatever it was! The man-bulls of Commerce are the arch-enemies of those winged demon-birds of Hollywood and have been standing guard against them for lo these millenia. No wonder people have been giving me dirty looks here. I come from the land of the demon-birds.
So smug. So stupid. Gotta get on that 56,000 to Sacramento and wake Hollywood up.